Category Archives: Headlines

TRISTAN BEUTNER SHOWS OFF A NICE STEELHEAD FROM TOKUL CREEK, CAUGHT SEVERAL DECEMBERS AGO. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Snoqualmie, Most Of Stilly Systems Closing To Fishing

State fishery managers are closing most of two Puget Sound river systems to fishing to get as many winter steelhead back to hatcheries as possible, ensuring stocking programs continue into the future.

The Stillaguamish is being shut down first — on Dec. 5, the mainstem, South Fork, plus Canyon and Pilchuck Creeks, and North Fork below French Creek close.

Then, starting Dec. 16, the Snoqualmie below the falls, Tolt and Raging Rivers and Tokul Creek close.

TRISTAN BEUTNER SHOWS OFF A NICE STEELHEAD FROM TOKUL CREEK, CAUGHT SEVERAL DECEMBERS AGO. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

TRISTAN BEUTNER SHOWS OFF A NICE STEELHEAD FROM TOKUL CREEK, CAUGHT SEVERAL DECEMBERS AGO. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

With no steelhead smolts released in 2014 or 2015 for return this season, what winter-runs that do come back are needed at the Whitehorse and Tokul Creek Hatcheries for broodstock purposes.

Those releases were affected by 2014’s Wild Fish Conservancy lawsuit and settlement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife which barred stocking in those streams federal fishery overseers approved hatchery genetic management plans for the early winter programs.

Earlier this year that happened and the smolts went out — 130,000 from Whitehorse into the North Fork and 74,000 from Tokul Creek — but those won’t begin returning until winter 2017-18.

A WINTER STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST SPRING, DURING THE FIRST RELEASE IN THREE YEARS. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

A WINTER STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST SPRING, DURING THE FIRST RELEASE IN THREE YEARS. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

Of note, there will be some steelheading opportunity on the Stilly. WDFW is leaving the water between French Creek and Swede Heaven Bridge on the North Fork open through Jan. 31 “to harvest any remaining hatchery summer steelhead.”

(HARPERS TACKLE AND OUTDOORS)

Woodland Tackle Shop Hosting Smoked Fish Contest Dec. 3

Harper’s Tackle and Outdoor is hosting a smoked fish contest this weekend as part of its seventh anniversary celebrations, and anglers are invited to help judge the entries.

The Woodland, Wash., fishing gear retailer just off the banks of Southwest Washington’s famed Lewis River has been holding sales and demos, and putting on games and pizza Fridays the past two weeks, and this Saturday the attention turns to smoked salmon and steelhead.

(HARPERS TACKLE AND OUTDOORS)

(HARPER’S TACKLE AND OUTDOORS)

Top prize is a $30 gift certificate to Harper’s Tackle, and a hat and T-shirt.

To enter, bring in a good-sized chunk of your smoked salmon or steelhead by 7 p.m.,  tomorrow, Friday, Dec., 2.

Customers and store staffers will taste each and select a favorite.

A winner will be announced by 4 p.m. on Saturday, and prizes will also be awarded for second and third.

Harper’s Tackle and Outdoors is located at 267 Millard Ave. in Woodland, just a couple hundred yards east up Highway 503 off Exit 21.

WINTER BLACKMOUTH FISHING CAN PRODUCE MID-TEEN FISH LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT BY GEORGE HARRIS IN THE SAN JUANS ISLANDS LAST WINTER. (NMTA)

Floor: Good Blackmouth Fishing Ahead In San Juans, Opening Today

Editor’s note: The following is Tony Floor’s monthly newsletter and is run with permission.

By Tony Floor, Fishing Affairs Director, Northwest Marine Trade Association

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been chewing about my December column. For inspiration, I turned back the pages of time to my first Tony’s Tackle Box column in 2005. That column provided about as much inspiration as walking into the library at two o’clock in the morning, sober. Get my drift?

