Category Archives: Headlines

(NMFS)

Sorry, Sammy — Drug Collection Event This Weekend

To help keep salmon clean, per se, dozens of locations around the Northwest will be accepting unused or old pills this Saturday.

April 30 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and comes just weeks after Stephen Colbert’s baked salmon highlighted the dangers of drugs in Puget Sound’s saltwaters.

(NMFS)

(NMFS)

Earlier this year, scientists from NMFS’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington tested wastewater effluent and Chinook and Pacific staghorn sculpins in several bays and found 42 “emerging” compounds in the fishes’ bodies.

Besides antidepressants, Lipitor, Flonase, Paxil and the rest of the medicine cabinet, they found cocaine too, which Colbert and Sammy the Salmon based a hilarious but depressing skit on.

“Salmon need clean water to survive, and these chemicals have harmful effects on behavior, growth, and reproduction,” NMFS said on its Facebook page in announcing the availability of drop-off locations.

To find one near you, plug your location into this Department of Justice search engine.

Those will be accepting old pills from 10 to 2, but if you can’t make it, many police departments take them in during workweek hours  — go here for Washington, here for Oregon, here for Idaho.

EASTERN OREGON MULE DEER. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

Oregon Big Game Herds Wintered OK; Controlled Hunt Deadline Coming Up

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

Fall is months away but it’s time to start thinking about big game hunting. Don’t forget to apply for a controlled hunt or one of Oregon’s new Premium Hunts by May 15, which falls on a Sunday this year.

Apply online, at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses, or by mail/fax order. The cost is $8 per application and hunters need a 2016 annual hunting license to apply.

Last year, more than half of the 407,402 applications were submitted in the last week before the deadline, including nearly 66,000 on deadline day. Many hunters wait till the last minute to apply, which can cause long lines at license sales stores and ODFW offices.

EASTERN OREGON MULE DEER. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

EASTERN OREGON MULE DEER. (NICK MYATT, ODFW)

“The deadline falls on a Sunday this year, which is a good reason to get your application in early,” said Deanna Erickson, ODFW license sales manager. ‘ODFW offices will be closed on May 15 and license sale agents may also be open fewer hours or closed on a Sunday.” Hunters can also apply online until 11:59 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 15.

Erickson also urged hunters to avoid common mistakes on applications. “Double check your hunt number against the 2016 Big Game Regulations, and make sure your party leader number is correct,” she said. “And before you walk out of the store or ODFW office, check your application to be sure it’s correct.”

ODFW limits the number of tags for some hunts (all rifle deer and most rifle elk hunting in eastern Oregon, plus all pronghorn, Rocky Mtn goat and bighorn sheep hunting) to fairly distribute tags and control hunting pressure. Hunters who apply for a controlled deer, elk or pronghorn tag and don’t draw their first choice receive a preference point for that hunt series, which increases their chances the following year.

While the most sought after hunts can take more than 10 years to draw, every hunter has a chance to draw each year. Only 75 percent of tags are awarded based on preference points; the remaining 25 percent are awarded randomly among first choice applicants. Find out more about how the process works on ODFW’s Controlled Hunts page.

Proposed tag numbers will be announced next week and adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at the June 910 meeting in Salem, but expect numbers to be very similar to 2015. Generally, deer and elk populations came out of the 2015-16 winter in good condition, with average over-winter survival for most herds. Oregon’s snow pack is in much better shape this year and the improved water supply for the summer months is good news for habitat and wildlife.

Get more information about the fall season and how big game herds and game birds are doing by attending one of ODFW’s public meetings being held around the state in early May, or join us for a live Twitter chat with @MyODFW on Thursday, May 5 from noon-2 p.m. (use #askODFW hashtag). Local district wildlife biologists will present tag information, wildlife survey results, discuss potential changes to the regulations and answer questions during these meetings and the Twitter chat.

