Category Archives: Headlines

Salmon, Sturgeon Rules Changing In Columbia Gorge

Columbia salmon managers announced that the river from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon-Washington border will reopen for Chinook starting Thursday, May 28, and as of Saturday, May 30, the bank-only waters below the dam will open for boat fishing.

However, sturgeon retention in the John Day Pool will close as of June 3. Just over three-quarters of the quota was estimated to have been caught through May 24. Catch and release can continue in open areas.

The rule changes were made this afternoon.

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

Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington today opened two recreational Chinook salmon seasons on the Columbia River based on improved returns, and closed retention sturgeon fishing in another area.

Chinook salmon fishing will open to boat anglers from Beacon Rock upstream to the fishing deadline at Bonneville Dam, effective Saturday May 30 through June 15.  Previously, this section of the river was open only to bank anglers. With this modification, Chinook fishing is now permitted for both boat and bank fishers from Tongue Point upstream to Bonneville Dam. This area will also open to retention of steelhead along with Chinook.

Fishery managers also reopened the Columbia above Bonneville Dam to Chinook salmon and steelhead fishing from Thursday, May 28 through June 15. The open area extends from the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam, upstream to the Oregon/Washington border. In addition, bank (but not boat) fishing is permitted on both sides of the river from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Tower Island power lines.

The daily bag limit for all fisheries noted above includes two adult salmonids per day, but only one may be a Chinook. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept and all other permanent regulations apply.  Sockeye may not be retained until the summer season opens June 16.

Additionally, fishery managers closed the John Day Pool and tributaries to retention of white sturgeon, effective June 3. Catch and release fishing for sturgeon remains allowed in the John Day Pool, except from May through July in the sturgeon spawning sanctuary that runs from McNary Dam downstream to the I-82 Bridge.

A USFS MAP SHOWS THE CLOSURE AREA IN LAST SUMMER'S DUNCAN FIRE. (USFS)

Meeting June 1 On Upper Entiat Closure That Will Affect High Hunters

Hunters and others concerned with the Forest Service’s closure of all access to and through the upper Entiat Valley due to the risk of debris flows will have a chance to learn more at open house next Monday.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will have information on the Duncan Fire closure area at the Entiat Grange Hall, 14105 Kinzel St., in Entiat from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 1.

Though some of the area was opened for mushroom hunters this spring, gating of the Entiat Valley Road and the ban on all traffic — foot, horse or otherwise — will likely affect access into the Glacier Peak Wilderness during September’s High Buck Hunt.

A USFS MAP SHOWS THE CLOSURE AREA IN LAST SUMMER'S DUNCAN FIRE. (USFS)

A USFS MAP SHOWS THE CLOSURE AREA IN LAST SUMMER’S DUNCAN FIRE. (USFS)

Alternative, though much longer routes into the wilderness are available, but Icicle Outfitters says that over a dozen of its planned drop camps during that season, as well as October’s general rifle deer hunt and the late archery muley season may not happen.

USFS officials worry about mudslides over the roads, trapping recreationalists, but the outfitters point to lower risks found by the U.S. Geological Survey than the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest’s Burned Area Emergency Response team did.

“Our clients are pretty upset because there is a general belief, by them and by many in the Entiat Valley, that the risk is very minimal and that the road should be reopened,” Dale Wick of Icicle Outfitters said earlier this spring. He says he’d like to see USFS post stern warnings not to park in areas where debris flows might sweep out of the burned area and over the road, and keep the upper campgrounds closed to further reduce risk.

Drought Watch: ODFW Moves Sept. Coastal Trout Stocking To June

 

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

TILLAMOOK, Ore. – In what may be the first of many drought-related activities this year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rescheduled the planned release of trophy trout in five North Coast lakes.

The release of 1,550 two-pound trout, originally set for September, was rescheduled to an earlier date as the result of low water flows at ODFW’s Nehalem Hatchery. The fish will be stocked in the same locations – Cape Meares, Town, Coffenbury, Lost and Sunset lakes – only now they will be released at a smaller size, less than one pound each. These trout will be released just prior to Free Fishing Weekend, which will take place across Oregon June 6-7.

ODFW is not able to raise the trout to “trophy” size because of low water flows at the hatchery, which is fed by the North Fork Nehalem River. The North Fork is a tributary of the Nehalem River, which is currently running about 33 percent of normal flow for this time of year.

