Category Archives: Headlines

PICTURED:  1/12/15 ROGER SORENSON AND PEPE' HERNANDEZ OF BLUEBERRY HILLS IN MANSON WITH THEIR LIMITS OF LAKE CHELAN KOKANEE.

Kokanee Bite ‘Improving’ At Lake Chelan — Guide

THE FOLLOWING IS A FISHING REPORT FROM ANTON JONES OF DARRELL & DAD’S GUIDE SERVICE

What’s hot is trolling for suspended Kokanee on Lake Chelan.  Also hot is winter fishing for Mackinaw on Lake Chelan.  Rainbow Trout on Lake Chelan is also very productive.  Roses Lake is a bit over half covered with skim ice.

Trolling for suspended Kokanee has gotten more and more productive as January has worn on.  Pull Mack’s Lure’s Mini Cha Cha Squidders in Orange on a short leader behind their Double D Dodgers in 00 to 0000 sizes.  Bait the Mini Cha Cha’s with Pautzke’s Fire Corn in natural or yellow.  We have caught these incredibly delicious fish anywhere from 45 to 200 feet deep.

PICTURED:  1/12/15 ROGER SORENSON AND PEPE' HERNANDEZ OF BLUEBERRY HILLS IN MANSON WITH THEIR LIMITS OF LAKE CHELAN KOKANEE.

ROGER SORENSON AND PEPE’ HERNANDEZ OF BLUEBERRY HILLS IN MANSON WITH THEIR LIMITS OF LAKE CHELAN KOKANEE. (DARRELL & DAD’S GUIDE SERVICE)

You can still catch numbers of Lakers from 180 to 245 feet deep in the Barrens and the Trench.  Fish within 3 to 5 feet of the bottom and keep your speed around .8 to 1.3 mph.  Silver Horde 3.5” Needlefish Squid rigs in glow colors fronted with a Mack’s Smile Blade and baited with a piece of Northern Pikeminnow has been our best pattern.

Rainbow trout are still being caught on Lake Chelan from the shore and trolling.  Catch them from shoreline locations with Pautzke’s Firebait in American Wildfire using a 30” leader on a slip sinker rig.  You can also catch them trolling using Mack’s Lure Mini Cha Cha Squidders behind a Mack’s Lure 0000 Double D Dodger.  Bait those mini cha cha’s with a piece of worm or a small nugget of Pautzke’s Fire Bait.  Remember that unclipped Cutthroat Trout must be immediately released, unharmed.

Pautzke’s Fire Bait will also work well from the shore on Roses Lake for planter sized Rainbow Trout until the freeze up is complete.

Your fishing tip of the week is to be very patient fighting those deeply suspended Kokanee.  They fight very well on light gear.  There is a temptation to horse them in because they won’t break your line.  The problem is, they will fight hard enough to tear the hooks free.  When you feel them pulling and head shaking ease off and enjoy the tug.  When they tire, reel ‘em in.

CHELAN WINTER KOKANEE FILLETS. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

CHELAN WINTER KOKANEE FILLETS. (DARRELL & DAD’S GUIDE SERVICE)

CHARLES BAKER, A HATCHERY TECHNICIAN AT ODFW’S SANDY HATCHERY, PUTS A COHO SALMON INTO AN ICE-FILLED TOTE DESTINED FOR THE OREGON FOOD BANK. (RICK SWART, ODFW)

2014′s Epic Fall Salmon Runs Fed Not Just Anglers — Food Banks Too

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

Banner runs of Pacific salmon helped feed thousands of Oregonians in 2014.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hatcheries donated more than 350,000 pounds of Chinook and coho salmon to food banks in communities across the state.

The huge donation of high quality protein was made possible by one of the largest returns of Pacific salmon in years. A record 1.2 million Chinook and 1 million coho returned to the Columbia River in 2014. Similar returns are expected again in 2015.