2016 Big Game Public Meeting Schedule
City Date Time Location
Lakeview May 3 6 – 8 pm Eagles Lodge

27 South “E” Street, Lakeview OR

Redmond May 3 6 – 8 pm Redmond High School

Community Room, 675 SW Rimrock, Redmond OR

Ontario May 3 6 pm MDT OSU Extension Office

710 SW 5th Ave, Ontario OR

Burns May 4 7 – 9 pm Harney County Community Center

484 N Broadway, Burns OR

Heppner May 4 6 – 9 pm ODFW Heppner District Office

54173 Highway 74, Heppner OR

Twitter Chat May 5 12 – 2 pm Live Twitter chat with @MyODFW, use #askODFW hashtag
Klamath Falls May 5 7 pm Shasta Grange Hall

5831 Shasta Way, Klamath Falls OR

La Grande May 5 6 pm Cook Memorial Library

2006 4th St, La Grande OR

The Dalles May 5 6 pm The Dalles Screen Shop

3561 Klindt Dr, The Dalles OR

John Day May 10 5:30 – 7 pm John Day District State Forestry Office

415 Patterson Bridge Rd, John Day OR

Roseburg May 10 6 – 7:30 pm ODFW Roseburg District Office

Conference Rm, 4192 N Umpqua Hwy, Roseburg OR

Springfield May 10 6:30 – 8:30 pm Oregon Dept. of Forestry

3150 East Main St, Springfield OR

Seaside May 10 4 – 7 pm Seaside Civic & Convention Center – Seamist Rm

415 First Ave., Seaside OR

Charleston May 10 6:30 – 8:30 pm North Bend Public Library

1800 Sherman Ave, North Bend OR

Clackamas May 11 5:30 – 8 pm ODFW Clackamas District Office Bldg 16

17330 SE Evelyn Street, Clackamas OR

Grants Pass May 11 7 pm Elmers Restaurant

175 NE Agness, Grants Pass OR

Pendleton May 11 4 – 7 pm Pendleton Convention Center

1601 Westgate, Pendleton OR

Newport May 12 6 – 7 pm ODFW Marine Resources Program Office

2040 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport OR

Salem May 12 7 – 9 pm ODFW Headquarters Office

4034 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, Salem OR

Medford May 12 7 pm The Eagles Lodge

2000 Table Rock Rd, Medford OR

TUCKED UNDER THE ELKHORN MOUNTAINS, PHILLIPS RESERVOIR IS ONE OF ODFW’S TROPHY TROUT VENUES FOR 2016. THE LAKE  WILL RECEIVE 2,000 OF THE 1- TO 2-POUND FISH IN MAY, AND ANOTHER BATCH IN JUNE. SOME WILL BE TAGGED WITH TAGS THAT CAN BE REDEEMED FOR $50. (ODFW)

400 $50 Rainbows, 4,000 Trophies Headed For Phillips Res.

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

This spring ODFW will “sweeten the pot” for anglers at Phillips Reservoir by stocking 4,000 trophy-sized rainbow trout, some of which will be marked with tags good for $50.

Phillips Reservoir is one of five locations in Oregon this year receiving trophy trout under a new “Trophy Trout” program, developed as the result of a legislative budget note focused on boosting rural economies.

TUCKED UNDER THE ELKHORN MOUNTAINS, PHILLIPS RESERVOIR IS ONE OF ODFW’S TROPHY TROUT VENUES FOR 2016. THE LAKE WILL RECEIVE 2,000 OF THE 1- TO 2-POUND FISH IN MAY, AND ANOTHER BATCH IN JUNE. SOME WILL BE TAGGED WITH TAGS THAT CAN BE REDEEMED FOR $50. (ODFW)

TUCKED UNDER THE ELKHORN MOUNTAINS, PHILLIPS RESERVOIR IS ONE OF ODFW’S TROPHY TROUT VENUES FOR 2016. THE LAKE WILL RECEIVE 2,000 OF THE 1- TO 2-POUND FISH IN MAY, AND ANOTHER BATCH IN JUNE. SOME WILL BE TAGGED WITH TAGS THAT CAN BE REDEEMED FOR $50. (ODFW)

The first batch of 2,000 extra-large trout will be released at Phillips Reservoir in early May, followed by the release of an additional 2,000 trophies in early June. Of the total, 400 will be tagged with brightly colored spaghetti tags, including 40 that can be redeemed for a $50 VISA gift card.

Tim Bailey, ODFW district fish biologist in La Grande, said the tag program will not only add some excitement about fishing opportunity but will also help biologists estimate catch rates and performance of the fishery.

“The larger the fish are grown in the hatchery, the greater the cost per fish,” said Bailey, adding, “We want to make sure that the majority of the trophy trout that are released into the reservoir actually end up in the creel of our anglers.”

