Category Archives: Headlines

Columbia At Tri-Cities Closing For Salmon Fishing

With the lower Yakima running as hot as the ocean off Maui in recent days and preventing sockeye from migrating upstream, state managers are closing the Columbia at Tri-Cities to salmon fishing.

(BRIAN LULL)

The closure begins Monday and affects the big river between the Highway 395 and I-182 bridges through Aug. 15.

WDFW says the thermal block makes sockeye bound for the upper Yakima Basin more “vulnerable to over harvest” as they stage in the cooler waters of the Columbia waiting for temperatures in their natal stream to drop.

The Yakama Nation has been working to restore sockeye runs in the watershed.

It’s the first warm water closure in Washington this year and follows on a hoot owl restriction on a portion of Oregon’s North Umpqua announced yesterday and closures around tribs on parts of the mainstem Umpqua that went into effect in July.

According to a Department of Ecology statewide conditions report sent out yesterday, the Yakima at Prosser has “often exceeded 80 degrees during the month of July — similar to conditions found off shore of the Hawaiian Islands.”

A USGS gauge shows the river at the Kiona station hit more than 86 degrees July 27.

DOE reports that water temps from 73 to 77 “are considered lethal.”

The last time it was so hot that Northwest fishery managers were forced to restrict angling was during the summer of 2015, at the height of The Blob, but according to DOE, 12 of the 30 hottest daily readings at Prosser recorded since 1990 happened last month.

Nice Coho Biting North Of Columbia Mouth

In a week that marked the opening of the Buoy 10 fall salmon fishery, some anglers enjoyed pretty good coho success on nearby ocean waters.

CARMEN NEBEKER SHOWS OFF A NICE BRIGHT COHO CAUGHT IN OCEAN WATERS TO THE NORTH OF BUOY 10 WHILE FISHING WITH GUIDE BILL MONROE JR., RIGHT. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

“I was impressed with the size of the fish. They were as big as they usually are at the end of August,” reported Buzz Ramsey a day after trolling to the mouth of the Columbia.

He and three other fishermen fishing with guide Bill Monroe Jr. limited on hatchery coho in the 7- and 8-pound range.

“By the time Labor Day rolls around, they’re going to be pretty nice fish,” Ramsey says.

It’s believed that coho pack as much as a pound a week on this time of year in preparation for their spawning runs.

MONROE NETS ONE. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Ramsey reports they were running anchovies and cut-plug herring behind Fish Flashes, with the BMK, or Bill Monroe Killer, finish and the latter bait working best.

With overcast skies in the morning and the coho on top, he says that they only had to run out 12 to 15 feet of line at first, but gradually more to get deeper as the day brightened.

He says it was a roughly 60-40 split between clipped and unclipped silvers.

“We had a couple doubles,” Ramsey says.

Just under 214,000 coho are expected to the Columbia, nearly as many as actually returned last year.

BUZZ RAMSEY SHOWS OFF ONE OF HIS COHO. HE SAYS IF THEY’RE THIS SIZE NOW, THEY SHOULD BE PRETTY NICE FISH COME LABOR DAY. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

While no fall kings were welcomed aboard the boat that day, it’s a different story inside.

“Terry Mulkey got four nice Chinook that morning and three the day before,” Ramsey reports .

The longtime guide was fishing the outgoing tide around the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

Fishery managers expect a return of 375,000 fall kings to Buoy 10 this season, roughly half of the average over the past decade.

Because fewer upriver brights are coming back, there’s a lower harvest rate on the stock, and so the daily limit at the mouth of the Columbia is just one salmonid — Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead through Aug. 24.

After that date, Chinook retention is scheduled to close but the daily limit rises to two salmonids, but only one hatchery steelhead.

Limits and closing dates have also been tweaked in the Lower and Mid-Columbia. ODFW lays them out here.

Ramsey reminds anglers who might venture onto the Pacific for coho to cross the bar a couple hours into the incoming flood tide.

“When the tide’s going out, it can be rough and really buck up,” he warns.

New ODFW Electronic Licensing System Launching For 2019 Will Save $2 Million/year, Agency says

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

ODFW will launch a new electronic licensing system (ELS) on Dec. 1, 2018 with the sale of 2019 licenses and tags.

(ODFW)

With the new system, hunters and anglers can choose to carry their documents electronically (on their smart phone or tablet) and tag fish and wildlife with a mobile app that will work even offline. Or, customers can continue to use paper documents, but will be able to print licenses and tags directly from home using regular paper.

Customers will also still have the option of purchasing licenses and tags at license sale agents (incl. ODFW offices), but no special paper or computer equipment will be needed by these businesses.

