Category Archives: Headlines

WDFW Fish Reg Simplification Proposals Head To Commission For Final Vote

Due to strong angler pushback, Washington fishing managers will recommend against allowing chumming statewide and eliminating special panfish rules, but say other simplifications they’re supporting will help shrink the gamefish section of the regulations pamphlet by between a quarter and a third.

They’ll take the complete package to the Fish and Wildlife Commission next Friday for a final vote, then begin work on the next project: streamlining the saltwater and salmon fishing rules.

Among the freshwater proposals that WDFW managers Steve Thiesfeld, Chad Jackson and Chris Donley will ask the citizen panel to accept as is:

  • Eliminating minimum length and daily limit on eastern brook trout;
  • Eliminate mandatory steelhead retention
  • Consistent language for game fish possession limit
  • Removing duplicative landowner rules
  • Separate trout and steelhead rules
  • Standardize juvenile only waters
  • Steelhead incidental retention
  • Stream season for game fish (Saturday before Memorial Day through October 31)
  • Whitefish only season standardization

They’ll ask the commission to modify eight proposals having to do with applying standard statewide rules on still and moving waters.

For instance, requiring wild rainbows and cutthroat to be released in native steelhead gene banks such as the Nisqually, East Fork Lewis and other rivers.

But they’re scrapping statewide chumming, special panfish regs and a trout bait-fishing rule in favor of retaining the status quo.

“We didn’t recommend adoption because online public comment and public testimony at last month’s Commission meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to adoption of these rules,” says Donley, who is the far Eastern Washington fishing manager. “In a nutshell, we actually do listen to the public.”

As the agency gathered online comment on proposals, an overwhelming 247 out of 272 people were opposed to the panfish rule, with many saying that reservoirs such as Banks, Potholes and Moses should be excluded because species like crappie and bluegill would be wiped out and other fish species would also lose out on dinner.

At least 59 people were against allowing statewide chumming, while only 31 were for. “This is a bad idea and will lead to unnecessary overfishing and collateral damage to other species,” one cogent argument went, according to WDFW.

And 46 out of 69 were against doing away with the requirement that trout caught with bait but released be counted towards the daily limit of five.

But there was stronger, though not unanimous, support for other simplifications, and those will mostly move forward or be slightly tweaked.

“Adopting the proposed changes would reduce overall gamefish rules by approximately 30 percent,” says Donley. “This is a substantial reduction in the number of special rules that are required to be listed in the pamphlet but it is important  to keep in mind that marine and salmon rules haven’t been simplified yet,  but we are working on it.”

NMFS Highlights How White R. Levee Fix Helps Homeowners, Salmon, Habitat

THE FOLLOWING IS A NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE STORY

Puget Sound salmon got a boost this summer from a redesigned levee in Pacific, WA. While local leaders were determined to reduce frequent flooding of neighborhoods and businesses, NOAA and partners provided expertise in habitat restoration, as well as a portion of the funding. The results? King County improved resilience to flooding along the unpredictable river, and restored much-needed salmon habitat in the process.

AN ENGINEERED LOGJAM, PART OF A “BIO-REVETMENT” LEVEE ALONG THE WHITE RIVER IN PACIFIC, IN SOUTHWEST KING COUNTY. (NMFS)

The White River Chinook are among the local fish listed as Threatened. Decades of degraded habitat and overfishing have diminished wild salmon numbers. Since salmon need specific conditions for successful reproduction, habitat restoration is a critical priority. More off-channel habitat means the young fish are bigger and stronger when they head out to sea, thus more likely to make it home to their river for spawning.

The old White River levee, built in 1914, ran along the narrow channel of the river, cutting off the floodplain. With today’s knowledge of nature-based infrastructure, project engineers are able to reduce flooding and benefit salmon. Young fish gained an additional 121 acres off-channel habitat, more than a mile of natural shoreline, and thousands of sheltered places to eat, rest and grow. Eighteen acres replanted with native flora reinforces a protective riparian border.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to conserving and protecting listed species like the Chinook. This is one of multiple projects funded under the Commencement Bay Natural Resources Damage Assessment settlement that resulted from NOAA’s joint effort cleaning up after a nearby hazardous waste release.