Bailey said 400 of the trophy trout will be tagged so ODFW can estimate the number caught. In order to make the estimate as accurately as possible, ODFW needs anglers to report all tagged trout that are caught.

Bailey noted that the reward tag system has proven to be a cost-effective method for determining the catch rates of specific groups of fish in other areas, and that is why it was selected for trophy trout at Phillips Reservoir.

“Using this method allows us to collect information that just was not possible with more traditional methods due to their expense,” Bailey said.

Anglers who catch a tagged fish have several options for reporting their catch:

  • Tagged fish can be harvested or released and still be eligible for prize money. If the fish is released, cut the tag off at the base rather than try to rip out the tag.
  • Anglers can report non-reward tags in person, by mail, by phone, or on the ODFW website at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2016/04_april/042516.asp.
  • Reward tags must be returned either in person or by mail to ODFW’s East Region Office, located at 107 20th St., La Grande, OR 97850.
  • Look for ODFW “Tag Team” posters at boat ramps or popular fishing locations for further project and contact information.

This evaluation project is funded through a grant from the ODFW Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program.

STARTING MAY 1, OREGON ANGLERS WITH A TWO-ROD ENDORSEMENT CAN FISH TILLAMOOK BAY AND NESTUCCA BAY AND THEIR TRIBS FOR SPRING CHINOOK AND STEELHEAD. MEG BILLINGER CAUGHT THIS ONE ON TILLAMOOK LAST SEASON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

10 Tillamook, Nestucca Springer, Steelhead Fisheries OKed For Two-Rod Fishing

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

On the heels of the two-rod fishing validation being extended on the Willamette River and its tributaries, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will do the same for the Tillamook Bay and the Nestucca River basins.

Effective May 1-July 31, anglers who have a two-rod validation will be able to use two rods while fishing in the following waters when they are open for hatchery spring Chinook and hatchery steelhead: Tillamook Bay, Nestucca Bay, and the Tillamook, Miami, Trask, Wilson, Nestucca, Kilchis, Little Nestucca and Three Rivers.

STARTING MAY 1, OREGON ANGLERS WITH A TWO-ROD ENDORSEMENT CAN FISH TILLAMOOK BAY AND NESTUCCA BAY AND THEIR TRIBS FOR SPRING CHINOOK AND STEELHEAD. MEG BILLINGER CAUGHT THIS ONE ON TILLAMOOK LAST SEASON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

STARTING MAY 1, OREGON ANGLERS WITH A TWO-ROD ENDORSEMENT CAN FISH TILLAMOOK BAY AND NESTUCCA BAY AND THEIR TRIBS FOR SPRING CHINOOK AND STEELHEAD. MEG BILLINGER CAUGHT THIS ONE ON TILLAMOOK LAST SEASON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

“Oregon’s north coast is a great destination for spring Chinook salmon fishing,” said Robert Bradley, district fish biologist for ODFW’s North Coast Watershed.  “We believe that Tillamook Bay and the Nestucca River basins offer great opportunities for anglers who want to use the two-rod validation.”

In addition to salmon, the two-rod validation can be used when fishing for hatchery steelhead. However, when fishing for other game and non-game fish only a single rod may be used. All other regulations remain the same, including the daily bag limit. And anglers must stop fishing once they have reached their daily limit of salmon and/or steelhead.

Two-rod validations have been available to Oregon anglers for several years. For $21.50, licensed anglers can purchase a validation that allows them to use a second rod in certain locations of the state, primarily ponds and lakes. If you have already purchased a two-rod validation in 2016, it is valid for any waters open to the use of two rods, which now includes the Willamette River and its tributaries. Kids under the age of 12 do not need a validation to use a second rod.

For more information, visit the Regulations Update page on the ODFW website.

A SPRING CHINOOK ANGLER WORKS THE KALAMA RIVER LAST WEEKEND. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

SW WA, Columbia, Willamette Fishing Report (4-26-16)

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

LOWER WILLAMETTE SPRING CHINOOK SPORT FISHERY UPDATE

April 25th Willamette Falls-Temperature<http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/fish_counts/willamette/2016/2016_Monthly_sheet.pdf>: 59, Visibility: 5.8

Total Chinook kept April 18-24: 662, with the best catch still happening in the lower section of Multnomah Channel.

