Category Archives: Headlines

GEORGE MCLEOD WITH HIS THEN-RECORD 29-PLUS-POUND KISPIOX RIVER STEELHEAD, CAUGHT ON A FLY HE INVENTED TWO DECADES EARLIER, THE SKYKOMISH SUNRISE. MCLEOD PASSED AWAY AFTER A LIFETIME OF STEELHEADING INNOVATION AND LIVING A RICH LIFE AS A WELL-ROUNDED NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN. (MCLEOD FAMILY)

Washington Steelheading Pioneer Passes Away

George McLeod, who took inspiration from the light over Washington’s Cascades early one winter morn decades ago to create one of the most enduring steelhead patterns, passed away last weekend. He was 95.

“He was an expert fly fisherman and steelheader — his Skykomish Sunrise wet fly he created in the 1930s is perhaps the most widely ever used steelhead fly — a long-time avid outdoorsman, small  business owner, vegetable gardener and B-17 bomber pilot with 30-plus combat missions in World War II,” reads an obituary from son, Ken James Jr., and daughter, Sue.

He lived his last 40 years in Anacortes and died peacefully Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.

GEORGE MCLEOD WITH HIS THEN-RECORD 29-PLUS-POUND KISPIOX RIVER STEELHEAD, CAUGHT ON A FLY HE INVENTED TWO DECADES EARLIER, THE SKYKOMISH SUNRISE. MCLEOD PASSED AWAY AFTER A LIFETIME OF STEELHEADING INNOVATION AND LIVING A RICH LIFE AS A WELL-ROUNDED NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN. (MCLEOD FAMILY)

GEORGE MCLEOD WITH HIS THEN-RECORD 29-PLUS-POUND KISPIOX RIVER STEELHEAD, CAUGHT ON A FLY HE INVENTED TWO DECADES EARLIER, THE SKYKOMISH SUNRISE. LAST WEEKEND MCLEOD PASSED AWAY AFTER A LIFETIME OF STEELHEADING INNOVATION AND LIVING A RICH LIFE AS A WELL-ROUNDED NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN. (MCLEOD FAMILY)

McLeod was born in Seattle in 1921, and his early years were spent poking around small trout streams running through Woodinville and Bothell with his father, Ken McLeod.

But the family name is most strongly connected with the North Fork Stillaguamish and its summer-runs.

From his father’s camp at the mouth of famed Deer Creek by Oso, George landed his first steelhead at age 8 on the river, and then from the creek in 1933 as a 12-year-old, he took what would be the largest caught on a fly that year by members of the Steelhead Trout Club.

The McLeods weren’t strictly flyrodders. At the time there weren’t the fly line choices of later years that allowed patterns to stay down in the strong currents, so they used to go steelheading on the Sky with bait, hitting the river’s holes everywhere from Monroe on up to Index.

“They not only fished and hunted for enjoyment,” Ken Jr. recalled about his father and grandfather to this magazine for a 2008 story, “but for survival too. It was the Great Depression. They designed and implemented techniques to catch more fish.”

It was that kind of mindset that led to creation of the Skykomish Sunrise.

“On one particular trip we were headed over [to] the Skykomish,” George recalled in a 2006 interview with Danny Beaty and Tamara Belts. “[It was] one January morning, and as we approached Cottage Lake on the highway from Bothell to Duvall, there was the most beautiful sunrise you’d ever want to see. My dad pulled over on the shoulder by Norm’s Resort and we sat there watching the sunrise for about ten minutes. It was so beautiful. He remarked to me, ‘George, if you can tie me a fly with those colors, it‘ll really catch steelhead.'”

A COLD WINTER SUNRISE OVER THE SKYKOMISH RIVER AND MT. PERSIS NEAR GOLD BAR. (CHASE GUNNELL)

A COLD WINTER SUNRISE OVER THE SKYKOMISH RIVER AND MT. PERSIS NEAR GOLD BAR. (CHASE GUNNELL)

Back home, George sat down at his vise and tied what he thought matched the scene — “a splendor of red, yellow and white” — that morning (and not far from where this blogger did some growing up and on the lake this angler first recollects fishing) for his father.

“A day or two later, he  went over to the river — it was during the week — and he used the new pattern, the Skykomish Sunrise. He hooked seven fish, and landed a 13-pound, 13-ounce chrome-bright buck that was the largest fly-caught steelhead up until that time for him. From then on, we really caught fish on that fly; it became real popular with everybody and is to this day!” George recalled 10 years ago.

