Category Archives: Headlines

Snake Opening For Kings Aug. 30

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

Starting Aug. 30, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon seven days a week on the Snake River.

Predicting another strong return of upriver bright chinook salmon this year, state fishery managers have expanded the daily catch limit to include six adult hatchery chinook, plus six hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length.

Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead on the Snake River, but must stop fishing for the day – for both hatchery chinook and steelhead – once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit.

Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released, along with any chinook salmon under 12 inches.

“This is a great opportunity for anglers to catch hatchery chinook salmon during the traditionally productive Snake River steelhead fishery,” said John Whalen, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Meanwhile, anglers should be aware of new fishing rules set to take effect Sept. 1 on the Tucannon River, where the daily catch limit for hatchery steelhead will be reduced to two fish to provide additional protection for wild steelhead. The new rules for steelhead and other gamefish also:

Require anglers to use barbless hooks and keep any hatchery steelhead they catch.
Close the fishery upstream from Marengo at Turner Road Bridge.
Establish new fishing boundaries at the mouth of the Tucannon.

Details of the Tucannon River fishery are posted on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ .

Whalen said the upcoming fall chinook fishery on the Snake River is expected to extend through Oct. 31, while the season for hatchery steelhead and other gamefish will run through Feb. 28.

Of the 919,000 upper river brights projected to enter the Columbia River this year, 61, 000 are wild fall chinook bound for the Snake River. Retention of hatchery chinook won’t increase impacts to fish protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, so long as anglers release wild chinook as required, Whalen said.

“We urge anglers to identify their catch before they remove it from the water,” he said. “State law prohibits removing chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless they are retained as part of the daily catch limit.”

The fishery will extend from waters of the Columbia River from the railroad bridge between Burbank and Kennewick upstream approximately 2.1 miles to the first power line crossing upstream of the navigation light on the point of Sacajawea State Park and on the Snake River from the Columbia River confluence to the Oregon State line (approximately 7 miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River).

Whalen advises anglers to check the Fishing in Washington sport fishing pamphlet and watch for updates on the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ ) on the upcoming fishery.

A portion of the funding to monitor the Snake River fishery comes via funds generated through sale of the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsements.

(OSP)

5 Pendleton-area Residents Charged With Possessing Mule Deer Head

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON STATE POLICE

Five people are facing wildlife-related charges following an investigation that led to the discovery of the head of a freshly killed mule deer in a vehicle about 9 miles southwest of Pendleton near the Umatilla River.

On August 24, 2014 at approximately 6:07 p.m., an OSP Fish & Wildlife trooper came across Jeep Cherokee with the driver’s door ajar parked at the intersection of Speare Canyon Road and Mud Springs Road. The trooper noted an empty gun case and ammunition inside the vehicle. About 2.5 hours later, another Jeep Cherokee arrived at the intersection with five occupants inside. The trooper observed the occupants were in possession of the head of a freshly killed mature buck mule deer.

(OSP)

(OSP)

Subsequent investigation led the trooper to seize the deer head and a rifle, and cite the following 5 individuals:

VANCE TYLER WRIGHT, age 23, from Canyon City (identified as shooter)
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Game Mammal Closed Season
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer
* Waste of Game Mammal

KENNAN CARL ADEN WRIGHT, age 21, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

BRANDON MICHAEL McCONNELL, age 20, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

FOREST HUNTER JOHNSON, age 19, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

WHITNEY ANN ANDERSON, age 19, from Pendleton
* Unlawful Take / Possession of Buck Deer

WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO ASSISTED IN THE LOWER CRAB CREEK BUST. (WDFW)

WDFW Has A Lot Of Old Military Gear

With the militarization of police in the spotlight, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports on the state agency that has bought the most surplus gear.

Reports Kip Hill, “ Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has ordered more than 150 assault rifles – and 10 bayonets – under a nationwide initiative known as the 1033 Program, which provides out-of-commission military equipment to law enforcement agencies for the price of shipping.”

WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO ASSISTED IN THE LOWER CRAB CREEK BUST. (WDFW)

WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AFTER BUSTING AN ILLEGAL MARIJUANA GROW ON STATE LAND ALONG LOWER CRAB CREEK. (WDFW)

No word if they’ve picked up any Blackhawks for certain activities of late, and while the news will alarm some who themselves are arming up, Hill explains some of WDFW’s rationale on why its officers need the weapons and other goods such as dog kennels and sleeping bags.

In past operations, game wardens have taken on the dangerous proposition of busting illegal marijuana grows on state wildlife areas.

Wolf Groups Challenge WDFW’s Version Of Events In Sheep Kills

Challenging WDFW’s version of events in recent southern Stevens County sheep attacks, wolf groups are saying the agency should rescind its kill order that allows up to two Huckleberry Pack members to be shot should they approach a large flock.