CHARLES BAKER, A HATCHERY TECHNICIAN AT ODFW’S SANDY HATCHERY, PUTS A COHO SALMON INTO AN ICE-FILLED TOTE DESTINED FOR THE OREGON FOOD BANK. (RICK SWART, ODFW)

CHARLES BAKER, A HATCHERY TECHNICIAN AT ODFW’S SANDY HATCHERY, PUTS A COHO SALMON INTO AN ICE-FILLED TOTE DESTINED FOR THE OREGON FOOD BANK. (RICK SWART, ODFW)

“The unprecedented returns salmon to our region the past two years have benefited fishermen, the economy, and helped feed thousands of people who might otherwise have gone hungry,” said Chris Kern, deputy administrator of ODFW’s fish division.

The vast majority of salmon donated to Oregon’s food banks are collected after ODFW hatcheries gather enough eggs to produce the following year’s crop of juvenile salmon. Once the young salmon are reared at the hatcheries and then released, a small percentage of them will return to the hatcheries as adults after spending three or four years maturing in the ocean.

“We’re proud that our hatcheries have such positive impact on the lives of Oregonians,” said Manny Farinas, ODFW West Region hatchery coordinator. “Thanks to all of our great volunteers that helped collect, process, and deliver the fish to the various food banks.

If forecasts materialize as hoped, 2015 could be another outstanding year for salmon returns. Preliminary data compiled in December by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington suggests Chinook returns will be even larger than 2014 while coho returns could be mixed.

“All the indicators are pointing to another good year of salmon returns,” Kern said

BRAD SMITH. (WDFW)

New Chair, Vice Chair For Washington Fish-Wildlife Commission

Not only did WDFW get a new director today, but a new chair and vice chair of its oversight commission.

After the eight-member citizen panel voted unanimously this morning to choose Dr. James Unsworth of Idaho as the new head honcho of the Department of Fish & Wildlife, it elected Brad Smith as its new chair and Larry Carpenter its vice chair.

BRAD SMITH. (WDFW)

BRAD SMITH. (WDFW)

Both hail from the North Sound, Smith from Bellingham, where he is a dean emeritus at Western Washington University, Carpenter a co-owner of Master Marine in Mount Vernon.

I met Smith at WDFW’s meeting on wolves in Lynnwood this past October; Carpenter is a longtime sportfishing advocate and hunting partner of outgoing agency director Phil Anderson.

Smith takes over Miranda Wecker’s seat, while Carpenter moves into Smith’s.

THE LONG-SERVING FISH & WILDLIFE COMMISSION CHAIR MIRANDA WECKER, IN THE PURPLE SHIRT, ATTENDED LAST OCTOBER'S WOLF MEETING IN LYNNWOOD. SHE WAS THE CITIZEN PANEL'S CHAIR FOR FIVE YEARS, AND BEFORE THAT ITS VICE CHAIR. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THE LONG-SERVING FISH & WILDLIFE COMMISSION CHAIR MIRANDA WECKER, IN THE PURPLE SHIRT, ATTENDED LAST OCTOBER’S WOLF MEETING IN LYNNWOOD. SHE WAS THE CITIZEN PANEL’S CHAIR FOR FIVE YEARS, AND BEFORE THAT ITS VICE CHAIR. SHE WAS APPOINTED TO THE COMMISSION IN MAY 2005. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

For more, see Smith’s and Carpenter’s bios here.

Oregon also a new chair to its commission, Medford’s Michael Finley, who takes over from Boby Levy. Finley runs The Turner Foundation, an environmental organization founded by Ted Turner.

LARRY CARPENTER. (WDFW)

LARRY CARPENTER. (WDFW)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbless Hooks Will Still Be Required On Lower Willamette

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

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met today and set the 2015 harvest specifications and season structures for recreational and commercial groundfish that include significant changes to the composition of the seven fish daily bag limit for marine fish.

For the first time since 2004, anglers will be able to retain one canary rockfish as part of the daily bag limit beginning as early as March, thanks to on-going efforts to rebuild the stock. The exact date for the new rule will be announced following approval of a parallel federal harvest rule.

