Category Archives: Headlines

Fish And Wildlife Officer, Harbor Prosecutor Honored For Protecting WA Natural Resources

Those big boots that Cal Treser left behind — they’re on their way to being filled.

Treser was the longtime game warden in western Okanogan County who retired in spring 2015 after 16 years protecting Washington’s largest mule deer herd, watching after and keeping plenty of other critters out of trouble, and policing tens of thousands of acres of beautiful state lands that serve as winter range for the aforementioned herd, not to mention the region’s bountiful waters.

The job was passed along to a new officer, and it appears like Jason Day is more than up for the challenge.

FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFICER JASON DAY (RIGHT) WITH HIS PLAQUE AND SGT. DAN CHRISTENSEN, WHO NOMINATED HIM FOR 2016 WDFW OFFICER OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

He was named WDFW’s 2016 Enforcement Officer of the Year earlier this month.

“A really good man and a solid team member,” says his boss, Sgt. Dan Christensen, who nominated Day earlier this year.

Day received his honor at the Safari Club International Northwest Chapter‘s Feb. 10-11 banquet in Seattle.

He was presented a plaque by chapter president JoDean Peters, and author and host of Rugged Expeditions J. Alain Smith.

Day’s beat represents the intersection of prime fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation opportunities, state and federally listed species in the form of salmon, steelhead and wolves, and a region which has “a tremendous call for service expectation,” in Christensen’s words.

AMONG THE MANY CRITTERS THAT DAY WATCHES OVER ARE TURKEYS, BUT WOLVES, MULE DEER, COUGARS AND OTHER ANIMALS POSE CHALLENGES AS WELL. (WDFW)

That keeps Day busy, and in 2016 he filed the most incident report forms of any fish and wildlife officer in the state, as well as issued the second most citations in the month of October, his sergeant reported in his nomination letter.

“While the citation numbers do not tell the entire story, the quality of those enforcement actions, speak for his strong work ethic and commitment to the resource and his agency,” wrote Christensen.

WDFW headquarters staff termed Day “the full package.”

“Being an effective Fish and Wildlife police officer is more than catching bad guys. Sure, Officer Day is damn good in that role. But he also has the best judgment, inherently knowing when it’s best to educate and when to arrest,” said Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. “Officer Day has the tenacity and acumen to catch the worst of the worst, sending second thoughts through the minds of would-be violators. But he also has the heart to understand that humans are, well, human. In our brand of law enforcement, unraveling mistakes from intentional violations is critical to being effective.”

SGT. DAN CHRISTENSEN SAYS DAY’S ALSO A BIT OF A CHARACTER WHO SENDS HIM HUMOROUS IMAGES FROM TIME TO TIME, SUCH AS THIS TRAPPED “TIGER.” (WDFW)

Day, a graduate of Western Washington University, grew up in the upper Okanogan Valley where family still resides, and lives in the Methow Valley with his wife and kids.

WDFW also recently recognized a deputy county prosecutor for “valiant efforts in supporting conservation.”

Grays Harbor’s Jon Beltran “has championed a number of important cases, ensuring an outcome that sends a strong message to violators,” officers posted on Facebook.

GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY DEPUTY PROSECUTOR JON BELTRAN WITH A PLAQUE AWARDED HIM BY WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFICERS, INCLUDING REGIONAL CAPT. DAN CHADWICK. (WDFW)

Just as important as the work that officers like Day do in investigating fish and wildlife cases, county prosecutors are the next step in bringing poachers and others to justice.

“Success in protecting the public’s natural resources is a team effort, with the local county prosecutor’s office being a critical member. Without support at that level, a lot of our work would be meaningless,” said Cenci. “As a citizen of Grays Harbor County, Mr. Beltran understands how important natural resources are to his coastal communities, local economies, and our outdoor heritage. WDFW Police appreciate his ability to take on the most complex cases and navigate the challenges that constantly beget enforcing natural resource laws.”

Congrats to Officer Day and Deputy Prosecutor Beltran — your hard work is appreciated!

 

Registration For Oregon Youth Turkey Clinic Now Open

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

Register by March 28 for the annual turkey hunting clinic for kids ages 8 to 17, a popular event sponsored by ODFW, Oregon Hunters Association and Celilo Bowmen.

The event is Saturday, April 1 at the White River Wildlife Area near Tygh Valley.

