Category Archives: Headlines

THIS YEAR'S CHINOOK LIMIT ON THE HANFORD REACH IS ABOUT AS BIG AS THIS UPRIVER BRIGHT CAUGHT BY DAVE SITTON OF LIBERTY LAKE A COUPLE YEARS BACK. STARTING AUG. 1, ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO RETAIN SIX KINGS, OF WHICH THREE CAN BE ADULTS, AND TWO-POLING WILL BE ALLOWED WITH THE PROPER ENDORSEMENT. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Bright Limit For Hanford Kings Announced

The run is still lurking well off our coast, but Washington salmon managers are getting well ahead of the predicted record return of upriver bright by announcing six-Chinook limits and two-polin’ will be in effect on the Hanford Reach this fall.

WDFW says that the 200,000-plus upriver brights expected onto the free-flowing stretch of the Columbia will be “well in excess of the spawning escapement and hatchery broodstock needs.”

Half of those six kings may be adults.

It wasn’t until Sept. 20 during last year’s huge run that WDFW upped the limit and allowed anglers to use a second rod, with the proper endorsement. This season, those begin starting Aug. 1, and run longer than usual as well, through Oct. 31.

THIS YEAR'S CHINOOK LIMIT ON THE HANFORD REACH IS ABOUT AS BIG AS THIS UPRIVER BRIGHT CAUGHT BY DAVE SITTON OF LIBERTY LAKE A COUPLE YEARS BACK. STARTING AUG. 1, ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO RETAIN SIX KINGS, OF WHICH THREE CAN BE ADULTS, AND TWO-POLING WILL BE ALLOWED WITH THE PROPER ENDORSEMENT. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

THIS YEAR’S CHINOOK LIMIT ON THE HANFORD REACH IS ABOUT AS BIG AS THIS UPRIVER BRIGHT CAUGHT BY DAVE SITTON OF LIBERTY LAKE A COUPLE YEARS BACK. STARTING AUG. 1, ANGLERS WILL BE ABLE TO RETAIN SIX KINGS, OF WHICH THREE CAN BE ADULTS, AND TWO-POLING WILL BE ALLOWED WITH THE PROPER ENDORSEMENT. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Here’s the official emergency rule-change notice from the agency:

Hanford Reach fall chinook salmon fishery enhancements

Actions:

Daily limit 6 salmon, up to three (3) may be adult salmon. Once the daily limit of adult salmon is retained, anglers may not continue to fish for any species for the remainder of the day.
The Columbia River between the Highway 395 Bridge and the Old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers is open to fishing for salmon through Oct. 31, 2014.
Fishing with two poles is permitted from the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam if the angler possesses a two-pole license endorsement.
The area of the Columbia River along the Franklin county shoreline between the markers located 100 feet upstream and 100 feet downstream of the Ringold Springs Hatchery Creek and extending in a 100-foot radius (arc) towards mid-river is closed to all fishing.
The Esquatzel Coulee (Block 1) irrigation wasteway embayment at the Columbia River in Franklin Co. is closed to all fishing from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30.

Effective date:   Aug. 1, 2014.

Species affected:   Chinook salmon.

Location:   Columbia River from Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam.

Reason for action: The fall chinook forecast for the Hanford Reach area of the Columbia River is expected to exceed 200,000 adults, well in excess of the spawning escapement and hatchery broodstock needs.

Other information: Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon or steelhead.  Anglers must have a current Washington fishing license as well as a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE). Revenue from the CRSSE supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system.

Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-22-14)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT IS FROM TANNA TAKATA, ODFW, VIA JOE HYMER, PSMFC
Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Steelhead angling was fair to good on the lower Columbia, while Chinook angling continued to be slow.  Salmonid anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 2.0 summer steelhead and 0.13 summer Chinook caught per boat; and bank anglers averaged 0.17 summer steelhead and 0.02 summer Chinook caught per angler.  In the Portland to Westport area, boat anglers averaged 0.35 summer steelhead per boat, and bank anglers averaged 0.12 summer steelhead caught per angler.  Anglers fishing in Troutdale averaged 0.11 steelhead caught per boat.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook and six adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped steelhead released for 41 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed three adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped adult Chinook and 13 unclipped steelhead released for eight boats (29 anglers).

Troutdale Bank: No report.

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two unclipped steelhead released for 37 boats (77 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two unclipped steelhead released for 25 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus five unclipped steelhead released for 20 boats (50 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): Weekly checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for five boats.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed one adipose fin-clipped Chinook kept, plus one unclipped Chinook released for nine bank anglers; and three unclipped steelhead released for four boats (nine anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped Chinook released for five bank anglers.

