Category Archives: Headlines

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Springers Opening On Lower Columbia, Lookingglass, Closing On Snake, Lower Clearwater, North Fork

THE FOLLOWING ARE WDFW, ODFW AND IDFG PRESS RELEASES

Spring chinook fishing extension split between May, June on lower Columbia

OLYMPIA – Anglers fishing the lower Columbia River can catch and keep spring chinook salmon for four more days in May – including Memorial Day weekend – and up to 13 days in June under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

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Under that agreement, the fishery below Bonneville Dam will reopen May 27-30, close for three days, then reopen June 3-15, or until the annual harvest guideline is met.

Ron Roler, Columbia River policy advisor for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the final days of this year’s spring chinook season were designed to stretch the fishery until mid-June, when the summer salmon season gets under way.

“A lot of anglers have asked that we structure the spring chinook season so that it dovetails with the summer fishing season, beginning June 16,” Roler said. “The fishing schedule approved today offers a good chance of reaching that goal.”

This year’s fishing season is based on a projected return of 180,000 upriver adult spring chinook and an annual catch guideline of 10,370 fish below Bonneville Dam.

As before, the fishery will be open from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat anglers, with bank fishing allowed up to the deadline below the dam.

Anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two adult fish. Fishing for hatchery steelhead will also be open concurrent with the salmon fishery.

Any chinook or steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed. All sockeye salmon incepted before June 16 must also be released.

Under existing rules, anglers may retain hatchery steelhead and hatchery chinook jacks May 31 through June 2 when the mainstem Columbia from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge is closed for adult chinook retention. Shad fishing is open above and below Bonneville Dam.

Fishery managers now anticipate a return of 180,000 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River this year, down from 188,800 projected prior to the season.

Salmon and steelhead fishing remains closed above Bonneville Dam but reopens for the summer chinook season June 16 in waters above and below the dam under rules outlined in the Washington Sport Fishing rules pamphlet.

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Four-day Chinook season opens Saturday on Lookingglass Creek

LA GRANDE, Ore. – Lookingglass Creek, a tributary of the Grande Ronde River at Palmer Junction, will open to fishing for hatchery spring Chinook salmon Saturday, May 28 through Tuesday May 31. The open area is from the Moses Creek Lane Bridge (County Road 42) upstream to the confluence of Jarboe Creek.

“A relatively small run is predicted for Lookingglass Creek in comparison to recent years,” said Tim Bailey, ODFW district fish biologist in La Grande. “This year’s run is expected to be around 500 adult Chinook, the majority being hatchery fish. Even though the season is short, we want to provide an opportunity to fish for the prized spring Chinook whenever we can.”

Anglers may retain two adipose fin-clipped Chinook adults and five adipose fin-clipped jacks per day, with two daily limits in possession. Jack salmon are less than 24 inches in length. Anglers do not need to record jack catch on their combined angling tags but it is illegal to continue fishing for jack chinook once the adult bag limit is met. Unmarked (wild) fish must be released carefully and unharmed.

As with the trout fishery that opens on Lookingglass Creek on May 22, anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures while fishing for salmon – no bait.

“There are bull trout in Lookingglass Creek, and bait fishing could pose a threat to them,” Bailey explained, which is why all angling in the creek is restricted to artificial flies and lures.

Private timberlands owned by Hancock Forest and open to public access border the area open to sport fishing. Anglers are reminded to respect private property by picking up trash when leaving.

A Columbia Basin Endorsement is required for anglers who want to participate in this fishery.

For more information, contact the ODFW Northeast Region Office in La Grande at (541) 963-2138 or visit ODFW on-line at www.odfw.com.

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Snake River spring chinook fisheries to close

Action: Spring chinook fishing on the Snake River to close.

Species affected: Spring Chinook

Locations

A)  Below Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River from the southbound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam;

B)  Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstreamfrom the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (including the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility);

C) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Dates:

Areas A (Below Ice Harbor Dam) and C (Clarkston) will close immediately.Area B (Below Little Goose Dam) will close one hour after official sunset on Monday May 30, 2016.

Reason for action: Based on the current harvest estimates and anticipated harvest at Little Goose through Monday next week, state fishery managers anticipate that 1,300-1,350 adult hatchery chinook to have been harvested. This will be very close to the current Snake River allotment amount of 1,354 adults based on the current run size prediction.

