Category Archives: Headlines

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

PSA Celebrates Steelhead Smolt Release, Vows To Support WDFW

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM PUGET SOUND ANGLERS PRESIDENT RON GARNER

Puget Sound Anglers – comprised of several thousand members with 16 chapters throughout the State of Washington — is celebrating the release of juvenile Puget Sound hatchery steelhead from five Puget Sound hatchery facilities.

These include the Dungeness, Nooksack, Stillaguamish, Skykomish and Snoqualmie river systems. Volitional releases of some 500,000 smolts began on Monday, April 18. Those surviving to return as adults in two or three years will provide special recreational fishing opportunities in each of the five river systems.

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

AN EARLY-TIMED HATCHERY WINTER-RUN STEELHEAD SMOLT LEAVES TOKUL CREEK HATCHERY LAST WEEK AFTER WDFW GOT FEDERAL APPROVAL TO ONCE AGAIN RELEASE FISH INTO THE SNOQUALMIE RIVER. A COUNTER KEEPS TRACK OF HOW MANY LEAVE THE REARING PONDS, AND AS OF LAST SATURDAY, 42,000 HAD. THE NMFS PERMIT ALLOWS WDFW TO RELEASE 74,000 INTO THE SYSTEM. (DEBI SANCHEZ)

Our sport fishing/conservation organization will be supporting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as they carry out more rigorous hatchery programs mandated by the terms of the federal permit issued on April 15 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Fisheries. More extensive monitoring of returning adult steelhead to assess possible genetic interaction with wild steelhead may require volunteer supplementation of department staff.

This past week’s return to a viable hatchery steelhead program will benefit sport and tribal fisheries. During the past two years, as a result of a lawsuit by the Wild Fish Conservancy – the organization that is pursuing litigation on a number of issues including the Columbia River Mitchell Act hatcheries — the majority of hatchery steelhead raised in these hatcheries were dumped into local lakes without outlet streams connected to Puget Sound. While the hatchery smolts may have supplemented trout fisheries, this was not the intended or best use of this resource.

PSA was very pleased to coordinate our efforts to secure federal approval of the early winter hatchery programs with northern Puget Sound tribes, the Steelhead Trout Club, the Coastal Conservation Association and many other groups concerned about retaining harvest fisheries in the Puget Sound region.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, under the leadership of Jim Scott, special assistant to Director Jim Unsworth worked well with all interested parties to satisfy the federal requirements for continuing these hatchery programs.

Recognition must also be given to Senator Kirk Pearson for securing a letter of support from the Washington Senate that was instrumental in the process. A special thanks to Frank Urabeck who is a member of PSA, STC and CCA, Frank volunteered to lead the coordinated efforts of the three organizations in our working with DFW, the tribes and others.

As PSA state board president, I was very proud to have been a part of this cooperative process on the behalf of our membership.

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

With Record King Catch Expected, Buoy 10 Managers Add Twist To Bag Limit

Rather than clamp down on the fishing at Buoy 10 just as it starts to get hot this August and September, this year Columbia salmon managers are going to try the opposite approach: liberalize it through the season.

The fishery where a record Chinook catch is expected will see one wild or hatchery king available for retention Tuesdays through Saturdays, and one hatchery king on Sundays and Mondays.

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IAN FERGUSON OF THE NORTHWEST STEELHEADERS SHOWS OFF A CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY IN 2014. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW’s Columbia River policy coordinator Ron Roler hopes that that should help keep the season open through Labor Day, Sept., 5, unlike last year when it shut down for kings after Aug. 28.

He says that going marked selective two days a week “spreads the pain out” for everyone and will benefit those with plans to hit “the beast underneath the bridge” later in the season.

Noted Northwest salmon angler Buzz Ramsey agrees.

“As you know, sport catch rates on kings last year were so good the Chinook fishery shut down early, which was really unfair for those that had made plans to fish later in the month,” Ramsey said. “This new rule is designed to get us through Labor Day and I’m all for it.”

