Category Archives: Headlines

The Daily Howler (7-29-14): WDFW Recommends Denying Wolf Petition

Saying they already have written procedures in place for dealing with repeated wolf depredations but that they’re willing to work with a mediator to come up with a “clean slate” of lethal control protocols, Washington wildlife managers will advise the Fish & Wildlife Commission to deny a petition that called for removal rules to be written into state codes.

The recommendation comes out a few days ahead of the citizen panel’s teleconference on the petition, filed this June by many of the same wolf-oriented organizations that sent one last year. They want WDFW to “exhaust nonlethal measures to prevent depredations before any lethal action can be taken.”

Yesterday afternoon, Dave Ware, the agency’s game division manager said there was a big distinction between the two petitions.

Last year’s asked the commission to codify the wolf management and recovery plan. It too faced a deny recommendation, but was withdrawn by the groups after WDFW told them it would “voluntarily undertake some of the rule-making.

Ware says this year’s petition was much more specific, with suggested language on when lethal controls could be used in a situation like what happened in the Wedge in summer 2012, when the local pack developed a fondness for the McIrvins’ beeves.

Petitions require responses within 60 days, and there are basically three options for the commission, Ware explains: deny and explain why; deny and provide an alternative; or, approve and run through the state administrative code revision process.

The middle path appears to have been settled on. In a draft statement posted this morning,  WDFW writes:

Based on the concerns expressed and the controversial nature of this subject, we recommend that the Commission deny the petition; instruct the Department to assess if a mediated process would be feasible with the WAG ; and if so, to develop a mediated rule proposal from a ‘clean slate.’ Any mediated proposal would remain subject to the Administrative Procedures Act and the Commission rule-making and decision process

WDFW and its Wolf Advisory Group, or WAG, which includes hunters, ranchers, and wolf preservationists, has been talking for months about protocols for lethal removals, but there hasn’t been agreement on any, or whether the members could negotiate something like that.

The petition was filed by Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Kettle Range Conservation Group, The Lands Council, Washington Chapter of the Sierra Club, Western Environmental Law Center and Wildlands Network.

With wolves and lethal removals such a hot topic, WDFW says it’s focused a lot of energy on reducing conflicts in recent years, including hiring wolf biologists, monitoring the packs and coming up with a large funding source for that work; developing nonlethal agreements with livestock producers, hiring range riders, and coming up with a checklist of “essential” nonlethal measures that must be taken before either removals occur or compensation is granted.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (7-29-14)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT IS FROM JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND TANNA TAKATA, ODFW

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Boat anglers averaged nearly a hatchery summer run steelhead per person while bank anglers averaged over a spring Chinook jack per rod.  Most of the steelhead were sampled at Blue Creek and Mission Bar; the salmon at the barrier dam.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,217 summer-run steelhead, 130 spring Chinook adults, 74 jacks, 219 mini-jacks, one fall Chinook adult, two cutthroat trout and two sockeye salmon adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 80 spring Chinook adults and 69 jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, 227 spring Chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park, and one fall Chinook adult and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

Two hundred summer-run steelhead and three sockeye salmon were recycled downstream to the Interstate-5 boat launch.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,440 cubic feet per second on Monday, July 28. Water visibility is twelve feet.

Lewis River – Some steelhead are being reported caught at the mouth.

Wind River – Light effort with only a couple boats observed here last Sunday morning.

Drano Lake – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged over a steelhead per rod though two-thirds of the fish were wild and had to be released.  Effort is also increasing with 38 boats observed here last Sunday morning.

Klickitat River – Light effort on the lower river.  River has been turbid.

Lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 1,901 salmonid anglers (including 236 boats) with 11 adult and 7 jack summer Chinook, 5 sockeye, and 681 steelhead.

4 (36%) of the adult Chinook, all the sockeye, and 318 (47%) of the steelhead were kept.

Bonneville Pool – Some steelhead are being caught.  Last Sunday morning, 4 boats were counted off the Klickitat, 14 off the White Salmon, and 6 outside Drano Lake.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers are catching some steelhead.