April 18-24 Total Legal Sturgeon released: 534
April 18-24 Total Oversize Sturgeon released: 194

Washington lower Columbia mainstem and its tributaries sport sampling summaries – April 18-24

 Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Spring Chinook now make up half the catch with the majority of the fish sampled between the hatcheries.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 610 winter run steelhead, one summer-run steelhead, 1,291 spring Chinook adults and 58 spring Chinook jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 23 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 475 spring Chinook, 30 spring Chinook jacks and three winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, 378 spring Chinook adults, 12 jacks and 39 winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and 236 spring Chinook adults and 14 jacks at Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood.

Tacoma Power also released 4,000 rainbow trout into Swofford Pond near Mossyrock.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,250 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 25. Visibility is eight feet.
Anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing from May 1through June 15 per permanent regulations.

Lewis River – Light effort for steelhead around the hatchery.

North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) upstream to Merwin Dam – During the month of May, closed to all fishing.

Except for the Lewis, hatchery adult spring Chinook returns to Washington lower river tributaries are higher than the same time last year.  Both the Cowlitz and Kalama are tracking ahead of what would be expected at this time based on the preseason forecasts.

River                     2016                       2015

Cowlitz                 4,294                     2,655
Kalama                 17                           3                              Kalama stock
Lewis                    31                           48

Kalama River – 8 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook, 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  25 bank anglers kept 5 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead.

A SPRING CHINOOK ANGLER WORKS THE KALAMA RIVER LAST WEEKEND. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

A SPRING CHINOOK ANGLER WORKS THE KALAMA RIVER LAST WEEKEND. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Wind River and Drano Lake – Catch rates are nearly identical at both locations with a Chinook kept per about every 6 rods.  At the same time last year it was a fish per every 2 to 3 rods.

Wind River – Beginning May 1, anti-snagging rule will be in effect from the Hwy. 14 Bridge upstream. When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to boundary markers approximately 800 yards downstream from Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the Coffer Dam) -From May 1 through June 30, the salmon and steelhead daily limit will be a total of 2 chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Unmarked chinook may be retained in this section of the Wind. Night closure and anti-snagging rule will be in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Wind River (mouth to Hwy. 14 Bridge) and Drano Lake – Effective May 1 through June 30, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Klickitat River – Light effort though the river was beginning to clear around the middle of last week.

Wind River in-season update: 31 four year-old and 1 five year-old Carson National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) PIT tagged adults have been detected at Bonneville Dam as of April 25.  Applying the respective juvenile tag rates (2.66% for four year-olds and 2.55% for five year-olds) produces an estimate of 1,165 four year-olds and 39 five year-olds (1,204 total adults) over Bonneville. For PIT tag detections at Bonneville Dam, seehttp://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/query/pitadult_obsyr_detail.

39 adult spring Chinook reported in the Shipherd Falls trap yesterday.

Drano Lake in-season update: 13 four year-old and 1 five year-old Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery (LWS) PIT tagged adults have been detected at Bonneville Dam as of April 25.  Applying the respective juvenile tag rates (1.35% for four year-olds and 1.43% for five year-olds) produces an estimate of 963 four year-olds and 70 five year-olds (1,033 total adults) over Bonneville.

There have been 1 four year-old and 3 five year-old Willard National Fish Hatchery PIT tagged adults detected at Bonneville Dam as of April 25. Applying the respective juvenile tag rates (2.38% for four year-olds and 1.00% for five year-olds) produces an estimate of 42 four year-olds and 300 five year-olds (342 total adults) over Bonneville.

Grand total: Little White Salmon + Willard hatcheries = 1,375 adults.

Klickitat River in-season update: 2 four year-old and 1 five year-old Klickitat Fish Hatchery PIT tagged adults have been detected at Bonneville Dam as of April 25.  Applying the respective juvenile tag rates (3.50% for four year-olds and 3.01% for five year-olds) produces an estimate of 57 four year-olds and 33 five year-olds (90 total adults) over Bonneville.

Through April 8, one adipose clipped adult has been counted at the Lyle Falls trap. The Lyle Falls trap counts can be found at http://www.ykfp.org/klickitat/Data_lyleadulttrap.htm

Bonneville Pool – Bank anglers at the mouth of Drano Lake are catching some spring Chinook.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some spring Chinook but still pretty slow overall.