It is also key to limiting impacts on weaker ESA-listed Chinook stocks that constrain the fishery.

The limit will be two salmon a day, only one of which can be a Chinook or two hatchery coho.

Roler expects nothing less than a great haul for sports anglers. With another very large run of fall kings expected, he’s modeled 48,500 Chinook kept plus release mortalities.

By comparison, the entire 2007 season saw just 3,370 kept plus release mortalities, he says.

“In 2015, we saw two days with over 4,000 handled,” Roler says.

That helped lead to an overall impact of 39,000 last August, he reports.

THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE ARCS OVER THE WEST MOORING BASIN IN ASTORIA DURING 2014'S BUOY 10 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE ARCS OVER THE WEST MOORING BASIN IN ASTORIA DURING 2014’S BUOY 10 FISHERY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Roler attributes rising catches at Buoy 10 to big returns the past few years and the changing nature of the fishery. Anglers have figured out that there’s more to it than sitting at the famed red buoy marking the mouth of the Columbia and waiting for the fish to come by.

“It used to be everybody fished at Buoy 10. Now, they’re spread out and there are lots and lots of boats,” he notes.

The fishery extends from the buoy upstream past Ilwaco, Hammond, Warrenton, Chinook, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria all the way to the Tongue Point-Rocky Point line.

“It’s going to be a good one. I look forward to seeing you down there,” Roler says.

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Trout Season, Statewide Derby Begin Saturday In Washington

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE WITH A BUNCH OF MY PICS

Trout fishing in Washington reaches full speed April 23, when several hundred lowland lakes – stocked with millions of fish – open for a six-month season.

RAINBOW TROUT BEING STOCKED AT STEEL LAKE NEAR FEDERAL WAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RAINBOW TROUT BEING STOCKED AT STEEL LAKE NEAR FEDERAL WAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

That date also marks the start of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) first lowland lake fishing derby, which runs through Sept. 6.

 

To participate on opening weekend, Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license valid through March 31, 2017. Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.

Anglers who catch one of more than 700 tagged fish can also claim prizes provided by license dealers located across the state.

tag_close_up

 

For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby.

“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, and hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out for the big day,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW inland fish program manager.

OPENING DAY AT A WHATCOM COUNTY LAKE. (AARON HOSTETLER/WHATCOM COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION)

OPENING DAY AT A WHATCOM COUNTY LAKE. (AARON HOSTETLER/WHATCOM COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION)

WDFW fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 15 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide. Those fish include 3.8 million catchable trout, nearly 370,000 larger trout averaging about one pound apiece, and millions of smaller trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size.

RIGGED UP AND READY TO GO! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RIGGED UP AND READY TO GO! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.

“Opening weekend is an excellent time to get out there and enjoy Washington’s lakes,” said Phillips.  “Once again we planted some larger fish this year, and now and again, lucky lowland lake anglers will hook into a prize fish.”

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

A YOUNG ANGLER WORKS THE OARS ON A LOCAL LAKE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Phillips encourages anglers to check the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington) for details on lake fishing opportunities. The map-based webpage includes fishing information by county, lake and fish species throughout the state.

For those who want more fishing advice, Phillips recommends “how to” fishing videos available at the department’s webpage (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/videos).

ALL EYES ARE ON THE FISH -- AND THEN SOME! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

ALL EYES ARE ON THE FISH — AND THEN SOME! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

For those planning fishing vacations this spring or summer, Phillips recommends Great Washington Getaways (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/vacation), another WDFW homepage feature that showcases some of the state’s best family travel and fishing opportunities.

Of more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington, nearly 700 have WDFW-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more.

Details on water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/.

AN ANGLER WAITS FOR A BITE AT GREEN LAKE LAST FALL. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

AN ANGLER WAITS FOR A BITE AT GREEN LAKE LAST FALL. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Anglers parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to display on their vehicle the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass that is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased. The passes are transferable between two vehicles.