ODFW AND OHA SPONSOR A POPULAR TURKEY HUNTING CLINIC FOR YOUTH AGE 8 TO 17 EVERY YEAR AT THE WHITE RIVER WILDLIFE AREA, SO KIDS CAN BE READY FOR SPRING TURKEY HUNTING SEASON OPENING LATER IN APRIL. (ODFW)

Kids who attend will learn the tricks, tips and strategies needed to turkey hunt including: turkey identification and behavior, scouting techniques like sign identification and how to locate turkeys in the woods, plus turkey calls and calling techniques. There is also a hands-on session about how to pattern a shotgun, establish effective ranges and hold a shotgun as a tom approaches. New this year, Celilo Bowmen will be teaching kids how to shoot compound and traditional bows at a 3D target range set up at the event.

“This is a fun annual event that will get your child ready for the statewide general spring turkey season April 15-May 31,” said James Reed, ODFW hunter education coordinator. “Kids can also hunt the special youth-only season April 8-9.”

Hunter education certification is not required to attend this clinic.

Pre-registration is required and costs $10. The deadline to register is March 28 and a maximum of 100 youth will be accepted. Each youth must be accompanied by an adult.

Register online at ODFW’s license sales site, or register at any license sales agent. Registration includes lunch; adults can purchase lunch for an additional $5 at the clinic. For more information, see the event listing at www.odfwcalendar.com or contact Myrna Britton at (503) 947-6028 / Myrna.b.britton@state.or.us

Note that ODFW will waive the parking permit requirement on White River Wildlife Area for that day and camping is allowed at designated campsites.

ODFW and partners host a variety of events where people can learn how to hunt and fish, see www.odfwcalendar.com for more.

IDFG Asking For Info On ‘Most Offensive’ Pronghorn Poaching Case

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

Conservation Officers with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) are seeking assistance from the public in apprehending the person or persons responsible for the killing of at least 28 pronghorns in the Monteview area during the last week of January and beginning of February, 2017.

According to Regional Conservation Officer Doug Petersen, “This is the most offensive case of poaching I have seen in my entire career!”  Because of the flagrant nature of the incident, the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Board has raised the level of reward available to $2,000.   Anyone who has information pertaining to this incident can remain anonymous and will be eligible for the reward if the case is prosecuted.

Calls with information can be made at any time of the day or night to 1-800-632-5999.  CAP calls are now being handled by the Idaho State Police (ISP) and are routed to the proper IDFG conservation officer.

Elk Habitat Protected, Public Access Increased In Oregon’s Wallowa Mtns.

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The largest private inholding in Oregon’s most popular and biggest wilderness area is now in public hands and open to public access thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The project permanently protects 471 acres adjacent to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon and improves access to nearly 23,000 additional acres of surrounding public land.

(RMEF)

“This area contains vital habitat for elk and a myriad of other wildlife and fish species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located southwest of the town of Joseph and directly west of Wallowa Lake, the narrow property runs approximately two miles in length. It serves as an important elk transition area as it lies between elk summer range in the high country and winter range in the lowlands. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are also present within the surrounding area.

Additionally, Little Granite Creek and Falls Creek, two major tributaries to Hurricane Creek, cross the property. Spring Chinook salmon use the waterways for spawning. The creeks also provide crucial riparian habitat for other wildlife.

“In addition to improving public access for hunters, this project also ensures unimpeded access to Hurricane Creek and Falls Creek Trails, two of the most popular trails that provide access to the Eagle Cap Wilderness, including access to Legore Lake, said to be the highest true lake in Oregon at 8,950 feet in elevation,” added Henning.

RMEF conveyed the 471 acres to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest which now oversees its management.

Vital funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped complete the project.

ODFW Removes Arrow From Cherry Grove Deer; $1,500 Reward For Info In Case

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND OREGON STATE POLICE

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife staff on Thursday successfully captured and treated a blacktail deer doe that had illegally been shot in the face with an arrow.

ODFW veterinarian Julia Burco and a team of biologists assisted by the Oregon State Police located and captured the injured animal near the unincorporated community of Cherry Grove in Washington County.

ODFW WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST AMY DARR REMOVES HAIR FROM AROUND THE EXIT WOUND OF THE DOE SO THAT IT MAY BE CLEANED WHILE THE ANIMAL IS SEDATED. (DON VANDERBERGHE, ODFW)

The 20-inch arrow was removed after the animal was immobilized with a tranquilizer dart and treated with antibiotics. The doe was subsequently released at an undisclosed location where it is expected to make a full recovery.