John Day Pool – Both bank and boat anglers are catching a few spring Chinook.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery. All fishing for sturgeon will be closed from May 1 through Aug. 31 in the sturgeon sanctuary from Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia River from navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point.

Bonneville Pool – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery. Angling for sturgeon will be prohibited from May 1 through July 31 between The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus OregonMay 1 through July 31.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals. Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge May 1 through July 31.

Walleye and Bass

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged nearly 4 walleye and 19 bass kept/released per rod.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged over 3 walleye and nearly 8 bass per rod.  Bank anglers are also catching some walleye.

Trout

Battleground Lake and Klineline Pond were planted with triploids (250 ea.) and cutthroat (2,000 ea.) yesterday.  Goose Lake is expected to be planted by the end of May or whenever we can get in there.

 

ROGER GOODMAN AND OTHER OREGON COAST ANGLERS ARE HOPING MORE BIG KINGS LIKE HIS JULY 2015 FISH SHOW UP THIS SEASON. THE UNION, ORE., RESIDENT WAS USING HERRING OUT OF NEWPORT. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW Commission OKs 2016 Halibut, Salmon Seasons, But Cautions On Coho

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

The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted bird hunting and fishing regulations today at its meeting in Bandon, Ore.

Ocean salmon seasons: The Commission set ocean salmon fishing seasons in state waters based on what was decided by the PFMC on April 14. Fishery managers are taking a cautious approach for 2016 coho seasons due to an overforecast in 2015 and poor ocean conditions that could impact this year’s return.

Chinook – Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mt. open March 15-Oct. 31. Humbug Mt. to Oregon/California border, open May 28 – Aug. 7 and Sept. 3-5.

ROGER GOODMAN AND OTHER OREGON COAST ANGLERS ARE HOPING MORE BIG KINGS LIKE HIS JULY 2015 FISH SHOW UP THIS SEASON. THE UNION, ORE., RESIDENT WAS USING HERRING OUT OF NEWPORT. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

ROGER GOODMAN AND OTHER OREGON COAST ANGLERS ARE HOPING MORE BIG KINGS LIKE HIS JULY 2015 FISH SHOW UP THIS SEASON. THE UNION, ORE., RESIDENT WAS USING HERRING OUT OF NEWPORT. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Coho seasons – A mark-selective coho season from June 25 through the earlier of Aug. 7 or a 26,000 fish quota, and a non-mark-selective coho season from Sept. 3 through the earlier of Sept. 30 or a 7,500 fish quota. Unlike prior years, there will be no rollover of unused impacts from the summer season to the September fishery. State managers will monitor the fisheries and may recommend further reduction or closure of the September coho season if performance of the earlier summer fishery indicates low abundance.

Opportunities for harvest of wild coho in coastal rivers will be very limited in 2016. ODFW may also propose very conservative fisheries in the Umpqua, Coos, and Coquille rivers as well as traditional coastal lake fisheries. These decisions will be made in June. Due to recent poor returns in mid-Coast and North Coast areas, ODFW does not intend to propose wild harvest fisheries in areas north of the Umpqua River.

The Commission also adopted late fall terminal ocean fisheries for Chinook in the Elk River and Chetco River areas. Season regulations can be found at www.odfw.com

Pacific Halibut Regulations: The Commission also set Pacific Halibut regulations which are posted on the ODFW Website. The total 2016 catch limit will be 1,140,000 pounds, 17 percent more than in 2015. Changes to the sport fisheries:

  • The opening date of the Central Coast subarea nearshore fishery will move up one month (to June 1, 2016 from July 1 last year) to provide additional halibut fishing opportunity early in the season.
  • In Southern Oregon Coast subarea, retention of other flatfish will be allowed while halibut are on board, at all depths.

Game bird season regulations for 2016-17. Commission adopted bird hunting regulations with the following changes from the 2015-16 season. Printed regulations will be available in early August.