RIVER AND KIRAN WALGAMOTT ADMIRE A NICE RAINBOW KIRAN CAUGHT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

RIVER AND KIRAN WALGAMOTT ADMIRE A NICE RAINBOW KIRAN CAUGHT A FEW SEASONS AGO. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at http://discoverpass.wa.gov/.

DINNER IS SERVED! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

DINNER IS SERVED! (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH BASALT CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. (BLM)

NSIA Applauds Oregon Wildlands Act Hearing In US Senate

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Today, the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association was pleased to see a hearing on the Oregon Wildlands Act (S. 1699) in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee.

The legislation, sponsored by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, would designate 107,800 acres of wilderness in the Wild Rogue and Devil’s Staircase areas, safeguard 252 miles as Wild and Scenic Rivers, and protect 119,120 acres of the Rogue Canyon and Molalla rivers as national recreation areas. Currently, just 2 percent of Oregon is protected as wilderness. A growing coalition has been working to safeguard the areas in the legislation for decades.

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH BASALT CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. (BLM)

THE MOLALLA RIVER SLICES THROUGH A CANYON SOUTH OF PORTLAND. SURROUNDING LANDS WOULD BE DESIGNATED A NATIONAL RECREATION AREA UNDER THE OREGON WILDLANDS ACT. (BLM)

The areas within the proposal are treasured by Oregonians for their clean drinking water sources and for their recreational opportunities that include some of Southwestern Oregon’s best fishing. By protecting river sections and large areas of wilderness we can enhance angler access to these rivers and we can ensure the necessary water quality to sustain healthy populations of salmon and steelhead.

Passing the Oregon Wildlands Act would boost the local economy.  Visitors from across the country and around the globe come to explore and enjoy the area’s outstanding fishing and paddling opportunities.  The Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation in Oregon generates $12.8 billion in consumer spending, 141,000 jobs, $4 billion in wages and salaries and $955 million in state and local tax revenue.  River-based recreation on the Rogue River alone accounts for $30 million in total economic output.  A 2012 study by Southwick and Associates found that fishing on public lands in Oregon accounts for more than 11,000 jobs and accounts for more than $3.8 million is local wages.

The Elk, Rogue, Molalla, and Chetco Rivers are some of Oregon’s most prized and productive salmon and steelhead rivers, and by protecting them we would ensure access for anglers from here at home and around the world.

The Oregon Wildlands Act now awaits a mark-up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. NSIA encourages Congress to pass this important measure before the end of 2016.

(WDFW)

Sea Lion Turns Up Near Oakville

It wasn’t your usual pinniped haul-out.

In fact, it was a patch of decorative gravel between horse and cow pastures and halfway to Centralia.

That’s where last week WDFW’s Sgt. Bob Weaver and Officer Lance Martin had to deal with a big ol’ sea lion.

(WDFW)

(WDFW)

It apparently swam up the Chehalis River and then up a small tributary before waddling across a field to, presumably, make friends with some Scottish Highlands cattle near Oakville.

Or eat them — who knows with sea lions these days.

Sea lions are a hot topic among our folks, as they don’t appear to abide by fish quotas, they’ve stolen more than one spring Chinook off hooks this season, and they take over boat ramp floats, so some would suggest this story should have ended right there, on the gravel of some western Lewis County hobby farmer’s property.

Alas, while sea lions pestering the salmon up at Bonneville Dam can eventually be lethally removed, that wasn’t among Weaver and Martin’s options.

So, they got their getalong-little-lion on.

It’s easier than it sounds, though you should not try this at home, kids.

“If you stand up to them, you can move them,” says WDFW’s resident sea lion herding expert, Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. “They’ll go where you want them to, if you don’t give them a choice.”

He says that they use crowder boards, basically 4×8 sheets of plywood, to move the wayward animals into a special cage that’s been used for transporting pinnipeds for about a decade. It was given to officers by WDFW’s sea lion and seal scientist Steve Jeffries.

Cenci says that agency officers annually herd from three to six sea lions, mostly in Pacific County.