The pattern he invented would also put him in the fly fishing record books. In October 1955, he caught a 29-pound, 2-ounce steelhead on British Columbia’s Kispiox.

George might have owned the record longer, but on a trip back to the river seven years later, he helped out a fellow angler in need of a strong tapered leader to go after a particularly large steelhead the man had seen roll.

“Karl Mausser caught his 33-pounder the next day and broke Dad’s record,” Ken Jr. says. “Needless to say, if Dad hadn’t given Karl that strong blood-knot leader, Karl might not never have broken the ol’ man’s world record.”

A happy accident led to George’s creation of another renowned steelhead fly, the Purple Peril.

“My dad used to do a lot of dry fly fishing for summer-runs in the North Fork of the Stilly, especially in late July, August and into September,” George said during that 2006 interview. “One of his favorite patterns was the Montreal, which was a claret color, sort of a wine color. I ordered the claret Montreal hackles from M. Schwartz and Sons in New York, fly material suppliers, and by mistake they sent me purple hackle. I tied up some purple, bucktail dry flies, and lo and behold, they turned out to be really a killer on dark days, especially for (a) dry fly.”

George and his father also came up with the McLeod Ugly, and they are mentioned in Trey Combs’ classic Steelhead Fly Fishing.

A champion fly caster, he “pioneered” the development of coho flies and was instrumental in coming up with new kinds of fly lines, as well as owned a sporting goods store in Kirkland.

Along with steelhead and fly fishing, the McLeod name is strongly associated with Washington fisheries management.

Ken is considered to be the father of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s forerunner. Tired of how corrupt local officials were managing fish and game, Ken founded a magazine — The Northwest Sportsman — in 1930 in part to move that authority to the state of Washington. It worked too. Initiative 62, largely written by McLeod, was passed by a vote of the people in 1932 and a statewide game agency came into being the next year.

Four years before that saw the creation of the Steelhead Trout Club, and George was a longtime member. A recent newsletter noted that he was “still an active member of the Club and manages to out-fish most of us on an embarrassingly regular basis – George just turned 90.”

In a post on Washington Fly Fishing forum, one angler recalled watching him fish years ago “with a poetry of motion and efficiency. Stoic, strong and serene, he was one with the water.”

In December 2014, the Steelhead Trout Club honored him at its annual dinner, noting that he was both a legend and that steelhead feared him.

The summer- and winter-runs may be breathing a little easier now, but his family and friends are wiping away tears while smiling as all the memories come flooding back.

Announcing the news of his passing online, former WDFW North Sound fisheries biologist Curt Kraemer said he was honored to have counted George as a friend.

“During the 1980s almost as much as the regularly free-rising Deer Creek steelhead, the highlight of fishing the Deer Creek water was those days that I was able to talk steelhead with George,” he remembered.

George McLeod leaves behind three children, five grandkids and four great grandchildren.

“His storytelling and smiles,” reads Ken Jr. and Susan’s obituary notice, “will live on as he fly fishes into eternity.”

And may the sun always rise over his Skykomish, North Fork Stilly and Deer Creek steelhead.

BAD MOJO FOR RAZOR CLAMMERS. (NOAA)

After Bright Prospects, Uncertainty Hits Washington’s Fall Razor Clam Digs

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

Rising marine toxin levels have prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to delay upcoming razor clam digs at Long Beach and to review openings at other ocean beaches.

The department continues to monitor toxin levels to determine whether razor clam digging can proceed at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.

BAD MOJO FOR RAZOR CLAMMERS. (NOAA)

BAD MOJO FOR RAZOR CLAMMERS. (NOAA)

WDFW previously announced a tentative schedule of digs for Oct. 14 through Dec. 31 at the four ocean beaches.

However, digs at Long Beach are on hold until tests indicate toxin levels have dropped and the clams are safe to eat, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Test results on razor clams dug recently at Long Beach indicate levels of domoic acid exceed the threshold (20 parts per million) set by state public health officials. Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

Ayres noted that toxin levels also have increased over the past week at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks but remain below the threshold set by public health officials.

“These latest toxin test results cast uncertainty on the fall razor clam season,” Ayres said. “We hope this is a short-term spike in toxin levels that won’t lead to closures at other beaches.”

The department will provide updates in the upcoming weeks on planned openings on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Elevated levels of domoic acid forced state shellfish managers to cut short the razor clam season in the spring of 2015 and delay opening again last fall.

More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at all ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_acid.html.

(OSP)

Reward Offered For Info On Poached, Wasted Douglas Co. Bull Elk

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

The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help to identify the person(s) responsible for the unlawful killing of a bull elk in Douglas County.