“We don’t usually see streams this low until late June or July,” said Robert Bradley, ODFW fish biologist. “We just haven’t had the rain that we need to maintain river flows.”

The trout are being moved out of the Nehalem Hatchery early, according to Bradley, to make sure there is enough water to support steelhead and salmon that will be reared at the facility until they can be released next spring.

Target Shooting Hours At Wenas WA Restricted

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

Land managers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are restricting target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area and are asking recreationists throughout the state to take care to avoid sparking a wildfire.

With drought conditions across the state, anyone heading outdoors for the long Memorial Day weekend should be aware of fire risks, said Clay Sprague, manager of the WDFW lands division. Information about local fire-danger is available at http://fortress.wa.gov/dnr/firedanger/BurnRisk.aspx.

“It’s essential that we protect public lands for both recreation and wildlife habitat,” Sprague said.

Effective May 22 through Sept. 30, target shooting will be restricted on the Wenas Wildlife Area to the hours between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the risk of starting a wildfire is less severe.

The department has restricted target shooting on the wildlife area, located between Yakima and Ellensburg, every year since 2012. This year’s restriction takes effect earlier in the year and reduces by one hour the number of hours per day that target shooting is allowed, said Cindi Confer Morris, manager of the WDFW wildlife area.

Target shooting has caused several wildfires on the wildlife area in recent years including three fires in 2014 alone. Last summer’s Cottonwood No. 2 fire burned almost 9,000 acres and cost $800,000 to suppress. Restoration of the charred landscape has cost another $500,000 so far.

“Last year’s fires followed by this year’s drought compel us to take a more cautious approach,” Confer Morris said.

Public notice of the limited hours announced today will be posted at all entry points and at established target shooting sites in the wildlife area.

WDFW adopted the restriction in cooperation with the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which owns lands within the 114,150-acre wildlife area.

In addition to this restriction, the department is considering a proposal to permanently restrict target shooting to two designated sites and would continue to restrict target shooting to morning hours during late spring and summer, when fire danger is the greatest. The department held two public meetings this spring to discuss this target-shooting proposal for the Wenas Wildlife Area.

WDFW will continue to involve the public in developing a plan for target shooting on the wildlife area. The department expects to make the decision later this fall.

Like all of WDFW’s wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Wenas Wildlife Area also has prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.

 

Lands manager Sprague reminds people who plan to visit WDFW wildlife areas in south central Washington – including the Wenas, Colockum, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek and Sunnyside-Snake River wildlife areas – of a campfire ban that’s in place through Oct. 15. Visitors to the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant and Adams counties also should be aware of a campfire ban until Oct. 31.

 

For more information on WDFW wildlife areas, see the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/.

All Fishing A No-go On The Hoh, State, Park Announce

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE, AND THE OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Hoh River to close to fishing in June and July

Action:   Close the Hoh River and South Fork Hoh River to recreational fishing.

Effective Dates:   June 6 through July 31, 2015.

Species affected:   All species.

Location: Hoh River and South Fork Hoh River outside of Olympic National Park boundaries.

Reason for action:   The Hoh River population of spring/summer chinook has been near or below the floor of the escapement goal of 900 for this stock for the past nine years. This closure will reduce encounters and mortalities of spring chinook that occur while anglers are targeting other fish.

Other information: Though the regulations on the river have required sport anglers to release wild chinook during the summer months for several years, the stock continues to be under-escaped and additional measures are necessary to help recover the stock.

The Hoh Tribe has also proposed a fishing schedule that reduces their impacts on wild spring/summer chinook; and Olympic National Park is closing the watershed to fishing.

Emergency Closure of Recreational Fishing in the Hoh and South Fork Hoh Rivers within Olympic National Park

Due to concerns about the status, trends, and escapement of Hoh River Chinook salmon, Olympic National Park is closing the Hoh River watershed to recreational fishing effective tomorrow [May 19]. The fishing closure includes those portions of the upper Hoh River, South Fork Hoh River, all tributaries, and the Hoh River mouth within Olympic National Park.

The Hoh River mouth will be closed to recreational fishing from May 19 through August 31. The Hoh River, South Fork Hoh River, and their tributaries will be closed from May 19 through October 31.