A month ago one crawled out of a slough along Highway 101 and headed a mile over to a gas station — who knows, maybe for smokes and beer.

Cenci wonders if from the marine mammal’s perspective the asphalt looks like water.

“But this one was a pretty far distance from saltwater,” Cenci said. “To show up there is new.”

What isn’t new is weird species turning up in Grays Harbor tribs. The sea lion is just the latest; you may recall the great shark mystery of 2012. A 500-pound thresher was found 5 miles up the Wishkah, probably dumped there, perhaps by a nervous fisherman or some prankster at the processing plant.

Weaver and Martin were off today, so it wasn’t clear where they released the sea lion, but most likely back down in its native habitat — and no doubt a relief for those cows.

(WDFW)

SGT. BOB WEAVER SECURES THE WAYWARD SEA LION IN ITS TEMPORARY TAXI. (WDFW)

Postscript (April 28, 2016): As it turned out, the sea lion was released into Puget Sound, but was found dead several days later near Olympia. The Olympian has the report.

SPOKANE ANGLER JEFF MAIN SHOWS OFF A SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT AT THE WALL BELOW LITTLE GOOSE DAM SEVERAL SEASONS AGO NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

States Set Inland Northwest Spring Chinook Fisheries

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

Chinook seasons open Saturday

The spring Chinook salmon fishing season will open Saturday, April 23, on parts of the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, Lochsa, Snake Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

The returns of hatchery origin adult Chinook salmon in 2016 are forecasted to be about 30 percent less than robust returns observed in 2015 but still among the top five observed since 2000.  Through April 13, over 3000 adult Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 25 adult salmon fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

Fish and Game tailored the 2016 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.

In the Clearwater Basin, except for the South Fork Clearwater River, limits are set at four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult. The possession limit in these parts of the Clearwater River drainage will be twelve fish, only three of which may be adults.

In the South Fork Clearwater, lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River fisheries, anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these fisheries will be twelve fish, of which only six may be adults.

These areas will be open seven days a week. The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to September 1.

Only hatchery origin Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept.  Only harvested adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit.  Adult Chinook Salmon are those 24 or more inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit.

An angler must cease fishing for Chinook salmon once they have retained their daily, possession, or season limit of adult Chinook salmon or their overall (fish of any size) daily or possession limit of Chinook salmon, whichever comes first.

Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery are in the 2016 Spring Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=110.

The Commission will consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers at its May 17 meeting in Coeur d’ Alene.  Salmon return to these areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River Hatcheries, giving managers more time to develop fishery proposals for those areas.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Snake River spring chinook fisheries to open

Action: Spring chinook salmon fishing opens on the Snake River.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

SPOKANE ANGLER JEFF MAIN SHOWS OFF A SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT AT THE WALL BELOW LITTLE GOOSE DAM SEVERAL SEASONS AGO NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

SPOKANE ANGLER JEFF MAIN SHOWS OFF A SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT AT THE WALL BELOW LITTLE GOOSE DAM SEVERAL SEASONS AGO NOW. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Locations:

A)  Below Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River from the Southbound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam.

B)  Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream from the mouth of the Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility).

C) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Dates: Each area is open two days per week until further notice.

Area A (Below Ice Harbor Dam) open Friday, April 29, and will be open only Friday and Saturday each week.

Areas B and C (below Little Goose Dam and near Clarkston) open Sunday, May 1, and will be open only Sunday and Monday each week.

Daily Limits: 6 hatchery chinook (adipose fin clipped), of which no more than one may be an adult chinook salmon. For all areas open for chinook salmon harvest, anglers must cease fishing for salmon when the hatchery adult limit has been retained for the day.

Reason for action: The pre-season forecast indicates a relatively strong return of spring chinook and anglers have stressed their desire for a longer fishery season. For this reason, Snake River fisheries in each zone will be limited to two days per week (with only one weekend day included each week) with a daily bag limit of one adult hatchery chinook. These restrictions will help prolong the duration of the season, enable sharing of fishing opportunities with upriver fishery zones, and facilitate compliance with Endangered Species Act (ESA) restrictions and harvest allocations available for the Snake River.

