Category Archives: Headlines

Salmon Managers Downgrade Columbia Springer Run Expectation

Columbia salmon managers today downgraded this year’s spring Chinook run, though they say there’s still some uncertainty with the new number.

They now predict 116,500 back to the mouth of the big river, down from the 166,700 forecasted last December.

ANTHONY CLEMENTS SHOWS OFF A SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE COLUMBIA GORGE EARLIER THIS SEASON. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

“Given daily fluctuations of Chinook passage and the current river flow level at Bonneville Dam, there is some uncertainty in the run size estimate,” a statement from supervising biologist Joe Hymer says.

Through yesterday, May 20, a total of 64,479 springers have been counted at the dam, a bit below half of the 10-year average for the date, 133,655, but nearly 20,000 more than last year at this time.

According to catch estimates from late last month, anglers accounted for 4,332 upriver-bound salmon mortalities through April 14 (4,268 kept, 64 released and estimated died).

Managers said that a return of just 81,800 would cover that impact to the ESA-listed stock.

Flows at Bonneville are around 480,000 cubic feet per second right now, whereas the 10-year average is around 325,000 cfs.

Over the past three weeks, daily counts have been as high as 7,287 to as low as 852.

Today’s runsize update is just slightly more than actually came back in 2017, when managers had initially predicted 160,400. Only 115,882 did.

 

RMEF Names NRA Staffer As New President And CEO

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

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Board of Directors this week announced Kyle Weaver as the new President and CEO, effective June 30, 2018.

“It is a tremendous honor to serve as the leader of the most respected wildlife conservation organization in the country, one that does so much for elk, elk habitat and America’s hunting tradition,” said Weaver. “Moving forward, as a team, we will elevate the delivery of RMEF’s mission, including our lands and access work as well as advocating for our hunting heritage.”

KYLE WEAVER. (RMEF)

Weaver comes to RMEF from a long and successful career with the National Rifle Association, where he rose from an entry level position to ultimately serve as an NRA Officer and Executive Director of General Operations. His oversight included educational, safety and training programs, grassroots fundraising, as well as hunting and conservation programs. He brings extensive experience with board relations, volunteer management and fiscal responsibility and oversight, along with program building and implementation.

“My entire career has been dedicated to protecting, promoting and supporting our rights in the outdoors as hunters and conservationists. I am excited and welcome this opportunity. I look forward to using my full energy to serve our donors, members, volunteers, partners and sportsmen and women everywhere in furthering RMEF’s conservation mission,” added Weaver.

“We are excited to have Kyle join us and look forward to his leadership as we build on the success of RMEF,” said Philip Barrett, chairman of the RMEF Board of Directors. “We want to thank DBA Executive Search & Recruitment for leading this extensive nationwide search process that yielded an incredible field of candidates.”

Larry Potterfield, a long-time friend of Kyle, lifelong hunter, author, decorated business leader and founder and CEO of Midway USA, added, “The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation plays a critical role in the conservation of one of America’s great wildlife resources.  Its long-term success is critical for the preservation of the species and the rights of hunters. Kyle Weaver is the perfect choice to lead this great organization into the future.”

A passionate and avid hunter, Weaver has supported RMEF for well over a decade and is a life member.

Currently, the RMEF president and CEO position is held by Nancy Holland, who stepped into the role in February from her board position to facilitate the transition to the new leadership.

“I am excited for Kyle and RMEF, he brings a strong business acumen and a commitment to conservation. A powerful combination to move RMEF forward and further establish its leadership role in the conservation community,” said Holland. Upon completion of this transition, Nancy will return to her role on RMEF’s Board of Directors.

Kyle is a graduate of Longwood University in Virginia, where he attended on a collegiate baseball scholarship. Weaver is a founding board member and current Chairman of the Fathers in the Field mentoring ministry.

He, wife Ashley and their family will be relocating to Missoula.

SW WA Fishing Report (5-21-18)

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

Washington Columbia River tributaries salmonid sport sampling summaries for May 14-20

Elochoman River from mouth to Elochoman Hatchery Bridge located 400′ below the upper hatchery rack.
ALL SPECIES – selective gear rules.

