Category Archives: Headlines

OSP Reports Eugene-area Man Sentenced For Poaching 2 Blacktails

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON STATE POLICE

On October 26, 2016, a Lane County Sheriff Deputy stopped a pickup truck being operated by Hunter Dillen JOHNSON, age 19, of Noti, Oregon. The Deputy discovered the carcasses of a Black-tailed deer doe and a Black-tailed deer spike in the bed of the pickup. JOHNSON produced a hunting license and tag issued to another person. The Deputy called the Oregon State Police to investigate. 

Trooper Todd Cutsforth, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife, responded to investigate. The investigation revealed that JOHNSON had shot and killed both deer that date, one with a .22 caliber rimfire rifle. JOHNSON had already filled his valid tag earlier in the season and had no right to be hunting additional deer. 

On January 18, 2017, JOHNSON plead guilty to five charges: Unlawful Borrowing of Deer Tag, Unlawful Taking of Black-tailed Deer Doe without Valid Tag, Unlawful Taking of Black-tailed Deer Doe (Exceeding Bag Limit), Unlawful Taking of Black-tailed Deer Spike without Valid Tag, and Unlawful Taking of Black-tailed Deer Spike (Prohibited Method-Rimfire Rifle). 

JOHNSON was sentenced to three years court probation, a three-year suspension of all hunting privileges, four days in the Lane County Jail with a recommendation it be served on the Road Crew, $2,000 restitution to the State of Oregon for the taking of the deer, and a special condition of probation that he not participate in any hunting excursions during the period of probation. 

Oregon State Police donated the seized deer to a local church in the Florence area for dispersal to families in need. Additionally, OSP seized two rifles in JOHNSON’s possession which were ordered forfeited to OSP. 

By law, wildlife is the property of the State of Oregon. No person shall angle for, take, hunt, trap or possess, or assist another in angling for, taking, hunting, trapping or possessing any wildlife in violation of the wildlife laws and established rules. 

Area 10 Blackmouth Closing After Sun., Jan. 22

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

Marine Area 10 salmon season will close Jan. 23

Action: Closes Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) to salmon fishing.

Effective Date:  Jan. 23, 2017 through Feb. 28, 2017.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location:  Marine Area 10 within Puget Sound, excluding year-round piers.

Reason for action: Before the salmon fishing season started, WDFW and tribal co-managers agreed to a limited number (2,597) of chinook encounters – retaining or releasing fish – anglers are allowed in Marine Area 10. Preliminary estimates indicate that anglers have retained or released 2,390 chinook and are expected to reach the limit for chinook encounters by Jan. 23. The fishery is being closed to control impacts on stocks of concern and ensure compliance with conservation objectives. 

Other information: Year-round fishing piers are unaffected by this rule change and specific regulations can be found in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. Year-round fishing pier impacts on chinook are expected to be minimal.

A PAIR OF MULE DEER ON THE ELKHORN WILDLIFE AREA, WHICH IS CLOSED IN WINTER. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

OSP Patrolling Eastern Oregon’s Winter Ranges To Protect Big Game

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON STATE POLICE FISH AND WILDLIFE DIVISION

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers will be conducting saturation patrols on Oregon’s winter ranges to protect deer and elk from illegal activity and poachers. Troopers will also be enforcing vehicle road closures that are critical in protecting wintering game. The Oregon State Police F&W planes will  be flying enforcement missions over the winter range areas during the day and night to find vehicles operating in road closures, and illegal spot lighters at night. 

A PAIR OF MULE DEER ON THE ELKHORN WILDLIFE AREA, WHICH IS CLOSED IN WINTER. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

A PAIR OF MULE DEER ON THE ELKHORN WILDLIFE AREA, WHICH IS CLOSED TO ALL PUBLIC ENTRY IN WINTER TO PROTECT ITS SHELTERING WILDLIFE FROM UNDUE DISTURBANCE. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

Saturation patrols of the White River Wildlife Area, Silver Lake Unit, Fort Rock Unit, Paulina Unit and Metolius Unit will be of special emphasis because they are home to thousands of wintering deer and elk.