On the morning of September 17, 2016, OSP was notified of a dead bull elk in the area of 4000 block of Rueben Road, Glendale, Oregon. OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers responded and found a dead elk in an open field between two houses, determining it had been shot and left to waste. Investigation revealed the elk was most likely shot on or around Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 2:30 a.m.

(OSP)

(OSP)

A reward of up to $500 is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. The reward is comprised of $500 from the Oregon Hunters Association Turn-In-Poacher program.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact OSP Senior Trooper Aaron Baimbridge through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or 541-817-4473. (Email – aaron.baimbridge@state.or.us). Information may be kept anonymous.

AND BITE THIS NICE BIG HANFORD REACH UPRIVER BRIGHT DID FOR CALVIN SCHERTENLEIB! HE'S BEEN RUNNING SUPER BAITS STUFFED WITH MOJOED TUNA. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

SW WA, Columbia, Hanford Reach Fishing Report (9-20-16

THE FOLLOWING INCLUDES MATERIAL FROM PAUL HOFFARTH AND OTHER WDFW SOURCES AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 153 boat anglers kept 10 adult and 5 jack Chinook, 14 steelhead, 4 adult and 10 jack coho and released 46 adult and 3 jack Chinook and 3 adult and 1 jack coho.  142 bank anglers kept 9 adult and 1 jack Chinook, 8 steelhead, 3 adult coho and released 22 adult and 3 jack Chinook and 1 adult coho.

Last week Tacoma Power employees recovered 761 fall Chinook adults, 54 jacks, 292 summer-run steelhead, 50 spring Chinook adults, one jack, one mini-jack, 672 coho adults, 464 jacks, and 34 cutthroat trout in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 20 spring Chinook adults, 70 coho adults and 38 coho jacks into the Cispus River upstream of the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek near Randle, 25 spring Chinook adults, 23 coho adults and 17 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood, and 435 fall Chinook adults, 39 jacks, 489 coho adults, 404 coho jacks and 16 cutthroat trout into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,510 cubic feet per second on Monday, September 19. Visibility is at 12 feet and water temperature is 55 F.

Kalama River – 37 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead and released 3 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead. (Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement Creel Summary).

East Fork Lewis River – No effort. (Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement Creel Summary).

Mainstem Lewis River – 1 bank and 2 boat anglers had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 10 boat anglers kept 1 adult Chinook and 2 adult coho and released 7 adult and 1 jack Chinook.  80 bank anglers kept 4 adult coho and released 10 adult and 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead.

On the mainstem and North Fork Lewis rivers, any Chinook, adipose fin clipped or not, may be retained effective September 24.

Drano Lake – 114 boat anglers kept 41 adult and 1 jack Chinook, 3 adult coho, and 13 steelhead and released 12 steelhead, 1 adult and 1 jack Chinook, and 1 adult coho.

Effective October 1, anglers may fish for SALMON and STEELHEAD with two poles with a Two-Pole Endorsement and each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON and STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. Barbed hooks will be allowed October 1 through December 31.

The lake will be closed to all fishing from 6 pm Tuesdays to 6 pm Wednesdays in October.

Klickitat River – 4 boat anglers kept 3 adult Chinook.  25 bank anglers kept 3 adult Chinook and released 3 adult Chinook. Based upon reports, sporadic success by bank anglers.

Buoy 10 – Still some coho and a few Chinook being caught here but more attention is starting towards crabbing.

The MSF for Chinook is scheduled to go through September 22 and then Chinook retention be closed from September 23 through 30.

Effective October 1, the salmonid daily limit increases to 6 fish of which 2 may be adult salmon or one adult salmon and one hatchery steelhead.  Salmon minimum size is 12 inches. Any Chinook, adipose fin clipped or not, may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam –

Secs. 1-4

During last week’s non-Mark Selective Fishery (MSF) above the Warrior Rock line we sampled 1,949 salmonid anglers (including 679 boats) with 558 adult and 54 jack Chinook, 12 adult and 1 jack coho, and 7 steelhead.  All but 5 (99%) of the adult Chinook were kept.

Half of the adult coho and all of the steelhead were kept.

Secs. 5-10

During last week’s MSF below the Warrior Rock line we sampled 670 salmonid anglers (including 196 boats) with 184 adult and 4 jack Chinook, 9 steelhead, and 4 adult coho.  46 (25%) of the adult Chinook were kept.

Three (75%) of the adult coho and all of the steelhead were kept.

