Category Archives: Headlines

WDFW Reminding Anglers Of Tucannon Rule Changes

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

Since Sept. 1, Tucannon River anglers have been required to comply with several changes to protect wild steelhead and the future of the fishery.

As announced  Aug. 22 in a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) emergency rule change, and NOT in the current fishing rules pamphlet:

All steelhead landed in the Tucannon River with a missing adipose fin (hatchery origin) must be retained. Catch and release of hatchery steelhead is not allowed. (As usual, all wild steelhead must be released.)

The daily limit is reduced from three to two hatchery steelhead.

Barbless hooks are required for all fishing.

The area from Marengo (at Turner Road Bridge) upstream is closed to all fishing (it had been open under selective gear rules and motor prohibition.)

The fall / winter fishery season for all game fish species closes Feb. 28, 2015 (it had been open through March 31.)

The boundary description is modified to define the Tucannon as the water lying south of a line of sight from an orange diamond shaped sign attached to the Hwy. 261 guard rail (northwest of the Tucannon and adjacent / downstream from the rest area turn off), running southeast across to the eastern, un-submerged shoreline of the Tucannon (point of land spit).  (The large embayment between the eastern shoreline of the Tucannon River and the rock bluff to the east along the south shore of the Snake River is considered part of the Snake River.)

WDFW Eastern Region Fish Program Manager John Whalen explains the reason for all the changes is because natural origin steelhead returns to the Tucannon River are not meeting management goals for conservation.

“We have to focus the fishery on removal of stray hatchery steelhead that primarily enter the Tucannon River in late summer or early fall to prevent them from spawning,” Whalen said. “We also need to provide a refuge area above Marengo to protect early returning wild steelhead, and close the fishery before March when most of the wild steelhead return to the Tucannon River.”

Whalen notes that anglers must cease fishing for steelhead for the day once they have retained two hatchery steelhead or their two trout per day limit.

Adipose fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin.  All steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed.  Anglers cannot remove any steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.  Chinook and coho salmon, as well as bull trout are also present in the Tucannon River during this steelhead fishery, and must be released unharmed.  Anglers should be sure to identify their catch.

A portion of the funding to monitor the Tucannon River fishery comes via funds generated through sale of the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsements. All anglers fishing for salmon or steelhead on the Snake River and Tributaries are required to have this endorsement.

Game fish seasons are scheduled to re-open in the Tucannon River on the first Saturday in June as described in the 2014-2015 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Tucannon River impoundments – small man-made lakes on WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area that are stocked with hatchery trout – remain open through October, as relayed in the fishing rules pamphlet.

(LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

‘Great Season’ Expected For Wild Coho On Oregon Coast Rivers

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

Wild coho seasons on many coastal rivers and bays open Sept. 15 and, judging from the number of ocean coho being caught off the Oregon coast, fishery managers are anticipating a great season.

“The forecasts for both coastal fall Chinook and coho were strong for 2014 and ocean fisheries so far have lived up to expectations,” said Chris Kern, ODFW manager for Columbia and Marine Programs. “Fishing for coho and Chinook in coastal rivers should be outstanding.”

(LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

JEFF ANDERSON SHOWS OFF A WILD COHO FROM THE NEHALEM RIVER, HIS FIRST AND CAUGHT A FEW SEASONS BACK NOW. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Managers are predicting 175,000 wild coho will enter Oregon coastal basins and have set wild coho seasons in 13 of those basins: Nehalem, Tillamook, Nestucca, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos and Coquille rivers, Tenmile lakes and Beaver and Floras/New creeks. Most seasons begin on Sept. 15 and continue through November, but there are exceptions.  Also, some basins are only open certain days of the week, and seasonal wild coho bag limits vary.

River-specific seasons, quotas, bag limits and closed areas are described on the ODFW Web site.

This year only three basins – Umpqua, Beaver Creek and Floras/New River – will have quotas, down from six in 2013. This continues the trend away from expensive and labor intensive creels and quotas to fixed season structures, according to Mike Gray, ODFW fish biologist in Charleston.

With the wild coho season scheduled to open next Monday, Chris Knutsen, ODFW biologist in Tillamook, says wild coho already are being caught and released in Tillamook, Nehalem and Nestucca bays.

“All indications are that the run on the North Coast will be stronger than in recent years,” he said.

Wild coho also have moved into southern Oregon basins like the Coos and Umpqua.

Massive Reward Offered For Huge Bull Poached Near Medford

Oregon fish and wildlife troopers really want to track down whomever killed a bull elk near Medford and took only its head.