Members of the Washington Wolf Collaborative fired off press releases and a letter to WDFW late this week as new pastures for Dave Dashiell’s flock are sought. He’s already lost 16 sheep to wolves this month, with another nine dead due to undetermined causes. The problems are occurring just north of the Spokane Reservation, initially on a private grazing allotment. The flock is being moved away from the pack,  but slowly.

Meanwhile,  a local livestock group doubled down on its criticism of WDFW for not sharing GPS data from a collared wolf. However, that info belongs to the tribe which wished to keep it private. Since the attacks it is being s hared.

Ugh if I wasn’t blogging from a smartphone on my wife’s birthday I’d blog more but alas.

Wolf groups challenge WDFW’s version of Huckleberry Events

Challenging WDFW’s version of events in recent southern Stevens County sheep attacks, wolf groups are saying the agency should rescind its kill order that allows up to two Huckleberry Pack members to be shot should they approach a large flock.

Members of the Washington Wolf Collaborative fired off press releases and a letter to WDFW late this week as new pastures for Dave Dashiell’s flock are sought. He’s already lost 16 sheep to wolves this month, with another nine dead due to undetermined causes.

The problems are occurring just north of the Spokane Reservation, initially on a private grazing allotment. The flock is being moved away from the pack,  but slowly. The wolf groups suggest the flock was unattended at several points.

Unsuccessful in their petitions the past two summers to make lethal removals more rare, they believe more nonlethal measures should be taken.

Meanwhile,  a local livestock group doubled down on its criticism of WDFW for not sharing GPS data from a collared wolf. In the pack. However, that info belongs to the tribe which wished to keep it private. Since the attacks it is being shared tho.

Ugh if I wasn’t blogging from a smartphone on my wife’s birthday I’d blog more on this but alas.

Oregon Halibut, Wenatchee Sockeye, Columbia Kings See Reg Changes

THE FOLLOWING ARE RULE CHANGE NOTICES FROM WDFW AND ODFW

All-depth halibut fishing on central coast ends

Thanks to excellent fishing, anglers have caught the remaining 2014 Pacific halibut summer all-depth season quota for the Central Oregon coast thus ending the season in Oregon’s most popular halibut fishery.

Fishery managers determined today that not enough quota remains for any additional openings in the area between Cape Falcon just north of Manzanita to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford.  The Central Oregon coast nearshore (inside 40 fathoms) remains open seven days per week until Oct.31, or the quota is attained.

”The summer all-depth season was once again very popular and successful for many anglers,” said Lynn Mattes, ODFW’s project leader for halibut. “In addition, many anglers reported a nice grade of fish with several reports of fish over 60 pounds being landed.

Halibut fishing also remains open in the Columbia River and Southern Oregon Subareas.

The Columbia River Area from Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon, Ore all-depth season is open Thursdays through Sundays  and nearshore season (inside 40 fathoms) Mondays through Wednesdays until Sept. 30, and the Southern Oregon Area south of Humbug Mountain  remains open seven days a week  until Oct. 31. Both fisheries could close earlier if the harvest quota is reached.

More details on seasons and regulations can be found at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/halibut/.

Fall chinook season opens early in Priest Rapids Pool

Action: Fall chinook season opens two days early to coincide with Labor Day weekend.

Effective date:   Aug 30, 2014 (one hour before official sunrise).

Species affected:   Chinook salmon

Location:   Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Wanapum Dam

General Rules: Daily limit six (6) chinook only; up to two adults may be retained. All other rules for Columbia River apply, including barbless hooks. Two poles allowed through Aug 31, 2014.

Reason for action: The standard opening date for fall chinook in the Priest Rapids Pool is September 1. With Labor Day weekend falling on August 30, 2014, opening two days early will allow for additional angling opportunity.

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license  Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River spring chinook fisheries.  The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin. Check the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or the webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/rules_all_freshwater.j

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery season to close end of Labor Day

Action:  Lake Wenatchee closes for sockeye salmon fishing.

Effective date: Sept. 1, 2014 (one hour after official sunset).

Species affected:  Sockeye salmon

Location:  Lake Wenatchee (Chelan Co.)

Reason for action:  The majority of adult sockeye salmon currently in Lake Wenatchee will soon become largely unavailable to anglers due to their annual migration to the spawning grounds on the White and Little Wenatchee Rivers.  Sockeye condition and desirability will have declined drastically. This closure will further reduce unnecessary impacts to bull trout with such relatively few sockeye still being present in Lake Wenatchee.

Hatchery steelhead daily limit to increase on the lower Cowlitz River

Action:  Cowlitz River anglers may retain up to three hatchery steelhead.