Other Game Fish Last Sat. in May-Fri. before first Sat. in June
Statewide min. size/daily limit except no min. size/daily limit for BASS, CHANNEL CATFISH, and WALLEYE.

SALMON & STEELHEAD
Last Sat. in May- Fri. before first Sat. in June
Min. size 12″. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adult SALMON or hatchery STEELHEAD may be retained of which only 2 may be SALMON.
Release wild CHINOOK.

GREEN RIVER_ (Cowlitz Co.) from mouth to 400′ below Toutle Hatchery intake and South Fork Toutle River from mouth to 4700 Rd. Bridge:

All Game Fish Last Sat. in May-Fri .before first Sat. in June
Catch-and-release except daily limit 3 hatchery STEELHEAD.
Selective gear rules.

AUSTIN RODRIGUEZ SHOWS OFF A HEFTY SPRING CHINOOK FROM DRANO LAKE, REPORTED AT 22 POUNDS. IT BIT A PRAWN SPINNER, AND RODRIGUEZ REPORTS HE AND A FRIEND LIMITED. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Lower Cowlitz River (I-5 Br downstream) –  51 bank rods kept 1 adult Chinook.  1 boat angler had no catch.

Upper Cowlitz River (Above the I-5 Br) – 27 bank rods kept 2 adult and 1 jack Chinook.

From the Lexington (Sparks) Road Bridge upstream to 400 feet or boundary markers below the barrier dam – Beginning June 1, barbed hooks will be allowed for salmon, steelhead, and cutthroats.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers kept 2 adult Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead. 15 boat anglers kept 4 adult Chinook.

Lewis River (mainstem) – 4 bank rods had no catch.  10 boat rods kept 1 adult Chinook.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 51 bank rods kept 5 adult and 1 jack Chinook.  4 boat rods had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River from the mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls (except closures around various falls) and the Washougal River from the mouth to Salmon Falls Bridge – Under permanent rules these areas will be open to fishing with bait for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June.

Wind River (mouth) – 14 bank rods had no catch.  256 boat rods kept 54 adult Chinook and released 8 adult Chinook.

Wind River (upper) – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Drano Lake – 6 bank rods had no catch.  435 boat rods kept 97 adult and 1 jack Chinook and released 3 adult and 1 jack Chinook.

Klickitat River – 35 bank anglers kept 2 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead and released 2 adult Chinook.

Klickitat River from the mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) upstream the Fisher Hill Bridge and from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway upstream to boundary markers below the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery – Effective June 1, open to fishing 7 days per week. Daily limit 6 hatchery Chinook of which 2 may be adults. In addition, up to 3 hatchery steelhead may be retained.

Washington lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville sport sampling summaries for May 14-20

Hatchery steelhead and Chinook jacks – Some anglers are doing ok on hatchery steelhead.

Sturgeon – 1 out of every 24 boat anglers kept a legal sturgeon. Only 1 bank angler was checked with a fish they could take home!

Shad – We did not sample any shad anglers last week.

North Bend Cougar Attack Victims Named

The two mountain bikers who were attacked by a cougar north of North Bend on Saturday have been identified.

  • A SCREENSHOT FROM A KIRO REPORTER’S TWITTER FEED ADDS DETAILS ON THE COUGAR AND DECEASED VICTIM. (KIRO)

WDFW officers were able to track down and euthanize the animal “very near the scene,” a state spokesman said.

The attack ocurred late in the morning and one victim, a 31-year-old man identified as Isaac Sederbaum by the New York Times, was airlifted to Harborview, which initially reported him to be “awake and alert and in serious condition”  and later updated that to “satisfactory.”

KOMO reports that after the attack he rode 2 miles to get cell phone reception to report the incident. The Times reported Sederbaum looked back at one point and saw the cougar dragging his friend off the road.

The body of the deceased, a 32-year-old identified as Sonja “SJ” Brooks was found with the cougar. The New York Times, which was the first to name the victims, initially reported Brooks as a woman which was repeated here but was erroneous.

WDFW describes the cougar as a “3-year-old male in poor condition,” i.e.., “underweight.”

They say that officers and a hunter using hounds were able to track it down. The Times reports it was shot at four times while treed in a gully, dislodging it and it was subsequently dispatched on the ground.

