Category Archives: Headlines

Malheur, Little Pend Oreille NWRs Benefit From Mystery Woman’s Will

Editor’s note: As we’ve reported here before, hunters stand heads and shoulders above most when it comes to conservation and buying into the mission, and while birders feel just as strongly, without mechanisms like the Pittman-Robertson Act and duck stamps, their linkage with funding wildlife habitat isn’t as strong. But here’s the story of one birder whose generosity will help others enjoy three Northwest national refuges and several others across the West.

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

By Brent Lawrence

Nobody really knew Rita Poe until she died.

She moved through the final years of her life with little apparent interaction with others. Few people could recall the tall, thin woman with salt-and-pepper hair and brown eyes. She died at age 66 in her home – a 27-foot travel trailer parked in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains – of colon cancer on Nov. 16, 2015.

Though Rita’s life came to a close, her legacy will live on for generations thanks to her final act of astonishing generosity.

NANCY ZINGHEIM MADE IT HER MISSION TO LEARN MORE ABOUT RITA POE, WHO STAYED AT HER RV PARK NEAR PORT TOWNSEND, WASHINGTON, BEFORE DYING IN NOVEMBER 2015 OF COLON CANCER. (BRENT LAWRENCE, USFWS)

With no known friends or heirs in her final years, Rita’s closest connection was Nancy Zingheim, the manager for SKP RV Park in Chimacum, Washington, where Rita had parked her Airstream during the summer of 2015. Their only encounters were when Rita would come in to pay her lot rent or an occasional wave on the street when she walked her dog, an Italian greyhound/basenji mix named I.G.

Then in September, Rita showed up with a question for Nancy: “Will you be the executor of my will?” Nancy agreed.

Rita died a few weeks later, and Nancy got her first look at the will. It was as generous as it was surprising: give almost everything — nearly $800,000 – to eight National Wildlife Refuges and four parks across the West.

On the list were three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges from her home state of California, with one refuge in each of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Texas. The four others recipients were state and national parks from Texas and Wyoming.

Rita’s legacy started Nancy on a path that culminated with a 4,000-mile “trip of a lifetime” during which she learned about wild spaces and public lands, and what made them meaningful to Rita.

A USFWS MAP HIGHLIGHTS THE TOUR OF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES THAT  ZINGHEIM TOOK TO BETTER UNDERSTAND POE’S INTEREST IN THEM AND WHY SHE WOULD LEAVE MONEY TO EACH. (USFWS)

Between December 2015 and April 2017, Nancy researched each refuge and park online. She called them with questions, intent on making sure that each refuge and park would live up to Rita’s expectations.

The biggest obstacle for Nancy was fighting to collect $374,000 owed to Rita from a long-ago inheritance. Once Nancy won that battle and the money came in, she could have considered her work nearly done. Someone else might have simply written the checks.

But not Nancy.

Over the months of searching through Rita’s paperwork and photos, Nancy started to know Rita on a deeper level. The last photo Nancy found of Rita was from a 1981 Texas driver’s license. Nancy discovered that Rita was born on October 20, 1949 in California and that she once held a nursing license, but couldn’t determine where or when Rita worked. Nursing may have been what Rita did at some point, but it was clear that it wasn’t what fulfilled her. There was an empty spot in Rita’s soul that could only be filled on public lands.

A SAGE GROUSE DISPLAYS AT FROSTY MALHEUR NWR. POE WOULD TAKE HUNDREDS OF IMAGES OF WILDLIFE BUT NARY A SELFIE, ACCORDING TO USFWS. (USFWS)

Rita’s devotion to the places that left a mark on her was infectious, and Nancy was determined to see firsthand where Rita’s final act of generosity was going. “I had never heard of a (National Wildlife) Refuge,” Nancy said. “I wanted the money to go to what Rita would have wanted.”

So in April 2017, Nancy took two weeks of vacation and headed south in Rita’s truck to visit six of the National Wildlife Refuges. It was a final trip that Rita would have loved, Nancy said.