For nearly the last 20 years, I have looked forward to December and the beginning of winter blackmouth salmon fishing like a five-year-old at Christmas. While that enthusiasm is still there, especially to fish in the San Juan Islands and the banks in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca during these upcoming weeks and months, there have been recent changes in the salmon management game resulting in early season closures producing about as much negativity as last month’s presidential election. Chain up, please, and let me explain.

WINTER BLACKMOUTH FISHING CAN PRODUCE MID-TEEN FISH LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT BY GEORGE HARRIS IN THE SAN JUANS ISLANDS LAST WINTER. (NMTA)

WINTER BLACKMOUTH FISHING CAN PRODUCE MID-TEEN FISH LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT BY GEORGE HARRIS IN THE SAN JUANS ISLANDS LAST WINTER. (NMTA)

As a soldier to promote selective fishing for these winter blackmouth, all the way back to the mid-late 90s when the state began to clip the adipose fins off all hatchery Chinook and coho salmon, the objective was to expand salmon fishing seasons as anglers could distinguish the difference between wild (unmarked) fish versus hatchery (marked) fish. As these marked fish became available in size and abundance, seasons were expanded and anglers enjoyed, with predictability, fishing opportunities producing positive economic sport fishing activity throughout the region.

However, during the last 3-4 years, scientists employed by the Puget Sound treaty tribes, discovered that through the execution of these selective fisheries, undersized juvenile and legal size wild Chinook salmon are negatively impacted. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) accepted the tribal analysis and, as a result, most marine waters in northern Puget Sound, the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands shut down the last two winters much earlier than scheduled.

The state’s salmon management biologists who manage these sport salmon fisheries today assess ongoing impacts (encounters), which now govern angler’s access and pursuit of hatchery-produced Chinook salmon. Each geographic area, as described above, has an “encounter ceiling.” When the encounter ceiling is reached, slam goes the door for that area and those affected waters become off limit to salmon anglers.

According to sources at WDFW, about $10 million bucks are spent annually, funded largely by the state legislature and the feds to produce and fin clip hatchery-produced Chinook and coho salmon in Puget Sound. These hatchery salmon have one assignment in life: get caught by Washington fishers, hopefully.

For many of my salmon angling brethren, who spend significant amounts of time in their lives to create and improve sport fishing opportunities in Washington, especially in the annual salmon season setting process, results in too many cases are unproductive efforts.

As reported in this space last spring, when new WDFW Director Jim Unsworth said no to the tribes, it resulted in no agreement, which closed fishing until further notice. The tribes attempted to squeeze the Department to accept a bad deal for the umpteenth time in a row, forcing unnecessary restrictions on anglers. Unsworth, who represents salmon anglers and the sport fishing industry in these state/tribal government to government negotiations, has been working hard in the offseason to find a more productive outcome for 2017. Time will tell.

In the meantime, our winter blackmouth Chinook salmon fishing kicked off last month in north Sound areas. It appears that the zillions of sub-legal size Chinook plaguing most Puget Sound waters a year ago have survived very well and are contributing to quality salmon fishing now.

Today, the San Juan Islands winter season opens and if the abundance of keeper-size winter Chinook (22-inches and greater) is as good as October, we can look forward to some good salmon fishing this winter. As most winter salmon anglers know, the Islands have a reputation for delivering outstanding salmon fishing now through late winter.

I’ve got my “Gone Fishing” hat on as you navigate your way through these words. I can’t stand it. My San Juans Island blackmouth fishing guru, Derek Floyd from Angler’s Choice Charters, tells me he smells the blackmouth all the way from his back porch on the north end of Camano Island. “Let’s go Floor!” Yeah baby, I love this job and the smell of fresh winter Chinook in the morning.

Fishing License Fee Increase

By the way, there has been quite a bit of dialogue recently about the WDFW significantly increasing your sport fishing license fee during the upcoming legislative session. While the agency is struggling to keep pace with the costs and demands of maintaining its legislative mandated responsibilities, they have your wallets in sight for a large proposed fee increase. Sport fishing license fees currently produce more revenue for the agency than any other activity, yet we are often whacked too often in terms of fishing opportunities.