This emergency closure is designed to maximize the protection of wild spring/summer Chinook salmon in Olympic National Park. The state and tribal forecast for spring/summer Chinook is expected to be below the escapement floor of 900 adults. Escapement refers to the number of Chinook that escape commercial and recreational fisheries and reach spawning grounds. Hoh River spring/summer Chinook have failed to meet the escapement floor in seven of the last eight years. Spawning for this unique wild population primarily occurs in Olympic National Park.

“The National Park Service seeks to provide diverse recreational fishing opportunities while ensuring the preservation and restoration of native fish,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.”However, with the run size at low numbers it is critical to provide additional protection for Chinook.”

While the Hoh River watershed is closed, anglers are encouraged to explore other areas in the park for fishing.

LIZ HAMILTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, APPLAUDS NSIA MEMBERS, ASSOCIATION OF NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS, COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND OTHERS WHO MADE IT TO TUESDAY'S SENATE HEARING IN SALEM. (NSIA)

Buckmaster Vote Scheduled For Thursday

Tomorrow will be make or break day for an effort to convince Oregon senators to not confirm a controversial nominee to the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The Secretary of the Senate’s office this afternoon says that the appointment of Bruce Buckmaster to the citizen panel is scheduled for a floor vote Thursday. If confirmed, his term would begin June 1.

Sportfishing advocates — from salmon guides to conservation groups to an industry organization — have opposed Gov. Kate Brown’s forwarding of Buckmaster, an Astoria man with ties to commercial fishing and past opposition to Columbia River fishery reforms, to serve on the commission.

Yesterday they rallied outside the Capitol Building, and then many spoke during a public hearing before the Senate Rules Committee.

LIZ HAMILTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, APPLAUDS NSIA MEMBERS, ASSOCIATION OF NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS, COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND OTHERS WHO MADE IT TO TUESDAY'S SENATE HEARING IN SALEM. (NSIA)

LIZ HAMILTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, APPLAUDS NSIA MEMBERS, ASSOCIATION OF NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS, COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION MEMBERS AND OTHERS WHO MADE IT TO TUESDAY’S SENATE HEARING IN SALEM. (NSIA)

They argue that there is no voice for the sportfishing industry onboard at a key time when better connection to anglers as well as hunters is needed for the future of the agency the commission oversees, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is faced with a major budget shortfall that could require deep cuts if the imbalance isn’t patched up with money from the General Fund and some sort of license fee increase.

Buckmaster defended himself before senators, and he received support from a commercial fisherman, a sportfishing guide who called him a longtime client, as well as the four tribes that make up the Columbia Intertribal Fish Commission during the hearing. 

BRUCE BUCKMASTER (OREGON LEGISLATURE)

BRUCE BUCKMASTER (OREGON LEGISLATURE)

After hearing from both sides, the committee moved Buckmaster’s nomination to the floor of the Senate. Chairwoman Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D) said she struggled with that decision, but decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, though also said Gov. Brown was willing to immediately remove him if needed.

NSIA believes that tomorrow’s vote will be close, and in an email blast, encouraged its members to continue emailing their own senators as well Sen. Ginny Burdick, whose district links some good springer waters on the lower Willamette with Tigard.

“Senator Burdick has hundreds of sportfishing jobs in her district and we are hopeful that she will defend these jobs as diligently as Senator Johnson defends gillnetters,” the organization said, referring to Betsy Johnson who represents Northwest Oregon outside of Portland.

Yesterday, two senators on the committee expressed deep concerns about ODFW’s financial situation, and in an unexpected move, the reappointments of Commission Chair Michael Finley and Holly Akenson were “held back,” The Daily Astorian and other papers reported, “because senators said they want new commissioners who will take a more active role in helping the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to fix its long-term budget problems.”

By contrast, Gov. Brown’s nomination of former Republican state senator Jason Atkinson of Medford has faced little if any of the drama of her other three preferred commissioners. His appointment is also up for a vote tomorrow.

Third – And Final – Day Of WA North Coast Halibut Set For Saturday

UPDATED AT BOTTOM WITH WDFW E-REG With only enough halibut left in the quota for a single day of fishing and “marginal” weather in the forecast for Thursday, Washington managers scrubbed tomorrow’s Area 3 and 4 opener in favor of holding the last day of the 2015 season on Saturday.