 

LOWER WILLAMETTE RIVER SPINGER ANGLERS LIKE JEFF ANDERSON WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE BARBED HOOKS ON THE LOWER WILLAMETTE AFTER THE OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION TABLED AN ODFW STAFF PROPOSAL. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

LOWER WILLAMETTE RIVER SPINGER ANGLERS LIKE JEFF ANDERSON WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE BARBED HOOKS ON THE LOWER WILLAMETTE AFTER THE OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION TABLED AN ODFW STAFF PROPOSAL. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

However, due to a decrease in federally determined harvest guidelines, anglers will be limited to three blue rockfish per day as part of the seven fish marine bag limit and the retention of China, copper and quillback rockfish will be prohibited. These regulations go into effect Jan. 15, 2015. ODFW staff had proposed a blue rockfish sub-limit of one per day, but after public testimony the Commission adopted a less-conservative limit of three blue rockfish per day.

The commercial nearshore fishery, which targets these same species, will see increased harvest limits for black rockfish and reduced limits for blue and other nearshore rockfish.

The Commission declined to take action on a staff proposal that would have allowed the use of barbed hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout in the lower Willamette River, Multnomah Channel, lower in Gnat Creek and inside Youngs Bay. A barbless hook rule went into effect in these areas in 2013 as part of the lower Columbia River Fisheries Management Reform package and was intended to reduce impacts on ESA listed salmon.

Instead, the Commission tabled the proposal based on a number issues including conservation concerns and consistency with the lower Columbia River Fisheries Management Reform rules. Commission Chair Mike Finley said the proposal could be discussed at a later date.

KAITLYN CAMPION CAUGHT A QUALITY BLACKMOUTH OUT OF THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THIS 22-PLUS-POUNDER, WHICH HER DAD MIKE SAYS WAS THE BIGGEST THE STATE FISH CHECKER AT THE BELLLINGHAM RAMP HAS SEEN THIS SEASON. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Blackmouth Limit Dropping To 1 In The Juans

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

Anglers fishing the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) will be limited to one salmon per day starting Jan. 12.

State fishery managers approved the new limit – down from two fish per day – to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern.

KAITLYN CAMPION CAUGHT A QUALITY BLACKMOUTH OUT OF THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THIS 22-PLUS-POUNDER, WHICH HER DAD MIKE SAYS WAS THE BIGGEST THE STATE FISH CHECKER AT THE BELLLINGHAM RAMP HAS SEEN THIS SEASON. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

KAITLYN CAMPION CAUGHT A QUALITY BLACKMOUTH OUT OF THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, THIS 22-PLUS-POUNDER, WHICH HER DAD MIKE SAYS WAS THE BIGGEST THE STATE FISH CHECKER AT THE BELLLINGHAM RAMP HAS SEEN THIS SEASON. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

“Fishing was really good in December,” said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin, signifying it as a hatchery fish.

Since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 7,775 total chinook encounters during the fishery. According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 4,060 chinook salmon in Marine Area 7 as of Dec. 28.

“We’re taking this step now in an effort to keep the fishery open as long as possible while staying within our conservation objectives,” Lothrop said.

WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 7 through April 30, when it is scheduled to close. The fishery could close prior to April 30 if the guideline is met.

Lothrop reminds anglers that Bellingham Bay and Samish Bay will be closed to salmon fishing for the month of April.

Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

CONTRACTORS WORK ON THE FACE OF WANAPUM DAM, WHICH UNEXPECTEDLY DEVELOPED A CRACK LAST WINTER AND REQUIRED A MAJOR LOWERING OF THE RESERVOIR BEHIND IT. (GRANT COUNTY PUD)

Wanapum Reservoir To Reopen, Though Boat Access Is Limited

THE FOLLOWING ARE  PRESS RELEASES FROM THE GRANT COUNTY PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT AND WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE

GRANT COUNTY PUD

After Grant PUD raised the Wanapum reservoir by 17 feet in December, the utility, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and Washington State Parks have determined that the reservoir can reopen to the public at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 7.

Working in conjunction with other hydroelectric operators on the Columbia River, Grant PUD began raising the reservoir on Nov. 25 and finished on Dec. 1. After a thorough evaluation, the utility will restore public access to most of the shoreline.