The animal was not a part of ongoing carnivore studies in the region.

The attack was reported to be somewhere off the North Fork Road and road to Lake Hancock. The Seattle Times is saying it was near Ernie’s Grove, not far from North Bend and Snoqualmie.

The area is primarily industrial timberlands owned by the county.

The two mountain bikers tried to fend off the cougar during the attack with their bikes and were initially successful but then the cat came back and Brooks broke and ran, the wrong thing to do against a cougar, unfortunately, and was taken down.

The head of Sederbaum was at one point entirely inside the mouth of the cougar according to KOMO, which is when Brooks ran and was chased down and killed by the cougar.

When officers arrived, they got one shot at the cougar, which ran off.

In an unusual coincidence, today the Washington Department of Natural Resources was opening up a 17-mile-long mountain bike trail about 10 miles to the south of the attack, in the Raging River drainage.

The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that the last cougar attack in Washington occurred in 2009, in Stevens County and involved a young boy, and the last fatal cougar attack here occurred in 1924, in central Okanagan County.

More details as they emerge.

Editor’s note: The gender of the deceased victim was misreported this morning by the New York Times as well as on this blog. Our deepest apologies to the family.

Cougar kills man, seriously injures another north of North Bend

UPDATE: http://nwsportsmanmag.com/killer-cougar-king-co-sheriff-spokesman/

King County Sheriff’s Office is reporting one man has been killed and another injured in a cougar attack north of North Bend.

It occurred late this morning and involved two mountain bikers, reportedly.

One victim, a 31 year old man was taken to Harborview, which reported him to be “awake and alert and in serious condition.”

KOMO reports that after the attack he rode 2 miles to get cell phone reception to report the incident.

The other was found deceased with the cougar over his body.

A sheriff’s office spokesman was headed to the scene, reported to be somewhere off the North Fork Road and road to Lake Hancock.

WDFW officers were said to be pursuing the cougar.

The area is primarily industrial timberlands owned by the county.

The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that the last cougar attack in Washington occurred in 2009, in Stevens County and involved a young boy, and the last fatal cougar attack here occurred in 1924, in central Okanagan County.

More details as they emerge.

Flooding Closes WDFW Campgrounds, Roads, River Accesses in Okanogan Co.

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

Flooding has forced local officials and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to close several roads and campgrounds at three wildlife areas and numerous water access sites in Okanogan County.

WDFW’S DRISCOLL ISLAND UNIT, WHERE THE SIMILKAMEEN AND OKANOGAN RIVERS CONVERGE, HAS BEEN INUNDATED BY FLOODWATERS CAUSED BY RAPID MELTOFF OF MOUNTAIN SNOWPACK. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

The closures are intended to protect the public and prevent property damage, said Justin Haug, WDFW Okanogan Lands Operations Manager. Runoff due to snowmelt is causing significant flooding in the area, where water levels are anticipated to remain high for several more weeks. Areas will reopen when conditions improve, he said.

THE SINLAHEKIN ROAD HAS BEEN WASHED OUT NEAR BLUE LAKE. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

Closures or access restrictions are in effect as of May 17 at the following locations in the Sinlahekin, Methow, and Scotch Creek wildlife areas:

Sinlahekin:

  • Sinlahekin Road from Reflection Pond to Blue Lake.
  • Fish Lake East, West and Southwest Campground.
  • Sinlahekin Creek Campground.
  • Southeast Forde Lake Campground.
  • Reflection Pond Campground.
  • Conners Lake Campground.
  • Driscoll-Eyhott Island Unit (underwater).

FLOODWATERS SURGE AGAINST AN ADA FOOTBRIDGE ON THE DAVE BRITTELL TRAIL, IN THE SINLAHEKIN WILDLIFE AREA. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

Methow:

  • Bear Creek Campground No. 2 (also known as Lower Bear Creek).
  • Cougar Lake Campground.

Scotch Creek:

  • Hess Lake Road.
  • Similkameen-Chopaka Unit (mostly underwater)

WDFW Water Access Sites along the Okanogan, Methow and Chewuch rivers are also closed.