The new system is expected to save $2 million annually, thanks to the elimination of specialty paper and computer equipment and overall lower cost of the system.

“Customers have been asking for the ability to carry tags on their mobile phones and for a more mobile-friendly system,” said Curt Melcher, ODFW Director. “We’re pleased this new system will bring both cost savings and an improved customer experience for Oregon’s hunters and anglers.”

ODFW recently published a FAQ about the new system, which covers topics including how to protect paper tags from the elements and tag fish and wildlife electronically. Find the FAQ at, https://myodfw.com/articles/odfws-new-electronic-licensing-system-els and see below.

ODFW’s new Electronic Licensing System (ELS)

Frequently Asked Questions

ODFW’s new electronic licensing system (ELS) will allow customers to store their licenses, tags and validations online on their smart phone or tablet. Customers can also choose to carry paper documents, but will be able to purchase and print these documents from home using regular paper. The new system will also allow for electronic tagging of fish and game using an app that will work even when offline.

When will the new ELS system take effect?

The new system including a mobile app for smartphones and tablets will launch Dec. 1, 2018, when 2019 license sales begin. Some additional functionalities to the system will come later.

Will I still be able to buy licenses and tags at the store and at ODFW offices?

Yes, but stores and offices will not need special computer equipment or paper. They will use the Internet and regular printer paper.

Is the cost of tags and licenses changing due to the new system?

No. Also, customers who have been purchasing documents online or by mail/fax order and receiving them by mail will no longer need to pay a $2 shipping/handling fee because these documents can now be printed at home.

Why is ODFW doing this?

To provide better service to customers, reduce our operating costs and modernize our licensing system. Customers will be able to buy and print their documents directly from home, 24 hours a day, without waiting for them to be mailed like under the current system. Or, customers can choose to buy and immediately use an electronic document, keeping licenses/tags/validations on their smartphone instead of in their pockets. The move to the new system is expected to save $2 million per year, thanks to the elimination of specialty paper and computer equipment and overall lower cost of the system. The system will also allow ODFW and Oregon State Police to look up licensing information while in the field and offline, which is not possible under the current system.

Will the tags/validations I print hold up as well as the specialized paper from the old system?

Yes, with a little extra care, such as keeping them in a Ziploc/plastic bag or some other waterproof carrier.

How do I tag a big game animal or turkey in the new system?

It depends on which option you select at time of tag purchase:

Paper tag: Validate your tag by writing in ink the harvest date/time and Wildlife Management Unit where the harvest occurred. Place paper tag in a plastic bag to protect it from the elements and attach it to the carcass.

Electronic tag (cell phone or tablet): Validate your tag electronically with an app that will work even when offline. Then take the confirmation number from the app plus your name, ODFW ID, Date of Birth, harvest date and write it on anything that will stand up to the elements (like duct tape, trail ribbon or piece of paper in plastic bag), affix it to the animal like a traditional tag and keep it attached to the carcass in transport, as you would a paper tag.

Note that for other fish and wildlife requiring tagging (Western Ore. fee pheasant and salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, halibut), hunters and anglers who choose electronic tagging will only need to record their harvest in the app, which works when you are offline.

How do I record my salmon/steelhead/sturgeon/halibut (combined angling tag)?

Paper tag: Validate your angling tag or harvest card by writing in ink all required information like the species code, mark if hatchery or wild fish (for salmon and steelhead), the location code of where the fish was harvested, the month and the date.

Electronic tag: Use the app that will work even when offline and provide required information.

What happens if my phone dies and I can’t show my electronic license, tag or validation?

Just like today, hunters and anglers will be required to have and display a license and tag upon contact by ODFW or OSP. It will be the hunter or angler’s responsibility to ensure they always have enough battery or an external battery source to power their phone so they can validate their harvest and show their license or tag. Note that even when they are in the field and without cell reception, ODFW and OSP will also be able to see information about licenses/tags/validations you purchased and to check your confirmation number (which indicates you have electronically tagged your big game animal).

Big game hunters using the electronic tagging system must also put a piece of duct tape, trail ribbon or something on their animal (must include their name, DOB, ODFW ID #, confirmation number and harvest date) and keep it attached to the carcass.

How many copies of my paper big game tag, turkey tag, combined angling tag, hatchery harvest card/tag or fee pheasant tag can I have?

Each customer will be allowed to print one tag and it will be unlawful to make copies. Each reprinted tag is unique and only the most recent reprint from the system is valid.  OSP and ODFW staff will have the ability to scan the barcode on a printed tag to confirm it is valid. If you lose your tag and need a reprint, you will need to go to a license sales agent or ODFW office and pay $2 for a reprint.