Winter range closures (closed to all public entry)

White River Wildlife Area (Wasco County), lands north of Forest Rd 27 closed to public access Dec. 1 – March 31.

Wenaha Wildlife Area (Wallowa County), closed to public access Jan. 1 – March 31. (Access still allowed at designated camping areas, on ODFW land along the Wenaha River, and between Grande Ronde River Road and Grand Ronde River from Redmond grade bridge below Troy to the mouth of the Wildcat Creek.)

Bridge Creek Wildlife Area (Umatilla County), closed Dec. 1 – April 14.

Elkhorn Wildlife Area (Baker and Union Counties), closed Dec. 1 – April 10.

Phillip W Schneider Wildlife Area (Grant County), closed Feb. 1 – April 14.

Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area (Union County), lands west of Foothill Rd closed Feb. 1-March 31

Starkey Experimental Forest Enclosure (Union County), closed Nov. 15 – April 30

Motor vehicle restrictions (see page 108-111 of 2017 Oregon Big Game Hunting Regulations)

Lost River Winter Range, closed to motor vehicles Dec. 1 – April 15

Bryant Mtn, close to motor vehicle use Nov. 1 – April 15

Tumalo Winter Range, restricted motor vehicle use Dec. 1 – March 31

Prineville Reservoir WA, closed to motor vehicle use Nov. 15/Dec. 1 – April 15

Cabin Lake-Silver Lake Winter Range, closed to motor vehicle use Dec. 1- March 31

Metolius Winter Range, restricted motor vehicle use Dec. 1 – March 31

Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area, some roads closed seasonally Dec. 1 – April 14, closed to entry Feb. 1 – April 14.

Spring Creek Winter Range, closed to motor vehicles Dec. 15 – April 30

McCarty Winter Range, closed to motor vehicles Dec. 15 – March 31

Lost River Winter Range, closed to motor vehicles Dec. 1 – April 15

SMELT RUNS ON THE COWLITZ HAVE DECLINED SINCE BRAD HOLE DIPPED THIS BATCH IN 2015. WHETHER THERE ARE ENOUGH THIS YEAR WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A MEETING ON JAN. 31 BETWEEN THE STATES AND FEDS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

‘Modest’ Smelt Run Expected; Season, If Any, TBD

It’s getting to be about that time of year when folks in Southwest Washington start looking around for their really long-handled nets and wonder if we’ll see a smelt season on the Cowlitz.

So, will we?

That’s up in the air at this moment, but this afternoon biologist Joe Hymer at WDFW’s Vancouver office forwarded briefing materials sent to sportfishing advisors. A decision is expected at the end of the month during a Joint State Compact meeting.

To wit:

*   Numbers of spawning adult eulachon, as spawning stock biomass (SSB) in pounds, back-calculated from annual eulachon larvae production estimates, has been estimated since 2011 for the Columbia River and tributaries.

*   Total run-size has been estimated from combined harvest and SSB estimates.

*   Eulachon abundance increased steadily from 2011 to 2014, reaching a peak of 16.6 million pounds, and has since declined the past two years:

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

*   The 2017 return is expected to be modest in size, similar to or slightly smaller in magnitude than the 2011 and 2012 returns.

*   Ocean environmental conditions were favorable for marine survival during 2012-2013, but have deteriorated the past three years.

*   Both commercial and recreational fisheries were closed to all harvest in 2011-2013.

SMELT RUNS ON THE COWLITZ HAVE DECLINED SINCE BRAD HOLE DIPPED THIS BATCH IN 2015. WHETHER THERE ARE ENOUGH THIS YEAR WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A MEETING ON JAN. 31 BETWEEN THE STATES AND FEDS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

SMELT RUNS ON THE COWLITZ HAVE DECLINED SINCE BRAD HOLE DIPPED THIS BATCH IN 2015. WHETHER THERE ARE ENOUGH THIS YEAR WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF A MEETING ON JAN. 31. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

*   Very conservative reduced Level-1 fisheries were reinstated in 2014 to collect biological and catch per effort data.

*   The 2014, 2015 and 2016 commercial fisheries each consisted of eight fishing periods over four weeks in the mainstem Columbia River.