“NOAA and partners provided $4.8 million dollars toward protecting the community,” said NOAA technical monitor Jason Lehto. “But salmon and other wildlife get substantial benefit, too.”

THE WHITE RIVER OVERTOPS AN OLD LEVEE FOLLOWING AN OCTOBER 2017 AND SURGING INTO A RESTORED FLOODPLAIN THAT HAD BEEN DRY FOR A CENTURY. (NMFS)

In October, a sudden storm pushed the river up and over the old levee, which breached as planned. The excess water spread over reconnected lowlands without flooding any nearby property. With more unpredictable sea levels and weather ahead, communities are turning to nature -based infrastructure solutions to find solutions like the White River/Countyline levee. The neighborhood is safer, and the White River Chinook have one more edge against extinction.

Pendleton 18-year-old Arrested For Allegedly Poaching Multiple Deer, Elk

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

After a lengthy investigation involving Troopers of the Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division in Pendleton, a Pendleton area man was arrested on January 6, 2018 for multiple misdemeanor charges related to the illegal taking of wildlife on private and public lands within Umatilla County.

(OSP)

In September of 2017 an OSP Fish & Wildlife Trooper received information about alleged illegal hunting activities. As the investigation progressed, the primary suspect was identified as JOSEPH REIDE ST. PIERRE, age 18, from Pendleton, who was alleged to be illegally Hunting, Taking, and Wasting Wildlife on both Public and Private Properties in Umatilla County.

Information obtained during the investigation alleged that JOSEPH REIDE ST. PIERRE was involved in the Unlawful Taking of Wildlife as far back as the fall of 2016, to include a large mule deer buck, 3 large whitetail bucks, and two antlerless elk.

On Saturday January 6th, 2018 JOSEPH REIDE ST. PIERRE was lodged at the Umatilla County jail for probable cause and arraigned on Monday January 8, 2018 for the following charges;
* Unlawful Take of Buck Deer Closed Season-4 counts
* Unlawful Waste of Game animal-2 counts
* Hunting on the Cultivated Lands of Another- 3 counts
* Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm Across a Public Way -2counts
* Hunting prohibited method: Shotgun with shot restrictions — 1 count
* Unlawful Take of Antlerless Elk — 2 counts
* Exceeding Annual Bag Limit Elk- 1 Count
* Criminal Trespass In The Second Degree-1 counts
* Criminal Trespass While in Possession of a Firearm-1 count
* Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle-1 count
* Hunting with the Assistance of Artificial light- 1-count
* Assisting of Aiding another in committing wildlife violation, Unlawful Taking of Buck Deer-2 counts

Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to call the Turn-in-Poacher TIP hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or contact Trooper Tom Juzeler or Senior Trooper Ryan Sharp at the Pendleton office of the Oregon State Police 541-278-4090.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (1-10-18)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ORIGINATED WDFW AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream:  5 bank rods had no catch.  Upstream from the I-5 Br:  5 bank rods released 4 cutthroats.  No boats were sampled.

YAKIMA BAIT’S JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM PASSED ALONG THIS PHOTO AND REPORT THAT TOBIE STEVENS CAUGHT THIS WINTER STEELHEAD AS WELL AS A LATE COHO USING A MAG LIP ON A SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON STREAM RECENTLY. (VIA JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM)

Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam – No effort was observed for steelhead.

Sturgeon

Bonneville Pool – Including fish released, about 10% of the boat anglers caught a legal size fish.  Fishing was slow from the bank.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged a legal kept per every 7.7 rods.  Bank anglers also caught a few legals.

John Day Pool – Slow for legal size fish.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool – No effort was found for either specie.