Will I have to pin my location or provide a photo when I tag my fish or animal electronically?

Customers will have the option of either pinning the location of their harvest or providing the wildlife management unit or fishery location code. ODFW recognizes the potential sensitivity of personal hunting and fishing locations and will be evaluating options to address confidentiality issues associated with the new system. Photos will not be accepted through the ELS reporting system.

Will my information be moved from the current system to the new system?

If you have purchased an annual hunting or fishing license since 2016, have hunting preference points on file or have certifications or other statuses that remain in effect for an extended period of time (such as Pioneer status, disabilities permit, Northwest Goose permit, or license suspension) then your information will be migrated into the new system. Older customer information that does not meet these criteria will be archived in a separate system.

Will the new system use a Hunter/Angler ID like the current one?

The current Hunter/Angler ID will become the “ODFW ID” in the new system. Accounts that are moved into the new system will keep the existing Hunter/Angler ID number, but it will now be called the ODFW ID. Customers whose information did not migrate will need to create a new profile and will get a new ODFW ID.

Will my data be secure?

Yes, the new system will meet all data security requirements, including encryption of personally identifiable information in transit and at rest. Personally identifiable information and financial information will not be collected by or stored in the system that you will interact with to access your license and other products. The information will be stored, using full encryption for both in transit and at rest data, in a separate system that has no direct access point for the general public.

Have license sale agents been told about the new ELS and do they plan to continue to sell licenses?

Yes, ODFW has informed current license sales agent about the new ELS and will be in regular communication with them before and after the launch. It will be up to license sales agents to decide if they want to continue selling licenses. Many retailers have told us they prefer to use their own equipment, which the new system allows, so as not have to print using a special terminal or special paper. One of ODFW’s goals will be to ensure that license sales agents can still be found throughout the state.

Are other states using this type of electronic licensing?

Yes. Several states (including GA, FL, OH, AR) currently provide a paperless tag option. The vendor ODFW is using for the new system (JMT) also manages the license sales system for the states of Idaho and Washington.

ODFW regularly communicates with other state fish and wildlife agencies about best management practices for licensing systems and spoke with 22 other states before making a final decision on the new license sales system.

This online FAQ will be continually updated with new information about the ELS before the system launches on Dec. 1, 2018.

Bait OKed For Entiat Summer Kings

Keep an eye on the Cougar Creek Fire burning well upstream, but starting tomorrow on the Entiat you can use bait for summer Chinook.

AN ANGLER FISHES BELOW THE ENTIAT NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY. (USFWS)

WDFW says it is relaxing the selective-gear rule on the Chelan County river to increase retention of hatchery kings to keep them off the spawning grounds of wild springers further upstream.

Anglers will also be able to use up to two single barbless hooks on their line.

The changes go into effect Aug. 4 from the mouth to the boundary marker above the upper Roaring Creek bridge and just below the national fish hatchery.

By catch stat, August was the best month on the Entiat during the 2016 season, accounting for 199 of the 309 Chinook caught that year.

A STAFFER AT THE ENTIAT NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY HOLDS A SUMMER CHINOOK. (USFWS)

The river’s running below average for this time of year, around 180 cubic feet per second. As of July 21, 138 kings had returned to the fish hatchery. Managers are expecting a better return than last year’s strong one. The daily limit is six.

For information on the fire, which made a run yesterday and led to a level 3 evacuation notice from Potato Creek to road end, monitor #CougarCreekFire and #wawildfire on Twitter, see InciWeb and Chelan County Emergency Management.

 

With High Wildfire Danger, WDFW Temporarily Bans Target Shooting On Wildlife Areas

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will add a temporary statewide restriction on firearm use beginning Saturday, Aug. 4, to fire-prevention rules already in place on WDFW-managed lands.

CHIEF JOSEPH WILDLIFE AREA, LOWER GRANDE RONDE RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

 

“Weeks of dry weather have raised the threat of wildfire on both sides of the Cascades, and it’s critical for all of us to avoid doing anything that could damage or destroy fish and wildlife habitat,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, manager of the department’s Lands Division.

The department’s action follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation earlier this week of a state of emergency for wildfire threats across the state and is consistent with shooting restrictions imposed by other state and federal land management agencies.

Under WDFW’s temporary rule, target shooting and other gun use will be prohibited, but discharge of a firearm for legal hunting will still be permitted.