They put out word this afternoon that a whopping $10,000 reward is being offered for information on the case.

“If you know someone who has a fresh bull elk head or antlers, but has not meat or elk carcass, you can help solve this crime and be considered for a significant reward just by providing OSP with the key tip,” said Sergeant Kirk Meyer in a press release.

The headless carcass was discovered about 5 miles southeast of Eagle Point, along Lake Creek Road near milepost 2. OSP says that the rate of decomposition suggests it was killed on the night of Sept. 6 or 7.

Anyone with info is being asked to call Trooper Josh Nugent at (541)727-8055, or the Turn in Poachers hotline, (800)452-7888. Anonymous tips are accepted.

Funding for the large reward comes from the Humane Society of United States and The Humane Soc iety Wildlife Land Trust ($5,000), Cascade Ranch ($4,500) and the Oregon Hunters Association-administrated TIP Program ($500).

WDFW Expecting Another Great Razor Clam Season

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comments on digging days, catch limits and other management options for the upcoming razor clam season.

Suggestions for the 2014-15 season, which is tentatively set to begin the second week of October, can be sent by email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov or by postal mail to: Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563.

LEXI HAN SHOWS OFF A FAT RAZOR CLAM FROM A DIG THIS PAST APRIL, PART OF A SEASON THAT SAW THE HIGHEST SPORT EFFORT AND HARVEST GOING BACK TO 1982. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

LEXI HAN SHOWS OFF A FAT RAZOR CLAM FROM A DIG THIS PAST APRIL, PART OF A SEASON THAT SAW THE HIGHEST SPORT EFFORT AND HARVEST GOING BACK TO 1982. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

An overview of the just completed 2014 coastwide razor clam stock assessment and a look back at the 2013-14 season are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

Comments regarding fall digging opportunities must be received by Sept. 23, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

“Based on our assessments, the razor clam populations on some beaches exceed the near record levels found in 2013,” Ayres said. “We expect the 2014-15 season to be just as good – if not better than last year.”

To learn more about how WDFW assesses razor clam populations, watch the department’s video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC4fu6_8G8I&feature=youtu.be.

North Nemah Hatchery Chinook Limit Bumped Up To Two

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

WDFW adds bonus hatchery chinook to daily limit on North Nemah River

Action:  Allows anglers to keep one additional hatchery chinook per day.

Effective Date:  Immediately through Nov. 30, 2014.

Species affected:  Chinook salmon

Location:  North Nemah River from Highway 101 Bridge upstream to bridge on Nemah Valley Road

Reason for action:  Excess hatchery chinook are available for harvest.

Other information:  Daily limit is 6 salmon.  Up to 3 adults may be retained of which only 2 may be wild coho, plus one additional adult hatchery chinook.  Release wild chinook.

Information contact: Mike Scharpf, (360) 249-1205

(OSP)

Siuslaw Anglers’ Boat, Engine Hit By Gunfire

An 81-year-old man allegedly blasted the hull and engine of a disabled boat on the lower Siuslaw yesterday, according to the Oregon State Police.

They say that Elden Nordahl did so after two men tied their drifter up to his dock.

(OSP)

(OSP)

090814.siuslaw_boat_shooting.1

(OSP)

The incident occurred yesterday around 1:32 p.m., which was near high tide, in the 6000 block of Highway 126 east of Florence, and downstream of the Siuslaw Marina and RV Park.

OSP says that the men had had motor problems on the water and decided to row to a dock along the river. After tying up, one stayed with the boat while the other went to get the rig.

As the men loaded the boat onto the trailer, OSP says Nordahl arrived in his boat and told them not to leave. He then went inside his home and came out with a shotgun, allegedly firing first into the back of the boat, according to police.

While he reloaded the men boogied, and Nordahl fired again, hitting the boat’s motor.

Two state troopers, a county sheriff’s deputy, and a tribal officer responded to the scene.

OSP arrested Nordahl for menacing, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful use of a weapon, and pointing a firearm at a person.

ELDEN NORDAHL. (OSP)

ELDEN NORDAHL. (OSP)

They seized a shotgun, rifle and ammo.

They also want to hear from anyone who might have seen the incident. Witnesses are asked to call (800) 452-7888 and leave a message for Recruit Trooper Candyce Fiddy.

(OSP_

(OSP)

EHD Hits Roseburg-area Deer For First Time

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

Tests have confirmed that deer in the Roseburg area are dying from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), a disease that has not been seen in deer in this area of Oregon before.