The MSF for Chinook is scheduled to go through September 22 and then Chinook retention will be closed from September 23 through 30.  Effective October 1, two adult Chinook, fin clipped or not, may be retained.

Bonneville Pool – 26 boat anglers kept 5 adult Chinook and released 1 steelhead.

Hanford Reach – Fall Chinook fishing in the Hanford Reach area continues to improve with boats averaging a Chinook per boat this past week.  Best fishing was in the Vernita area at 1.5 Chinook per boat, followed by Ringold (1.3 fish /boat), White Bluffs (1.2 fish /boat), and Snyder (0.6 fish /boat).

WDFW staff interviewed 2,130 anglers from 893 boats and 127 bank anglers (Ringold access area) with a harvest of 1,136 adult Chinook and 102 jacks. Daily boat counts ranged from 111 to 530.  An estimated 2,548 adult Chinook and 193 jacks were harvested this past week

AND BITE THIS NICE BIG HANFORD REACH UPRIVER BRIGHT DID FOR CALVIN SCHERTENLEIB! HE'S BEEN RUNNING SUPER BAITS STUFFED WITH MOJOED TUNA. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

AND BITE THIS NICE BIG HANFORD REACH UPRIVER BRIGHT DID FOR CALVIN SCHERTENLEIB! HE’S BEEN RUNNING SUPER BAITS STUFFED WITH MOJOED TUNA. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Through September 18, an estimated 3,776 adult Chinook and 357 jacks have been harvested in the Hanford Reach from 14,051 angler trips.

Large numbers of fall Chinook continue to be counted moving upstream through the McNary fish ladders.  The first in-season run update for the Hanford Reach was calculated this week. The in-season update for the Hanford Reach natural origin (wild) adult fall Chinook is 126,803 well below the forecast but still a strong return.  In-season updates will be calculated weekly through mid-October.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers are catch-and-releasing good numbers of legal size fish from Camas/Washougal downstream to Longview.

Walleye

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Walleye fishing has cooled in the Camas/Washougal area.

dsc_0522-min

IDFG Trumpets Improved Trout Fishing On Kootenai River

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Floating through a cool, clear river in a deep canyon, an angler casts a grasshopper fly toward shore and waits for a trout to fall for the dupe.

It happens with a tell-tale swirl on the glassy surface, and as the anglers pulls back on the rod, it bows and bounces like a willow in the wind as a feisty trout realizes its mistake and thrashes in protest.

This scene is played out on many rivers in Idaho, and in this case, it’s the North Idaho’s Kootenai River, a gem of a stream that’s gotten a boost in recent years and is producing its best trout fishing in years thanks to a partnership between Idaho Fish and Game and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.

dsc_0522-min

(IDFG)

The Kootenai River’s canyon section flows between Montana’s Libby Dam and Bonners Ferry. It’s secluded and scenic with a series of riffles, pools and meanders. But until recently, it lacked nutrients to produce many trout and grow them larger. It harbored a population of rainbow trout and whitefish (along with other fish species), but they tended to be small, and trout reaching the upper teens in length were uncommon.

Part of the problems is Libby Dam collects those sediments upstream, releasing cool, clear water that’s relatively sterile where once nutrient-rich water flowed downstream.

Idaho Fish and Game and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho developed a relatively simple solution to that problem by adding common agriculture fertilizer to the river downstream from the dam. A series of large tanks set on a bluff overlooking the river and a small (about 3 inches) pipe releases the liquid fertilizer into the water at the Idaho and Montana border. The project started in 2005 with funding from Bonneville Power Administration, and the fertilizer sparks the growth of algae, which feeds aquatic insects that support the river’s trout, whitefish and other native fish populations.

Fish and Game biologists have seen a boost in both numbers and average size of trout in the river since the project started. They’ve also seen catch rates dramatically improve for anglers.

“In general, we’re very pleased with the response,” said T.J. Ross, senior research fishery research biologist for Fish and Game.

He said it’s likely a combination of the fertilizer project and a rule change in 2002 that limited harvest to two trout for rainbows and cutthroats none under 16 inches.

Ross added many long-time anglers in the area say it’s the best fishing they’ve experienced in years on the Kootenai.

Other anglers are also catching on, too, but the river is still lightly used compared to Idaho’s world-famous trout streams. That’s a bonus for those who make the trip to Bonners Ferry and take advantage of this river that flows through a scenic canyon. Fish and Game and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks also partnered in 2013 to get access from a private landowner to an undeveloped access point at the border near Leonia, Mont., which means Idaho anglers don’t have to float several miles through Montana to reach Idaho’s section of the river.