*   The recreational fishery provided two meaningful days of harvest opportunity in the Cowlitz River in 2014 and 2015 (five days total in 2014 and two days in 2015) along with recreational opportunity in the Sandy River, and one day in 2016 in the Cowlitz River.

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

*   Prospects for any fisheries in 2017 are being discussed by the States with NOAA Fisheries.  If fisheries were to occur, seasons would likely be similar to those provided in 2016.

THE SPRAGUE RIVER FLOWS OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS EAST OF KLAMATH FALLS INTO UPPER KLAMATH LAKE. (USFS)

Sprague River Closing To Fishing To Protect Spawning Redbands

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

The Sprague River near Klamath Falls will close to all fishing beginning Monday, Jan. 23 through April 21, 2017.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the emergency regulation today in order to protect spawning redband trout from the stress and mortality associated with fishing pressure and handling.

THE SPRAGUE RIVER FLOWS OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS EAST OF KLAMATH FALLS INTO UPPER KLAMATH LAKE. (USFS)

THE SPRAGUE RIVER FLOWS OUT OF THE MOUNTAINS EAST OF KLAMATH FALLS INTO UPPER KLAMATH LAKE. (USFS)

The redband trout spawning in the Sprague River spend much of their lives in Upper Klamath Lake and move into the river, up to 91 miles (one way), to spawn. Fish then return to the lake to recondition and most will spawn again, some up to six times.  According to Bill Tinniswood, ODFW fish biologist in Klamath Falls, the fish tend to spawn in highly concentrated areas, making them very susceptible to fishing pressure.

Traditionally, the river had been closed to fishing after Oct. 31 to protect spawning fish. However, in order to increase fishing opportunity the river was opened to year-round fishing in 2014. According to Tinniswood, the expanded season on the Sprague was made with the understanding that if fishing pressure increased too much on the spawning areas, the new regulations would be re-considered.

“We thought the spawning areas would be protected because the surrounding private property would limit access,” Tinniswood said. Instead, fishing for these spawning trout has become an increasingly popular fishery.

“The way people have been pounding on these spawners is similar to “buck fever” in hunting,” Tinniswood said. Interviewed anglers have reported catching over a hundred spawning trout during the spawning season that began in November, he added.

Redband trout are on the state’s Sensitive Species List, and there are several genetically unique populations that spawn in the Sprague. Tinniswood anticipates that future regulations will again prohibit fishing after Oct. 31 in order to protect these fish.

“These fish and their offspring are the future of the Upper Klamath Lake and Williamson River trophy trout fisheries,” he said.

(MARK SANDS, IDFG)

50 Pronghorn Die NW Of Boise After Eating Toxic Landscaping Shrub

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

Just two weeks ago, a group of eight elk died in the Boise foothills after feeding on Japanese yew plants. This week, a herd of 50 pronghorn antelope have been found dead in the town of Payette, victims of the same toxic shrub.

The pronghorn were reported to Fish and Game staff early Tuesday afternoon, January 17th; conservation officers located the 50 animals in one large scattered group later that day. Cause of death was not immediately evident, and four of the carcasses were transported to the Fish and Game Health Laboratory for evaluation.

(MARK SANDS, IDFG)

(MARK SANDS, IDFG)

Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew confirmed the cause of death on Wednesday. “All four animals were in good body condition, but with congested lungs and kidneys,” Drew noted. “All had Japanese yew twigs and needles in their esophagus and rumen; cause of death was yew toxicity.”

Earlier in the week, a larger herd of pronghorn bedded on an ice jam in the Snake River, crossing to the Idaho side on Monday near Centennial Park. They then moved south along the river towards Payette Pond. “There are a number of residences along this route where they may have encountered the shrub,” Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. “Like other big game species that graze on Japanese yew, they died quickly after ingesting the plant.”

j-yew-3-lr

(IDFG)

(IDFG)

Japanese Yew or Taxus cuspidate is a common landscaping shrub, despite the fact that its soft, waxy needles are fatal to a variety of species, including elk, moose, horses, dogs and even humans. In some locations, this year’s winter weather is pushing big game animals into more urban neighborhoods increasing the likelihood that Japanese yew plants will be encountered.