COLUMBIA RIVER STOCK STATUS

Fall Chinook
*    The forecast for the 2014 fall Chinook adult return to the Columbia River totals 1,510,600 fish which would exceed last year’s return and be another record-breaking run. The forecast is 119% of the 2013 actual return (1,268,400) and 254% of the 2004-2013 average return (595,200).
*         Bonneville Dam passage is expected to total over 1.1 million upriver fall Chinook adults. Passage is typically 50% complete by September 8.

Upriver Summer Steelhead
*         The forecast for the combined Group A/B steelhead return to Bonneville Dam totals 272,400 fish, including 88,900 wild fish (33%). The Group A forecast is 85% and the Group B forecast is 62% of their respective 10-year averages.

Coho
*         The 2014 coho forecast to the Columbia River is for a strong return of 638,300 adults, which includes 367,100 early stock and 271,200 late stock. The forecast is 156% of the 2004-2013 average of 409,800 fish.
*         Bonneville Dam passage is expected to total 193,500 adult coho, which represents 70% of the total ocean abundance of Columbia River coho destined for areas above Bonneville Dam.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem from Navigation Marker 82 downstream – Boat anglers sampled from Woodland upstream averaged a legal released per rod.

Bonneville Pool – An estimated 910 (82.7%) of the 1,100 fish guideline was caught through July 20. Scheduled to be catch-and-release only through the end of the year.

The Dalles Pool – Light effort.  Thursday July 31 is the last day for sturgeon retention through the end of the year.

Walleye and Bass

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers are catching some walleye in the Woodland area.

The Dalles Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on walleye and bass when including fish released.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size trout (no report on angling success):

MINERAL LK (LEWI)  Jul 23, 2014 Brown Trout 813 2.5 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

* RAINEY CR 26.0651  Jul 19, 2014 Rainbow 2,300 2.3 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

…………………………………………………..

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

Steelhead angling was fair to excellent on the lower Columbia this past weekend.  Salmonid anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 1.63 summer steelhead and 0.13 summer Chinook caught per boat; and bank anglers averaged 0.08 summer steelhead and 0.02 summer Chinook caught per angler.  In the Portland to Westport area, boat anglers averaged 1.30 summer steelhead and 0.02 summer Chinook caught per boat; and bank anglers averaged 0.22 summer steelhead and 0.02 sockeye caught per angler.  In the estuary, boat anglers averaged 1.6 summer steelhead caught per boat, while the bank anglers averaged 0.25 summer steelhead and 0.13 summer Chinook caught per angler.  In Troutdale, boat anglers averaged 0.39 summer steelhead caught per boat.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus three unclipped steelhead released for 49 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed five adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two unclipped adult Chinook and 21 unclipped steelhead released for 16 boats (46 anglers).

Troutdale Bank: No report.

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped jack Chinook and six adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus three unclipped steelhead released for 23 boats (47 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed four adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus six unclipped steelhead and one sockeye released for 46 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped jack Chinook and 40 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped adult Chinook, one unclipped jack Chinook and 33 unclipped steelhead released for 56 boats (137 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Astoria Bridge to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed four adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two unclipped adult Chinook released for 16 bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Astoria Bridge to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed 13 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus three unclipped steelhead released for 10 boats (19 anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed two adipose fin-clipped jack Chinook kept, plus one unclipped adult Chinook released for 21 bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed three adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two unclipped steelhead released for four boats (nine anglers).

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

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River: Catch and release only. Weekend checking showed three legal and 21 sublegal sturgeon released for two boats (six anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Catch and release only. No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed two sublegal sturgeon released for two boats (four anglers).

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

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

WALLEYE

Gorge: Weekend checking showed three walleye kept and three walleye released for three boats (seven anglers).

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

Portland to Westport Boats: No report.

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed seven walleye kept, plus one walleye released for two boats (three anglers).

John Day Pool: No report.

MALLARDS WILL BE AMONG THE TARGETS DURING THE SEPTEMBER YOUTH HUNT ON TURNBULL NWR. (ROBERT M. GRIFFITH)

Sign-ups Start Aug. 1 For Turnbull Youth Waterfowl Hunt

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will open Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to a limited entry youth waterfowl hunt in fall 2014. The two-day youth hunt will run concurrently with the state youth waterfowl season which falls on the weekend of September 20-21 this year.