John Day Pool (Columbia River above John Day Dam and John Day Arm): No report.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River: Catch and release only. Weekend checking showed six legal, one oversize and three sublegal sturgeon released for one boat (two anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Catch and release only. Weekend checking showed 17 sublegal sturgeon released for 22 bank anglers; and 24 legal white sturgeon kept, plus 10 overize and 338 sublegal sturgeon released for 49 boats (138 anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for four bank anglers.

John Day Pool: Catch and release only. No report.

Sturgeon creel sampling summaries and catch estimates for Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools: WDFW Mid-Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/region5/>

WALLEYE

Troutdale: Weekend checking showed one walleye kept for two boats (two anglers).

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed four walleye kept, plus two walleye released for one boat (three anglers).

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: No report.

THIS MAP FROM THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE APPROXIMATE BOUNDARIES OF THE WATERMELON HILL FIRE, SOUTHWEST OF THE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. FISHTRAP LAKE IS THE LONG, SKINNY LAKE ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE BURNED AREA. (INCIWEB)

WDFW Closes Fishtrap Boat Ramp For Fire Crew Access

Access to a lake near Cheney is on hold as fire crews use its water to put out a wildfire that literally blew up nearby last weekend.

WDFW announced this afternoon that the Fishtrap Lake ramp, at the north end, will be closed so that tanker trucks and aircraft can fight the 13,000-acre Watermelon Hill fire unimpeded.

THIS MAP FROM THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE APPROXIMATE BOUNDARIES OF THE WATERMELON HILL FIRE, SOUTHWEST OF THE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. FISHTRAP LAKE IS THE LONG, SKINNY LAKE ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE BURNED AREA. (INCIWEB)

THIS MAP FROM THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE APPROXIMATE BOUNDARIES OF THE WATERMELON HILL FIRE, SOUTHWEST OF THE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. FISHTRAP LAKE IS THE LONG, SKINNY LAKE ON THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE BURNED AREA. (INCIWEB)

It began Saturday,  a couple days after wildfires charred a town elsewhere in Eastern Washington. According to reports, it was caused by three unknown people who were inexplicably shooting at exploding targets.

News reports say the fire is no longer threatening any homes, at least in the near term, and WDFW says it is 40 percent contained.

The ramp closure is expected to last through next Monday, July 28.

“In a situation like this, we need to give firefighting crews everything they need to do their job,” said Kevin Robinette, regional WDFW wildlife manager, in a press release.

Head’s Up, Luremen, Luhr’s Launch Closing Aug. 4-8 For Repairs

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

(Editor’s note: Nearby ramps include Steilacoom and Zittle’s.)

The Luhr’s Landing water-access site near Olympia will be closed Aug. 4-8 while a crew from Thurston County Public Works replaces a failed culvert at the intersection near the entrance to the boat launch.

The launch site, owned and operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is located just west of the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on Puget Sound.

Brian Mitchell, WDFW natural resource operations supervisor, said access to the launch could also be restricted during the week of Aug.11 while work continues to install the new culvert. The work zone is at the intersection of D’Milluhr Drive and Scenic Drive at the entrance to the water-access area.

“We’re sorry about the inconvenience to boaters, but we’re pleased to see this work get done,” Mitchell said. “By improving drainage, the project should help to reduce maintenance of the road and parking lot at the access site.”

Luhr’s Landing is one of more than 700 water-access sites owned and operated by WDFW.

IDFG Drops Prices Of Unsold Nonresident Deer, Elk Tags

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission reduced the price of unsold nonresident deer and elk tags to be sold as second tags.

The following discounts will be available to resident and non-resident hunters purchasing second tags in 2014.

·         Second elk tags will be discounted from $415 to $299

·         Second deer tags will be discounted from $300 to $199

The price does not include the $1.75 vendor fees.

Since 2000, the Commission has offered any unsold tags remaining to resident and nonresident hunters as a second tag at the full nonresident price. In 2013, the release date for second tags was moved forward one month from September 1 to August 1. The commission feels discounting those tags will give hunters additional field opportunity by making a second tag more affordable.

Fish and Game Wildlife Chief Jeff Gould reminds hunters that second tags have been factored into big game season settings since these tags became available for purchase as a second tag 15 years ago.

“We restrict the number of tags available in elk zones that are performing below desired population levels,” Gould said. “Hunting opportunity is based on biological as well as social considerations. The decision to discount the second tag price is biologically sustainable and will make it more affordable for hunters to increase their hunting options this fall.”

Second tags will mainly be used in general hunts where there are currently no restrictions on the number of deer or elk tags sold to Idaho residents in any given year. Second tags cannot be used in areas where deer or elk harvest is managed with controlled hunts and the use of second tags must fall under currently established nonresident elk zone tag limits.