That was a valuable addition because the Kootenai is mostly a floater’s show, which means it’s a great opportunity to drift along and cast to the shoreline and entice trout with flies or lures.

Late summer and fall tend to be prime times to fish the river, and there are good opportunities to catch insect hatches that get trout feeding on the surface. But the Kootenai isn’t a “technical” river, so when there’s no  obvious hatch, trout will still rise to grasshopper patterns and attractors, as well as take lures and bait.

(IDFG)

(IDFG)

Most of the trout are on the 10 to 14-inch range, but fish measuring in the mid and upper-teens are common, and occasionally fish exceed 20 inches. That’s a big improvement from the past when a catch rates were low and the fish fairly small compared to other rivers in the area.

Fish and Game is also studying the river to find out which tributary streams provide the best spawning and rearing habitat so they can protect and possibly enhance those areas to provide more natural trout production.

For now, the Kootenai has an improved fishery that’s providing fun and excitement for anglers, as well a scenic float through a beautiful part of North Idaho.

Character: The river favors floaters over waders because there are few areas that are road accessible within the canyon and canyon walls are steep in many areas. The river is suitable for most river-worthy craft, including rafts, driftboats, kayaks and canoes. There are riffles and small rapids (Class II). The river is also navigable by jetboats.

Logistics: The section of the Kootenai River popular with trout anglers is located upstream from Bonners Ferry, and launch/takeout spots can be found at  Bonners Ferry, the Twin Rivers Canyon Resort and Leonia, Mont. near the border.

Special regulations: Trout limit is two, no rainbow or cutthroat trout under 16 inches.

(IDFG)

(IDFG)

Learn more about the Kootenai River and its fishing opportunities:

STEPHANIE ARMESTO SHOWS OFF A COHO SHE CAUGHT LAST WEEK WHILE TROLLING A WATERMELON-PATTER FAT WIGGLER OFF THE MOUTH OF THE DESCHUTES. SHE WAS FISHING WITH GUIDE BOB TOMAN. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

9-19-16 Columbia Fishing Report (Buoy 10 To McNary)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM TANNA TAKATA AND WDFW SOURCES AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

SALMON, STEELHEAD, SHAD

Salmonid catch rates ranged from fair to good on the Columbia River this past weekend.  In the John Day Pool, boat anglers averaged 0.14 Chinook caught per boat, while anglers fishing in The Dalles Pool averaged 0.64 Chinook, 0.06 coho and 0.02 steelhead caught per boat.  In the Bonneville Pool, boat anglers averaged 1.2 Chinook, 0.02 coho and 0.01 steelhead.  In the gorge, boat anglers averaged 1.27 Chinook, 0.03 coho and 0.03 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers fishing in Troutdale averaged 0.46 Chinook and 0.02 coho caught per boat.  In the Portland to Tongue Point area, boat anglers averaged 0.30 Chinook and 0.02 coho caught per boat, while anglers fishing Buoy 10 averaged 0.18 Chinook and 0.18 coho caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.06 steelhead caught per angler.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for 34 bank anglers

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed 83 Chinook adults, three Chinook jacks, two coho adults and two steelhead kept, plus two Chinook adults released for 67 boats (223 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed 69 Chinook adults, 14 Chinook jacks and one coho adult kept, plus one Chinook adult and two coho adults released for 151 boats (366 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed one steelhead kept for 16 bank anglers.

Portland to Tongue Point Boats: Weekend checking showed 45 Chinook adults, three Chinook jacks and two coho adults kept, plus nine Chinook adults, one Chinook jack and one coho adult released for 180 boats (366 anglers).

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): Weekend checking showed two Chinook and two coho kept for 11 boats (25 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed two Chinook adults and one steelhead kept, plus one Chinook adult released for 31 bank anglers; and 164 Chinook adults, 20 Chinook jacks, three coho adults, one coho jack and one steelhead kept, plus one Chinook adult released for 137 boats (390 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed one steelhead kept for 11 bank anglers; and 30 Chinook adults, five Chinook jacks and three coho adults kept, plus one steelhead released for 47 boats (122 anglers).