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Chinook salmon seasons to end in lower Clearwater and North Fork Clearwater rivers

The lower Clearwater River from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon at the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, May 27.  In addition, the North Fork Clearwater River will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon effective the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Monday, May 30, 2016. Due to this year’s low jack return, a “Jack Only” harvest season will not be provided.

These closures are being implemented because the harvest quota for adult Chinook salmon are anticipated to be met in these river sections by those dates. Harvest quotas in different reaches within the Clearwater drainage were developed using input from the public to help ensure all communities in the watershed have opportunities to harvest salmon.

Chinook salmon seasons will continue on the Clearwater River upstream of the Orofino Bridge, South Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, Little Salmon, Lochsa, and Snake rivers. The upper Salmon River and the South Fork Salmon River open June 18th.

Anglers are reminded that changes to seasons or limits may be implemented on short notice.  For more on salmon fishing in Idaho, visit Fish and Game’s website athttp://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=140, or call the Salmon Hotline at (855) 287-2702 for updates.

Netpen Holding Chinook Smolts At Mayfield Lake Vandalized

A vandal or vandals illicitly released 100,000 young fall Chinook from a netpen at Mayfield Dam this past Saturday night, but fortunately tens of thousands of the hatchery smolts have already made their way to a fish collector for passage down the Cowlitz River.

Many of the rest are expected to show up there in the coming days, according to a state hatchery staffer, so losses should only be minimal.

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Meanwhile, WDFW and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident that occurred sometime Saturday evening or night.

According to WDFW’s Sam Gibbons, someone pulled and cut straps off one pen’s netting, allowing the salmon to swim freely into Mayfield Lake.

Only a few fish were still in the pen when a hatchery worker arrived on Sunday to feed them, he says.

According to Tacoma Power, which operates Mayfield Dam, around 30,000 have gone through its fish-collection facility so far.

The Chinook had otherwise been just about ready to be trucked down past the dam and released into the river.

Gibbons said no other damage occurred to the netpens and in recent years there haven’t been any similar activities, so it’s a puzzler why it happened.

The 20 pens at the lake rear 2 million fall Chinook annually. With a special appropriation from the state legislature in 2013, they became operational in 2014.

According to local radio, anyone with information on the case is being asked to call Crimestoppers at (800) 748-9286.

STEVEN CHARLES ORR AND HIS NEW WASHINGTON STATE RECORD BLACK ROCKFISH. (WDFW)

Rochester Angler Lands New Wash. State-record Black Rockfish

One of Washington older state fish records has been broken with last week’s catch of a 10.72-pound black rockfish out of Ilwaco.

The catch by Steven Charles Orr of Rochester on May 15 tops the former record, caught over three and a half decades ago, by about half a pound.

STEVEN CHARLES ORR AND HIS NEW WASHINGTON STATE RECORD BLACK ROCKFISH. (WDFW)

STEVEN CHARLES ORR AND HIS NEW WASHINGTON STATE RECORD BLACK ROCKFISH. (WDFW)

WDFW reports that Orr caught the black rock while fishing with herring, and he initially thought it was another species — or two!

“I thought I had a lingcod,” Orr said in a press release. “It was like fighting a big king salmon, and when I got it up to the boat, it absolutely dwarfed a 6- to 7-pound sea bass we had onboard. It was definitely a fighter.”

Orr’s fish was 26.15 inches long.

The old record was caught in 1980 by Joseph Eberling in the Tacoma Narrows. It weighed 10.25 pounds. Rockfish aren’t allowed to be kept in Puget Sound any more, but black rockfish provide the meat of the coastal fishery out of Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.

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Registration For 4th Annual Puget Sound Speed-crabbing Derby Opens

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM SAMUELSON COMMUNICATIONS

Calling all crabbers! Registration is now open for the 4th annual Puget Sound Speed-Crabbing Derby, the world’s first and only speed-crabbing event. This unique derby, which benefits Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), takes place on Saturday, July 9 at the Port of Everett. Teams of two, three or four crabbers race against the clock to harvest and submit the 10 heaviest legal Dungeness crab they can catch in the shortest amount of time. Last year team Carpe Cancer claimed the title of Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers. Twenty-seven teams weighed in with more than 450 pounds of Dungeness crabs. Event organizers hope to double those numbers this year.