It will go down as the first time ever that North Coast halibut fishing has lasted just three days, according to WDFW’s Heather Reed.

KAYA ANGLER JEFF ANDERSON ACCOUNTED FOR ABOUT 80 POUNDS OF THE 70,308 POUNDS WORTH OF HALIBUT CAUGHT OFF WASHINGTON'S NORTH COAST ON LAST WEEK'S TWO OPEN DAYS. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

KAYA ANGLER JEFF ANDERSON ACCOUNTED FOR ABOUT 80 POUNDS OF THE 70,308 POUNDS WORTH OF HALIBUT CAUGHT OFF WASHINGTON’S NORTH COAST ON LAST WEEK’S TWO OPEN DAYS. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

She repeatedly acknowledged that the decision was made at short notice and that it will be frustrating for halibut anglers — some of whom perhaps are already trailering towards Neah Bay and La Push for round two — but says the state wanted to balance that with better access for more fishermen.

Anglers caught 70,308 pounds of halibut on last week’s two open dates, leaving 37,722 pounds in the quota for this week, only enough for one day of fishing, Reed says.

By comparison, last year’s first two days of fishing yielded 66,787 pounds, but with the lower catch and shifting of unused quota from elsewhere, managers were able to provide four days of fishing, according to Reed.

In other halibut news, Reed says that in Area 2, with the shifting of nearly 2,000 pounds, there is now 2,649 pounds worth of halibut to be caught in the nearshore fishery.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM WDFW

May 20, 2015

Halibut fishing to close in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push)

Action: Close the recreational halibut fishery in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push) on Thursday May 21. The fishery will re-open for one more day on Saturday May 23.

Effective date: May 20, 2015

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Location: Marine Areas 3 and 4

Reason for action: There is sufficient quota to keep the recreational Pacific halibut fishery in Marine Area 3 and 4 open for one more day. After consultation with sport fishery representatives in Neah Bay and La Push, and taking into consideration weather forecast, the Washington North Coast (Marine Catch Areas 3 and 4) recreational Pacific halibut fishery will be closed on Thursday, May 21, and open on Saturday, May 23. Bottomfishing is closed seaward of the 20 fathom line on days not open to the recreational halibut fishery, including Thursday, May 21. The 108,030 pound quota is projected to be reached by the end of the May 23. This rule conforms to federal action taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 249-4628 ext. 202

Oregon Senate Committee Moves Buckmaster Nomination To Floor

UPDATE 8:30 A.M., MAY 20, 2015 For a much fuller article on yesterday’s hearing than the quickie blog below, see the story in The Daily Astorian (and elsewhere) which discusses what happened with all four Fish and Wildlife Commission nominees, including the surprising tabling of two sitting members’ appointments.

An Oregon state committee has moved a controversial Fish and Wildlife Commission nominee to the floor of the Senate.

Opponents and supporters of Bruce Buckmaster’s appointment by Gov. Kate Brown to the citizen panel voiced their thoughts during a hearing in Salem this afternoon before the Astoria man with ties to the commercial fishing industry was given the preliminary nod of approval.

buckmaster

BRUCE BUCKMASTER (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

Sportfishing advocates argued that the commission needs better balance and someone on it who can help the Department of Fish and Wildlife out of its current major budget shortfall.

“We need to reconnect the agency with the people who hunt and fish,” Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association executive director Liz Hamilton told the five members of the Senate Rules Committee.

(OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

LIZ HAMILTON (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

Jack Glass, a Portland-based guide, said without a representative landed in the recreational fishing industry, it felt like the commission was not balanced. Sport anglers feel the panel already has commercial representation in the form of Newport commissioner Laura Anderson.

(OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

JACK GLASS (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

Bob Rees, another guide and speaking as executive director of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, said his organization couldn’t support someone who publicly stated he would derail Columbia River fisheries reforms.

(OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

BOB REES (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

However, Buckmaster drew support from sportfishing guide Bob Toman, who said that the man was a longtime client.

(OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

BOB TOMAN (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

Paul Lumley, chairman of the Columbia Intertribal Fish Commission, spoke in support, as did Jim Wells, an Astoria commercial fisherman.