For 30 years, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission has maintained a statewide annual quota of 12,815 nonresident elk tags and 15,500 nonresident deer tags.  Idaho hunters purchase about 143,000 deer and 86,000 elk tags annually. Hunters purchased 964 second deer tags and 430 second elk tags in 2013. That left 5,773 deer and 4,960 nonresident elk tags unsold at the end of the year.

The discounted second tags will be available to resident and nonresident hunters August 1. The actual number of second tags available won’t be known until August 1, when unclaimed and returned nonresident tags are added to the second tag pool.  Second tags will be sold on a first come first served basis at all Fish and Game license vendors.

The Commission stresses this will be a trial program, and will closely analyze the 2014 season to determine how hunters respond to the discounts before deciding whether to apply discounts in future seasons.

For more information on the second tag discounts, including a list of frequently asked questions, go to: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/tagdiscount

THE NUSHAGAK RIVER AND OTHER BRISTOL BAY TRIBUTARIES ARE HOME TO SOMETHING LIKE HALF THE WORLD'S SOCKEYE SALMON, AND COULD BE AFFECTED BY DISASTER OR POOR PLANNING AT THE PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE. (TERRY WIEST, SALMONUNIVERSITY.COM)

EPA Releases Proposal To Protect Bristol Bay Salmon From Pebble Mining Risks

INFORMATION FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

EPA Region 10 has released a proposal to protect one of the world’s most valuable salmon fisheries, in Bristol Bay, Alaska, from the risks posed by a mine at the Pebble deposit. Development of this mine would result in one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world and would threaten one of the world’s most productive salmon fisheries.

This proposal, formally called a “Proposed Determination,” outlines protections for the waters that support salmon in and near the Pebble deposit area. The geographic restrictions of this proposal cover only the mining claims surrounding the Pebble deposits. No other lands or developments are subject to these restrictions.

THE NUSHAGAK RIVER AND OTHER BRISTOL BAY TRIBUTARIES ARE HOME TO SOMETHING LIKE HALF THE WORLD'S SOCKEYE SALMON, AND COULD BE AFFECTED BY DISASTER OR POOR PLANNING AT THE PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE. (TERRY WIEST, SALMONUNIVERSITY.COM)

THE NUSHAGAK RIVER AND OTHER BRISTOL BAY TRIBUTARIES ARE HOME TO SOMETHING LIKE HALF THE WORLD’S SOCKEYE SALMON, AND COULD BE AFFECTED BY DISASTER OR POOR PLANNING AT THE PROPOSED PEBBLE MINE. (TERRY WIEST, SALMONUNIVERSITY.COM)

Please visit www2.epa.gov/bristolbay to read the Proposed Determination, Executive Summary, Fact Sheet and information on the Clean Water Act Section 404(c) review process.

EPA would like to hear your comments on this important topic. Detailed instructions on how to submit comments or attend a public hearing are available at www2.epa.gov/bristolbay. The public comment period will be open from Monday, July 21 until Friday, September 19, 2014.

You can send questions to the project team at: R10BristolBay@epa.gov.

A MAP POSTED TO THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE BREADTH OF THE CHIWAUKUM

Roads May Be Closed To Lake Wenatchee For Sockeye Opener

UPDATE 9:17 A.M. JULY 18, 2014: WSDOT and Washington State Parks currently report that access to Lake Wenatchee is open again, at least from Western Washington via Highway 2 to Coles Corner and Highway 207 to the lake. BUT situation very dynamic with red flag fire warnings up today for most of Eastern Washington.

If that towering pile of smoke on the horizon the last two evenings hasn’t been warning enough, WDFW is putting out word that access to Lake Wenatchee for this Saturday’s sockeye opener is in serious jeopardy.

The Chiwaukum Fire near Winton has led to closures of Highway 2 between Stevens Pass and Leavenworth, and the Chumstick Highway between Leavenworth and Plain, the primary ways to get to the Chelan County lake.

The main boat ramp is at Lake Wenatchee State Park, but while its web landing page says the park is open and fire danger is extreme, it also says “Access to the park is not possible, due to closure of HWY2 and Chumstick HWY. Updates will occur each morning on access. Camper reservations are being fully refunded for incoming reservations on the 7/17 and 7/18.”

A MAP POSTED TO THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE BREADTH OF THE CHIWAUKUM

A MAP POSTED TO THE INCIWEB SITE SHOWS THE BREADTH OF THE CHIWAUKUM FIRE BETWEEN STEVENS PASS AND LEAVENWORTH. (INCIWEB)

WDFW announced this week that with 65,000 sockeye inbound, and 42,000 available for harvest, Lake Wenatchee would open July 19th for six-fish limits.