EYHOTT ISLAND, BELOW DRISCOLL ISLAND, HAS ALSO BEEN FLOODED. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

Citing Exotic Virus, WDFW Says No To Cooke Putting 800K Atlantics Into Rich Passage Net Pen

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

Citing the risk of fish disease transmission, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has denied permission for Cooke Aquaculture to transport 800,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon from its hatchery near Rochester to net pens at Rich Passage in Kitsap County.

In late April, Cooke applied for permission to move juvenile non-native salmon from its hatchery into pens in Kitsap County to replace adult fish that were recently harvested. Washington lawmakers enacted a bill earlier this year that will phase out Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture by 2022, but Cooke plans to continue to operate until then.

WDFW officials cited two factors in denying the permit that they said would increase the risk of disease transmission within the net pens and possibly to wild and hatchery-raised Pacific salmon outside the pens:

  • The population of Atlantic salmon that would have been transported from Cooke’s hatchery near Rochester tested positive for a form of the fish virus PRV (piscine orthoreovirus) that is essentially the same as the PRV that occurs at the Iceland hatchery from which Cooke receives Atlantic salmon eggs. The Icelandic form of PRV is not known to occur in the eastern Pacific Ocean or Puget Sound, so WDFW classifies it as “exotic” in Washington.
  • Cooke proposed to place fish into pens that have not been empty (or “fallow”) for at least 30 days after the most recent harvest of adult fish, and within a farm that still contains adult Atlantic salmon. These actions would contradict the company’s own management plan.

“Each of these factors raised an unacceptable risk of introducing an exotic strain of PRV into Washington marine waters,” said Ken Warheit, WDFW fish health manager. “This would represent an unknown and therefore unacceptable risk of disease transmission.”

Warheit said samples of the juvenile fish that would have been transported were collected by an independent licensed veterinarian under contract with Cooke.  The samples were tested for PRV at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University. Test results were confirmed at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Washington Fisheries Research Center.

Until recently, Cooke operated up to nine net pens in Puget Sound, including one at Cypress Island in Skagit County that collapsed last August and allowed approximately 250,000 Atlantic salmon to escape. The company’s latest permit application is not related to the Cypress Island operation or the August mishap.

Idaho Angler Sets New High Mark For C&R Rainbows With 30-plus-incher

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

Would you release a 30.5-inch rainbow trout if you caught it? David Raisch of Pocatello did, and he’s now a state-record holder.

FLY FISHING GUIDE DAVID RAISCH AND HIS 30.5-INCH SNAKE RIVER RAINBOW TROUT. (DAVID RAISCH VIA IDFG)

Raisch caught his record fish in late March and recently submitted it into Idaho Fish and Game’s catch and release records, which allows anglers to claim a state record while letting the fish live. The program started in 2016, and it complements the traditional “certified weight” records that require anglers to weigh the fish on a certified scale, which means the fish is typically killed.

Raisch was fly fishing in the Snake River when he landed the record rainbow, which coincidentally is where the previous record of 29.3 inches was caught.

If you catch a big fish and want to enter it in the catch and release records, here are the general guidelines:

  • Fish must be released alive.
  • All fish must be measured and photographed in the water.
  • Catch-and-Release Records are based only on the total length from snout to tip of tail. Measure the total length from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail, with lobes of tail squeezed together.
  • Fish must be photographed directly next to a ruler/tape or an object of known verifiable length (such as the fishing rules booklet).
  • At least one photo of the angler with the fish.
  • At least one witness to the measurement and release.
  • White Sturgeon records must be broken by a minimum of 2 inches.
  • Records for all other species must be broken by a minimum of ½ inch.
  • All applications must be submitted within 30 days of the catch date.

Here are more details on all of Idaho’s record fish and how to submit fish into the record books.

‘Most Fun-packed Family Fishing Event’ On Central Coast Coming To Waldport Saturday

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

Family fishing is coming to Waldport on Saturday, May 19 when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and First Baptist Church of Waldport host a family fishing event at Eckman Lake.

ANGLERS CAST FROM THE ECKMAN LAKE PIER FOR STOCKER TROUT RELEASED BY ODFW FOR A FAMILY FISHING EVENT. (ODFW PHOTO)

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for youth ages 17 and younger.  Each participant will be able to catch two rainbow trout from a fish enclosure stocked with more than 2,000 rainbow trout, including 50 “trophy” fish.