STEPHANIE ARMESTO SHOWS OFF A COHO SHE CAUGHT LAST WEEK WHILE TROLLING A WATERMELON-PATTER FAT WIGGLER OFF THE MOUTH OF THE DESCHUTES. SHE WAS FISHING WITH GUIDE BOB TOMAN. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

STEPHANIE ARMESTO SHOWS OFF A COHO SHE CAUGHT LAST WEEK WHILE TROLLING A WATERMELON-PATTER FAT WIGGLER OFF THE MOUTH OF THE DESCHUTES. SHE WAS FISHING WITH GUIDE BOB TOMAN. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

John Day Pool (John Day Dam to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed one Chinook adult kept, plus one Chinook adult released for 14 boats (31 anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed 25 legal white sturgeon released for two boats (six anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed no catch for six bank anglers.

WALLEYE

Troutdale: Weekly checking showed nine walleye kept for two boats (six anglers).

Portland: Weekly checking showed two walleye kept for two boats (five anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler; and 12 walleye kept, plus five walleye released for two boats (four anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed three walleye released for three bank anglers; and 63 walleye kept, plus 72 walleye released for 13 boats (26 anglers).

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

Still Some Saltwater Ops Around Washington

It wasn’t just the Walgamottlings and I hitting the salt for crabs — other anglers have been out working the briny blue with success this September.

While Puget Sound and the Straits are no gos for coho, here are fresh fishing reports from the San Juan Islands and Westport on Chinook and albacore, respectively:

By Kevin Klein, Puget Sound Anglers

Chinook fishing in the San Juans has picked up a bit in the last week, and it my get better as the month goes on. Rain and shorter days will trigger fish to move through on their way to the rivers. We could see some bigger fish caught later this season.

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

1. Brenda Schmidt reeled in a very nice Chinook last weekend.

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

(COURTESY KEVIN KLEIN)

2. Frank Guard put a good one across the deck as well.

……………………………………………………………….

By Mark Coleman, All Rivers & Saltwater Charters

Off of Westport we’re seeing albacore tuna upwards of 40 pounds and a good showing of yellowtail!

(ALL RIVERS & SALTWATER CHARTERS)

(ALL RIVERS & SALTWATER CHARTERS)

NOAA is calling for an Indian summer, so that means a strong October tuna fishery!!!

(ALL RIVERS & SALTWATER CHARTERS)

(ALL RIVERS & SALTWATER CHARTERS)

ANGLERS LIKE SHANE VANDERLINDA ARE HOPING FOR A COHO FISHERY IN THE SNOHOMISH, WHERE HE HOOKED THIS SILVER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Snohomish, Sky Coho Eyed For Possible Fisheries

As coho fishing began its second day on two Seattle-area waters, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s director said that two nearby rivers are being eyed for potential openings as well.

“We’re also looking at some other systems right now, both the Skykomish … and the Snohomish. We’re doing some evaluations on them. We have some biologists out there. We’re going to try to get a little test fishery in there this week,” Jim Unsworth said this morning on a Seattle-based radio show. “Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that there are fish there that we can take advantage of with a little fishery.”

ANGLERS LIKE SHANE VANDERLINDA ARE HOPING FOR A COHO FISHERY IN THE SNOHOMISH, WHERE HE HOOKED THIS SILVER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

ANGLERS LIKE SHANE VANDERLINDA ARE HOPING FOR A COHO FISHERY IN THE SNOHOMISH, WHERE HE HOOKED THIS SILVER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Anecdotally there are plenty, but Unsworth warned Tom Nelson and Rob Endsley of The Outdoor Line on 710 ESPN that managers need to be mindful of possible impacts on ESA-listed Chinook, as the back end of those stocks’ return are overtopped by coho.

When WDFW opened the Green-Duwamish on Friday for coho, it limited the upstream end of the fishery to I-405 because of Chinook still in the system.

Tribal test netting there and at Lake Washington has helped determine that this year’s coho are coming back much above the dire preseason forecasts, allowing fisheries to occur.

While we have lost the bulk of saltwater opportunities for silvers, it appears state managers are working to see what can be salvaged in the rivers.

That won’t come fast enough for anglers watching coho jump or swim their way past them, but Unsworth this morning said there is “last-minute scrambling to get things going.”

In the rest of his 13:34-minute interview on The Outdoor Line, he also talked about modeling salmon runs, permitting fisheries in the past and future, and his “reluctance” to have court systems dictate seasons.

Unsworth added that he has been talking with Skokomish Tribe Chairman Guy Miller about the river closure there that hit Chinook bank anglers hard.

“We need to get that fishery opened,” he said.

For the podcast, go here: theoutdoorline.com.