In eastern Washington, the shooting ban will be added to a more comprehensive set of emergency restrictions already in place at WDFW-managed properties. The following activities are prohibited:

  • Fires or campfires, including those in fire rings. Personal camp stoves and lanterns fueled by propane, liquid petroleum, or liquid petroleum gas are allowed.
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle.
  • The discharge of firearms for target-shooting or other purposes by anyone not engaged in lawful hunting.
  • Welding and operating chainsaws. Operating a torch with an open flame and all equipment powered by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
  • Operating a motor vehicle away from developed roads. Parking is permitted within designated parking areas, including developed campgrounds and trailheads; and in areas without vegetation that are within 10 feet of roadways.

In western Washington, the WDFW shooting ban will be in effect until further notice at department-managed wildlife areas, boat launches, and other water access sites.

All temporary restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases, Wilkerson said. She noted that state law already prohibits the discharge of fireworks and the disposal of a lit cigarette or other burning material from a vehicle on a state highway.

Any changes will be posted on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/.

More information about fires and fire prevention is available online from the Washington Department of Natural Resources (http://www.dnr.wa.gov) and the U.S. Forest Service (http://www.fs.usda.gov).

Tally Low: Second Smallest Lake Washington Sockeye Run

There was little hope to begin with but it was another disappointing year for Lake Washington sockeye: 2018 saw the second lowest return on record.

With the summer counting period ending earlier this week, just 28,409 red salmon were tallied at the Ballard Locks from June 12 through July 31.

LAKE WASHINGTON SOCKEYE ANGLERS DURING THE 2006 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

That’s more than 10,000 fewer than the preseason forecast from state and tribal managers.

Since 1972, only 2009’s count is lower, 21,718

It will be interesting to learn how many of the fish made it from the locks through the Lake Washington Ship Canal and show up in the Cedar.

Spotchecks of Army Corps of Engineers data shows water temperatures in the Montlake Cut ranging from 70 to 74 degrees at 21 feet in mid-July, and nearing 70 degrees at 35 feet in recent days.

As we saw with Columbia sockeye in 2015, high temps make the salmon more vulnerable to disease and too-hot water can just kill them.

According to WDFW, since 2014, only 20 to 33 percent of sockeye that went through the locks turned up in the river.

Earlier this year an agency research scientist said that too few young sockeye are surviving as they rear in Lake Washington before going out to sea, and the runs — not to mention the famed salmon fisheries — could peter out in 20 years or so if nothing’s done.

In June 2017, sportangling advocate Frank Urabeck called for a “token, for old times’ sake” fishery if that year’s run were to reach 100,000 at the locks. It did, but nothing was opened.

The highest counts are 2006’s 418,015, a return helped by ridiculously high at-sea survival of smolts, 50 percent.

That was also the last year we fished the lake for sockeye, an 18-day season that provided an $8.6 million boost for the local economy.

To turn the situation around and hold another fishery would start with increased predator control in the lake for rearing smolts, good ocean conditions, a far stronger return than  this year’s and a way to get them around the too-warm ship canal.

Hoot Owl Closure On North Umpqua Fly Waters Starting Monday

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

Beginning Monday, August 6, angling the North Umpqua River fly area is closed from 2 p.m. to one hour before sunrise. The closure extends from the fly area boundary at Deadline Falls to the marker below Soda Springs Dam near the power plant enclosure and is in effect through September 30.

A FLY ANGLER WORKS THE NORTH UMPQUA (BLM, FLICKR, CC 2.0)

This emergency regulation aims to protect wild summer steelhead in the fly waters of the upper North Umpqua River. Exceptionally low flows and higher water temperatures at this time of year combined with preliminary data indicating the wild summer steelhead run may be below average prompted fishery managers to enact the closure.

An emergency regulation was set last week in the mainstem Umqpua River to protect native fish seeking cooler water at tributaries.

Tips for hot weather angling:

  • Fish during the cooler early mornings.
  • Land your fish quickly to help increase survival rates.
  • Keep your fish in at least six inches of water while releasing it.
  • Revive the fish before release. Keep the fish upright facing into the current; if the current is slow, move the fish back and forth slowly to help oxygenate the gills.

Bipartisan Salmon Predation Prevention Act Passed By US Senate Committee

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM U.S. SENATORS MARIA CANTWELL (WA-D) AND JIM RISCH (ID-R)

Today, bipartisan legislation to build upon existing laws to manage the sea lion population passed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The legislation, proposed by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Jim Risch (R-ID), will give state and tribal fishery managers more flexibility to address predatory sea lions in the Columbia River system.