SPEED-CRABBING DERBY COFOUNDERS ADAM SINNETT AND EDDIE ADAMS. (COURTESY IMAGE)

SPEED-CRABBING DERBY COFOUNDERS ADAM SINNETT AND EDDIE ADAMS. (COURTESY IMAGE)

The derby is free for all crustacean chasers. In addition to fun and friendly competition and all-important bragging rights, there are some seriously sweet prizes up for grabs in the prize pool including a Brutus plus 40 Electric Pot Puller (value $600), two nights stay at the Inn at Port Gardner (value $300) and a Deadliest Crab Pot with Neptune Triggers (value $200). Even more importantly, the event allows passionate crabbers to strike a blow for cancer simply by indulging in their favorite pastime, pulling pots and spending a day having fun on the water.

Speed Crabbing 101

Teams are individually timed from the start signal until they finish the race by crossing the finish line. Teams that come in early receive a weight bonus; teams that finish late receive a weight penalty or worse, are disqualified. The team with the highest overall score wins the derby and is named Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers. There’s even a special Lunker Award given to the individual who hauls in the single largest crab of the derby.

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Speed crabbing is a game of chance and skill and almost anything goes in the quest to win, but scuba diving, free diving, fishing poles and collusion between teams are strictly verboten. Bait and lubricating beverages are left up to the teams to decide, but Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations must be followed.

To be Puget Sound’s Greatest Recreational Crabbers teams must demonstrate great teamwork, speed, and expertise in crabbing technique. Derby co-founders Eddie Adams and Adam Sinnett have some tips for success: “Start with short soaks and set your pots from deeper to shallow while you target the crab. Think about 30 minutes to start, if the crab are there, you’ll know it. If not, move on. Once you’ve found a good spot concentrate your efforts on that area and increase your soaking time to about an hour. Getting a good weight bonus is key to winning the derby; it’s most often the deciding factor.”

Speed Crabbing for a Cure

Crabs and cancer, get the connection? The word cancer is Latin for crab and the Puget Sound region is home to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, one of the world’s foremost cancer research facilities. SCCA brings together the leading research teams and cancer specialists from Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine – one extraordinary group whose sole purpose is the pursuit of better, longer, richer lives of our patients.

Thanks to the generosity of the derby’s sponsors, participants are automatically helping fight cancer. Every pound of crab weighed in the competition is multiplied by the sum of the sponsor pledges and donated to SCCA. For those teams who want to do more, there’s also an optional team-powered giving competition with a separate set of prizes awarded to the most charitable teams.

Why Speed Crabbing?

The idea of speed crabbing was first conceived by a small group of friends obsessed with crabbing who realized the world was devoid of an objective way to measure their expert crabbing skills and who wanted to share their love of recreational crabbing with the world. Thus was born the Puget Sound Speed-Crabbing Derby and Really Angry Crabs LLC. Really Angry Crabs’ mission is to make the world a happier place, one recreational crabber at a time. But its founders will really only be angry if you don’t come out for this amazing event.

What:                   4th Annual Puget Sound Speed-Crabbing Derby
When:                  Saturday, July 9.
Check-in begins:  7:30 a.m.
Derby starts at:    9:00 a.m.
Where:                 Port of Everett, 10th St. boat ramp and Dock 6.
Launch your boat and proceed through the finger docks into the channel. Turn left toward open water. In 100 yards look you will see a derby official in an orange hat on the left. Proceed to park at Dock 6 (Formerly called J-Dock) as directed. Then get checked-in.
Social: www.facebook.com/SpeedCrabbing
www.twitter.com/SpeedCrabbing
To watch speed crabbing videos, download the official rules or register, visit www.SpeedCrabbing.com

The Speed-Crabbing Derby is made possible by the generous support of the Seattle Boat Show, Everett Bayside Marine and Scuttlebutt Brewing Co., along with many in-kind sponsors.

A SCREENSHOT SHOWS WEYERHAUESER'S LANDS THAT ARE PART OF THE TIMBER GIANT'S FEE-ACCESS PROGRAM THIS YEAR.

Weyco Access Permits Going On Sale; Some Now Double Original Fee

The price for drive-in hunting access to two popular Southwest Washington tree farms this fall has now doubled since a timber giant began its fee program in them.

The 800 motorized permits available starting next week for Weyerhaeuser’s Vail Tree Farm are $300 this year, as are the 3,000 for the Longview-St. Helens Tree Farm and set to go on sale in early June.