Authorities believe the deer was shot on or near Feb. 10 in the vicinity of Lee Road and Patton Valley Road outside of Cherry Grove. A $1,500 reward for information that leads to a conviction in this case has been donated by the Oregon Humane Society, Oregon Hunters Association, and Yamhill County Hunters Association.

Persons with information about this case are encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police at 503-707-2728.

…………………………………….

The Oregon State Police and Oregon Hunters Association are seeking information about a blacktail doe which was shot with an arrow out of season. The incident occurred in the area of Cherry Grove, Oregon and was first noticed by neighbors on Saturday Feb 11, 2017.

THE BLACKTAIL BEFORE THURSDAY”S OPERATION. (OSP)

The Oregon Hunters Association offers rewards to persons, through their T.I.P. fund, for information leading to the issuance of a citation to a person(s), or an arrest made of a person(s) for illegal possession, killing, or taking of deer, as well as many other species. The reward in this case is currently $500.

If you would like to report information about this incident please refer to State Police case number SP17048082.

TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 (24/7)

TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

(Please use the TIP Hotline for Weekend and Evening Reporting)

Tucannon Lakes, Wooten Access Open For March 1 Trout Opener

The Tucannon Lakes are ice-free, being stocked with trout and ready to roll for next week’s big opener, though rumors that the surrounding Wooten Wildlife Area is closed could keep some anglers away.

To get out ahead of that, WDFW put out word this afternoon that in fact most of this Southeast Washington wildlife area is open, as usual, to public access.

TUCANNON LAKES ANGLERS WILL GIVE THIS NEWS THE THUMBS UP, LIKE CORBIN HAN DID FOR THE CAMERA WHILE FISHING THERE WITH HIS DAD, JERRY, AND BRO, AUSTIN, IN 2014. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

According to agency spokeswoman Madonna Luers in Spokane, the nearby Last Resort KOA has been getting concerned calls the state land is closed.

That may be due to closures on the other side of the Blues from here, the 4-O and Grouse Flat units of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area, that were announced earlier this month due to heavy snows, or the long-standing closure of the Cummings Creek drainage, just east of the chain lakes, until April 1, she says.

Either way, Wooten’s mostly open and ready for the March 1 opener, she says.

Unfortunately, those are just about the only waters that will be accessible this coming Wednesday. In the western Columbia Basin, only Lenice and Martha Lakes will be fishable.

According to WDFW biologist Chad Jackson, the former’s wide open, while the latter’s northern side is accessible, though getting to it may require four-wheel drive.

ODFW, Partners Stepping Up Bighorn Sheep Monitoring

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

ODFW is increasing disease monitoring in California bighorn sheep throughout Oregon this year as part of ongoing research with Oregon State University and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

ODFW traditionally relocates sheep each year as part of a years-long effort to restore this rare species to its historic range in Oregon. But these relocation efforts are on hold this year while wildlife managers learn more about Mycoplasma ovipneumonia (M. Ovi, the bacteria primarily responsible for infectious pneumonia in bighorn sheep).

A PAIR OF OREGON BIGHORN RAMS GET AN AIRLIFT DURING STEPPED-UP DISEASE MONITORING EFFORTS THIS WINTER. (ODFW)

In the last few weeks, ODFW wildlife biologists and veterinarians have sampled 54 bighorn sheep in southeastern Oregon. Paired with previous year’s capture efforts, this brings the total of disease-sampled and collared California bighorn sheep to more than 100.

Concerns about how M. Ovi is impacting Oregon’s  wild sheep populations have grown since a die-off of the Lower Owyhee bighorn sheep herd in 2015-16. Also that year, the Nevada Dept of Wildlife made the difficult decision to eliminate an entire herd of sick bighorn sheep just south of Oregon’s border to stop the spread of M. ovi to neighboring populations.

BIOLOGISTS WORK WITH RAMS. (ODFW)

Respiratory disease has killed numerous wild sheep in Oregon and other Western states over the past few decades and is considered the largest risk to wild sheep populations.  Once a herd is infected, an all-age die off can occur and the disease remains chronic in the population.

Disease treatment in free-ranging populations of sheep is not practical, so wildlife managers strive to keep wild and domestic sheep and goats separate to avoid transmission of the disease. Working collaboratively through WAFWA and its Wild Sheep Working Group, Western state wildlife agencies are also evaluating how herds respond to the disease, the risk of translocating animals between herds infected with identical strains of the disease and how to increase survival rates of wild sheep. 