Because of the risk to big game animals, the department urges homeowners to inventory their property and remove and landfill any Japanese yew that might be growing at their residence. Alternatively, the plants can be wrapped with burlap to prevent access by big game animals.

 

cropped header

SW WA, Columbia (Nobody’s Fishing Except ‘One Lonely Bass Angler’) Report (1-18-16)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Little to no effort or catch.  9 bank anglers had no catch.  No boat anglers were sampled.

Last week Tacoma Power employees recovered 203 coho adults, 15 jacks, four winter-run steelhead and two cutthroat trout in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

cropped header

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 11 coho adults and one coho jack into the Cispus River upstream of the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek near Randle. They released 101 coho adults and eight coho jacks into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam.

Last week, Tacoma employees released 74 coho adults, five coho jacks, two cutthroat trout and four winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 8,730 cubic feet per second on Tuesday, January 17.

Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam – No effort.

Sturgeon

Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam – A little effort in Bonneville and John Day pools but no catch.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam – One lonely bass angler in John Day Pool had no catch.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows.  No reports on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

* BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE%20GROUND%20LK%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Jan 10, 2017
Rainbow
3,000
2.3
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

* KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE%20PD%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Jan 10, 2017
Rainbow
2,200
2.3
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

(IDFG)

More Big Game Animals Die Crossing Iced Snake River Reservoirs

Editor’s note: This news from IDFG follows on word last month from ODFW that 41 elk had died while crossing ice on Brownlee Reservoir.

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

Idaho Fish and Game staff on Jan. 16 euthanized 20 pronghorn antelope that were injured and stranded on the ice while attempting to cross the Snake River at Lake Walcott. Fish and Game staff also rescued six pronghorns, and another 10 were killed and partially consumed by coyotes.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, ice anglers at Lake Walcott notified Fish and Game staff that about 500 pronghorn had attempted to cross the frozen reservoir. They said about 200 made it across, then a portion of the group spooked and ran onto an extremely slick section of ice, where they were slipping and falling. The remaining antelope in the herd turned back and returned to shore.

(IDFG)

(IDFG)

Fish and Game staff investigated that afternoon and found 47 pronghorn stranded in the middle of the frozen river. Due the remote area and fading light, staffers decided to gather equipment and mount a rescue the following morning.

Fish and Game staff and state wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew were on the ice by 9 a.m. and used an airboat to reach the animals. They found 36 pronghorn remaining, but 10 of those had been killed by predators.

Crews were able to get six uninjured pronghorns into the airboat and transport and release them back on shore. Drew examined all the stranded animals and determined that the other 20 had suffered significant injuries due to slipping on the ice and dislocating hips and shoulders. Those animals were euthanized, and the meat was salvaged, processed and is being donated to people in need.

“At least they’re going to be used. That’s the only silver lining,” Regional Supervisor Toby Boudreau said.

The Lake Walcott area is a traditional migration route for wintering pronghorns, but this was an unusual event.

“I have never seen anything like it in my 26-year career,” regional wildlife manager Daryl Meints said.

CLOUDS ARE GATHERING ALREADY FOR COWLITZ SUMMER STEELHEADERS LIKE ACE WADE WITH WORD THAT MUCH OF THE 2018 RETURN MAY HAVE BEEN LOST TO PREDATION AND OTHER FACTORS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Major Summer Steelhead Smolt, Cutthroat Loss Reported On Cowlitz

Was it hungry birds, bad math, disease or something else?

That’s unclear but state fishery managers are confirming they can’t account for a high percentage of hatchery summer-run steelhead smolts and sea-run cutthroat trout reared for release last year into a very popular Southwest Washington river.

They say that 70 percent of the fish they expected to turn loose in the Cowlitz River in spring 2016 were “unaccounted for.”

Instead of 625,900 steelies and 90,600 cutts that were scheduled to go out, only 202,000 total fish did, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

CLOUDS ARE GATHERING ALREADY FOR COWLITZ SUMMER STEELHEADERS LIKE ACE WADE WITH WORD THAT MUCH OF THE 2018 RETURN MAY HAVE BEEN LOST TO PREDATION AND OTHER FACTORS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

STORM CLOUDS ARE GATHERING ALREADY FOR COWLITZ SUMMER STEELHEADERS LIKE ACE WADE WITH WORD THAT MUCH OF THE 2018 RETURN COULD HAVE BEEN LOST TO BIRD PREDATION AND OTHER FACTORS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

That means 2018’s summer-run season will probably be less productive than usual, though it could also be an average fishery, depending on how the steelhead fair in the ocean, the agency claims.