The Dalles Pool – A bank angler caught a couple walleye.  No boat anglers were sampled.  No effort was observed for bass.

John Day Pool – Including fish released. Boat anglers averaged 0.7 walleye per rod.  No effort was observed for bass.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size to 10 pound rainbows released into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Catchable Trout Plants in the Last 30 Days

Last Updated: January 4, 2018

Lake/Pond

Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

* BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE%20GROUND%20LK%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
2.1
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

* ICE HOUSE LK (SKAM)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=ICE%20HOUSE%20LK%20(SKAM)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
10
0.1
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
20
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE%20PD%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
2.1
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

* LTL ASH LK (SKAM)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LTL%20ASH%20LK%20(SKAM)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
20
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
10
0.1
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* TUNNEL LK (SKAM)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=TUNNEL%20LK%20(SKAM)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
20
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 02, 2018
Rainbow
10
0.1
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

ODFW Encouraging Anglers To Turn In Combined Angling Tags, Hatchery Harvest Cards

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

ODFW reminds anglers to turn in their 2017 Combined Angling Tags and/or Hatchery Salmon/Steelhead Harvest Cards (aka Hatchery Harvest Tags) as soon as possible.

The documents should be returned even if you didn’t catch any fish or go fishing.

AN OREGON STEELHEADER PUSHES DOWN THE ALSEA RIVER IN LATE DECEMBER 2017. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Anglers with an annual fishing license are required to use the Combined Angling Tags and/or Hatchery Harvest Cards to track the number, type and location of fish harvested, providing ODFW with valuable harvest statistics.

“While it’s not mandatory to turn the cards in, we encourage anglers to return them,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW recreational fisheries manager. “The information helps us better estimate salmon and steelhead harvest rates, which means we can better manage these fisheries.”

One-day and multi-day licenses also have space to track salmon, steelhead and halibut harvest. Anglers who purchased these documents are also encouraged to return them to ODFW.

Combined Angling Tags, Hatchery Salmon/Steelhead Harvest Cards and one-or multi-day licenses can be turned in to most POS agents or at any ODFW office located throughout the state. The cards can also be mailed to any ODFW office or to ODFW Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem, OR 97302.

Zinke Forms National Hunting, Shooting Council To Advise DOI, USDA

A new national hunting council has been formed to advise federal land and wildlife overseers on issues near and dear to sportsmen.

Nominations are now open for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s just-announced Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council.

HUNTERS DISCUSS THE DAY AROUND A CAMPFIRE IN THE OKANOGAN-WENATCHEE NATIONAL FOREST. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

It’s charged with providing Zinke and the head of the USDA/USFS with “advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation.”

The advisory panel is scheduled to meet twice a year. Nominations can be sent to joshua_winchell@fws.gov.

“The Council will be made up of experts that share their knowledge, experience, and recommendations on a number of policy proposals put before them, as well as helping the Departments come up with innovative ideas to improve the health of wildlife and their habitat and increase sportsmen access on public and private lands,” said Zinke in a press release out this morning.

Among the polices and programs he and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will be looking for recommendations on improving and expanding are those that:

  • Conserve and restore wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, forests, and range land habitats;
  • Promote opportunities and expand access to hunting and shooting sports on public and private lands;
  • Encourages hunting and shooting safety by developing ranges on public lands;
  • Recruit and retain new shooters and hunters;
  • Increase public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation and the social and economic benefits of hunting and shooting;
  • Encourage coordination among the public, hunting and shooting sports community, wildlife conservation groups, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government.

Zinke, whose accomplishments for fishing and hunting over his first 10 months as secretary are touted in the press release, was the subject of a recent article by Outdoor Life editor Andrew McKean, which is well worth the read.