Hunters will be restricted to up to eight fixed hunting sites depending on fall water levels. Two youths (under the age of 16) and the accompanying non-hunting adult(s) (at least 18 years of age) will be allowed at each site. Youth hunters will be selected by a random drawing.

MALLARDS WILL BE AMONG THE TARGETS DURING THE SEPTEMBER YOUTH HUNT ON TURNBULL NWR. (ROBERT M. GRIFFITH)

MALLARDS WILL BE AMONG THE TARGETS DURING THE SEPTEMBER YOUTH HUNT ON TURNBULL NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. THE FIRST SUCH HUNT OCCURRED ON THE REFUGE NEAR CHENEY IN SEPTEMBER 2010. (ROBERT M. GRIFFITH)

Applications are accepted at the Refuge or by mail from August 1 -15. Any person whose name appears on more than one application will be excluded from the drawing.

Applications should be submitted on standard U.S. Postal Service postcards and include the youth’s full name, address, and telephone number. Youths may apply with a youth friend or youth sibling on the same application.

Mail postcards to Refuge Manager, Turnbull NWR, 26010 South Smith Road, Cheney, WA, 99004.

Drawing results will be posted on the Refuge website and letters of confirmation and a youth waterfowl hunt brochure will be mailed to selected youths by the end of August.

A workshop will be held in partnership with the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association to select hunting sites and provide waterfowl identification and hunting tips on the Saturday prior to the hunt (September 13, 2014).

YOUTHS ATTEND A PRE-HUNT WEEKEND SEMINAR. (USFWS)

YOUNG HUNTERS ATTEND A PRE-HUNT-WEEKEND SEMINAR. (USFWS)

All hunters must have in their possession a valid State hunting license and any required stamps and permits. Youths under 16 need a State hunting license and migratory bird validation but not a federal migratory waterfowl stamp.

For more specific information about the youth waterfowl hunt program, call the Refuge at (509) 235-4723 or visit the refuge’s Visitor Activity page at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Turnbull.

OSP Seeks Tips On 3 Deer Poached, Wasted Near Myrtle Creek

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

Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help in identifying the person(s) responsible for killing 3 deer and leaving them to waste in Douglas County, July 18 – 24, 2014.

According to Sergeant Lynn Withers, two deer, including a 4-point buck and a spike deer, were shot and left to waste in the 700 and 1500 block of East Willis Creek Road. An adult doe was also shot sometime between July 18 and 20, and left at the scene near Bland Mountain Lookout east of Days Creek.

A reward is offered through the Turn-in-Poacher (TIP) program for information leading to an arrest and conviction in any of these cases. Anyone with information is asked to contact Senior Trooper Wayne Merritt at (541) 817-4474 or Senior Trooper Jason Stone at (541) 817-4472.

License Increases On Oregon Commission Agenda

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

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2015-2017 proposed budget request for approval when it meets Aug. 1 at ODFW Headquarters.

The meeting begins at 8 am and the Commission will work through several agenda items including the 2015 Sport Fishing Regulations and the 2014-2015 Game Bird Regulations.

The 2015-17 budget proposal (see Exhibit B) includes a fee increase for recreational and commercial licenses that if approved, would take effect in 2016. It also makes program cuts and shifts costs for some programs on to the State’s general fund revenues. The package that will be presented to the Commission will include changes to the original budget proposal in response to public comments. Upon Commission approval, the proposed budget must be submitted to the Governor for his consideration. Final determination of the ODFW budget would come from the 2015 Oregon State Legislature.

Other Commission business:
2015 Sport Fishing Regulations/2014 Coastal Salmon Seasons
The Commission will be asked to adopt the 2015 Sport Fishing Regulations. Most of the changes for 2015 are housekeeping actions related to corrections, formatting changes and simplification.