The Cowlitz is the last system in the state where sea-run cutts are reared and they provide another option to salmon in fall.

It’s the latest blow for Western Washington’s premier consumptive steelhead fishery, a river which saw its early-returning winter-run program cut several years ago because it relied on out-of-basin stocks, and the death of an estimated 200,000 in-basin fry raised for return later this winter due to bacterial coldwater disease.

As for the most recent loss, a Jan. 9 fact sheet prepared by WDFW’s Vancouver office says a number of potential causes have been identified, with bird predation, counting error and disease and/or environmental causes the chief suspects.

WDFW says it has contracted with USDA Wildlife Services for hazing services for two decades but has not seen this level of predation before, nor had it been expected to increase.

“Unfortunately masking effects from predation make it difficult to quantify each factor,” the fact sheet says.

Part of the problem is that with the way fish are currently reared there’s no way to run a count and see something’s amiss, meaning a loss wouldn’t be realized until release when it’s too late to correct anything, according to WDFW.

However, the counting device is also apparently “prone to error” as well “due to its technical limitations.” It’s regularly checked and calibrated to minimize errors, the fact sheet states.

Going forward, WDFW says three corrections are being explored — improving the netting around the rearing ponds and increased hazing during all daylight hours; considering nightly patrols and installing covers to try and keep blue herons away; and Tacoma Power looking into contracting for “some level of lethal hazing,” which could be in place later this year.

WDFW operates the trout hatchery which is owned by Tacoma Power as mitigation for dams on the Cowlitz.

Both the agency and utility are also looking into ways to better estimate rearing losses in hopes of becoming more proactive about problems.

“The long-term strategy is to install full bird netting on the rearing lakes,” the fact sheet states. “This will be part of the hatchery remodel that Tacoma Power is planning and should be completed in three to six years from now. Tacoma Power is working with WDFW and hatchery design experts to explore a variety of options to meet current and future production challenges. The remodel project is in its early stages so timelines have not been finalized.”

The local fisheries biologist said it did not affect winter-run smolts, and that so far predation on the next crop of fish actually seems to be lower than average.

CARE ABOUT PUGET SOUND'S FISHERIES? WDFW IS LOOKING FOR UP TO 20 NEW ADVISORS FOR SPORTFISHING ISSUES. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

North Of Falcon Transparency Issues Headed To Court?

If more light isn’t shed on state-tribal salmon negotiations, anglers may take their case for transparency to court.

That was the bottom line of a TV story yesterday as we near the beginning of the annual North of Falcon season-setting process.

CARE ABOUT PUGET SOUND'S FISHERIES? WDFW IS LOOKING FOR UP TO 20 NEW ADVISORS FOR SPORTFISHING ISSUES. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The past two have been bruising affairs and sport fishermen feel we haven’t been getting our fair share. So a petition asking the Fish and Wildlife Commission and WDFW to open the secret talks has been posted and to date has gathered nearly 1,200 signatures.

The cause got a good boost yesterday when KING 5’s Alison Morrow went for a boatride on the Chehalis with members of the Twin Harbors Fish and Wildlife Advocacy as they made their case.

“They’re making decisions and they don’t benefit the fish, the tribal members, and the non-tribal members. We’re all losing,” Tim Hamilton, TWFWA president told the reporter.

Last weekend the Fish and Wildlife Commission was briefed on how state laws such as the Open Public Meetings Act apply to boards and to staff-to-staff discussions. The citzen oversight panel directed WDFW staff to continue to look for ways to work with tribal comanangers on how to provide more transparency and the agency remains open to ideas from its constituents as well, according to a spokesman.

The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission declined to go on camera with Morrow, who reposted the organization’s previous response inre tribes being sovereign nations not bound by state meetings laws.

But it appears another test of state laws as they apply to salmon negotiations may be in the offing.