NSIA Lauds Judge’s Decision On Increased Dam Spill: ‘Vital’ For Fish, Industry

THE FOLLOWING IS A JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, SIERRA CLUB, SAVE OUR WILD SALMON COALITION AND EARTHJUSTICE

Today, United States District Court Judge Michael Simon (Portland, OR) approved a plan for increased spill at eight federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

This plan for Spring 2018 dam operations was jointly submitted to the Court last month by plaintiffs and defendants in the long-running legal case to protect wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin. It was developed in response to the Court’s April 2017 Order requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide more voluntary spill (water released through the spillways) to protect salmon and steelhead at risk of extinction.

WITH WATER SPILLING OVER THE SNAKE RIVER’S LITTLE GOOSE DAM, A SPOKANE ANGLER SHOWS OFF A NICE SPRING CHINOOK FROM A FEW SEASONS BACK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Todd True, lead attorney for the plaintiffs: “There is no real scientific dispute that voluntary spill to the level required by the Court will avoid harm to juvenile salmon. In addition, this spill order has been carefully crafted to avoid any unintended negative consequences to navigation and other resources. In fact, it is very likely that spill at higher levels would afford additional salmon survival improvements.”

Plaintiffs include conservation organizations, fishing associations, the Nez Perce Tribe and the State of Oregon. Defendants include the Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries.

Voluntary spill was first required during the spring and summer months at the eight federal dams in 2006 under the order of Judge James Redden after he had invalidated a plan from the federal agencies in 2004. The new spill plan approved by the Court today requires as much spill as is allowed under current state water quality rules for total dissolved gas (or “TDG”) unless there are compelling reasons to reduce it. Higher levels of spill help juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean in the spring and summer move past the dams more quickly and safely, and results in higher adult returns in the years that follow.

Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association: “Increasing the proportion of spill is vital for the protection of salmon and steelhead, and for fishing businesses and communities across the Northwest. This order for additional spill will divert baby salmon away from powerhouses, increasing the survival of juvenile fish migrating past dams to the ocean, enhancing the numbers of adult fish returning in the years that follow.”

Rhett Lawrence, conservation director for the Sierra Club in Oregon: “Increased spill levels in 2018 will provide a much-needed boost for our struggling salmon and steelhead populations. Conservation and fishing groups are grateful for our partnership with Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe – working together for the Northwest’s iconic fish and holding the federal agencies accountable to the law and the people of the region.”

Joseph Bogaard, executive director of Save Our wild Salmon: “This order for additional spill in 2018 is a near-term life-line for our region’s endangered wild salmon and steelhead until we have a legally valid, science-based plan in place. This order gives our fish and the communities that rely on them some breathing room in 2018 while our region comes together on a long-term plan that improves the health of these rivers and recovers our struggling fish populations.”

Last fall, Washington State also clarified how it applies its water quality standards relating to total dissolved gas in the lower portions of the Snake and Columbia Rivers. This clarification by the state will allow incrementally higher levels of spill to occur in the spring and summer, leading to higher juvenile and adult returns than would have occurred previously.

In May 2016, Judge Simon ruled the federal agencies’ 2014 Columbia Basin Salmon plan is inadequate and illegal. This is the fifth consecutive federal plan (Biological Opinion or “BiOp”) deemed illegal by three different judges across two decades. Over this period, despite the federal agencies spending more than $10B on a series of ineffective, illegal plans to protect salmon and steelhead from a deadly federal hydro-system, not a single at-risk population has recovered.

While the federal agencies jointly submitted this proposed plan with the plaintiffs to increase spill, they also filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last fall challenging the court’s decision to further expand spill. The appeal is on an expedited schedule and is expected to be resolved before the official beginning of the juvenile out-migration in early April of 2018.

You can read the signed order requiring more spill from the Court here:
http://www.wildsalmon.org/images/factsheets-and-reports/2018.District.Ct.spill.order.pdf

 


IDFG Looking For Tips In Poaching Of Big Buck East Of Boise Last Weekend

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

Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding the recent poaching of a large mule deer buck. The poaching incident likely occurred during the weekend of January 6th.