Other Information: The minimum size of any retained chinook salmon is 12 inches.  Jacks are less than 24 inches in length and adults are over 24 inches in length. The adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon that can be retained must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin, and all bull trout and steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed.

In addition: Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for any species during the days of the week the salmon fishery is open in any area. Only single-point barbless hooks are allowed when fishing for sturgeon. A night closure is in effect for salmon and sturgeon. It is unlawful to use any hook larger than 5/8 inch (point of hook to shank) when fishing for all species except sturgeon. Anglers cannot remove any chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2015/2016 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures.

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

Spring Chinook fishing in northeast Oregon kicks off on Saturday, April 23 with the opening of the upper Snake River to salmon fishing.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will open the upper Snake River for spring chinook fishing under the following regulations:

  • Open to sport fishing seven-days-a-week from Dug Bar Boat Ramp to the deadline below Hells Canyon Dam. The fishery will remain open until a notice of closure is announced.
  • The daily bag limit is four hatchery spring Chinook salmon (adult and jacks) per day, no more than two can be an adult salmon more than 24-inches long. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon for the day when they have kept four jack salmon (equal to or less than 24-inches long) or two adult salmon, whichever comes first.
  • Only barbless hooks may be used. Anglers are reminded to review the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for other applicable regulations.

ODFW and Idaho Fish and Game fishery managers, who co-manage the upper Snake River sport fishery, anticipate over 2,700 hatchery adult salmon will return to the base of Hell’s Canyon Dam. “Currently, the run is coming in later than expected but we’re optimistic we will have a good Snake River fishery this year” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise. “We expect the catch rates to pick up in the upper Snake around mid-May,” he said.

Managers are also monitoring detections of Chinook salmon stocks that support fisheries in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha Rivers. Spring Chinook returns to these basins are much lower than previous years “Our pre-season projections suggest there may be enough fish in both the Imnaha and Grande Ronde basins to have limited opportunity”, Yanke said.

Season changes and closures announcements will be posted on the ODFW website and released through local news outlets.

A USGS MAP OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT SHOWS IT'S JUST SOUTH OF AUBURN. (USGS)

Corps: Building Setback Levees May Help ESA Salmon Too

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

Building a river setback levee to reduce the risk of flood for a community may also help endangered fish species to thrive, according to the results of a novel computer model reported by the U.S. Geological Survey.

For the White River in King County, Wash., a proposed setback levee would help reduce flood risks, as well as minimize environmental impacts and provide increased habitat for federally listed species of salmon. A setback levee is a levee relocated farther away from a river channel in order to reduce the risk of flooding by creating a wider riverbed with increased floodwater capacity. Setback levees also allow river flows to spread out and slow down.

A USGS MAP OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT SHOWS IT'S JUST SOUTH OF AUBURN. (USGS)

A USGS MAP OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT SHOWS IT’S BETWEEN AUBURN AND PUYALLUP. (USGS)

In cooperation with King County Water and Land Resources Division, USGS scientists studied a 2-mile reach of the White River near Pacific, Wash., at the site of a proposed setback levee, about 68 miles downstream of Mount Rainier. The proposed project would increase the levee-to-levee distance across the river from the current 195 to 295 feet, to as wide as about 1,300 feet.

Traditional river-restoration computer models that simulate the effects on fish species have relied on preferred habitats determined primarily by river depth, velocity, and riverbed materials, often ignoring the role of food supply and foraging behavior in habitat quality. USGS scientists took the novel approach of having their model “follow the fish food” and simulate how river insects—food for salmon—are carried downstream by varying river flows and at varying river temperatures. In high river flows, for example, salmon can use up a lot of energy as they struggle to hold their position, while their food insects are swept quickly downstream.

Results of the USGS computer model indicate that the proposed setback levee project would likely help endangered salmon thrive as they develop and mature, based on their increased energy intake (more river insects) and reduced energy expenditure (due to lower river flows).