Organized sport fishing groups such as the Northwest Marine Trade Association, Fish Northwest, Coastal Conservation Association, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and Puget Sound Anglers are actively involved in discussions with the Department on this proposed action. From the industry’s viewpoint, a license fee increase is not acceptable without meaningful change in fishing opportunity. Stay tuned.

As the full blown kickoff to winter blackmouth fishing in most areas is now underway and the holidays are fast approaching, I’m encouraging you to get outside and whack a few winter Chinook. After all, it’s my Christmas present to you, a little pinch of December’s melt-in-your mouth hatchery-produced Chinook salmon between your cheek and gum. “Hey Derek Floyd! I’m ready and giddy-up!” See you on the water.

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WDFW Extends Sol Duc Hatchery Coho Retention To Mid-December

THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE

Retention of hatchery coho on the Sol Duc River extended through Dec. 15

Action: Salmon retention on the Sol Duc River is scheduled to end Nov. 30. This action extends the harvest of hatchery coho on the Sol Duc River through Dec.15.

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Effective date: Dec.1, 2016 through Dec. 15, 2016.

Species affected: Returning hatchery fall coho.

Location: The Sol Duc River downstream of the hatchery.

Reason for action: Coho broodstock needs at the Sol Duc Hatchery have been met, and there are surplus hatchery (adipose fin clipped) coho in the Sol Duc River below the hatchery. The Sol Duc is open for trout and steelhead fishing, and this action allows anglers to retain hatchery coho along with trout and hatchery steelhead.

Other information: Daily limit 2 fish; minimum size 14 inches; release all wild steelhead, wild coho, and chinook.

On Dec.16 the regulations will revert to those indicated in the 2016/17 “Washington Sport Fishing Rules” pamphlet for the Sol Duc River.

Information contact: David Low, WDFW fish biologist, (360) 249-1216.

A CLOSE-UP ON AN IMAGE ASSOCIATED WITH THE CASE AGAINST BILLY J. SWANN SHOWS A FRESH, OPEN WOUND WHERE A WILD COHO'S ADIPOSE FIN HAD BEEN BEFORE BEING CUT AWAY.

Cowlitz Guide Pleads Guilty To Killing 2 Wild Coho

A Southwest Washington fishing guide pleaded guilty late this morning to one count of violating the Endangered Species Act during October 2014’s salmon fishery on the Cowlitz River.

Billy “Bill” J. Swann entered the plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Tacoma after being charged earlier this month with “knowingly and unlawfully” possessing, delivering and transporting two natural-origin coho.

A CLOSE-UP ON AN IMAGE ASSOCIATED WITH THE CASE AGAINST BILLY J. SWANN SHOWS A FRESH, OPEN WOUND WHERE A WILD COHO'S ADIPOSE FIN HAD BEEN BEFORE BEING CUT AWAY.

A CLOSE-UP ON AN IMAGE ASSOCIATED WITH THE CASE AGAINST BILLY J. SWANN SHOWS A FRESH, OPEN WOUND WHERE A WILD COHO’S ADIPOSE FIN HAD BEEN BEFORE BEING CUT AWAY BY THE GUIDE DURING AN OCT. 1, 2014 TRIP WITH FORMER SPONSORS.

Sentencing of the Swanny’s Guided Fishing operator for the misdemeanor is set for early March 2017, with federal prosecutors recommending probation and a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000, according to court documents.

Douglas Tufts, Swann’s attorney, says his client acknowledges making a “dumb mistake,” was “highly embarrassed” to have killed two illegal fish and put a major former sponsor in a bad position, but hopes that others learn from the episode.

“In a high state of anxiety, he made some poor choices,” says Tufts.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington is expected to issue a press release after sentencing next year.

When the incident occurred Oct. 1, the Cowlitz was in the midst of its best return of hatchery coho and best fishery for them since 2001, according to WDFW statistics, and the river was seeing a decent return of wild coho as well.