Those were originally offered at $150 when the fee program began just a few years ago.

A SCREENSHOT SHOWS WEYERHAUESER'S LANDS THAT ARE PART OF THE TIMBER GIANT'S FEE-ACCESS PROGRAM THIS YEAR.

A SCREENSHOT SHOWS WEYERHAUESER’S LANDS THAT ARE PART OF THE TIMBER GIANT’S FEE-ACCESS PROGRAM THIS YEAR.

To the disappointment of Evergreen State wildlife managers, many hunters and later even some brave politicians, in 2013 the company began requiring hunters and others to buy permits to Vail and another nearby tree farm, then expanded the program to other Washington and Oregon properties in 2014, and last year folded the former Longview Timberlands it bought along the Lower Columbia, in Northwest Oregon, along Highway 2 and in the North Sound.

This year’s most expensive permit is the Coos Bay-Millicoma Tree Farm, set at $350 for motorized access to over 173,000 acres.

In general, permits are good for a year and many include camping and allow some gathering of firewood.

Generally, walk-in permits are $50, except those in Northwest Oregon, which run $75.

Permit sales for some of Weyerhauser lands in Oregon began yesterday, with passes to ground elsewhere available in the coming days and weeks. For more, see the company’s recreation website.

Other timber companies also sell access permits, including Rayonier and Hancock, among others.

REDSIDE RAINBOWS ARE A FAVORITE QUARRY OF OREGON'S RIVER FISHERS. (ODFW)

Many Oregon Trout Streams Open For Fishing This Saturday

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

Trout fishing enthusiasts can turn their attention to Oregon’s rivers and streams on Sunday when many of the state’s moving waters open for retention of trout.

Dozens of rivers and streams, including some of the state’s lesser known and explored tributaries, will open for trout fishing on Sunday, May 22.

REDSIDE RAINBOWS ARE A FAVORITE QUARRY OF OREGON'S RIVER FISHERS. (ODFW)

REDSIDE RAINBOWS ARE A FAVORITE QUARRY OF OREGON’S RIVER FISHERS. (ODFW)

While many lakes and some rivers are open year around, or opened earlier this spring, additional waters will now be available for trout anglers to explore.

Some popular fisheries opening this Sunday include:

  • The Kilchis, Nestucca, Three Rivers, Salmon, Siletz, Siuslaw, Trask, and Wilson rivers in the Northwest Zone.
  • Estacada Lake, Faraday Lake, North Fork Reservoir, North and South Santiam, Small Fry Lake, Tualatin River and tributaries, and Yamhill River and tributaries in the Willamette Zone.
  • The Applegate, Chetco, Coos, Illinois, Rogue, and Umpqua rivers in the Southwest Zone.
  • Popular stretches of the Deschutes and Metolius rivers in the Central Zone.
  • The lower Williamson, Spring Creek, and Clear Creek in the Southeast Zone.

“Already there’s been some great fishing happening in many of the waters that opened in April,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW Recreational Fisheries Program Manager for Inland Fisheries. “Now there are additional opportunities for beginning and experienced anglers to pursue.”

There are also places where you can get out and catch some impressive trout, including cutthroat, redsides, rainbows and browns. And don’t forget about bass, which are also now available in many of the streams that will open May 22.

The late spring trout opener is an important piece ODFW’s “Trout 365” strategy, which aims to recruit and retain anglers by focusing public attention on year-around trout fishing opportunities across Oregon. Those opportunities include more than 350 stocked ponds, high lakes trout fisheries, a new trophy trout program at five venues around the state, trout fishing “how to” videos, and family fishing events.

For a comprehensive listing, including open areas, bag limits, and gear/bait restrictions, please refer to the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, which are available free in print form at ODFW license agents, or on-line.

For more information about trout fishing or fishing in general, please visit the ODFW website and click on the “Fishing” tab.

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Columbia Springers, Wash. North Coast Halibut To Reopen

Columbia salmon managers today decided to reopen the river below Bonneville for spring Chinook for three more days starting May 20, while Washington North Coast halibut anglers get one more day.

Here is more on both from a WDFW press release and an ereg:

WDFW PR

Anglers can catch and keep spring chinook salmon May 20-22 on a section of the lower Columbia River under a three-day extension approved today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Although the latest projection of returning upriver spring chinook is down slightly from the preseason forecast, representatives from both states agreed it is still strong enough to allow at least one more opening – and perhaps more – in the lower river this year.