The report, “Effect of a levee setback on aquatic resources using two-dimensional flow and bioenergetics models,” by R.W. Black, C.R. Czuba, C.S.Magirl, Sarah McCarthy, Hans Berge, and Kyle Comanor, is published as U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5025, available online. More information about the USGS study can be found here.

For over 100 years, the USGS Washington Water Science Center has been investigating the water resources of the state. The data we collect are essential for a reliable supply of safe drinking water, protection from floods and other natural disasters, hydroelectric power, agriculture, manufacturing, recreation and the environment.

KINNEY LAKE IS LOCATED A FEW MILES EAST OF JOSEPH AND WALLOWA LAKE, UNDER THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS. (ODFW)

Enterprise-area Lake Opened For Nonmotorized Watercraft, YR Fishing

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

Kinney Lake is now open to non-motorized watercraft and year-round fishing under rules adopted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in collaboration with the surrounding landowners, Triple Creek Ranch and Wallowa Valley Improvement District #1.

“The use of float tubes, canoes, and small rowboats will allow anglers to spread out and find more fish,” said Kyle Bratcher, assistant district fish biologist in Enterprise. “Our goal is to put more fish in the hands of anglers and improve the experience.”

KINNEY LAKE IS LOCATED A FEW MILES EAST OF JOSEPH AND WALLOWA LAKE, UNDER THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS. (ODFW)

KINNEY LAKE IS LOCATED A FEW MILES EAST OF JOSEPH AND WALLOWA LAKE, UNDER THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS. TO GET THERE, TAKE HIGHWAY 350 OUT OF JOSEPH TO TUCKER DOWN LANE, AND HEAD SOUTH ON IT TO KINNEY LANE AND FOLLOW IT EAST. UNDER NEW RULES, IT HAS BEEN OPENED TO HUMAN-POWERED WATERCRAFT — NO ELECTRIC OR GAS MOTORS ALLOWED. (ODFW)

For this reason, Kinney Lake will now also be open to angling all year.

“Often during the early spring we have some nice weather and people want to get out and fish,” said Bratcher, noting that Kinney Lake can be a good option for families and youths when other spring opportunities may be limited.

Bratcher said ODFW’s new stocking plan for Kinney Lake will add fall releases to provide trout for an ice fishery during the winter. In addition, the later releases will grow through the winter and be available for early spring fishing.

ODFW has been working with local landowners for the last year to improve the quality of the fishing at Kinney Lake, which is located on privately owned land east of Joseph.

In the fall of 2015, ODFW treated the lake with rotenone to remove brown bullhead catfish, which were over-abundant and negatively affecting the stocked trout fishery, according to Bratcher.

”Based on the results of other chemical treatments in Oregon, removing bullhead will result in better growth of stocked rainbow trout and better winter survival which means larger fish for the angler,” he said.
The lake has not been stocked with fish since it was treated last fall. The first catchable rainbow trout will be released first week of May.

Access to Kinney Lake is provided by and agreement between private landowners and ODFW. To maintain this access, ODFW asks anglers to be respectful of private land and follow all rules and regulations posted at the lake. Anglers can maintain their access privileges by packing out trash and maintaining desirable conditions.

In addition to the changes at Kinney Lake, ODFW is seeking public input on management of the ponds in the Wallowa Valley. Surveys are available at the ponds and on the ODFW “fishing resources” website. Future plans may involve changes in the number of trout stocked, fish species available, or facility improvements.

(OSP)

Another Bighorn Ram Shot, Wasted Along I-84

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

On Sunday April 10th, 2016 at approximately 6:00PM the Oregon State Police received several reports from passing motorist’s about a bighorn sheep near milepost 118 on Interstate 84 (east of Rufus).

(OSP)

(OSP)

 

The callers reported that the sheep was in an unusual position and was possibly dead. The deceased ram was located by OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers in a rock slide near the highway. A necropsy determined the ram had shot with a firearm and left to waste. There is no indication that this incident has any connection to the killing of two rams the week before just east of this location.