IN THE WATERS OFF A CITY THAT PRIDES ITSELF IN ITS DIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY AND FEDERAL RESEARCHERS FOUND A SURPRISING DIVERSITY OF LIFE THAT WAS RICHER THAN LESS DEVELOPED AREAS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Waters Off Urban Areas Of Pugetropolis More Diverse Than Expected: Researchers

Well, this sure muddies the waters.

Federal and university researchers found that the saltwaters off the fantastic concrete-and-steel-and-Starbucksosphere we’ve built here in Pugetropolis are richer than you woulda thunk.

“We thought for sure we would see urbanization lead to a decrease in the number of different species we saw,” Professor Ryan Kelly of the University of Washington told KUOW. “Instead we found the opposite.”

IN THE WATERS OFF A CITY THAT PRIDES ITSELF IN ITS DIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY AND FEDERAL RESEARCHERS FOUND A SURPRISING DIVERSITY OF LIFE THAT WAS RICHER THAN LESS DEVELOPED AREAS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IN THE WATERS OFF A CITY THAT PRIDES ITSELF IN ITS DIVERSITY, UNIVERSITY AND FEDERAL RESEARCHERS FOUND A SURPRISING DIVERSITY OF LIFE THAT WAS RICHER — BUT ALSO MORE HOMOGENEOUS — THAN LESS DEVELOPED AREAS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Now, before the Building Industry Association of Washington, Master Builders of King Co, et al, get any bright ideas about putting up another Seattle or Tacoma at the mouths of the Stillaguamish, Skagit, Nisqually, Skokomish and other rivers, know that the researchers were among the first to use a new method dubbed eDNA for environmental DNA.

Basically, they used it to test for the “suite” of living organisms in a location, and they studied four urban and not-so-built-up shorelines in the Central Sound.

Their working theories are that runoff from urban areas contains more nutrients than elsewhere or that regrading Denny Hill, etc., dumps more mud into the bays and leads to more clams, snails, etc., etc., etc.

“Or a reverse correlation is possible where the richness of the nearshore influences where humans settle most densely,” KUOW reports.

The paper, which is available here gratis, concludes:

“We see these results as a counterexample to the idea that humans uniformly decrease biodiversity. Rather, the observation that more urbanized areas support larger, but more homogeneous, suites of species indicates a more nuanced effect of human alteration on nearshore communities.”

Just as with all those number-crunching, counterintuitive and counterintuitiver wolf-livestock conflict studies, this seems ripe for other researchers to try and see if they can replicate the results, or not.

Meanwhile, that strong early showing of coho is about to meet deadly urban street runoff in T-minus 12 hours and counting ….

(IDFG)

YY Not? IDFG Tries New Trick To Control Unwanted Fish Populations

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Hatcheries have long been used to replenish and restore fish populations, but can they also be used to reduce or eradicate them? Idaho Fish and Game researchers are studying whether using traditional hatchery technology in a nontraditional way can eliminate unwanted fish populations in the wild.

Fish and Game researchers and hatchery staff are collaborating on a project using 50 year-old technology to develop a monosex fish population whose offspring can only produce males. These males have two YY chromosomes (YY) rather than the usual XY arrangement.

Stocking YY-male hatchery fish into a body of water with an undesired fish population could change the sex ratio to all males within a few generations, and the unwanted fish population would eventually fail to reproduce and therefore die off. Once accomplished, Fish and Game would stop stocking those fish and fisheries managers would then restock that body of water with a more desirable fish species.

(IDFG)

(IDFG)

 

Brook trout were selected for the first YY project because they are short lived and quick to sexually mature, which enables researchers to rapidly produce the hatchery broodstock and test the technique in a natural environment. Brook trout are also good candidates because they are nonnative, frequently overpopulate, and stunt in both lakes and streams, which means fish are too small to be of interest for most anglers.

The YY technique begins in a hatchery, where young brook trout are exposed to low-doses of a common female hormone, estradiol, which has no effect on female fish, but causes male fish to produce eggs when they mature. The egg-producing males are crossed with standard males, which produce about 25 percent YY-male offspring. Those offspring are used to produce another generation that will theoretically produce exclusively male offspring when bred with any other brook trout.

Brook trout produced in the program for stocking in the wild are not exposed to any hormones and appear like all other brook trout, but they carry two male chromosomes instead of one.

While it sounds complex, it’s a fairly simple method of using hormones to affect gender in a segment of the population, then selectively breeding them to get an entire population to produce one gender. It’s routinely done in commercial aquaculture hatcheries to raise identical-looking food-fish, increase growth rates, and control reproduction.