A CALIFORNIA SEA LION HOLDS A SALMONID — EITHER A SPRING CHINOOK OR STEELHEAD — BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS. (ODFW, FLICKR)

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, which helps protect endangered salmon and steelhead populations, passed without objection and will be considered next on the Senate floor. The bipartisan bill would allow wildlife agencies to better protect vulnerable fish populations through science-based management of these invasive, non-ESA listed sea lion populations, while also maintaining a strong Marine Mammal Protection Act that supports research, science-based management, and public process.

“Wild salmon are central to the culture, economy, and tribal treaty rights of the Pacific Northwest and protecting these fish is crucial to the health of Southern resident orcas,” said Senator Cantwell. “This science-based, bipartisan bill enhances existing tools that state and tribal wildlife managers need to address salmon predation, protect the health of sea lion stocks, and ensure that we are managing wildlife based on the best science available. Pacific salmon should be protected for generations to come.”

“Threatened and endangered species of salmon are being damaged by sea lions in the Columbia River, severely impacting Idaho’s efforts to restore the populations” said Senator Risch. “I’m grateful to Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for making this a committee priority and for quickly advancing our bill.”

Support for this legislation is bipartisan and crosses multiple Pacific Northwest states. The governors of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon wrote to the Northwest Senate delegation in support of the bill, and the four chairs of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission have all voiced their support. The National Congress of American Indians has called the legislation “essential” to protect salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon.

“Congressional action is critical to reducing the numbers of sea lions that prey on salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Bruce Botka. “We welcome the Senate’s progress and look forward to final passage of legislation that will enable the Northwest states and our tribal partners to better protect endangered fish.”

“We applaud the bi-partisan leadership of Senators Cantwell and Risch to get unanimous support today from the Senate Commerce Committee for S. 3119. The bill will expand the ongoing efforts of tribal and state co-managers who have collaborated both on the river and in Congress to address sea lion predation. This legislation reconciles two important conservation laws while it also recognizes the four treaty tribes expertise and role as caretakers of ancestral resources in the lower Columbia River basin,” said Jaime Pinkham, Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

“This bill provides a thoughtful and practical approach to addressing sea lion predation in critical areas of the Columbia River,” said Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center. “It also for the first time enables managers to respond before the number and habits of sea lions become an insurmountable problem for returning wild salmon and steelhead populations. Salmon recovery requires a multi-faceted response. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Cantwell on this issue.”

“Senator Cantwell has stepped up during a crisis and delivered a solution to prevent extinction of fragile Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead stocks. The businesses of NSIA are appreciative of the Senator’s leadership in resolving this very tough issue. All who care about salmon recovery, food for Southern Resident Killer Whales, and have jobs that depend on healthy fish stocks owe Senator Cantwell our deepest gratitude,” said Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.

“Sea lions are killing as many as 43 percent of the spring-migrating Chinook salmon in the Columbia River, including threatened and endangered species. This is an immediate problem that needs an immediate solution, a more streamlined and effective process for removing the most problematic sea lions,”said Guy Norman, a Washington member of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. “The bill enables states and tribes to deal with a major bottleneck to salmon survival. It’s a big win for the fish and for the people of the Northwest who are deeply invested in salmon recovery.

Federal, state, and tribal governments and other organizations have made significant conservation and restoration investments throughout the Pacific Northwest. Sea lion populations have increased significantly along the West Coast over the past 40 years; today, there are roughly 300,000. These sea lions have entered into habitat where they had never been before, including areas around the Bonneville Dam and Willamette Falls.

recent study by Oregon State University found that increasing predation from sea lions has decreased the fishery harvest of adult Chinook salmon in the Pacific Northwest. According to the study, if sea lions continue their current salmon consumption habits, there is an 89 percent chance that a population of wild steelhead could go extinct. The study also noted that future long-term salmon management plans will need to address the increased salmon predation throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Companion legislation has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

………………………………..

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation today passed a legislative proposal by U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that would give state and tribal managers more flexibility in addressing predatory sea lions in the Columbia River system that are threatening both ESA-listed salmon and steelhead. S. 3119, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, passed without objection and will be considered next on the Senate floor. Companion legislation has already passed the House.

“Threatened and endangered species of salmon are being damaged by sea lions in the Columbia River, severely impacting Idaho’s efforts to restore the populations,” said Senator Risch. “I’m grateful to Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for making this a committee priority and for quickly advancing our bill.”

“Wild salmon are central to the culture, economy, and tribal treaty rights of the Pacific Northwest and protecting these fish is crucial to the health of Southern resident orcas,” said Senator Cantwell. “This science-based, bipartisan bill enhances existing tools that state and tribal wildlife managers need to address salmon predation, protect the health of sea lion stocks, and ensure that we are managing wildlife based on the best science available. Pacific salmon should be protected for generations to come.”