Both stocks were listed as threatened under ESA in June 2005, along with all other Lower Columbia coho populations below the Klickitat River.

However, only adipose-fin-clipped coho can be kept on the Cowlitz, and only the hatchery-reared variety have that small fin between the dorsal and tail clipped off.

That’s performed before the young fish are released into the river so that anglers can selectively harvest the typically more abundant returning adult hatchery fish, which are meant for consumption, while letting the generally fewer wild salmon continue on their journey to the spawning grounds and help rebuild natural stocks.

On the Cowlitz that day, Swann “encouraged and aided members of the group to remove the two naturally-spawned Coho salmon from the river,” according to today’s nine-page federal plea agreement. “After landing the fish, (the) defendant clubbed the fish, killing both of them.”

A widely shared Oct. 2 email terminating the sponsor’s involvement with Swann states that that morning the three anglers had been told by Swann it was legal to keep wild coho on the Cowlitz.

According to Tufts, Swann had just arrived that day on the river after having been guiding other waters. Not all have the same regulations or limits, and some in Pugetropolis and on the Oregon Coast allow for retention of wild coho at times, but outside of the Willamette above the falls they’re generally off limits in the Lower Columbia system. It’s believed they’ve been illegal to keep on the Cowlitz since the late 1990s.

The email says that after a photo of one of Swann’s guests that day holding a coho with a fresh cut at the location of the adipose fin and another image showing Swann with a second angler hefting an unclipped, fixed-eyed coho well out of the water were posted to Facebook, online feedback suggested to the sponsor’s rep it was not actually legal to keep wild coho.

Challenged, Swann waived it off as haters just hating on him — at one time he was among the most quoted Western Washington fishing guides, regularly appearing on outdoor radio shows and in this and other magazines — and claimed Cowlitz coho were all hatchery origin, according to the email.

According to federal court documents, “At some point during the fishing excursion, (Swann) became aware that it is unlawful to take the wild salmon. Defendant contends he became aware of this fact after the fish were landed. To conceal the fact that defendant had possession of wild salmon in violation of the ESA and Washington law, defendant used a blade to remove the intact adipose fins from the salmon. Further, defendant directed the two clients who had landed the fish to falsely record on their Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sport Catch Record Cards that the salmon were hatchery salmon when, as the defendant knew, the fish were wild salmon.”

At a January 2015 meeting with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration special agent, Swann “denied that the salmon were taken unlawfully, and stated that photographs published on the internet of the fish with the adipose fins intact ‘could have been photo shopped,'” according to the agreement.

Ironically, the ESA violation occurred less than a month after news broke about another case involving wild coho.

Warrenton, Ore., charter skipper Curtis Clauson, who “clubbed, filleted and concealed coho salmon with intact fins onboard his vessel while guiding sport fishing clients,” according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, and “acknowledged having done the same on a regular basis over the past several years,” pleaded guilty in early September 2014 and was sentenced to a year’s probation in U.S. District Court, forfeited his Coast Guard certification and was barred from captaining boats for a year.

As a condition of today’s plea agreement, Swann is required to publish a statement in a fishing trade publication acknowledging killing wild salmon during the trip and “emphasize the importance of complying with federal and state laws protecting fish and wildlife.”

Tufts says that preserving fisheries is important to Swann and his livelihood.

Editor’s notes: In the interest of full disclosure, I fished with Swann twice eight to ten years ago, and his former sponsor was at one time a major advertiser in Northwest Sportsman magazine.

WDFW FISHERIES BIOLOGIST JOHN WEINHEIMER AND WADE RAMSEY SHOW OFF STOUT STRINGERS FROM THE BLACK FRIDAY OPENER AT ROWLAND LAKE, ON THE WASHINGTON SIDE OF THE COLUMBIA GORGE. “WE CAUGHT ’EM TROLLING 2.5 AND 3.0 MAG LIP PLUGS AND CRAWL-RETRIEVING 3-INCH POWERBAIT TROUT WORMS,” REPORTS BUZZ RAMSEY. “SEEMS LIKE WHAT THEY WANT BEST CHANGES EVERY YEAR.” (BUZZ RAMSEY)

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (11-29-16)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM STEPHEN GRAY AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW, AND TANNA TAKATA, ODFW,  AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 2 boat anglers with no catch.  68 bank anglers with 11 adult and 1 jack coho and 1 steelhead kept and 2 adult coho, 1 cutthroat, and 1 chum released.