CONTRACTORS WORK ON THE FACE OF WANAPUM DAM, WHICH UNEXPECTEDLY DEVELOPED A CRACK LAST WINTER AND REQUIRED A MAJOR LOWERING OF THE RESERVOIR BEHIND IT. (GRANT COUNTY PUD)

CONTRACTORS WORK ON THE FACE OF WANAPUM DAM, WHICH UNEXPECTEDLY DEVELOPED A CRACK LAST WINTER AND REQUIRED A MAJOR LOWERING OF THE RESERVOIR BEHIND IT. (GRANT COUNTY PUD)

Two boat launches are operational at the current river level – Grant PUD’s Wanapum Upper Boat Launch and the watercraft launch at Wanapum State Park just south of Vantage.  With the reopening of the reservoir, Washington State Parks will open the Wanapum State Park launch for daily access from 8 a.m. to dusk. Camping at the park remains on its regular winter schedule, open for camping only on weekends and holidays until March 1. The park will resume a daily operating schedule for campground and day use facilities after March 1, for the 2015 season.

The following recreation-site locations on the reservoir remain closed because of inoperable boat launches, unstable shorelines or ongoing recreation site improvements:

  • Sand Hollow Recreation Area
  • Vantage Boat Launch and Day-Use Area
  • Frenchman Coulee Boat Launch
  • Sunland Boat Launch
  • Yo Yo Rock Boat Launch and Recreation Area
  • Quilomene Dune and Bay
  • West Bar
  • Crescent Bar Boat Launch and portions of Crescent Bar Island
  • Grant PUD property in the Tarpiscan Creek area
  • Grant PUD property off Columbia Siding Road

Closed shoreline areas are marked with no trespassing signs. To ensure public safety, Grant PUD personnel and law enforcement officials will continue to patrol and enforce trespassing laws in these locations.

Those visiting the shoreline and reservoir are cautioned to be aware that sections of the shoreline may still be unstable. Boaters should be mindful of shallow-water hazards and heed all warning signs and barriers near the dam. Grant PUD continues to monitor and evaluate conditions on the shoreline and will notify the public if the situation changes.

The entire shoreline and access points were closed to the public last March after Grant PUD had to draw down the reservoir by 26 feet in response to a fracture discovered on the Wanapum Dam Spillway. After completing enough work to stabilize and re-enforce the spillway, the utility received permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to raise the reservoir.

Work continues on the Wanapum Dam spillway, and Grant PUD expects to have enough repairs finished to return the reservoir to normal operations by the start of the 2015 recreation season.

For additional information on the Wanapum Dam issue, visit: http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response.

WDFW

While most of the Wanapum reservoir on the Columbia River will reopen for public use today, two boat launches and some shorelines owned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in the upper basin will remain closed until spring.

Most areas of the 37-mile reservoir have been closed to the public since last March, when Grant County Public Utility District greatly lowered water levels to repair a fractured spillway at Wanapum Dam, near Vantage.

Since stabilizing the dam, the utility has raised water levels behind the dam to a point where access can be reopened to the southern end of the reservoir. But water levels farther north in the West Bar and Quilomene areas remain too low to open to the public, said Jim Brown, WDFW regional director for northcentral Washington.

“We’re pleased that work on the dam has proceeded to this point, but we still need higher water levels to reopen some areas of the upper shoreline for public use,” Brown said.

WDFW-owned lands scheduled to remain closed at least until March 31 include:

The Sunland Estates and Yo Yo boat ramps, north of Vantage.
Portions of the shoreline upriver from Sunland Estates, marked by closure signs.

In addition, all off-road vehicles are currently prohibited on all exposed WDFW shorelines and beaches along the Wanapum reservoir, whether or not they are posted as closed.

Brown noted that WDFW made major improvements to the Sunland Estates and Yo Yo boat launches while water levels were low, installing armor matting at the end of those ramps to prevent boat trailers from “bottoming out.” Using those ramps under current low-water conditions could damage the new matting as well as boats and trailers.

The department has also posted signs prohibiting access to portions of the northern reservoir to protect recovering vegetation, riparian habitat, and cultural sites exposed by the low-water conditions.