There are ESA threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead being significantly harmed by the increasing sea lion population. This predation of ESA-listed fish is negating the large investments being spent on salmon recovery associated with habitat, harvest, and hatcheries. If enacted, this bill would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to provide for better management of these invasive, non-listed sea lions.

Take A Newb Hunting In Oregon, Maybe Win A Prize In ODFW Contest

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

Take a friend new to the sport out hunting this year—you might win a prize!

ODFW launched its second Take a Friend Hunting contest today. Hunters who take someone new to the sport out hunting—or even someone who just hasn’t hunted in several years—can enter to win prizes including hunting gear and a statewide deer tag for 2019.

DEER HUNTERS IN EASTERN OREGON’S SILVER LAKE UNIT PEER OUT OVER THE LANDSCAPE. (DAVE BUDEAU VIA ODFW)

To be eligible for the contest, both the experienced hunter (mentor) and the new or returning hunter (mentee) must have a valid 2018 Oregon hunting license and be age 18 or older. New or returning hunters are those who have never purchased an Oregon hunting license, purchased for the first time in 2017, or have not purchased since 2013.

Both Oregon residents and non-residents are eligible to enter the contest. Hunters can take a friend, spouse or any family member along hunting, as long as they meet eligibility requirements.

Last year was the first Take a Friend Hunting Contest. A total of 1,546 people joined the contest (773 entries of two hunters, the mentor and the mentee) and 22 people won prizes from $50 gift cards to the grand prize of a statewide deer tag.

Another statewide deer tag will be offered this year (for the 2019 season). See other prizes below.

“Learning to hunt can be challenging for adults who didn’t grow up hunting,” said Chris Willard, ODFW recruitment and retention coordinator. “Mentoring by a friend or relative is a great way for those interested in hunting to get started.

“This year step up and take a friend hunting. Or, if you’ve never hunted and would like to learn how, ask a friend who hunts to take you along,” Willard added. “Either way, take advantage of Oregon’s tremendous hunting opportunities and the chance to enjoy the outdoors with friends.”

Unlike the ODFW Youth Mentor Program, the Take a Friend Hunting contest is for adults (age 18 and older) only, and each person must hunt on their own license and tag. All types of hunting (big game, waterfowl, upland bird, small game, etc.) qualify, as long as they are legal, ethical and safe.

Mentees who want to go big game hunting but did not draw a controlled hunt tag are welcome to join the mentor’s hunt (or vice versa). But the person without a tag may not carry a rifle or bow or take a shot at the big game animal with their friend’s weapon.

Participants need to register for the contest no later than Dec. 31, 2018 at the MyODFW.com website on the contest page (https://myodfw.com/articles/take-friend-hunting-contest ). Both mentor and mentee will be provided with safety guidelines to review, and must commit to having already mentored or plan to in 2018. For the full eligibility and contest rules, visit the contest page.

While both parties need to register and provide a Hunter/Angler ID#, the mentor will win the prize. Winners will be notified by Jan. 31, 2019.

The Take a Friend Hunting Contest is part of ODFW efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of hunting among Oregonians and encourage more participation in the sport. Through their purchase of hunting licenses and equipment, hunters fund wildlife management, research, habitat restoration and other work that benefits both game species and wildlife species that aren’t hunted.

Below are the contest prizes as of July 31, 2018. More prizes may be added, check the contest page for the latest.

  • Bi-Mart – Monarch 5 10×42 Binocular
  • Boone & Crockett – Legendary Hunts of Theodore Roosevelt by John Seerey-Lester
  • Cabela’s – $500 Gift Card
  • Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation – Otis Technology Gun Cleaning System (for Pistols, Rifles, and Shotguns) and Halo XL 450 Rangefinder
  • Ducks Unlimited – Landing Zone in Realtree Max5 camo
  • Kershaw – Ultimate Knife Package
  • Mule Deer Foundation — Siberian Sidekick Cooler
  • Nosler – Five $100 Gift Cards
  • ODFW/Oregon Hunters Association – ODFW Statewide Deer Tag (OHA to purchase tag for winner)
  • Oregon Sportsmen’s Caucus – Wild Game Innovations Vision 8 Lightsout Trail Camera
  • Pheasants Forever – Tenzing Upland Vest, Tenzing Shooter’s Bag, Browning DIY Butcher Kit, Behring Pintail Knife
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – Eberlestock Me Team Elk Pack
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse – Two $250 Gift Cards
  • Vista Outdoors – Camp Chef Package: Stove, Cast Iron Set and Chef Utensils Set
  • Wild Sheep Foundation – Sitka Pants and Jacket

Yuasa: Plenty Of Places To Catch Chinook, Coho This Month, And Lake WA Perch Peaking

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

Wow! We’ve hit August in a flash and by now anglers have gotten their chances to hook salmon in what’s clearly turning out to be a memorable summer.