More than 2,300 upriver fish are still available for harvest under the current catch guideline, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy advisor for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We’re hoping to reopen the fishery again prior to Memorial Day, but that will depend on the count of upriver fish passing Bonneville Dam,” Roler said.

This week’s three-day extension will reopen the spring chinook fishery from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat anglers, with bank fishing allowed up to the deadline below the dam. Anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two adult fish.

Under permanent rules, anglers may retain hatchery steelhead and hatchery chinook jacks through June 15 from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge. Shad fishing is open up to Bonneville Dam and beyond

Fishery managers now anticipate a return of 180,000 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River this year, down from 188,800 projected prior to the season.

Salmon and steelhead fishing remains closed until further notice above Bonneville Dam but reopens for the summer chinook season June 16 in waters above and below the dam under rules outlined in the Washington Sport Fishing rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

 

Halibut fishing re-opens in Marine Areas 3 and 4 on May 28;

Westport northern nearshore area will close on May 21

Action:  Recreational halibut fishing in Marine Area 3 (La Push) and Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) will re-open for one additional fishing day. Closes the northern nearshore area in Marine Area 2 (Westport).

Effective date:

Marine areas 3 and 4: Open May 28, 2016.

Marine Area 2: Closed effective May 21, 2016.

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Location:  Marine Areas 2, 3 and 4

Reason for action:   There is sufficient quota remaining in Marine areas 3 and 4 to open the recreational halibut fishery for another day. The recreational halibut quota for the northern nearshore area in Marine Area 2 has reached the Pacific halibut quota reserved for this area; there is not enough quota pounds available to open this area for an additional fishing day. This rule conforms to federal action taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Additional Information:  Recreational halibut fishing remains open in other coastal and Puget Sound areas.

Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco):  Open 4 days/week (Thursday-Sunday) in all depth areas, and the Neashore area is open on days when the all depth halibut fishery is closed (Mon-Wed) until the subarea quota is taken.

Marine areas 5-10 (Puget Sound): Open May 26 through 29, Thursday through Sunday.

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SW WA, Wind, Drano, Yakima Fishing Report (5-17-16)

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

 

Salmon/Steelhead

Elochoman River from the mouth to the Elochoman Hatchery Bridge, Green River from the mouth to 400′ below the water intake at the upper end of the hatchery and South Fork Toutle River from the mouth to the 4700 Road Bridge -Scheduled to open for hatchery steelhead the last Saturday in May.  In addition, stray hatchery spring Chinook may be retained on the Elochoman.  Selective gear rules apply during these early fisheries which end June 4.

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Cowlitz River – Bank anglers are still catching spring Chinook at the barrier dam while boat anglers are catching fish throughout the river.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,914 spring Chinook adults, 374 spring Chinook jacks, 290 winter run steelhead, and 32 summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 10 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 879 adult spring Chinook, 207 spring Chinook jacks and one winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and 362 spring Chinook adults, 60 jacks and five winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek. They also released 358 spring Chinook adults and 55 jacks at the Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,180 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 16. Visibility is at 9.5 feet.
Kalama River – Pretty good effort with some spring Chinook and steelhead being caught.

East Fork Lewis River – Light effort and no steelhead catch.

Lewis River (including North Fork) – Little to no effort during the hatchery steelhead season.

Wind River – Fishing was slower with the strong east winds last week.

Drano Lake – Good earlier last week and then it has since slowed.

Klickitat River – Effort and catch for spring Chinook below the Fisher Hill Bridge is increasing.  A couple hatchery summer run steelhead were also caught.

Yakima River – Spring Chinook counts at Prosser have been low so far this spring with 994 adult Chinook and 37 jacks counted through May 11.  Only 20% of the adult return has been hatchery origin to date.  Daily passage exceeded 200 chinook per day on May 10 and 11.  Flows in the lower Yakima River remained high during the week averaging 6,247cfs, range 4,580-7,360cfs, but had declined to fishable levels prior to this weekend’s rain.

WDFW staff interviewed 186 anglers fishing in the lower Yakima River (Prosser to Richland); 21 salmon anglers were interviewed but no catch was observed.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – During the recent 3 day salmon, steelhead, and shad season, we sampled 1,602 salmonid anglers (including 444 boats) with 133 adult and 52 jack spring Chinook plus 29 steelhead.  78 (59%) of the adult Chinook were kept.  95% of the adults kept were upriver stock based upon Visual Stock Identification (VSI).