“This is the most fun-packed family fishing event on the mid Coast,” said Christine Clapp, ODFW biologist. The First Baptist Church of Waldport hosts a carnival for children of all ages,across the street, so there is plenty to do and see. “Families are bound to make memories that will last a lifetime, said Clapp.

Additional features of the event carnival include a bouncy house, obstacle course, target practice games, cotton candy and lots of other fun activities. Kids can also make their own fishing lures and flies, get some extra cast practice with a backyard game, and learn about fish anatomy and physiology while volunteers clean their catch.

Eckman Lake is located about 2.5 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. The family fishing area will be set up at Nelson State Recreation Area across from the First Baptist Church parking lot.

The event is open to everyone, and no pre-registration is required. Participants can register at the church upon arrival to get a free goodie bag. Anglers 11 years old and younger do not need a fishing license but 12-17 year olds will need a youth license, which can be purchased for $10 at any ODFW license agent, ODFW office or on-line at ODFW’s website (www.odfw.com). Licenses will not be sold at the event. The youth license includes angling, hunting, shellfish and the Columbia River basin endorsement.

122 More Oregon Charges Filed Against SW WA Poaching Suspects, Others

Southwest Washington poaching suspects and others now face charges in a fourth Oregon county, in addition to many more north of the Columbia as well.

Prosecutors in The Dalles yesterday filed 122 wildlife misdemeanor charges against 11 men and women, including a combined 87 against the two men whose phones led game wardens in both states to discover a shocking amount of alleged illegal killing of wintering bucks for their antlers, as well as unlawfully chasing bear and bobcat with dogs.

BUCK HEADS AND A RIFLE SEIZED DURING SEARCH WARRANTS SERVED IN COWLITZ COUNTY IN MARCH 2017. (WDFW VIA KPTV)

Those two individuals are Erik C. Martin and William J. Haynes, both 24 and from Kelso and Longview. They were hit with 42 and 45 of the charges in Wasco County, where the case began in fall 2016.

According to reports from KOIN and The Seattle Times, others who were charged there include:

Joseph A. Dills, 31, of Longview: 12 counts

Aaron B. Hendricks, 35, of Woodland: five counts

Sierra Dills, 18, of Longview: four counts

David R. McLeskey, 59, of Woodland: four counts

Eddy A. Dills, 58, of Longview: two counts

Kimberly K. Crape, 20, hometown unknown: two counts

Wyatt Keith, 17, hometown unknown: two counts

Aubri N. McKenna, 36, hometown unknown: one count

Aaron C. Hanson, 38, hometown unknown: one count

Hendricks, McKlesky, Haynes and Joseph A. Dills also face charges in Oregon’s Clackamas County, they’ve pleaded not guilty to more in Clatsop County, and McKleskey and Dills are expected to be charged in Lincoln County too, according to news reports.

Also charged in Clatsop County was Eddy Dills, who recently appeared on Seattle news station KING-5 to take aim at Washington’s timber damage prevention bear hunts to excuse his alleged actions, which seems more and more farcical with every new charge against him, his family and acquaintances.

Eddy Dills reportedly pleaded not guilty to poaching in Clatsop County.

Haynes and Joseph A. Dills were each initially charged with 64 counts each in Washington’s Skamania County, Martin with 28, Eddy Dills with 26.

Charges against ringmembers have also been filed in Cowlitz, Lewis, Jefferson and Pacific Counties.

WILLIAM J. HAYNES IN A SELFIE AFTER ALLEGEDLY SHOOTING AN ILLEGALLY HUNTED BLACK BEAR AT CLOSE RANGE WITH A SHOTGUN. (WDFW)

It all stems from a single traffic stop during the harsh winter of 2016-17.

Oregon State Police wildlife troopers investigating a string of headless bucks shot and left on winter range near Mt. Hood matched a trail cam photo of a truck with one spotted in The Dalles and pulled it over.

Inside were Haynes and Martin, and a mountain of evidence was ultimately found on their phones and homes.

WILLIAM J. HAYNES AND ERIK C. MARTIN. (WDFW)