Disease monitoring involved taking a variety of samples from each sheep after they were captured by helicopter by Quicksilver Air. These include blood, nasal and tonsillar swabs, and fecal samples looking at a variety of pathogens affecting bighorn sheep. These tests can help answer questions as to whether bighorn sheep have active infections, have been exposed in the past, and how well an individual sheep may be able to fight off infections.

“When we get our hands on an animal we take full advantage and try to maximize what we learn from it,” says Julia Burco, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “These samples will give us a much better understanding of the extent of the bacteria in Oregon’s sheep, if infections are active, and if wild sheep can fight it off and survive.” Each sheep was also fitted with a GPS collar to track its movements.

The samples taken are now being tested by Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory with results expected later this month. Samples from previous years showed there are different strains of M. ovi affecting Oregon’s sheep herds. Testing will also help determine if the strain that eliminated the Nevada herd spread to Oregon’s sheep.

Successful bighorn sheep hunters have also provided samples and helped in tracking pneumonia in Oregon bighorn sheep herds. Of 43 hunter-harvested sheep tested in 2015, three sheep from the Owyhee herd were actively shedding the bacteria. Results from the 2016 hunting season are not yet available.  

Oregon is home to about 3,700 California bighorn sheep in 32 different herds in central and southeast Oregon. There are also about 800 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in northeast Oregon.

Oregon Woman Who Hassled Duck Hunters Charged

A southwest Willamette Valley woman has been charged with obstructing waterfowlers on a nearby reservoir as well as criminally impersonating an officer.

According to a KOIN report, Mary Elizabeth Haynsworth, 51, of Veneta, “confronted” two young hunters at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area in mid-January.

A BLIND AT FERN RIDGE WILDLIFE AREA. (ODFW)

She identified herself as an ODFW staffer, according to court records, the TV station reports, which also states she claims she did not, but did admit to OSP she was wearing a jacket with an agency patch on it at the time.

“Haynsworth was apparently upset with people shooting the ducks,” KOIN reports, and says she told one of the hunters to swim out to retrieve a downed one.

Fern Ridge has been state wildlife area since the mid-1950s, and features a mix of reserved blinds and open hunting areas. Waterfowlers killed over 4,100 ducks this past season, according to ODFW data.

Haynsworth is due in a Lane County courtroom tomorrow.

Managers Model Catch Of 8,900 Springers In Lower Columbia In Season Thru April 6

Fishery managers are modeling a catch of 8,900 spring Chinook on the Columbia below Bonneville for a proposed straight-through March 1-April 6 season that would include a new sanctuary around the mouth of the Lewis to protect weak returns to the trib.

That’s according to a fact sheet outlining run expectations, management constraints and staff recommendations out ahead of a final decision later today by Oregon and Washington officials on this season’s springer fishery.

As usual, bank and boat anglers would be able to fish upriver to Beacon Rock, but only bankies from there to Bonneville. Daily limit would be one hatchery king.

BUZZ RAMSEY NETS A SPRING CHINOOK ON THE COLUMBIA LAST SEASON. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Overall, some 227,890 kings are expected back to the Columbia system, from the Select Areas near the mouth to North-central Washington, the wilds of Central Idaho to Oregon’s Hells Canyon tribs.

But it’s the 160,400 forecast to return to streams above Bonneville that managers need to watch out for.

An agreement on the fishery lops 30 percent of the run to guard against a busted forecast, and that allows for an overall mortality of 9,319 upriver-bound springers, both those intercepted for barbecues and wild fish that are released but some percentage of which die.

Managers expect 6,905 of those to be killed by sport anglers below Bonneville, 921 between the dam and Oregon-Washington state line above McNary, 863 in the Snake, around 610 in commercial fisheries in Select Areas, and set aside 20 for the Wanapum Tribe.

With no mainstem netting, there are no Tuesday closures on the recreational fleet as in past years.

While the Columbia is open under permanent rules through March 31, today’s proposal would tweak the regs starting March 1 to include a new closure around the Lewis. It’s forecast to see only 700 springers.

“ESA authorization for fisheries impacting listed lower Columbia River Chinook requires specific hatchery escapement goals be met,” the fact sheet states. “In 2017, the Lewis River spring Chinook return is forecasted to be less than the hatchery escapement goal of 1,380 adult fish.”

A NOAA CHART SHOWS THE AREA WHERE A CLOSURE IS PROPOSED TO PROTECT A LOW RETURN OF LEWIS RIVER SPRING CHINOOK. (NOAA)

While the Willamette forecast is low — 38,090, roughly 21,000 below the 10-year average — with 32,500 of those being fin-clipped, there are just under 9,900 available for harvest below the falls and in the Columbia, and so Oregon managers appear to not be recommending any changes to the permanent regs.