  • Allow youth hunters 17 or younger to participate during the September youth waterfowl hunting weekend. Prior federal regulations restricted this hunt to youths 15 or younger but were recently changed to allow 17 or younger.
  • Combine three controlled fall turkey hunts (Baker, Grande Ronde, Wallowa) into one general season “Northeast Fall Turkey Hunt” with 450 tags available over-the-counter on a first-come first service basis starting July 1. Blue Mountain controlled fall turkey hunt will also become a general season hunt with 500 tags available starting July 1. The popular White River fall hunt will remain controlled due to the high number of applicants (approx. 3 per available tag).
  • Changes to Klamath Wildlife Area hunting regulations will allow game bird hunting on Monday, Wednesdays and Saturdays from October-November (except both Saturday and Sunday would be open on opening weekend of duck and pheasant season) and every day in January. This will reduce confusion from current regulations which allow hunting every other day.
  • Daily upland game bird hunting hours at Klamath WA will change to 10 a.m. throughout the waterfowl season to better distribute hunting pressure (currently begins 8 a.m. which conflicts with early morning waterfowl hunters).
  • Closed most of Klamath WA (except birding trail, parking areas, public roads, dog training area) to access from Feb. 1-April 30 and prohibit the running or training of dogs at Klamath WA through Aug. 31 (currently July 31) to protect birds. This is not expected to make a huge impact on visitors as most visitors use the sections that will remain open.
  • Formally require completion and return of daily wildlife area hunting permits at wildlife areas where they are used (permits indicate hunter effort and harvest).
  • Remove the requirement for upland game bird (pheasants, grouse, partridges, and quail) and crow hunters to obtain HIP validations to hunt for these species. Migratory game bird hunters (mourning doves, band-tailed pigeons, snipe, ducks, geese, and coots) will still need to obtain a migratory game bird HIP validation prior to hunting.

Other topics considered at the meeting today:

Ceremonial tribal fishery at Willamette Falls: Approved the annual ceremonial harvest of up to 15 hatchery salmon and steelhead fish at Willamette Falls by the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Community of Oregon. “The rule and fishing at Willamette Falls will have a profound impact on the Grande Ronde people,” said Reyn Leno, tribal chairman, whose grandfather managed Willamette Falls.

Cougar Management Plan: Heard from ODFW staff and invited panelists from a variety of organizations representing hunters, farmers and environmental groups regarding cougars and the state’s current Cougar Management Plan. The Plan was last revised in 2006 and is due for an update this year. The Commission asked that ODFW staff provide a review of scientific literature that occurred in past 10 years and incorporate that into the Plan. A draft revised Plan should be available for review by the public this fall.

Coquille Valley Wildlife Area Plan: The Commission adopted a management plan for this new wildlife area, paving the way for habitat restoration, access development, and recreational and educational opportunities. Established in 2013, the 580-acre CVWA will be actively managed to protect and enhance native fish and wildlife and their habitats in ways that are compatible with neighboring agricultural lands. The local economy will profit from public access to high quality waterfowl habitat for hunting and wildlife viewing and habitat improvements that will boost fisheries. Wetland restoration will help overwintering migratory birds and Oregon Conservation Strategy Species such as coho salmon, Aleutian Canada goose, Western pond turtles, bats and songbirds. Creating channels and planting vegetation will restore a functioning freshwater tidal wetland in the Winter Lake Tract of the CVWA. The Plan was a collaborative effort and includes input from partners like The Nature Conservancy and stakeholders including adjacent landowners, hunters, other natural resource agencies and managers of the Beaver Slough Drainage District.

Wildlife Violator Compact – In effect since 1991, this agreement allows ODFW to suspend the Oregon fishing, hunting and trapping privileges of people who violate wildlife laws in another state participating in the Compact. The Commission changed some rule language to allow for suspensions from other state cases where charges may not necessarily result in suspension in Oregon, such as some violations of federal laws. The change is in line with the original intent of the Compact.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon and usually meets monthly. Its next meeting is June 9-10 in Salem.

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

PSA Celebrates Steelhead Smolt Release, Vows To Support WDFW

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM PUGET SOUND ANGLERS PRESIDENT RON GARNER

Puget Sound Anglers – comprised of several thousand members with 16 chapters throughout the State of Washington — is celebrating the release of juvenile Puget Sound hatchery steelhead from five Puget Sound hatchery facilities.

These include the Dungeness, Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Skykomish and Snoqualmie river systems. Volitional releases of some 500,000 smolts began on Monday, April 18. Those surviving to return as adults in two or three years will provide special recreational fishing opportunities in each of the five river systems.