Last week Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,343 coho adults, 161 jacks, 12 fall Chinook adults, 18 summer-run steelhead, five winter-run steelhead and 14 cutthroat trout in four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 148 coho adults and 20 coho jacks into the Cispus River upstream of the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek near Randle and 124 coho adults and 10 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

Last week, Tacoma employees released 272 coho adults, 38 coho jacks, seven fall Chinook adults and three cutthroat trout into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and 439 coho adults and 34 jacks into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,600 cubic feet per second on Monday, November 28. Visibility is at nine feet and water temperature is 50.2 degrees F.

McNary Dam to Hwy 395
Anglers averaged 21 hours per steelhead this past week similar to the week prior.  Boat anglers averaged just over ½ a steelhead per boat, 20 hours/fish. Bank angling continues to be slow with anglers averaging 25 hours per steelhead.

Hwy 395 to the old Hanford Townsite
Very slow for steelhead in the Ringold Springs area this past week. WDFW staff interviewed 59 anglers with one steelhead harvested.

WDFW FISHERIES BIOLOGIST JOHN WEINHEIMER AND WADE RAMSEY SHOW OFF STOUT STRINGERS FROM THE BLACK FRIDAY OPENER AT ROWLAND LAKE, ON THE WASHINGTON SIDE OF THE COLUMBIA GORGE. “WE CAUGHT ’EM TROLLING 2.5 AND 3.0 MAG LIP PLUGS AND CRAWL-RETRIEVING 3-INCH POWERBAIT TROUT WORMS,” REPORTS BUZZ RAMSEY. “SEEMS LIKE WHAT THEY WANT BEST CHANGES EVERY YEAR.” (BUZZ RAMSEY)

WDFW FISHERIES BIOLOGIST JOHN WEINHEIMER AND WADE RAMSEY SHOW OFF STOUT STRINGERS FROM THE BLACK FRIDAY OPENER AT ROWLAND LAKE, ON THE WASHINGTON SIDE OF THE COLUMBIA GORGE. “WE CAUGHT ’EM TROLLING 2.5 AND 3.0 MAG LIP PLUGS AND CRAWL-RETRIEVING 3-INCH POWERBAIT TROUT WORMS,” REPORTS BUZZ RAMSEY. “SEEMS LIKE WHAT THEY WANT BEST CHANGES EVERY YEAR.” (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Weekend Fishing Opportunities:

*         Steelhead fishing has been fair to good in The Dalles and John Day pools.
*         A few winter steelhead should be available from the beaches on the lower Columbia River.
*         White sturgeon retention is closed from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington Border above McNary Dam, but remains an option for catch-and-release fishing.
*         Walleye fishing is excellent in the The Dalles Pool and good in the John Day Pool.

Current Columbia River regulations for salmon, steelhead, shad and sturgeon can be found at the Sport Fishing Regulation Update<http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/index.asp> page.

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

The salmonid creel program on the lower Columbia has ended for the year and will resume February of 2017.

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed one adult coho kept for four boats (11 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for five bank anglers, and one steelhead kept plus six steelhead released for four boats (six anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed one adult coho and four steelhead kept plus four steelhead released for 17 bank anglers; and 10 steelhead and one coho jack kept plus 15 steelhead released for nine boats (21 anglers).

John Day Arm: No report.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

Bonneville Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed eight sublegal sturgeon released for two bank anglers and 11 sublegal and four oversize sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

The Dalles Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed two sublegal and one legal sturgeon released for one boats (two anglers).