Interestingly, 47 (90%) of the jacks were hatchery fish.  Like the adults, 39 (95%) of the jacks were upriver stock based on VSI.

25(86%) of the steelhead were kept.

From the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge – Fishing for hatchery steelhead and hatchery Chinook jacks is open.  Adult Chinook and sockeye must be released through June 15.

From Bonneville Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco – Closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead through June 15.

From Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam – Fishing for shad is open daily.   Fishing for shad from boats is open from Beacon Rock upstream to the boating deadline below Bonneville Dam.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers between Longview and Kalama were releasing some legals.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  Through April, an estimated 235 (47%) of the 500 fish annual guideline had been taken.

Walleye and Bass

Yakima River – Anglers were primarily fishing for smallmouth bass with a few anglers targeting channel catfish. The 95 bass anglers interviewed had harvested 468 fish and released 41, averaging 2.4 bass per hour.  From May 9 through May 15 an estimated 3,704 smallmouth bass were harvested in the lower river. Bank angling for channel catfish during the daylight was slow with 34 fish reported from all anglers combined, 4.5 hours per fish.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife

Bonneville Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on walleye.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged a walleye and over 8 bass per rod when including fish released.  Bank anglers were also catching some bass.

John Day Pool – When including fish released, boat anglers averaged nearly 4 walleye and over 12.5 bass per rod.  Bank anglers were also catching some bass.

RON GARNER (HAT) AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF PUGET SOUND ANGLERS ACCEPT THE AWARD FOR WDFW ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

Puget Sound Anglers Named WDFW Organization Of The Year

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

One volunteer built nest boxes and a global following of wood duck conservation enthusiasts over three decades, while another helped pilot a state-wide hunter education effort oriented toward women and girls.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recognized the contributions of these and other top volunteers during its 2016 citizen awards ceremony today in Olympia.

Wood ducks are just one of many species to benefit from the dedication of Volunteer of the Year, Dale Schielke. Working with colleagues at the Richland Rod and Gun Club for more than 30 years, Schielke’s nest boxes have provided a window on annual duckling jumps, in which new ducklings jump from their nest boxes to delight viewers around the world via live video (http://www.rrgcwoodducks.org/).

DALE SCHIELKE ACCEPTS HIS AWARD FROM WDFW DIRECTOR JIM UNSWORTH. (WDFW)

DALE SCHIELKE ACCEPTS HIS AWARD FROM WDFW DIRECTOR JIM UNSWORTH. (WDFW)

“Dale always has a smile, whether he is providing shelter for wood ducks, organizing fishing days for thousands of young people in Central Washington, or working in fish slime from dawn to dusk at Ringold Hatchery,” said Jason Fidorra, a WDFW wildlife biologist.

Educator of the Year, Cathy Lynch certified 369 students, or more than 10 percent of hunter education students in the North Puget Sound region, in 2015. She also helped train and certify 24 new volunteer hunter education instructors. When asked if she would assist in classes oriented toward women hunters, she quickly secured a venue and an all-female teaching team to make it happen months ahead of schedule.

CATHY LYNCH ACCEPTS HER AWARD AS WDFW HUNTER ED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

CATHY LYNCH ACCEPTS HER AWARD AS WDFW HUNTER ED EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR — SHE CERTIFIED 10 PERCENT OF ALL OF LAST YEAR’S GRADS IN THE NORTH SOUND! (WDFW)

“Cathy sees what needs to be done and does it,” said Steve Dazey, a hunter education and volunteer coordinator with WDFW.  “The classes oriented toward women have been so well received by the public that we decided to expand the program statewide.”

Other citizen awards announced by WDFW included the following:

  • Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award: Bill Vincent was recognized with the Terry Hoffer award for his outstanding contributions as a hunter education instructor.  He also currently serves on the Instructor Advisory Committee, and has served on the Master Hunter Advisory Group and the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Americans with Disabilities Act advisory committee.“Serving hunters in remote communities, as well as youth, tribal and military populations, Bill has done it all,” said David Whipple, hunter education division manager. “He is a versatile, involved leader who is helping to ensure a bright future for hunting in Washington.”
BILL VINCENT ACCEPTS HIS AWARD FROM UNSWORTH. (WDFW)

BILL VINCENT ACCEPTS HIS AWARD FROM UNSWORTH. (WDFW)

The award honors Wildlife Agent Terry Hoffer, who was fatally wounded by a hunter accidentally discharging his firearm in 1984.