Managers are also proposing the usual March 16-May 5 fishery in the Columbia Gorge to the state line, with both banks open from Bonneville upstream, and boat fishing allowed from the Tower Island powerlines below The Dalles to the state line. Daily limit is proposed as one.

Today’s hearing on Columbia springer fisheries will begin at 1 p.m.,  at the Clark Regional Wastewater District, (8000 NE 52nd Court, Vancouver).

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (2-22-17)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ORIGINATED WITH ODFW AND WDFW AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Salmonid catch and effort is low and the water conditions are poor.  If you do decide to venture out, be mindful of large woody debris floating down the river.

Gorge Bank: No report.

Gorge Boats: No report.

Troutdale Boats: No report.

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekly checking showed no catch for 22 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekly checking showed no catch for five boats (nine anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): No report.

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

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for four bank anglers.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (two anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed three sublegal sturgeon released for two boats (seven anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed one legal white sturgeon kept, plus four sublegal sturgeon released for seven bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus 24 sublegal sturgeon released for eight boats (17 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for six bank anglers; and no catch for one boat (three anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Weekly checking showed one legal white sturgeon kept, plus one sublegal sturgeon released for 27 bank anglers; and seven sublegal and two oversize sturgeon released for 21 boats (47 anglers).

WALLEYE

The Dalles Pool:  Weekly checking showed four walleye kept, plus one walleye released for two bank anglers; and 17 walleye kept, plus four walleye released for nine boats (23 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed eight walleye kept, plus 11 walleye released for 25 boats (52 anglers).

……………………………………………….

Salmon/Steelhead

Deep River – Effective March 1 through June 15, the salmonid daily limit in Deep River will be the same as mainstem Columbia River when the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville Dam is open for hatchery Chinook retention. On days when the mainstem Columbia River is closed to Chinook retention, permanent salmonid daily limits for Deep River apply.

Coal Creek (near Longview) – Feb. 28 is the last day to fish for steelhead and other game fish below the falls.

Cowlitz River – 13 bank anglers had no catch.  No boat anglers were sampled.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 28 coho adults and 24 winter-run steelhead adults in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 14 coho adults and one winter-run steelhead adult into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Last week, Tacoma employees released 14 coho adults and seven winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,400 cubic feet per second on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Visibility was not available and the water temperature is 42.8 degrees F.

Lewis River (including North Fork) – Effective March 1 until further notice, closed to fishing for spring Chinook.  Fishing for hatchery steelhead remains open.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Bridge downstream – Last week we sampled 16 bank and 2 boat anglers with no catch.

A Compact/Joint State hearing is also scheduled for 1 PM Thursday February 23, 2017 at the Clark Regional Wastewater District, (8000 NE 52nd Court, Vancouver, Washington 98665) to consider mainstem Columbia River fisheries, including recreational spring Chinook fisheries.

Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam – Little to no effort observed for steelhead.  No catch was observed.

Sturgeon

Bonneville Pool – Some legals were caught by both bank and boat anglers.

The Dalles Pool – Light effort and no catch was observed.

John Day Pool – Bank anglers caught some legals.  Slow for legal size fish from the boats.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool – The couple boat anglers sampled didn’t catch any bass.  No effort was observed for walleye.

The Dalles Pool – Both bank and boat anglers are catching walleye.  Boat anglers averaged nearly a fish per rod when including fish released.  The few boat anglers sampled didn’t catch any bass.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged just over 1/3 walleye per rod.  No effort was observed for bass.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size browns.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per pound
Hatchery
Notes

* LACAMAS LK (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LACAMAS%20LK%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Feb 15, 2017
Brown Trout
3,600
2.3
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Smelt

Commercial catches in the mainstem Columbia have increased; however, whether smelt have entered the Cowlitz is uncertain.

Attached is a jpg. file with some of the main fishing areas highlighted in red that will be open this Saturday.

A MAP FORWARDED BY JOE HYMER HIGHLIGHTS THE OPEN AREA DURING SATURDAY’S FIVE-HOUR SMELT DIPPING SEASON. WHETHER THERE ARE SMELT IN THE RIVER IS LESS CLEAR. (WDFW)

State fishery managers approved a limited sport fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River for Saturday, Feb. 25.

Under this year’s rules, a portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for one day only.

The area open to sport dipping stretches from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock.

Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington state.