Species affected:  SteelheaD

Effective dates:  Aug. 22 through Oct. 31, 2014

Location:  From the Hwy. 4 Bridge at Kelso upstream to Mayfield Dam

Reason for action:  There has been strong showing of hatchery summer run steelhead on the Cowlitz. Through mid-August, a total of nearly 7,000 hatchery summer run steelhead have returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Also this year, a limited number of steelhead is being recycled downstream to provide additional angling opportunity.

Other information:  Release wild steelhead.

NPS To Look At Pros, Cons Of Grizzly Bear ‘Restoration’ In North Cascades

The National Park Service announced today it’s going to look into the feasibility of the “restoration” of grizzly bears in Washington’s North Cascades, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the toothsome critters will be reintroduced to that rumpled part of the state.

“This is the first stage of a multi-step process to help inform decisions about grizzly bear restoration in the North Cascades ecosystem,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a press release. “The National Park Service and our partners in this effort haven’t made any decisions about the bear’s restoration at this time as federal law requires us to look at a range of options, including not restoring grizzlies to the area.”

One of the service’s partners just happens to be the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, and its director, Phil Anderson, said that his agency welcomed the chance to participate in the process.

That’s because it’s required in the Revised Codes of Washington, which also state that “Grizzly bears shall not be transplanted or introduced into the state. Only grizzly bears that are native to Washington state may be utilized by the department for management programs.”

This won’t stop the inevitable rumors, but I flat-out asked a WDFW spokesman if we’ll see any livestock trailers bearing grizzle bears pulling up Highway 20 anytime soon.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.

Ursus horriblis is extremely rare in Washington; the most recent sighting was in the North Cascades in 2011 and Stevens County in 2012.

The announcement marks the start of drafting of an environmental impact statement, which is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The process will take an estimated three years and look at the impacts of bear restoration and alternatives.

MATT STRICKLAND (LEFT) AND BOB LEE, MEMBERS OF AN ODFW SURVEY CREW, CAPTURE AND MARK A LARGE CHINOOK SALMON AS PART OF A POPULATION STUDY ON THE OREGON COAST. (ODFW)

Nets In Siuslaw This Fall Part Of Study To Better Estimate King Run

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

How many Chinook salmon make their way back to the Siuslaw River in the fall?

That is a question important not only to anglers on Oregon’s north coast but also for fisheries as far away as British Columbia and Alaska.

You might say the Siuslaw is an international river because Chinook that originate in its waters will venture as far north as Alaska, supporting recreational fisheries all along the coasts of northern Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska.

MATT STRICKLAND (LEFT) AND BOB LEE, MEMBERS OF AN ODFW SURVEY CREW, CAPTURE AND MARK A LARGE CHINOOK SALMON AS PART OF A POPULATION STUDY ON THE OREGON COAST. (ODFW)

MATT STRICKLAND (LEFT) AND BOB LEE, MEMBERS OF AN ODFW SURVEY CREW, CAPTURE AND MARK A LARGE CHINOOK SALMON AS PART OF A POPULATION STUDY ON THE OREGON COAST. (ODFW)

This fall, fishery biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will capture adult Chinook in the Siuslaw River near Mapleton as part of a broader study to accurately estimate this year’s return. Nets will be placed in the Siuslaw from late August into October to capture the salmon as they travel upstream to spawn. Nets will be monitored while they are in the river so that when fish enter them they can be removed and released as quickly as possible after they are marked by punching a hole in their cheek plates.

The population study is being funded by a grant from the Pacific Salmon Commission, a 16-person body with representatives from the United States and Canada. The commission divides salmon harvests so that each country reaps the benefits of its investment in salmon production and conservation. Studies such as this year’s project on the Siuslaw are used in the management of local and international fisheries.

Under Pacific Salmon Treaty management, Siuslaw fall Chinook are considered an indicator stock. They are one of  a suite of populations considered each year when managers get together to set harvest guidelines for the ocean and inland waterways along the north Pacific coast.

The nets will be set at night to take advantage of lower temperatures, according to Shelly Miller, ODFW fish biologist in charge of the project.

“Putting the nets out at night reduces stress on the fish, and reduces interaction with anglers in this popular fishery,” she said.

Once salmon migration into the river has passed its peak, sometime in mid to late October, activities will shift to counting live spawning Chinook and finding and examining salmon carcasses on their spawning grounds. Throughout the season, crews will survey more than 100 miles of Chinook spawning habitat. This information, coupled with angler creel surveys, will give Miller and her crew the information they need to make good estimates of total fall Chinook abundance.