If the program with brook trout proves successful, the “YY male” method could eradicate or limit other undesirable fish species in select waters, perhaps even large bodies of water with carp infestations, or other unwanted fish that limit game fish populations and harm habitat.

Fish and Game has long used fish toxicants to eradicate unwanted fish from entire bodies of water, but toxicants are typically limited to smaller bodies of water, such as ponds, small lakes and reservoirs or small streams.

Netting, trapping, and other fish removal methods also rid waters of unwanted fish, but those efforts are rarely a long-term solution because a few fish usually escape and spawn successfully. All those methods are time consuming, labor intensive, and often have to be repeated years later when unwanted fish populations rebuild.

Fish and Game officials hope the YY-male approach will be a cost-effective technique to control undesirable fish populations. Gary Byrne, the Fish Production Manger overseeing the hatchery portion of Idaho’s YY brook trout program, said it only took four years to develop the YY brook trout broodstock.

Head Fisheries Researcher Dan Schill, who led the team conducting the research project, said they are encouraged by the low cost of broodstock development, and they hope the technique will curb brook trout populations in waters where it’s being tested.

“The proof will be in the pudding over the next few years when our research staff obtain results confirming whether stocked YY fish successfully spawn in the wild and are ultimately effective in reducing the percentage of wild female brook trout in test waters,” Schill said.

Stocking brook trout, YY males, fish research

(IDFG)

Stocking trials of YY Brook Trout in four Idaho streams began in 2014, and the first results are encouraging.  A marked YY Male was observed actively spawning in October with a wild female, and testing done on wild fry in study streams in 2015 conclusively showed that some YY males successfully spawned. Of equal note, all progeny of stocked YY fish found were XY males, exactly as predicted and as investigators hoped.

Fish and Game officials presented their findings at the August 2016 American Fisheries Society (AFS) national meeting in Kansas City, which has generated excitement in the fisheries science community.  There, the AFS announced Fish and Game’s YY Male Brook Trout Research Program won the 2016 Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project award in the category of Research and Surveys.

The awards highlight the importance and effectiveness of the sport fish restoration program and recognize excellence in fisheries management, research and education.

Questions and answers about the YY-male fish program

Q:  I understand the basic method of producing YY males in the hatchery, but how does the process of eliminating an undesirable fish population work in an actual stream or lake?   

A:  In natural fish populations, females have two X sex chromosomes (XX) and males have an X and Y chromosome (XY). When two wild fish spawn, offspring can only inherit one sex chromosome from each parent. Offspring receive an X from the female because that’s all she produces. Half the progeny receive an X from the male side and half receive a Y, which produces a 50:50 sex ratio.

When a hatchery-produced YY male spawns with a wild, XX female, all the progeny  inherit one Y from the male and one X from the female and therefore would all be XY males. The basic idea is to continue stocking YY Males into the wild population until all the fish in the water are male, then stocking would end and the population would consequently die off.

Q: Is Fish and Game trying to eradicate all brook trout? 

A: No, that’s not the intent of this program. While there is interest in eliminating brook trout in specific waters where they severely impact native species or stunt and become undesirable to anglers, this is primarily an effort to test the basic YY male concept in  small, isolated waters.  Anglers will continue to find hundreds of streams and mountain lakes in Idaho with wild Brook Trout populations.

Q: Are these brook trout being stocked considered a GMO? 

A: No. Because no genes are “spliced” into the target fish genome from another fish species, the YY male fish produced are not genetically modified organisms (or GMO’s), a plus that has been noted by the authors of several recent scientific papers reviewing the YY male approach.

Q: What happens if someone eats a fish that’s been exposed to estradiol. 

A: Fish exposed to the hormone in the program remain in enclosed hatchery production silos and are never stocked so it’s virtually impossible for that to occur. However, the doses given to tiny fry are very low and the 100 percent clearance rate from tissues is a matter of days, well over a year before fish become a size of interest to anglers.  For these reasons, it is inconceivable that an angler or other animals would be exposed to estradiol, which is a common and frequently used human prescription drug that’s also used in aquaculture.

Q: Could the YY approach lead to eliminating other types of unwanted, non-native, or nuisance fish?  

A: Although not the goal of the current program, Fish and Game is always trying to find ways to improve fishing and water quality.   Where an undesirable species is limiting fishing opportunity, this is one method that could be attempted if the present experiments on Brook Trout prove successful.

Q: Is it reversible if for some reason you wanted that fish back? 

A: Yes. All Fish and Game would have to do is stop stocking YY fish and the population would return to a normal 50:50 sex ratio.