JIM WELLS (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

JIM WELLS (OREGON STATE LEGISLATURE)

Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Rosenbaum (D) said she struggled with her decision, but decided to give Buckmaster the benefit of the doubt, though also said Gov. Brown was willing to immediately remove him if needed.

By contrast, no speakers voiced support or disapproval for the other commission nominee, former state senator Jason Atkinson of Southwest Oregon. Senators were OK with forwarding his appointment to the floor too.

"WILDLIFE DETECTIVES" IS A COPRODUCTION OF PUBLIC RADIO AND TV STATIONS IN WASHINGTON AND OREGON.

‘Wildlife Detectives’ TV Series Features Work Of WA, OR Wardens

The work of Northwest game wardens is getting significant attention these days, and starting tomorrow night, a two-part local series will follow the work of Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife officers.

“Wildlife Detectives,” airing on KCTS in Seattle on Wednesday, May 20 and 27 at 9 p.m. (and on OPB in late May and early June), will focus on elk being chased down at the most vulnerable point of the year for their antlers, shellfish and sturgeon poaching to feed luxury markets, a federal lab in Oregon that cracks cases through DNA, and the aggravatingly light punishments sometimes handed down to poachers – if they’re even charged by county prosecutors at all.

"WILDLIFE DETECTIVES" IS A COPRODUCTION OF PUBLIC RADIO AND TV STATIONS IN WASHINGTON AND OREGON.

“WILDLIFE DETECTIVES” IS A COPRODUCTION OF PUBLIC RADIO AND TV STATIONS IN WASHINGTON AND OREGON.

A coproduction with EarthFix, tomorrow night’s premiere marks the culmination of a year and a half worth of radio and TV reporters embedding with officers in Oregon and Washington as they fight the illegal and sometimes mind-bogglingly large harvest of wildlife.

“People might think, ‘What is the big deal if somebody takes a few?’ I don’t think anybody really has any kind of idea of what a problem poaching is, and how prevalent it really is,” says producer Katie Campbell in a preview of the series. “It was certainly eye-opening for me.”

While the scope of the problems are known to Northwest sportsmen — some of the cases have been written about in this blog and our magazine — and viewers of the Animal Planet series Rugged Justice, which follows WDFW officers, this airing brings it to another audience.

Bottom line, there just isn’t enough money available to protect all that needs attention– everything from overharvest of underwater geoducks and ensuring unsafe shellfish aren’t on the market to patrolling vast swaths of country the size of entire East Coast states and where, unfortunately, wildlife crime can pay, as part of the series notes.

The present day fish and wildlife officers’ depth of responsibility is little known. Similarly, the breadth of  illegal human activity connected to our precious natural resources is not widely understood,” says WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. “Hopefully this series increases awareness and the support for the men and women who dedicate their lives to natural resource sustainability, the protection of seafood consumers and legitimate industry, and the public’s  safety in the outdoors.”

Elements of Wildlife Detectives are already available as articles loaded with informative and disturbing graphics on the EarthFix website.

Tip of the cap for the focus on something we all care about.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (5-19-15)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND INCLUDES REPORTS FROM PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW, AND TANNA TAKATA AND JIMMY WATTS, ODFW

Last weekend on the lower Columbia, anglers made 6,258 trips and caught 1,099 adult spring Chinook (773 kept and 326 released), 70 summer steelhead (64 kept and 6 released) and three sockeye (released).  Based on VSI sampling, upriver spring Chinook comprised 75% of the kept catch.

Through May 17, there have been 118,720 angler trips with 16,483 Chinook kept and 3,102 released.  12,744 (77%) of the Chinook kept were upriver origin based upon Visual Stock Identification (VSI).

…………………..

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Anglers are catching some adult and jack spring Chinook from the lower river where the sampling took place.

Blue Creek from mouth to posted sign above rearing pond outlet – Effect June 1, the trout daily limit is 5 fish. Up to
2 fish over 20 inches may be retained. Release wild cutthroats. Night closure and anti-snagging rules will be in effect.
Open to all anglers.

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.

Kalama River from Summers Creek upstream to 6420 Road (about 1 mile above gate at end of county road bridge)
- Effective the first Saturday in June, up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Fly fishing only.

North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) upstream to
overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam – Through May 31 CLOSED TO ALL FISHING. On June 1st this section will
reopen to hatchery steelhead but remain closed for Chinook.