John Day Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed no catch for three bank anglers; and 32 sublegal and eight legal sturgeon released for five boats (17 anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed no catch for two bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed 262 walleye kept and 50 walleye released for 17 boats (36 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed 26 walleye kept and three walleye released for 19 boats (46 anglers).

……………………………………………………………….

 

(OSP)

2 Elgin Residents Charged, 1 Suspect Flees In Case Of 2 Poached, Wasted Bull Elk

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

On November 16, 2016, Oregon State Police asked for the public’s help to locate individuals involved in the incident involving the unlawful killing and waste of two bull elk in Union County.

(OSP)

(OSP)

As a result of the overwhelming support from the community, Nathan Crouch, age 26, Dylan Crouch, age 22, and Brianna Black, age 18, all from Elgin, were identified as suspects in the incident. Dylan Crouch and Briana Black were charged with three misdemeanor charges of aiding in a game violation.

(OSP)

(OSP)

At this time, Nathan Crouch has not been located and is believed to have fled the state. He is facing misdemeanor charges which include two counts of unlawful taking of a bull elk, casting a light within 500 feet of a vehicle, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, hunting prohibited hours, two counts for waste of a game animal, hunting on the enclosed lands of another and hunting prohibited area-public roadway.

(OSP)

(OSP)

During the course of the investigation, information was obtained that Nathan Crouch had also unlawfully taken a large bull elk in Union County a few years prior to this incident. The antlers from the bull elk were located and seized by Troopers. Due to the statute of limitations, Nathan Crouch can only be charged with the unlawful possession of the antlers. This will be an additional charge for Nathan Crouch.

Oregon State Police is extending a special thanks to the public for their assistance in this case and is further seeking the public’s assistance regarding the whereabouts of Nathan Crouch. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to contact OSP Senior Trooper Marcus McDowell through the TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or Email at marcus.mcdowell@state.or.us). Information may be kept anonymous.

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

Duck Hunter Rescued By Yakima Sheriff’s Brand-new Boat

In the morning, a Yakima County deputy sheriff was ripping up and down Idaho’s Clearwater River, learning how to run his sheriff’s slick new rescue boat, and that afternoon, he put his training to work, plucking a duck hunter and his craft out of a log jam.

The incident occurred on the Yakima River near Zillah the afternoon of Nov. 12.

The 33-year-old hunter and his black Lab named Gus had put in at Granger and run upstream to the North Meyers Road Bridge, a stretch with numerous side sloughs.

But on the way back downriver, as they slowed and approached a narrow channel around an island, Gus jumped onto the front deck, nearly falling off, and then the current took the boat into a log jam, according to a press release from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

The hunter wisely decided to call for assistance, and as it happened, a brand-new SJX 2170 was rolling into town.

Custom-built to replace the county’s “aging river jet, which has been plagued with mechanical and design issues,” the shallow-running sled with the 200-horse inboard was expected to get a fair amount of use, what with more folks recreating on the river and some needing rescue, but perhaps not quite so soon as fresh out of the shop.

That morning, Deputy James Scott, who is also a county rescue diver, had been in Orofino, Idaho, where SJX is based, to take delivery of the boat — after a spin.

Builder Steve Stajkowski likes to give his clients a feel for what his jet boats can do, an experience written up in the March 2016 issue of Northwest Sportsman (headline: “Hang on!”).

Wrote Ralph Bartholdt:

“The multicolored SJX airs over the shelf and around a bend, and just before the rock-solid chin of land can catch the bow, Stajkowski jams the engine into reverse and the 21-foot boat that weighs 1,750 pounds empty, but a bit more loaded, gulps its bow into the river, then dances backwards like a newly hooked redside rainbow shaking its head.

The current sucks the boat downstream and Stajkowski slams the throttle forward again and, rock outcrop easily averted, the SJX leans hard starboard, folds around a bend into open water and the throttle tilts as the 2170 tail skips upstream.