Brown said WDFW expects to remove all restrictions on public access in time for the 2015 summer recreation season, when Grant County PUD plans to raise water levels in the Wanapum reservoir to normal levels.

For more information about developments at Wanapum reservoir, see Grant County PUD’s website at http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/media-room/wanapum-dam-spillway-response .

Brant A No-go In Skagit County This Season

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today canceled a scheduled January brant goose hunting season, after counts of the birds in Skagit County indicated numbers were below the level needed for the hunt to proceed.

The hunt was scheduled to open Jan. 10, provided that at least 6,000 brant were counted during an aerial survey, said Don Kraege, WDFW’s waterfowl section manager. However, two recent aerial surveys of Padilla, Samish, and Fidalgo bays each resulted in counts of only about 3,600 brant.

Similarly low counts were recorded in 2003, the last time the late-season brant hunt was canceled in Skagit County.

Since 1996, WDFW waterfowl hunting regulations have required that at least 6,000 brant must be present for brant hunting to take place in Skagit County. That threshold is designed to conserve the population of Western High Arctic brant that winter in the area.

Kraege said the causes of the reduced Skagit brant population are unknown, but may be the result of poor production on the birds’ western Canadian breeding grounds, combined with possible changes in areas of the flyway the brant frequent.

Meanwhile, a brant season in Pacific County opened as scheduled Jan. 3. Information on that season is available in WDFW’s Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons hunting pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ .

A DAY BEFORE THE RAINS HIT, THE EDITOR YARDED THIS LITTLE BUCK OUT OF SALMON CREEK, ON THE NORTH END OF VANCOUVER, WITH A PINK PINK FEATURING A WORM. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

SW WA, Columbia, Hanford Fishing Report (1-6-15)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ARE FROM JOE HYMER, PSMFC; PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW; AND TANNA TAKATA, ODFW

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 72 bank anglers kept with 3 steelhead and 3 coho kept.  49 boat anglers had 31 steelhead and 8 coho kept and 7 coho released.

During four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator, last week Tacoma Power recovered:
*   993 coho adults and 12 jacks
*   275 winter-run steelhead

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released:
*   228 coho adults, seven jacks, two winter-run steelhead and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
*   66 coho adults into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam.
*   61 coho adults, one jack and one winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,200 cubic feet per second on Monday, January 5.

A DAY BEFORE THE RAINS HIT, THE EDITOR YARDED THIS LITTLE BUCK OUT OF SALMON CREEK, ON THE NORTH END OF VANCOUVER, WITH A PINK PINK FEATURING A WORM. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

A DAY BEFORE THE RAINS HIT, THE EDITOR YARDED THIS LITTLE BUCK OUT OF SALMON CREEK, ON THE NORTH END OF VANCOUVER, WITH A PINK JIG FEATURING A WORM. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Bonneville Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching steelhead but all of the fish in the sample were wild and had to be released.

The Dalles Pool – No salmonid effort was observed.

John Day Pool – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead.

Hanford Reach – During the month of December anglers landed 277 steelhead and harvested 214 hatchery steelhead in the Hanford Reach sport fishery.  WDFW estimates 967 anglers fished in December and 3,312 anglers since the fishery opened on October 1.

Anglers are averaging a steelhead for every 12 hours of fishing, slightly better by boat (9 hours/fish) than bank (15 hours/fish) but just a little slower fishing than in November.  Fishing has been very spotty – good one day, slow the next but good overall compared to prior years.

Harvest this December was the best on record dating back to 2003.  This season 87% of the fish caught during the fishery have been hatchery clipped fish.  The majority of the fish caught have been Ringold Springs Hatchery released steelhead (adipose + right ventral fin clipped).

An estimated 949 hatchery steelhead have been harvested since the fishery opened on October 1.  Total catch including fish released is 1,210 steelhead.

Ringold Springs Hatchery staff collected and transported all the hatchery steelhead captured at the trap this fall and released them back into the river in the Tri-cities to give anglers another opportunity to catch these returning adults.  These “recycled” fish are marked (caudal clipped) prior to release.  Of the 949 fish harvested since October 1, a total of 188 (20%) were previously captured at the trap and released.