(BEN CADWALLADER, IDFG)

Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is offering a reward for information in the case and callers can remain anonymous. Contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999 twenty four hours a day.

Responding to the initial report, Fish and Game conservation officer Ben Cadwallader found the carcass of a large buck mule deer just one-half mile east of Arrowrock Dam off of the Middle Fork Boise River Road. “Based on the condition of the carcass, the deer was likely shot either this past Friday or Saturday,” Cadwallader said. The deer hunting season closed more than two months ago in this area.

Evidence was collected at the scene, but Cadwallader hopes to learn more about the case from an eyewitness or others who have knowledge of the poaching incident. “I am very interested in visiting with anyone who has information regarding this poached deer,” Cadwallader noted.

In addition to the CAP hotline, persons with information regarding this case may also contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465 weekdays and Idaho State Police at 208-846-7550 on weekends.

 

WDFW Looking For Input On Possible Land Buys, Including Sekiu Resort’s Ramps, Parking

Purchasing the only saltwater boat ramp not dependent on tides on a 70-mile stretch of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is one of nine potential land buys WDFW is looking for public comment on between now and early February.

The agency put out the package this afternoon, and reports that the new owners of Mason’s (formerly Olson’s) Resort at Sekiu are interested in selling the 6.5-acre facility, including its four-lane ramp and two parking areas.

A WDFW IMAGE LOOKS DOWN ON THE RAMPS AT MASON’S RESORT, FORMERLY KNOWN AS OLSON’S, IN SEKIU. (WDFW)

“This project will ensure continued public access to the Strait of Juan De Fuca from a highly popular boat launch that has been in continuous operation since 1939,” a project description reads.

However, it and the other eight are far, far from done deals.

Following comment — which runs through Feb. 2 — WDFW land managers first need to get approval from Director Jim Unsworth to seek funding through the state’s competitive land-buy review process, and then the Fish and Wildlife Commission must sign the check for the properties.

“This is an opportunity to comment on these proposals in the early stages of our strategic thinking,” said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW lands division manager, in a press release. “We want to know what the public thinks about these projects before we move forward.”

All would be bought to provide recreational access as well as to benefit fish and wildlife.

WDFW REPORTS THAT BUYING 103 ACRES OF NEMAH RIVER TIDELANDS WOULD PROVIDE NEARLY A MILE OF PUBLIC BEACH ACCESS TO AN AREA “KNOWN FOR AN ABUNDANCE OF HARD SHELL CLAMS.” (WDFW)

This year’s list is more Westside oriented than past ones, and generally the properties are smaller. Still, several stand out in terms of size.

Others proposed buys include 1,750 acres between Westport and Grayland in Grays Harbor County, 643 acres between Joseph Creek and the Snake River in Asotin County and 256 acres on Bickleton Ridge in the Simcoe Moutains of eastern Klickitat County.

Smaller ones are proposed in Snohomish, Thurston, Ferry, Columbia and Pacific Counties

For more, see the project descriptions here.

Comments can be sent to lands@dfw.wa.gov.

 

13 Elk Hit, 12 Killed In NW OR Highway Crash

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM OREGON STATE POLICE

On January 4, 2018, at approximately 4:30 AM, the Oregon State Police and Washington County Sheriff’s office responded to a crash on Highway 26 near milepost 54 in Washington County. The initial report was that a vehicle hit approximately 11 elk.

(OSP)

The Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division was contacted and responded to the scene. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is handling the crash and the Oregon State Police is working with the Oregon Department of Transportation in removing the elk.

(OSP)

There were 13 known elk hit by at least one, possibly more, vehicles. Approximately half of the elk were killed on scene and the others were put down for humanitarian reasons. Troopers are working to salvage the meat and distribute it to food banks and senior centers. Three of the elk will be taken to Astoria for distribution, 2 elk will be taken to Tillamook for distribution, and the remaining elk be distributed locally.

The operator of the Chevrolet Avalanche was not injured.