Some additional regulation proposals include:

  • Permanent extension of the spring Chinook season in Three Rivers (NW Zone).
  • More restrictive bag limits and gear restrictions on the Chetco and Winchuck rivers (SW Zone) to protect wild fall Chinook.
  • An increase in the steelhead daily bag limit to four in the Santiam Basin (Willamette Zone).
  • A permanent fall Chinook fishery on the lower Deschutes (Central Zone).
  • Changing the smallmouth bass regulations on the John Day River (NE Zone), back to the zone regulations.

The Commission also will consider the 2014 coastal Chinook and coho salmon seasons. In general, the proposed 2014 season will be very similar to the 2013 seasons. For Chinook, ODFW staff has proposed more liberal seasonal bag limits on the Siletz and Yaquina rivers, and slightly more restrictive bags on the Chetco. The staff is also recommending closing the Winchuck River to fishing in 2014 based on 2013 and projected 2014 returns.

For coho, the proposed daily and seasonal bag limits and open fishing periods will be identical to the 2013 season, except for a reduced quota on the Umpqua River and minor date changes.

The proposed 2014 coastal fall salmon seasons are available on the ODFW web page.

2014-15 Upland and Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons:
Most migratory game bird proposals must still receive federal approval which will not occur until July 31.  Based on waterfowl population surveys and possible federal season frameworks, ODFW anticipates proposing another liberal 107-day duck season that would open concurrently in duck zones 1 and 2 on October 11. Pheasant, chukar/Hungarian partridge, and eastern Oregon quail seasons would also open Oct. 11.

Additionally, ODFW anticipates proposing the following changes to last year’s waterfowl seasons:

  • Decrease the canvasback daily bag limit from two to one per day.
  • Remove the cackling and Aleutian Canada goose bag limit restrictions in both the NW general and NW permit Oregon goose zones. The bag limit would be four Canada geese per day, except for dusky Canada geese in the NW Permit Zone.
  • Increase the white-fronted goose bag limit from six to 10 per day except in Lake County where the bag limit would remain one per day.
  • Add late-winter white-fronted and white goose seasons in Lake and Harney Counties similar to those in already held in Klamath and Malheur counties.  Summer Lake Wildlife Area and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge would be closed during the late-winter hunt timeframe (Jan. 26 – March 10).
  • Set a bag limit of 20 white geese per day during late-winter hunts in Klamath, Lake, and Harney counties. The bag limit is already 20 white geese per day in Malheur County.
  • Increase the bag limit for Canada geese from four to six per day during the entire season in the South Coast Zone.
  • Increase the bag limit for mourning doves from 10 to 15 per day and increase the mourning dove season length from 30 to 60 days.
  • Shift the opening date for the NW Permit and General goose zones forward by two weeks so the season would open on Oct. 18, similar to seasons prior to 2011.
  • Increase the overall dusky Canada goose quota in the NW Permit Zone from 90 to 165 geese for the season.

Finally, ODFW proposes to open an area of the Columbia River (from the railroad bridge at Celilo to Arlington) to game bird hunting. Both resident and migratory Canada geese have increased dramatically in this area, and other game bird populations are also healthy.

Though the change wouldn’t take effect until 2015, ODFW is proposing that the eastside reservation system at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area change from first-come, first served to a random draw. This is to allow all hunters to have an equal chance to hunt in their preferred area.

2015-20 Upland Game Bird Framework:
The Commission will also be asked to adopt a regulatory framework for the 2015-20 upland game bird seasons. Upland bird season frameworks are adopted on a five-year basis to provide consistency to wildlife managers and bird hunters. Proposals that would change 2015-2020 regulations from current season structures are listed below; the earliest they would take effect is Sept. 1, 2015:

  • Extend quail, chukar, Hungarian partridge seasons until Jan. 31 in Umatilla and Morrow counties (currently close Dec. 31).
  • Extend eastern Oregon forest grouse until Jan. 31 (currently closes Dec. 31).
  • Increase spring turkey season bag limit to three statewide; daily bag limit will remain at one.
  • Allow retention of fully-feathered head or wing for identification in the field.

Changes to wildlife management areas
The Commission will be asked to consolidate wildlife management area and public river access rules into one OAR Division 008 (from four different places in rule and regulation) and add some ODFW managed lands not called out in current regulations into the rules. Another topic will be adjusting wildlife area parking permit language to clarify that anyone who drives a motor vehicle to the area must display a parking permit, which will address concerns from area users.