Wind River – Boat anglers at the mouth are still catching some spring Chinook.  Effort is waning with just 17 boats last Sunday.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers are catching some spring Chinook.  Effort is also waning here with just 15 boats counted last Sunday.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers below Fisher Hill Bridge  are catching some spring Chinook.

Yakima River – 6,798 adult spring chinook have passed the Prosser Diversion through May 14.  Flows in the Yakima River increased to over 3,000cfs this week but are beginning to recede.  WDFW staff interviewed 47 anglers fishing for salmon in the lower Yakima River during the past week (May 11-17). Anglers reported releasing one wild adult chinook.  An estimated 49 adult chinook (25 hatchery & 24 wild) have been caught in the fishery through May 17.  The fishery in the lower Yakima River will remain open through June 15.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last weekend we sampled  568 salmonid anglers (including 136 boats) with 73 adult and 11 jack spring Chinook and 5 steelhead. 51 (70%) of the adult Chinook were kept.  We sampled 39 (76%) of the adult Chinook kept.  36 (92%) of the adult Chinook were upriver origin based on VSI.

4 (80%) of the steelhead were kept.

Effort was still fairly heavy last weekend with 555 boats and 821 bank anglers counted during last Saturday’s flight.

Bonneville Dam passage through May 18 totals 187,360 adult Chinook. The U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met today to review the status of the upriver spring Chinook run and did not change the previous in-season run update of 250,000 adult fish to the Columbia River. TAC expects the Bonneville Dam count to total approximately 235,000 adults.

TODAY’S FACTOID:  In the Treaty Indian commercial fishery above Bonneville Dam, sea lion predation in the Bonneville Pool appear to have impacted catch rates.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers in the Kalama to Longview area were releasing some legals.

John Day Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching some legals.  Through April, an estimated 193 (38.6%) of the 500 fish guideline had been taken.

Walleye, Bass, and Catfish

Yakima River – Staff interviewed 83 anglers fishing for smallmouth bass and channel catfish that reported 45 smallmouth bass and 15 channel catfish caught.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Pretty good for walleye for the couple boat anglers sampled in the Woodland area.

The Dalles Pool – The few boat anglers sampled averaged nearly 3 walleye kept per rod.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged over 4 walleye and 9 bass per rod.

……………………………………………………….

Salmonid angling was fair to good on the lower Columbia last weekend.  In the gorge, boat anglers averaged 0.75 spring Chinook caught per boat, while anglers fishing in Troutdale averaged 0.25 spring Chinook caught per boat.  In the Portland to Westport area, boat anglers averaged 0.39 spring Chinook, 0.03 steelhead and 0.02 sockeye caught per boat.

Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.29 spring Chinook caught per bank rod, while bank anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.06 spring Chinook and 0.04 steelhead caught per bank angler.  On Saturday’s (5/16) flight, 555 salmonid boats and 305  Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River Estuary to Bonneville Dam.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed seven adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and 10 adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook kept, plus five unclipped adult spring Chinook released for  42 salmonid anglers; and 47 shad kept for 38 shad anglers.

Gorge Boats (Below Beacon Rock): Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and one adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook kept, plus four unclipped adult spring Chinook released for  eight boats (21 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed six adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and two adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook kept, plus 11 unclipped adult spring Chinook released for 68  boats (147 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed six adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and four adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for 105 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed 21 adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook, 10 adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook and two adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus eight unclipped  adult spring Chinook, one unclipped jack spring Chinook and one sockeye released for 75  boats (179 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed no catch for one bank angler.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed no catch for one boat (one angler).

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam): No report.

The Dalles Pool (Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam): No report.

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): No report.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia (below Bonneville Dam):Closed to retention, catch-and-release only. Weekend checking showed 28 legal, one oversize, and 21 sublegal sturgeon released for two boats (six anglers) fishing the Portland to Westport area.

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam):  Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.  No report.

The Dalles Pool (Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed one legal white sturgeon kept, plus one oversize released for 13 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus five legal, three oversize and 23 sublegal sturgeon released for 17 boats (40 anglers).

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 19 walleye kept for three boats (seven anglers).

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed 190 walleye kept, plus 37 walleye released for 29 boats (54 anglers).