Lab results from Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab tested positive for EHD late last week. This year, more than 100 deer have died in the Roseburg area with similar symptoms. Most of the deer were found in the Fisher Road area west of Roseburg or near Umpqua Community College.

EHD is transmitted to deer via the bites of Culicoides gnats (no-see-ums). Columbian white-tailed deer are particularly susceptible but it can affect black-tailed deer as well. Both a black-tailed deer and a Columbian white-tailed deer collected in the Roseburg area tested positive for EHD. Additional samples of other deer found dead are being tested.

ODFW wildlife veterinarian Colin Gillin said EHD symptoms resemble those of the more common Adenovirus Hemorrhagic Disease (AHD). EHD causes weakness, excessive salivation and bloody diarrhea. Deer with EHD also develop a rapid pulse and respiration rate and fevers – which is why they are frequently found lying in bodies of water to reduce their body temperature. Deer finally become unconscious and die.

“We have never seen EHD before in this area, and it’s a new threat to deer,” said Tod Lum, Umpqua District wildlife biologist. “Low water conditions and pools of stagnant water along the rivers provide ideal breeding conditions for the gnats that transmit EHD. There isn’t much we can do to prevent this disease other than wait for the rains to come or cold temperatures to knock back the gnats.”

Lum still recommends people stop feeding deer or providing them with water so as not to artificially concentrate them in a small area. Also, clean water troughs, fountains and bird baths if deer are using them. “These steps will help reduce the risk of disease spreading,” Lum said.

There have also been reports of more than 200 dead deer in Jackson and Josephine counties. Samples from those deer tested positive for the more common AHD, which is spread through nose to nose contact.

Because EHD is transmitted through gnats, livestock can also be affected.

“Domestic livestock can certainly be exposed to the virus, but our experience with EHD shows cattle and sheep rarely exhibit clinical signs,” says Dr. Brad LeaMaster, State Veterinarian with the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “A very small percentage of animals can develop symptoms that can include fever, loss of appetite, lameness, ulcers and crusty sores on the nose, mouth and teats. There is no vaccine for EHD in cattle.”

LeaMaster says livestock owners should contact their local veterinarian if they notice any of their animals showing signs of disease. “I would like veterinarians to contact my office if they see cattle with erosions or lesions in the mouth to rule out foreign animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease,” LeaMaster said.

EHD cannot spread to people from animals.

Anyone who sees a sick deer in the Roseburg area should call the Roseburg ODFW office at 541-440-3353 or the Wildlife Health Hotline at 1-866-968-2600. Currently, archery deer hunting and some controlled deer hunts are open in southwest Oregon and any hunter who harvests a sick deer should also contact ODFW.

FEDERAL OCEANOGRAPHERS SAY THAT 
UNUSUALLY WARM TEMPERATURES DOMINATE THREE AREAS OF THE NORTH PACIFIC: THE BERING SEA, GULF OF ALASKA AND AN AREA OFF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THE DARKER THE RED, THE FURTHER ABOVE AVERAGE THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE. NOAA RESEARCHERS ARE TRACKING THE TEMPERATURES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR MARINE LIFE." (NMFS)

Enjoy That Salmon Run, Kids, Because ‘The Blob’ May Mess Things Up

Those fun-loving folks over at NMFS’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center have discovered a little something that just might be really, really bad news for our ocean-going fish stocks — though the next time you’re out on the Gulf of Alaska you may land a mola mola.

They say that a giant patch of well-above-average-temperature water known as “The Blob” has been sticking around for more than a year in the North Pacific, and “the longer it lingers, the greater potential it has to affect ocean life from jellyfish to salmon.”

FEDERAL OCEANOGRAPHERS SAY THAT  UNUSUALLY WARM TEMPERATURES DOMINATE THREE AREAS OF THE NORTH PACIFIC: THE BERING SEA, GULF OF ALASKA AND AN AREA OFF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THE DARKER THE RED, THE FURTHER ABOVE AVERAGE THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE. NOAA RESEARCHERS ARE TRACKING THE TEMPERATURES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR MARINE LIFE." (NMFS)

FEDERAL OCEANOGRAPHERS SAY THAT “UNUSUALLY WARM TEMPERATURES DOMINATE THREE AREAS OF THE NORTH PACIFIC: THE BERING SEA, GULF OF ALASKA AND AN AREA OFF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THE DARKER THE RED, THE FURTHER ABOVE AVERAGE THE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE. NOAA RESEARCHERS ARE TRACKING THE TEMPERATURES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR MARINE LIFE.” (NMFS)

Besides sunfish, which mola mola are also known as, thresher and blue sharks apparently have been swimming around up in salmon shark country this summer.