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

Our sport fishing/conservation organization will be supporting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as they carry out more rigorous hatchery programs mandated by the terms of the federal permit issued on April 15 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries. More extensive monitoring of returning adult steelhead to assess possible genetic interaction with wild steelhead may require volunteer supplementation of department staff.

This past week’s return to a viable hatchery steelhead program will benefit sport and tribal fisheries. During the past two years, as a result of a lawsuit by the Wild Fish Conservancy – the organization that is pursuing litigation on a number of issues including the Columbia River Mitchell Act hatcheries — the majority of hatchery steelhead raised in these hatcheries were dumped into local lakes without outlet streams connected to Puget Sound. While the hatchery smolts may have supplemented trout fisheries, this was not the intended or best use of this resource.

PSA was very pleased to coordinate our efforts to secure federal approval of the early winter hatchery programs with northern Puget Sound tribes, the Steelhead Trout Club, the Coastal Conservation Association and many other groups concerned about retaining harvest fisheries in the Puget Sound region.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, under the leadership of Jim Scott, special assistant to Director Jim Unsworth worked well with all interested parties to satisfy the federal requirements for continuing these hatchery programs.

Recognition must also be given to Senator Kirk Pearson for securing a letter of support from the Washington Senate that was instrumental in the process. A special thanks to Frank Urabeck who is a member of PSA, STC and CCA, Frank volunteered to lead the coordinated efforts of the three organizations in our working with DFW, the tribes and others.

As PSA state board president, I was very proud to have been a part of this cooperative process on the behalf of our membership.

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

With Record King Catch Expected, Buoy 10 Managers Add Twist To Bag Limit

Rather than clamp down on the fishing at Buoy 10 just as it starts to get hot this August and September, this year Columbia salmon managers are going to try the opposite approach: liberalize it through the season.

The fishery where a record Chinook catch is expected will see one wild or hatchery king available for retention Tuesdays through Saturdays, and one hatchery king on Sundays and Mondays.

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW’s Columbia River policy coordinator Ron Roler hopes that that should help keep the season open through Labor Day, Sept., 5, unlike last year when it shut down for kings after Aug. 28.

He says that going marked selective two days a week “spreads the pain out” for everyone and will benefit those with plans to hit “the beast underneath the bridge” later in the season.

Noted Northwest salmon angler Buzz Ramsey agrees.

“As you know, sport catch rates on kings last year were so good the Chinook fishery shut down early, which was really unfair for those that had made plans to fish later in the month,” Ramsey said. “This new rule is designed to get us through Labor Day and I’m all for it.”

It is also key to limiting impacts on weaker ESA-listed Chinook stocks that constrain the fishery.

The limit will be two salmon a day, only one of which can be a Chinook or two hatchery coho.

Roler expects nothing less than a great haul for sports anglers. With another very large run of fall kings expected, he’s modeled 48,500 Chinook kept plus release mortalities.

By comparison, the entire 2007 season saw just 3,370 kept plus release mortalities, he says.

“In 2015, we saw two days with over 4,000 handled,” Roler says.

That helped lead to an overall impact of 39,000 last August, he reports.

THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE ARCS OVER THE WEST MOORING BASIN IN ASTORIA DURING 2014'S BUOY 10 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE ARCS OVER THE WEST MOORING BASIN IN ASTORIA DURING 2014’S BUOY 10 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Roler attributes rising catches at Buoy 10 to big returns the past few years and the changing nature of the fishery. Anglers have figured out that there’s more to it than sitting at the famed red buoy marking the mouth of the Columbia and waiting for the fish to come by.

“It used to be everybody fished at Buoy 10. Now, they’re spread out and there are lots and lots of boats,” he notes.

The fishery extends from the buoy upstream past Ilwaco, Hammond, Warrenton, Chinook, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria all the way to the Tongue Point-Rocky Point line.

“It’s going to be a good one. I look forward to seeing you down there,” Roler says.

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Trout Season, Statewide Derby Begin Saturday In Washington

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE WITH A BUNCH OF MY PICS

Trout fishing in Washington reaches full speed April 23, when several hundred lowland lakes – stocked with millions of fish – open for a six-month season.

RAINBOW TROUT BEING STOCKED AT STEEL LAKE NEAR FEDERAL WAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RAINBOW TROUT BEING STOCKED AT STEEL LAKE NEAR FEDERAL WAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

That date also marks the start of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) first lowland lake fishing derby, which runs through Sept. 6.