The Oregon State Police is requesting any person with information on this incident to contact Senior Trooper Jubitz at 541-705-5330. A Turn-In-Poachers (TIP)reward of up to $500.00 is available for information that leads to an arrest. Call 1-800-452-7888. No further information will be released as this is an ongoing investigation.

EFFORT IS BEGINNING TO RAMP UP AT DRANO LAKE, WHERE THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE'S LOCAL HATCHERY MANAGER TOOK THIS IMAGE A FEW SEASONS BACK. (SPEROS DOULUS, USFWS; POSTPROCESSING BY SAM MORSTAN)

Southwest Washington Fishing Report (4-19-16)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT WAS GATHERED BY WDFW AND TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 149 boat anglers kept 88 steelhead and 19 adult spring Chinook plus released 2 adult spring Chinook.  294 bank anglers kept 48 adults, 2 jack spring Chinook and 37 steelhead plus released 2 adult spring Chinook.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 550 winter run steelhead, 932 spring Chinook adults and 30 spring Chinook jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 11 winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 371 spring Chinook adults, 13 jacks, and seven winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and 351 spring Chinook adults, eight jacks, and 17 winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek. In addition, they released 81 spring Chinook adults and two jacks at Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 8,500 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 18. Visibility is seven feet.
Anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing from May 1 through June 15 per permanent regulations.

Lewis River – 6 bank anglers released 2 wild steelhead.  Remains closed for spring Chinook.

North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) upstream to Merwin Dam – During the month of May, closed to all fishing.

Wind River – At the mouth, 67 boat anglers kept 3 adult spring Chinook.  2 bank anglers in the gorge had no catch.

Effective May 1 through June 30, from the mouth to the Hwy. 14 Bridge each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Beginning May 1, anti-snagging rule will be in effect from the Hwy. 14 Bridge upstream. When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to boundary markers approximately 800 yards downstream from Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the Coffer Dam) – From May 1 through June 30, the salmon and steelhead daily limit will be a total of 2 chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Unmarked chinook may be retained in this section of the Wind. Night closure and anti-snagging rule will be in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth
may be retained.

Drano Lake – 67 boat anglers kept 6 adult spring Chinook.  8 bank anglers had no catch.

EFFORT IS BEGINNING TO RAMP UP AT DRANO LAKE, WHERE THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE'S LOCAL HATCHERY MANAGER TOOK THIS IMAGE A FEW SEASONS BACK. (SPEROS DOULUS, USFWS; POSTPROCESSING BY SAM MORSTAN)

NO, THERE AREN’T THIS MANY BOATS THERE YET, BUT OVER THE COMING WEEKS, EXPECT THE NUMBER OF TROLLERS ON DRANO LAKE TO INCREASE AS MORE SPRING CHINOOK MOVE INTO THE DROWNED MOUTH OF THE LITTLE WHITE SALMON RIVER. (SPEROS DOULUS, USFWS; POSTPROCESSING BY SAM MORSTAN)

Effective May 1 through June 30, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole
Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Bonneville Pool – Bank anglers at the mouth of Drano Lake are catching a few spring Chinook.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some spring Chinook.

John Day Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some spring Chinook.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery.  All fishing for sturgeon will be closed from May 1 through Aug. 31 in the sturgeon sanctuary from Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia River from navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point.

Bonneville Pool – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery.  Angling for sturgeon will be prohibited from May 1 through July 31 between The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.  Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus Oregon

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some legals. Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge May 1 through July 31.

Walleye and Bass

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged over 3 walleye and 11 bass per rod when including fish released.  Bank anglers were also catching some walleye.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged over 2 walleye and 7 bass per rod.  Bank anglers were also catching some walleye.

Trout

Klineline Pond – 59 bank anglers with 121 catchable size and 6 brood stock rainbows kept and 10 catchable size rainbows released.  Best bite was in the SE/NW corner of the pond by anglers fishing with rubber worms.