KINGS ARE THE TARGET FOR ANGLERS EVERYWHERE FROM BUOY 10 TO DEEP SOUTH SOUND THIS MONTH. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

And while we’ve just eclipsed the midway point of summer, one shouldn’t let a lack of sleep or the ever growing “must do” list of house chores hold them back from getting out on the water.

In early June, my fishing journey began when the early summer chinook run ramped up in south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) around the Tacoma area off the Clay Banks, Flats and even as far south as Fox Island!

Fast forward to mid-July when the hatchery king fishery in northern and central Puget Sound (Areas 9 and 10) started off on a high note with anglers averaging more than half-a-fish-per rod during the Area 9 opener. Fishing was so good that WDFW had to shut-down the chinook season – it’s still open for hatchery coho – earlier than anticipated.

Here is a historical snapshot of Area 9 angler trips with total fish caught and days open – 2018: 1,640 anglers caught 629 fish in seven days (doesn’t include July 26-29 data); 2017: 1,312 caught 383 in 14; 2016: 785 caught 157 in 19; 2015: 1,283 caught 212 in 11; 2014: 759 caught 96 in 30; 2013: 1,079 caught 251 in 19; 2012: 737 caught 206 in 34; 2011: 812 caught 50 in 46; 2010: 662 caught 107 in 46; 2009: 930 caught 135 in 17; 2008: 739 caught 153 in 25; and 2007: 1,211 caught 329 in 15.

This kind of success and pure fishing fun reminded me why I enjoy being on my boat during this short window of opportunity in the summer chasing migratory kings from Puget Sound into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and down to the Columbia River mouth.

We’re all limited to how much time we get on the water especially when we’ve got jobs to hold down, family vacations to take and spending time with the kiddos. But, being smart and choosing where to fish locally will often lead to “fish-on” time-and-time again.

Looking at the month of August and September, anglers will still have plenty of choices to hook into kings and silvers.

Some of my favorite spots are Buoy 10 located near the Columbia River mouth; Westport on the south-central coast; Willapa Bay; Puget Sound in the Vashon Island/Tacoma area; and Long Beach just outside of Ilwaco off the southern coast.

While the Columbia chinook and coho returns aren’t as glamorous compared to recent year averages – the total fall chinook forecast is 365,000, which is about half of the 10-year average and falls below the 582,600 forecast and actual return of 475,900 last year – it will still provide ample hook-ups to make for a worthwhile trip to Ilwaco.

I first got hooked on the shallow water fishery off Long Beach by Tony Floor (a long-time sport-fishing advocate and dear fishing partner for many years) where we’d troll in 20 to 50 feet of water with just a banana weight and whole herring. Trolling through the huge schools of anchovies would constantly make your rod tip vibrate.

Keeping up the speed on your boat by going at a fast clip of 3 to 3.5 miles per hour is vital and you only need 13 to 15 pulls of line off the reel. Then kick back and watch those kings smash your bait and head out into the horizon like a fast-moving locomotive.

Just inside the Columbia River mouth is the famous Buoy 10 salmon fishery where on busy weekends will have an armada of boats stretching in all directions as far as the eyes can see.

Look for hungry salmon at places like the “Wing Walls” on the Washington side of the river, Desdemona Flats, above and below the Astoria-Megler Bridge and the Blind Channels just above the bridge.
If you want to stay close to home it’d be wise to hit central (10) and south-central Puget Sound (11) since the South Sound-bound hatchery chinook forecast of 227,420 is up 21 percent from 10-year average and a 35 percent increase from 2017. Be sure to check the WDFW website or hotline just in case the fisheries close sooner than expected.

As of press time Area 10 was under a hatchery king quota of 4,743, which is twice as large as last year’s quota, and scheduled to remain open until Aug. 30. Look for good fishing from Kingston south to Jefferson Head, and other locales like Point Monroe, West Point, Yeomalt Point and Skiff Point.

Back in early July, the WDFW decided to keep Area 11 open on a Friday to Monday only schedule for boat angling to slow down the fast-paced chinook catch that is under a quota of 5,587 fish. However, catches eventually slowed down and WDFW made a decision to revert back to the area being open daily starting Aug. 1. The Area 11 scheduled closure date is Sept. 30.