  • Organization of the Year: The 15 independent chapters of Puget Sound Anglers were recognized for thousands of hours spent volunteering at hatcheries, organizing kids fishing events and educating anglers on release techniques to protect wild salmon, steelhead and rockfish.

“Puget Sound Anglers consistently support policies that are critical to stewardship of Washington’s fish and natural resources, mark selective fisheries and hatcheries, and many other conservation efforts,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW inland fish manager.

RON GARNER (HAT) AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF PUGET SOUND ANGLERS ACCEPT THE AWARD FOR WDFW ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

AS DIRECTOR UNSWORTH STANDS BY AND DEPUTY DIRECTOR JOE STOHR SPEAKS AT THE PODIUM, KEVIN LANIER, KARL BRACKMANN AND RON GARNER OF PUGET SOUND ANGLERS ACCEPT THE AWARD FOR WDFW ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR. (WDFW)

  • Landowner of the Year: Murray Benjamin and his daughter, Jenna Benjamin, were recognized for committing over 240 volunteer hours to organize people and equipment to prevent elk damage on agricultural lands in the Skagit Valley.

“The Benjamins helped organize a community group to address elk damage concerns, said Scott Witman, an environmental specialist with WDFW.  “This led to WDFW and tribal managers implementing landowner proposed habitat and fencing solutions to reduce elk damage in the valley.” 

WDFW Director Jim Unsworth said citizen volunteers around the state logged nearly 60,000 hours on WDFW projects in 2015.

WDFW welcomes volunteer help in activities that benefit fish, wildlife and habitat. For more information, visit the agency volunteer page athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/about/volunteer/.

LED BY THEIR “RAZOR CLAM MASTER” GRANDFATHER, WALLY SANDE (LEFT), CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN HAN, THEIR PARENTS JERRY AND BRITT, ALONG WITH WALLY’S WIFE CAROL, ENJOYED A GREAT DIG A COUPLE APRILS AGO NEAR WESTPORT, LIMITING IN JUST HALF AN HOUR OR SO. AFTERWARDS, JERRY ALSO ENJOYED CATCHING REDTAIL SURFPERCH ON CLAM NECKS.  (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Season’s Last Razor Clam Dig Begins This Friday On Wash. Coast

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

Clam diggers have one last chance to dig razor clams this season during a final opening set to begin May 20.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved a last round of digs at Copalis and Mocrocks after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed at either beach after noon.

LED BY THEIR “RAZOR CLAM MASTER” GRANDFATHER, WALLY SANDE (LEFT), CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN HAN, THEIR PARENTS JERRY AND BRITT, ALONG WITH WALLY’S WIFE CAROL, ENJOYED A GREAT DIG A COUPLE APRILS AGO NEAR WESTPORT, LIMITING IN JUST HALF AN HOUR OR SO. AFTERWARDS, JERRY ALSO ENJOYED CATCHING REDTAIL SURFPERCH ON CLAM NECKS. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

SEASON’S LAST CHANCE FOR RAZOR CLAMS IS SET FOR THIS WEEKEND, WASHINGTON DIGGERS! (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

All other ocean beaches remain closed to digging.

“This has been a great clam digging season, despite getting a late start,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Diggers have harvested lots of good-sized clams this season.”

Razor clam digs at all ocean beaches were delayed during the past season due to elevated marine toxin levels, which began causing problems along the Pacific coast in the spring of 2015. WDFW eventually was able to open Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks for digs. However, toxin levels never dropped below the threshold set by state public officials at Twin Harbors Beach.

WDFW routinely closes the razor clam fishery by the end of May to give the clams a chance to spawn. The next season will begin in fall, when the older clams have recovered from spawning and a new generation begins to grow beneath the sand.

“This summer, we’ll conduct our annual assessment of razor clam stocks and will hope to open beaches again sometime in October,” Ayres said.

The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:

May 20, Friday, 6:37 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
May 21, Saturday, 7:12 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Mocrocks, Copalis
May 22, Sunday, 7:47 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Mocrocks

Ayres recommends that diggers arrive at the beaches an hour or two before low tide for best results.

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2016-17 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

For more information on razor clam digging, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html