What’s worrisome is that “the situation does not match recognized patterns in ocean conditions.”

Why do you care about this? NMFS author Michael Milstein writes:

Warm ocean temperatures favor some species but not others. For instance, sardines and albacore tuna often thrive in warmer conditions. Pacific Coast salmon and steelhead rely on cold-water nutrients, which they may have found recently in the narrow margin of cold water along the Northwest coast. But if the warmth continues or expands Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead could suffer in coming years.

“If the warming persists for the whole summer and fall, some of the critters that do well in a colder, more productive ocean could suffer reduced growth, poor reproductive success and population declines,” (federal climate and former University of Washington researcher Nate) Mantua said. “This has happened to marine mammals, sea birds and Pacific salmon in the past. At the same time, species that do well in warmer conditions may experience increased growth, survival and abundance.”

(Newport-based NOAA oceanographer Bill) Peterson recently advised the Northwest Power and Conservation Council that juvenile salmon and steelhead migrating from the Columbia River to the ocean this year and next may experience poor survival.

“The signs for salmon aren’t good based on our experience in the past,” Peterson said, “but we won’t really see the signal from this until those fish return in a few years.”

Even if “The Blob” cools off or turns out to be as good a run-size predictor as the rest of stuff in the federales’ fish forecasting bag, it’s something to be aware of. For more, check out the agency’s write-up here.

Fin Schminn Off The Columbia’s Mouth

Northwest salmon managers are getting crazy with the regs.

ODFW announced this afternoon that starting Saturday, Sept. 6, anglers will have more flexibility for reaching their daily limit of salmon between Leadbetter Point in Wash. and Cape Falcon in Ore.

That’s when retention of nonfinclipped coho will begin, as will the chance to bonk a second king.

“While the daily bag limit remains two salmon, these changes will allow anglers to keep two adult coho or two Chinook salmon (or one of each) with or without a clipped fin,” explained ODFW.

You probably won’t have any problem on the coho side — it appears that a huge wave of coho is swimming past Buoy 10 — but ferreting out a second king might be tough. Earlier today, Joe Hymer at PSFMC in Vancouver said that 88 percent of the catch out of Ilwaco last week was coho.

The reg change follows last week’s dropping of the wild coho retention ban off Westport.

“Anglers are reminded that it is always illegal to be fishing in an area with a prohibited fish in possession, so anglers with a legally caught unclipped ocean coho or Chinook are not allowed to continue fishing in the Columbia River, where it is currently closed to Chinook and only fin-clipped fish can be retained,” ODFW says.

“The season in this area remains open through the earlier of Sept. 30 or the remaining Chinook guideline of 2,970 or the revised non selective coho quota of 6,400,” they say.

ROY ELICKER. (ODFW)

Another Northwest Fish And Wildlife Chief Leaving

Joining Phil Anderson on his way out the door to the north later this year, Roy Elicker will leave the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife next month.

The agency says that he is resigning effective Oct. 10 to begin work for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the head of fisheries programs in the Northwest and Hawaii.

ROY ELICKER. (ODFW)

ROY ELICKER. (ODFW)

“The years with ODFW, especially the past seven years as director, have been incredibly rewarding,” Elicker said in a press release out around noon. “It has been an honor to lead the dedicated, professional staff at ODFW.”

Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association in Portland called his time at ODFW “long and productive,” and said that he’d led “the agency through some large and beneficial changes for the future of the ODFW.”

Elicker began his service there a year before Anderson started at WDFW, in 1993 as a watershed program coordinator, and since has held a series of management positions, culminating in the hot seat for good in August 2007.

That was a year and a half before Anderson took the helm in Washington; retirement had been on his mind for awhile, and the job appears to have taken its toll on him.

Said Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission chair Bobby Levy, “Roy has done an outstanding job. He’s provided strong, steady leadership and helped make ODFW one of the most respected agencies in the state and one of the leading fish and wildlife agencies in the nation.”

UPDATE Henry Miller, the longtime outdoor writer at the Salem Statesman-Journal, and Rob Davis at The Oregonian both spoke to Elicker for articles out Sept. 5.

Hamilton pointed out that two of NSIA’s science and policy directors have held similar positions at USFWS as the one Elicker is moving into.

“We thank him, wish him well and forward to a continued partnership,” she said.

This will make for an interesting fall as both commissions and agencies hold job searches for new fish and wildlife directors. Oregon and Washington offer very similar fisheries, hunting opportunities and habitats, and both similar states face very similar challenges in terms of budgets, sportsman participation, wolves and more.