 

To participate on opening weekend, Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license valid through March 31, 2017. Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.

Anglers who catch one of more than 700 tagged fish can also claim prizes provided by license dealers located across the state.

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For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby.

“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, and hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out for the big day,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW inland fish program manager.

OPENING DAY AT A WHATCOM COUNTY LAKE. (AARON HOSTETLER/WHATCOM COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION)

OPENING DAY AT A WHATCOM COUNTY LAKE. (AARON HOSTETLER/WHATCOM COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION)

WDFW fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 15 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide. Those fish include 3.8 million catchable trout, nearly 370,000 larger trout averaging about one pound apiece, and millions of smaller trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size.

RIGGED UP AND READY TO GO! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RIGGED UP AND READY TO GO! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.

“Opening weekend is an excellent time to get out there and enjoy Washington’s lakes,” said Phillips.  “Once again we planted some larger fish this year, and now and again, lucky lowland lake anglers will hook into a prize fish.”

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Phillips encourages anglers to check the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington) for details on lake fishing opportunities. The map-based webpage includes fishing information by county, lake and fish species throughout the state.

For those who want more fishing advice, Phillips recommends “how to” fishing videos available at the department’s webpage (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/videos).

ALL EYES ARE ON THE FISH -- AND THEN SOME! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

ALL EYES ARE ON THE FISH — AND THEN SOME! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

For those planning fishing vacations this spring or summer, Phillips recommends Great Washington Getaways (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/vacation), another WDFW homepage feature that showcases some of the state’s best family travel and fishing opportunities.

Of more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington, nearly 700 have WDFW-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more.

Details on water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/.

AN ANGLER WAITS FOR A BITE AT GREEN LAKE LAST FALL. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

AN ANGLER WAITS FOR A BITE AT GREEN LAKE LAST FALL. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Anglers parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to display on their vehicle the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass that is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased. The passes are transferable between two vehicles.

RIVER AND KIRAN WALGAMOTT ADMIRE A NICE RAINBOW KIRAN CAUGHT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RIVER AND KIRAN WALGAMOTT ADMIRE A NICE RAINBOW KIRAN CAUGHT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at http://discoverpass.wa.gov/.

DINNER IS SERVED! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

DINNER IS SERVED! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH BASALT CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. (BLM)

NSIA Applauds Oregon Wildlands Act Hearing In US Senate

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Today, the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association was pleased to see a hearing on the Oregon Wildlands Act (S. 1699) in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee.

The legislation, sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, would designate 107,800 acres of wilderness in the Wild Rogue and Devil’s Staircase areas, safeguard 252 miles as Wild and Scenic Rivers, and protect 119,120 acres of the Rogue Canyon and Molalla rivers as national recreation areas. Currently, just 2 percent of Oregon is protected as wilderness. A growing coalition has been working to safeguard the areas in the legislation for decades.

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH BASALT CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. (BLM)

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH A CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. SURROUNDING LANDS WOULD BE DESIGNATED A NATIONAL RECREATION AREA UNDER THE OREGON WILDLANDS ACT. (BLM)

The areas within the proposal are treasured by Oregonians for their clean drinking water sources and for their recreational opportunities that include some of Southwestern Oregon’s best fishing. By protecting river sections and large areas of wilderness we can enhance angler access to these rivers and we can ensure the necessary water quality to sustain healthy populations of salmon and steelhead.

Passing the Oregon Wildlands Act would boost the local economy.  Visitors from across the country and around the globe come to explore and enjoy the area’s outstanding fishing and paddling opportunities.  The Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation in Oregon generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending, 141,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and salaries and $955 million in state and local tax revenue.  River-based recreation on the Rogue River alone accounts for $30 million in total economic output.  A 2012 study by Southwick and Associates found that fishing on public lands in Oregon accounts for more than 11,000 jobs and accounts for more than $3.8 million is local wages.

The Elk, Rogue, Molalla, and Chetco Rivers are some of Oregon’s most prized and productive salmon and steelhead rivers, and by protecting them we would ensure access for anglers from here at home and around the world.

The Oregon Wildlands Act now awaits a mark-up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. NSIA encourages Congress to pass this important measure before the end of 2016.