That’s an earlier opener than past years and is pretty exciting for local anglers, but Tuesday saw the Chiwaukum Fire blow up, and it’s now listed as 6,630 acres as of this afternoon. Almost all of Eastern Washington is under a red flag fire warning.

“The sockeye fishery will open as scheduled, but anglers may have to wait for a few days to get to it,” said Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We strongly advise they check reports on fire and road conditions before they head out.”

It’ll be much safer to get your sockeye jones filled on the Columbia from the Brewster Pool Wenatchee down to Tri-Cities.

The hashtag to follow is #MillsCanyonComplex, and websites to watch include:

Fire Status: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3937/

Road Closures: http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/default.aspx

Lake Wenatchee State Park: www.parks.wa.gov/AlertCenter.aspx?AID=167

 

With 65,000 Sockeye On The Way, L. Wenatchee Opens For 6 Reds A Day

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery opens

Action:   Lake Wenatchee opens for sockeye salmon fishing

Effective date: July 19, 2014 (one hour before official sunrise).

Species affected:   Sockeye salmon

JIM CUMMINGS OF COULEE CITY, STAN AND GLORIA ARBOGAST OF CASHMERE DISPLAY SOME OF THEIR LIMITS AFTER A DAY OF FISHING ON LAKE WENATCHEE IN SUMMER 2012. (JIM CUMMINGS)

JIM CUMMINGS OF COULEE CITY AND STAN AND GLORIA ARBOGAST OF CASHMERE DISPLAY SOME OF THEIR LIMITS AFTER A DAY OF FISHING ON LAKE WENATCHEE IN SUMMER 2012. (JIM CUMMINGS)

Daily limit: The daily limit per angler is 6 sockeye, 12 inches in length or greater.

Location:   Lake Wenatchee (Chelan Co.)

Reason for action:   Based on current sockeye passage at both Tumwater Dam and mainstem Columbia River Dams, at least 65,000 total sockeye are projected to be destined for Lake Wenatchee. This provides an estimated 42,000 sockeye to be available for harvest above the natural spawning escapement goal of 23,000 fish.

Other information: Selective gear rules (up to three single barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required) in effect. Anglers may fish with 2 poles as long as they possess a valid two-pole endorsement.  A night closure will be in effect.  Legal angling hours are one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.  Bull trout, steelhead, and chinook salmon must be released unharmed without removing the fish from the water.

ANGLERS WORK THE RIGGERS AND RODS AT LAKE WENATCHEE IN HOPES OF LANDING SOCKEYE DURING THE 2012 SEASON. (JIM CUMMINGS)

ANGLERS WORK THE RIGGERS AND RODS AT LAKE WENATCHEE IN HOPES OF LANDING SOCKEYE DURING THE 2012 SEASON. (JIM CUMMINGS)

NOTE:   The Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery may be closed on short notice depending on participation and catch rates.  Anglers are advised to check daily the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/rules_all_freshwater.j

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license.  Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the Columbia River fisheries.  The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin.

Public Comment Sought On Rotenoning 11 Stevens, Grant Co Lakes

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

State fishery managers will host three public meetings in late July to discuss proposals to treat three lake systems in eastern Washington with rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide commonly used to remove undesirable fish species from lakes and streams.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is proposing to treat McDowell Lake in Stevens County, the Hampton Lake chain and Sago, Hourglass, and Widgeon Lakes in Grant County this fall to remove species including bass, bullhead, stunted panfish and tench.

The Hampton Chain is made up of Upper and Lower Hampton Lake, Hampton Slough, Hen Lake, Dabbler Lake, Marie Lake and Juvenile Lake.

“The goal is to restore trout populations by removing competing species that have essentially taken over the lake’s resources,” said Bruce Bolding, WDFW warmwater fish program manager. “Illegally stocked fish compete with trout fry for food and prey, rendering efforts to stock trout fry ineffective.”

Public meetings to discuss the lake treatments proposed by WDFW are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on the following dates at the following locations:

July 23 – Ephrata, at the WDFW Region 2 Office, 1550 Alder St. N.W.
July 23 – Colville, at the WDFW District 1 Office, 755 S. Main St.
July 24 – Olympia, at the Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington St., Room 175.

In addition to input received at the public meetings, WDFW will consider written comments received through Aug. 22. Comments should be addressed to Bruce Bolding, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Final consideration of the proposals will be made by the WDFW director in early September.

Rotenone is an organic substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use as a fish pesticide. It has been used by WDFW in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is commonly used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.