We’ve seen this before. It is reminiscent of a meat-eating rainbow trout at the end of a line. Landlocked or sea run, it emanates strength and a kind of whacked-out resilience that the word “wild” best describes.

Stajkowski says that Deputy Scott was “a great student, absorbing everything I had taught him” during the training session.

That afternoon, Scott headed west on Highway 12, new boat in tow, and hadn’t been in Yakima County for more than 20 minutes before the call came in, according to the sheriff’s office.

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

With afternoon wearing on, the swift water rescue team ran the 6 miles upstream to the trapped boater and his pup sitting in their stuck craft in the jam.

This part of the Yakima is much different than the more famous canyon stretch, which cuts through layers of basalt with few scattered islands. It’s a series of “narrow navigable channels, deceptively shallow areas along with large gravel bars and log hazards.”

The SJX, aka “River 1,” ate it up.

“After approximately 20 minutes of cutting logs and maneuvering the entrapped boat with rope it was pulled free of the log jam by River 1,” the sheriff’s office reported. “The boat was pulled upriver to a safe location where a quick inspection was conducted before both boats returned to the Granger launch in the dark.”

“Without River 1 there was no way [Yakima County Sheriff’s Office] could have safely freed the entrapped boat by pulling it upstream, freeing it from the log jam.  With the additional safety lights and shallow water capabilities of River 1 the freed boat was safely escorted downstream to the Granger boat launch in darkness.  River 1 performed flawlessly during its maiden voyage and will serve the residence (sic) of Yakima County for many years,” officers reported.

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)

(YAKIMA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Speaking of those safety lights, back when SJX and the county first started talking about a new boat, Stajkowski took Scott and another deputy out for a night of bowfishing for carp. The boat’s low profile, deck and lights are perfect for poking the many porky goldfish swimming in the Columbia Basin.

“I have yet to bring a first-timer along on a night-fish hunt who was not 100 percent completely hooked, with the two deputies being no exception,” Stajkowski notes.

He says he feels blessed to be able to combine his loves of hunting, fishing, running boats and making friends. That his craft help rescue outdoorsmen only makes it all the better, no doubt.

(OSP)

Warm Springs, Wapato Men Charged With Poaching Buck Off Oregon Road

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

The Oregon State Police in conjunction with the Wheeler County Sheriff’s Office and Warm Springs Department of Natural Resources recently completed an investigation into the unlawful take of a trophy 4×6 buck mule deer in Wheeler County near Fossil.

(OSP)

(OSP)

The investigation revealed on October 27, 2016 at approximately 6:20PM, Erland SUPPAH SR, age 69, of Warm Springs, and Oscar FINLEY, age 40, Wapato, Washington unlawfully shot the trophy buck on private property without permission during closed season from the highway right-of-way.

On November 21, SUPPAH was criminally cited for Unlawful Taking Buck Deer Closed Season, Hunting on Enclosed Lands of Another, and Hunting Prohibited Area; Highway Right-of-Way. FINLEY was criminally cited with Unlawful Taking Buck Deer Closed Season and Hunting on Enclosed Lands of Another. The Deer was seized as evidence.

No further information at this time.

(OSP)

2 More Oregon Elk Shot, Left To Waste, This Time Near St. Helens

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

The Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish and Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help to identify the person(s) responsible for the unlawful killing of two elk in Columbia County on November 21, 2016. This is following a similar incident that occurred last week in Union County.

On November 21 at about 7am, troopers began an investigation after one cow elk and one five point bull elk were shot and left to waste on private property near Saint Helens (near Smith Road between Robinette Road and Dart Creek Road). OSP was able to salvage the elk where they will be donated to charity.

(OSP)

(OSP)

A reward of up to $1000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. The reward is comprised of $500 from the Oregon Hunters Association Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) program and $500 from the Columbia County Chapter of the Oregon Hunter’s Association.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Trooper Justin Morgan at (503)396-2408 or justin.morgan2@state.or.us. The TIP hotline may also be called any time at 1-800-452-7888. Any information may be left anonymously.