The last time this kind of data was gathered on the Siuslaw was eight years ago. Similar data was gathered more recently for Oregon’s two other coastal indicator salmon populations in the Nehalem and Siletz rivers.

Miller said the data collected from this year’s study will be used to test the less intensive and more cost-effective methods developed eight years ago and inform fall Chinook population estimates in the Siuslaw for several years to come.

Since 2007, population estimates for Siuslaw fall Chinook have ranged from a low in 2007 of 7,000 to a high in 2011 of 31,000 fish. During that same time period, estimates for the other two indicator salmon populations have ranged from 4,000 to 17,000 on the Nehalem and 1,200 to 13,000 on the Siletz.

Commercial Fisherman Charged With Assaulting NOAA Observer

The deck boss of an Astoria-based commercial fishing boat was arrested earlier this week for allegedly assaulting a federal fishery observer aboard the vessel while at sea this past May.

According to NOAA, Richard Clayton Palek, 46, of Knappa, Ore., also impeded and interfered with the observer stationed on the groundfish trawler

He was charged with a federal misdemeanor of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and had a preliminary appearance in U.S. District Court in Portland last week.

According to NOAA, if found guilty, the charge is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to half a year in jail.

“We’re committed to protecting the safety and security of observers,” said William Giles, special agent in charge of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for the West Coast Region, in a press release. “They are professionals with physically demanding jobs in challenging conditions. Fortunately most vessel crews recognize the importance of observers and treat them with the respect they deserve.”

Anywhere from 80 to 120 federal observers work West Coast waters alongside commercial fishermen, collecting data and samples from 15 key fisheries. That data is used for stock assessments, research, catch monitoring and more to help keep the fisheries sustainable.

SENIOR TROOPER JAMES COLLOM RECEIVES HIS AWARD. (OSP)

OSP Trooper Collom Wins Another Award For Wildlife Policing Work

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON STATE POLICE

Conservation-based organization, Shikar-Safari Club International, honored a Central Point-area Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division trooper today as the State’s top wildlife enforcement officer for 2013. The award was presented in Salem with the OSP’s leadership staff in attendance.

On August 20, 2014, Shikar-Safari Club International representative Lynn Loacker presented Senior Trooper James Collom with the Shikar-Safari Club International “Wildlife Officer of the Year” award, placing him in a distinguished group of officers who have earned recognition for their commitment to fish and wildlife enforcement and protection of natural resources. The award has been given annually for more than 25 years to honor outstanding wildlife enforcement officers whose efforts during the previous year reflected outstanding performance and achievement among the state agency’s sworn fish and wildlife law enforcement personnel.

SENIOR TROOPER JAMES COLLOM RECEIVES HIS AWARD. (OSP)

SENIOR TROOPER JAMES COLLOM RECEIVES HIS AWARD. (OSP)

In presenting the award, Lynn Loacker noted that wildlife enforcement officers rarely receive the recognition and encouragement they so greatly deserve for protecting our wildlife and natural resources.

“We congratulate Senior Trooper Collom on being our selection for the Shikar Safari Club International’s ‘Wildlife Officer of the Year’ award. This award puts him in a very distinguished group who has earned this recognition for their outstanding performance and dedication to duty,” said Loacker.

Senior Trooper Collom has been involved with enforcing fish and wildlife laws for about 22 years including fourteen years with OSP following nine years as a game warden in Idaho. Passionate about his job, Collom is known to be a top performer on his Fish & Wildlife team including the number of field contacts, investigations, and enforcement activities. He has a high number of field contacts, written the majority of search warrants for his team, and assists Patrol Division troopers in handling crashes and other calls for rural law enforcement services.

As the Department’s statewide coordinator for the “Turn-in-Poachers” (TIP) program, Collom administers rewards given by the Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) to tipsters for information on fish and wildlife cases. He also writes articles for the OHA magazine, works closely with local ODFW biologists, is a speaker at hunter education classes, and helps organize OSP’s booth each year at the Sportsmen’s Show.

Some recent cases worked by Collom include:

* The investigation of an Eagle Point-area deer poaching ring that led to the service of seven search warrants and the charging of eight suspects for crimes including 23 felony counts.

* The investigation of the poaching of a trophy class buck that was shot and left to waste in a field in the Eagle Point area. A difficult case to solve with little evidence, Collom had a news release issued and solicited funding for a $3,000 reward. The investigation also identified the unlawfully shooting of three large bucks and led to charges for a husband and his wife.

In May, Senior Trooper Jim Collom also received the OSP Fish & Wildlife Division’s 2013 “Trooper of the Year” award.

Shikar-Safari Club International is a worldwide organization dedicated to the protection, enhancement and preservation of wildlife and has placed particular emphasis on endangered and threatened species through the promotion of enforcement of conservation laws and regulations.