In other actions, the Commission also will be asked to:

  • Approve $773,819.50 for five restoration and 15 enhancement projects approved by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board.
  • Consider changes to the commercial Dungeness crab fishery, including regulations to implement  a post-season gear recovery program and changes to the season opening process recommended by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee.
  • Appoint several members to the Commercial Fishery Permit Board.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

Members of the public unable to attend the meeting can see a live-stream video of the meeting at the ODFW Commission page.

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

San Juan Islands Salmon Fishing Report (7-27-14)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT COMES FROM KEVIN KLEIN OF THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS CHAPTER OF PUGET SOUND ANGLERS

Salmon fishing continues to be fairly slow in the San Juans. Sounds like there are fish across the border in Canada in pretty good numbers. Hopefully we’ll see some big schools show up soon. Crabbing is still good in places, even though we had a Tribal opener. Looks like a portion of Marine Area 7 South will re-open for Spot Prawns from July 29th-August 3rd. Check the WDFW regulation updates before you go. Be safe!

Pictures:

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

1. Sockcess! I had to make a list and check it twice to make sure this was really a Sockeye. No spot’s on tail…large gold eye…lack of teeth in a white gum line…check, check, check…Bonk! Oh, and it cut the most beautiful red meat you’ve ever seen, and ate pretty darn good as well. Distictive from Chinook in a side by side taste test. We caught it on a Coho Killer, 120′ down, trolling for Chinook of Course.

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

2. So, I was all hot to get some Sock’s! Put on the Sockeye gear, tiny Mini-Squid with 22″ of leader behind a flasher. Slow the troll. We were just about ready to pull ‘em for the day, when Wham! Mr. King comes callin’.

Chinook on Sockeye gear, Sockeye on King gear, even a couple small early Coho on the Tailwagger. Huh?

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

3. “Make ‘em dead” Fred showed up in the Barracuda to land on a King in tough fishing. Not many nets flying.

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

4. We’ve caught most King’s lately on this set up. “The real” Silver Horde White Lightnin’ Coho Killer. The bait has just been tiny in most places this year. Match the hatch…

 

photo 2

Tie For Top Tyee At Westport Tourney

Duvall and Auburn anglers split the $500 pot for big fish entered in Saturday’s Westport Charterboat Association Chinook derby.

Both Jamus Waters and Cheyenne Welker landed 21-pound, 15-ounce kings.

(WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION)

(WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION)

photo 2

(WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION)

Waters was fishing with Capt. Eric Samuelson aboard the Playboy Too while Welker was on the Swifty, skippered by Capt. Chris Sawin.

In other derby action, a Washington angler reclaimed the top tuna in the weekly albacore derby. Bill Phegley or Granite Falls weighed in a 33-pound, 12-ouncer, caught on a trip out with Capt. Dave McGowan of the Ms. Magoo.

(WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION)

(WESTPORT CHARTERBOAT ASSOCIATION)

It tops the previous week’s big fish by 4 pounds, a tuna that was hooked by Brian Dugaro of Nanaimo, BC.

 

 

Tuna has been on a lot of people minds lately.  Westport charter boats are gearing up for what appears to be another option for you fishers out there.  They aren’t out there too far, 30 to 35 miles and the boats that have started tuna trips are having quite successful trips.    Weekly tuna derby prize money varies depending on the number of anglers there are but the largest tuna of the year will receive a $1000 prize.

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

Bright Limit For Hanford Kings Announced

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

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

Half of those six kings may be adults.

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

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

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

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

Hanford Reach fall chinook salmon fishery enhancements

Actions:

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

Effective date:   Aug. 1, 2014.

Species affected:   Chinook salmon.

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

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

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

Lower Columbia Fishing Report (7-22-14)

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

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

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

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

Troutdale Bank: No report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STURGEON

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

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

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

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

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

WALLEYE

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

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

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: No report.

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

WDFW Closes Fishtrap Boat Ramp For Fire Crew Access

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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