Look for hatchery kings around Dolphin Point, Redondo Beach, Brace Point, Three Tree Point and Point Robinson.

Further south of the Narrows Bridge is where “13” could be your lucky number! This deep-south sound region is known as Area 13 and will be the final staging area of the strong hatchery chinook returns. Anglers were already hooking up on good numbers of hatchery king around Fox Island in July, and seek them out at Anderson Island, the Nisqually Flats, Dover Point near Zangle Cove, Itsami Ledge, Dickenson Point, Little Fish Trap Bay, Big Fish Trap Bay and Johnson Point.

Another sleeper spot in late-summer is the San Juan Islands and is open to wild and hatchery kings through Sept. 3.

Great summer warm-water fish action

Fish species like yellow perch and rock bass just don’t get the attention as much as our beloved salmon, but I will often sneak away to my favorite lakes for these fine tasting fish.

WDFW BIOLOGIST AND HARDCORE ANGLER DANNY GARRETT SHOWS OFF A NICE STRINGER OF LAKE WASHINGTON YELLOW PERCH. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

The cool thing about this fishery is that you can easily catch them from the shore or boat, and Lake Washington – which is 20 miles long and covers more than 22,000 acres – is excellent for yellow perch, rock bass as well as many other fish species.

The yellow perch population is one of the most prolific and are extremely easy to find and catch. It’s peak time right now as the water temperature heats up making them very active all-day long.

Look for schools of yellow perch in shallow water, 15 to 35 feet, and close to the shoreline. They will school up in shaded locations just outside the cover of weed beds, milfoil, aquatic weeds and lily pads or under docks, piers and overhanging trees and brush.

Target Seward Park; Montlake Cut; Newport Canal; Newport Shores; Kenmore log boom and pier; Juanita Bay; Magnuson Park shoreline; Andrews Bay; Newport area and slough; Webster Point in Union Bay; Yarrow Bay in Kirkland; Gene Coulon Park in Renton; Mercer Island near Luther Burbank Park; and in South Seattle off Leschi Park, Madison Park, Stan Sayres Pits and Mount Baker Park. Lake Union around Gasworks Park and other areas are good spots too!

A simple light-to-medium-action trout fishing rod and spinning reel loaded with 4- to 6-pound line on a drop-shot (egg-style) weight attached to a three-way swivel is the “go to” tackle. Baits of choice are worms, maggots or a skirted crappie jig. Once you catch your first perch cut a small chunk of the meat or even a perch eyeball, which works great as bait.

Other lakes to target perch are Sammamish; Kapowsin; Sawyer; Goodwin; Steven; American; Angle; Desire; Meridian; Samish; Whatcom; and Bosworth. The WDFW website offers a wealth of information at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/Species/1849/.

Word on NW Salmon Derby Series

The derby series got off to a good start with 362 adult and 45 youth anglers turning out for the PSA Bellingham Salmon Derby on July 13-15. Participants weighed-in 155 fish and the winner of the $7,500 first-place prize was Darren Anderson with a 24.28-pound hatchery king. Second was Kevin Klein with a 21.60; and third was Ryan Johnson with a 20.44. By comparison in 2017, there was 329 anglers with 167 fish caught.

DARREN ANDERSON HOLDS AN OVERSIZED CHECK FOR $7,500 AFTER WEIGHING IN THE BIGGEST CHINOOK DURING THE BELLINGHAM PSA SALMON DERBY. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

That was followed by the Big One Salmon Derby on July 25-29 at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho.

The Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 3-5 was cancelled then reinstated after WDFW verified the summer chinook return to the Upper Columbia River was stronger than expected. The fishery reopened July 25 from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam, including the Wenatchee and Chelan rivers; and Aug. 1 from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, including the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers. The change came after fishery managers were confident they’d achieve escapement goals.

Brewster Salmon Derby anglers in early July were refunded so they needed to re-register online at http://brewstersalmonderby.com/ by Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 5 p.m.

Other derbies are the South King County PSA Derby on Aug. 4; Gig Harbor PSA Derby on Aug. 11; and the Vancouver, B.C. Canada Chinook Classic on Aug. 18-19.

It’s also not too soon to start getting excited about coho in September and be sure to enter the PSA Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 8, and the biggest derby on West Coast – the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23.

That is where we’ll draw the lucky name to win a grand-prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp and 9.9hp motors on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer. It is fully rigged with Scotty downriggers, Raymarine electronics, a WhoDat Tower and a Dual Electronic Stereo. Details: www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

Now it’s for me to start tying up bunch of leaders and bolt out the door to see if I can entice a late-summer king to take my bait. See you on the water!