First stop was Merced and San Luis refuges in central California. Next up was Tule Lake Refuge in northern California, then Malheur Refuge in Oregon, followed by Camas Refuge in eastern Idaho. Nancy’s final stop was northeast Washington at Little Pend Oreille Refuge, her personal favorite.

LITTLE PEND OREILLE NWR IN NORTHEAST WASHINGTON. (USFWS)

At each stop Nancy asked what the refuge needed and how they could best use the money. Most refuge managers suggested giving it to their respective Friends of the Refuge group, which would enable the money to be used on specific local projects per Rita’s intent. Malheur requested it go to the High Desert Partnership, a grassroots organization that brings together disparate groups to work collaboratively in the best interest of the refuge and the local community.

The possible projects are numerous. At Camas, for example, they need to replace dying trees around the visitor center for nesting and roosting birds, as well as finishing a pollinator garden. At San Luis and Merced, they need more family picnic areas.

MULE DEER PARADE THROUGH TALL GRASS AT MALHEUR NWR, WHICH IS OFF LIMITS TO BIG GAME HUNTING. (USFWS)

At Little Pend Oreille Refuge, they could leverage the money as matching funds for a bigger grant. “Maybe an overlook/observation point with an accessible trail,” refuge manager Jerry Cline said. “We want it to be something a visitor like Rita would benefit from.”

WHERE RITA POE’S MONEY WAS DISBURSED.
Camas NWR (Idaho) – $96,551.48
Little Pend Oreille NWR (Washington) – $48,275.74
Malheur NWR (Oregon) – $48,275.74
San Luis NWR (Calif) – $48,275.74
Merced NWR (Calif) – $96,551.48
Tulelake NWR (Calif) – $72,413.6
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge (Utah) – $48,275.74
Laguna Atascosta NWR (Texas) – $48,275.74
Hueco Tanks State Park (Texas) – $72,413.61
Choke Canyon State Park (Texas) – $48,275.74
Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) – $120,689.35
Wild Birding Center (Texas) – $48,275.74

Nine days and thousands of miles later, Nancy arrived back home from her solo trip. She was exhausted, but happy to see her husband and new dog – I.G., which she took at Rita’s request in her final days.

I.G. THE ITALIAN GREYHOUND-BASENJI MIX THAT POE WISHED ZINGHEIM TO TAKE CARE OF AFTER SHE PASSED. (NANCY ZINGHEIM)

Nancy finally had a true understanding of National Wildlife Refuges, public lands and, perhaps most importantly, Rita. On the open roads of the West, Nancy discovered how the enigmatic Rita could find her peace on public lands.

“Only one person at any of the refuges remembered Rita, and it was because of her Airstream” Nancy said. “She’d go to the refuges and spend all day taking hundreds of pictures. There weren’t any (photos) of Rita; just the birds and animals she loved.”

And Rita passed that love for wildlife and wild lands on to Nancy. The nondescript stranger in lot #412 at the SKP RV Park changed her life for the better.

“She made me realize that we live in nature and there are animals all around us,” Nancy said. “How often do we take time to sit and watch them? I never stopped to realize the little things like when the birds arrive. I do stop and watch the animals now. … Your refuges are quiet and peaceful. If you’ve never been, you should go to a refuge and spend some time there for Rita.”

Tracy Casselman, the project leader for the Southeast Idaho Refuge Complex that includes Camas, didn’t know Rita. But he knows a lot of people like Rita who visit the refuges.

“Rita’s relationship wasn’t with people,” Tracy said. “Her relationship was to the refuges and public lands. She found her peace out there. Her generous gift will ensure that more people will enjoy our refuges in her memory.”

Nancy keeps her memory of Rita and her love of nature close. Rita asked that she be cremated and that her ashes spread in nature away from people. Nancy held on to her ashes for months before finding the right spot near her home.

“A friend found the spot on a hike, and the next day we hiked a mile into the woods and scattered her ashes and some flowers on a hillside overlooking a lake, the mountains and trees. She can hear the birds she loved. I say hello to her every time I drive past.”

No obituary.  No tombstone. Only a marvelous, shining legacy.

Please, carry on the spirit of Rita with a visit to your public lands.

Editor’s note: Brent Lawrence is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public affairs officer in Portland.