Sturgeon

Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  Slow for legal size fish from the bank.

The Dalles Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some legals.

John Day Pool – Slow for legal size fish.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool to John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some walleye in John Day Pool.  No effort was observed for walleye  in Bonneville and The Dalles pools.  No effort was observed for bass in any of the pools.

SALMON, STEELHEAD, SHAD

The salmonid creel program on the lower Columbia will resume in February 2015.

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed one unclipped steelhead released for two bank anglers; and seven unclipped steelhead released for one boat (four anglers).

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

John Day Pool (Columbia River above John Day Dam and John Day Arm): Weekly checking showed two adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for six bank anglers; and one unclipped steelhead released for six boats.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia (below Bonneville Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only. No report.

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed eight sublegal sturgeon released for 21 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept plus 46 sublegal sturgeon released for seven boats (20 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed two legal white sturgeon kept plus eight sublegal sturgeon released for 68 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept plus four oversize and 35 sublegal sturgeon released for 11 boats (30 anglers).

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed three sublegal sturgeon released for 23 bank anglers; and one oversize and five sublegal sturgeon released for 11 boats (30 anglers).

WALLEYE

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed two walleye kept and one walleye released for one boat (two anglers).

IDAHO HUNTERS LIKE BOB NORMINGTON COULD "LOCK IN" 2015'S HUNTING LICENSE FEES, EVEN IF THEY'RE RAISED IN THE FUTURE, UNDER A PROPOSAL THAT I.D.F.G. SAYS IT WILL ASK STATE LEGISLATORS TO LOOK AT. NORMINGTON, OF POTLATCH, KILLED THIS BULL A COUPLE SEASONS BACK IN NORTH IDAHO. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

To Get More Sportsmen To Buy Annual Licenses, IDFG Wants To ‘Lock In’ Prices

IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH & GAME

Idaho Fish and Game will ask Idaho lawmakers this legislative session to consider a proposal to increase resident Idaho license and tag fees, but the request has a twist; the proposal, if approved would be followed by a Fish and Game Commission order allowing license buyers to exempt themselves from the increase, as long as they buy an annual license starting this year.

The Fish and Game Price Lock proposal is unique to Idaho.  The goal is to create an incentive for hunters, anglers and trappers to buy annual licenses, whether they use them or not.

“We know that most Idahoans consider themselves to be hunters and anglers, but many don’t purchase a license and get out in the field every year,” Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore said.  “If just 10 percent of intermittent license buyers started purchasing every year, license revenue would increase $1 million annually and we could improve hunting and fishing opportunities in Idaho and keep prices low.”

It’s been a decade since the last resident fee hike in Idaho.   Since then, Fish and Game’s operational costs have increased 22 percent due to inflation.  As a result, the agency is raising and stocking fewer fish and conducting fewer game population surveys.

Fish and Game is proposing to raise the price of resident licenses, tags and permits between $1 to $6 starting in 2016.   If approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, Idaho residents would be able to “lock in” at current prices for all licenses, tags and permits simply by purchasing an annual license in 2015, and each year thereafter.

“As long as you buy an annual license, you’ll continue to pay the current fees, not the increase fees we are proposing,” Moore said.  “This approach hasn’t been tried anywhere else, but we think it will work.   Many of our elected leaders are intrigued and we hope they decide to let us give it a try.”

More information about the Fish and Game Price Lock is posted on the Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

Low Chum Run Leads State, Tribe To Close Nisqually

With the chum run looking like it will come in lower than forecast, state and tribal fishery managers are closing the Nisqually River to all fishing, according to a WDFW emergency rule-change notice out this afternoon.

The closure goes into effect Jan. 6 through the end of the month.

WDFW worries about meeting the escapement goal for the unique run of winter salmon.

The state and Western Washington tribes forecasted nearly 70,000 wild chums and 14,500 hatchery fish would return, but in-season data suggests that won’t be met.

The fish return from December into February, with spawning occurring as late as March, according to a USFWS document.