WDFW, Utilities Holding Meeting June 29 On Baker-Skokomish Sockeye Egg Transfer

State fishery managers and utility officials are holding a special meeting later this month to shed more light on a project using North Sound sockeye to seed a Hood Canal watershed.

It’s being held the evening of June 29 in Sedro-Woolley to address the continued transfer of fertilized eggs from the Baker Lake system to the Skokomish River.

That’s drawing concern from anglers who object to providing the eggs while the Skokomish Tribe uses a federal solicitor’s opinion to block access to a popular salmon fishery fueled by a state Chinook and coho hatchery.

A PLAN TO SEED LAKE CUSHMAN AND THE SKOKOMISH SYSTEM WITH SOCKEYE FROM THE NORTH SOUND IS GETTING A FROSTY RECEPTION FROM SOME ANGLERS. (JOEL NOWACK, USFS)

Fishermen would also like more surety that, if the egg program that’s literally still in its infancy is successful, nontribal fishermen will be able to access returning harvestable salmon in Hood Canal and Lake Cushman.

In late April we wrote about the Steelhead Trout Club’s request for WDFW to hold a public meeting before signing an agreement with the Skokomish Tribe, Tacoma Power and Puget Sound Energy to continue supplying eggs from Baker fish, and this past Saturday morning, it was the subject of a segment on 710 ESPN Seattle’s The Outdoor Line.

“The [Skokomish] should reopen the river to recreational fisheries as a prerequisite for giving them any eggs from the Baker because it will have some impact, it will have some impact on our (Baker Lake) fishery,” maintains Frank Urabeck, a sportfisheries activist.

As part of the federal relicensing of its dams on the North Fork Skokomish River, Tacoma Power is upgrading fish passage around them as well as building a pair of hatcheries to rear as many as 2 million sockeye and 375,000 spring Chinook, plus some steelhead and coho.

The red salmon eggs are coming from 400 adults collected at the Baker River trap and which are supposed to represent an equal split between state and tribal shares. That pencils out to around up to 500,000 eyed eggs annually, though Tacoma Power states it was incubating 250,000 for release into Lake Cushman this year.

Last year was the first year, and Tacoma Power and the Skokomish Tribe are footing the entire bill for the egg transfer, according to WDFW.

The agency’s Edward Eleazer says the program will initially run for five years to see if sockeye actually rear in and return to Cushman before a long-term agreement is implemented.

He says that Tacoma Power is modeling fish passage at Cushman on Puget Sound Energy’s successful juvenile collector at Baker Lake.

With dams on other watersheds around Pugetropolis, the program could also serve as a model for building sockeye runs elsewhere, but the equipment is not inexpensive and could be a tough sell to utility managers and ratepayers unless dam relicensing is at stake.

In comments about the egg-transfer implementation agreement prepared for WDFW several months ago, Urabeck found vague terminology that “… fishery opportunity would likely be provided in Marine Area 12, north of Ayok (sic) Rock and possibly in Cushman Lake” “unacceptable” and said it shouldn’t be signed unless it specifically guaranteed sport access to salmon.

And he said that broodstock collection at the Baker River trap shouldn’t begin until after Aug. 1 to minimize impacts to the Baker Lake fishery, and that if inseason updates peg the run at 30,000 to 40,000 only 100,000 eggs should be provided, nothing if the return is under 30,000.

Puget Sound Anglers president Ron Garner is urging organization members to attend the June 29 meeting, which will be held at Sedro-Woolley High School, 1235 3rd St., starting at 6 p.m.

He and others also want WDFW to move back the Baker Lake sockeye opener from July 8 to July 6, when it opened last year thanks to good early numbers. The lake had otherwise been opening on July 10 in recent years, July 1 in 2012, and varying dates in the two prior Julys based on run timing and strength.

Urabeck says July 6 should be the opener regardless of how many sockeye have been trucked up to the lake, leaving it up to anglers whether or not to participate.

Annual Sockeye Sampling Next Week At Ballard Locks

With sockeye beginning to move through the Ballard Locks in fair numbers, an annual test fishery will occur nearby early next week.

On Monday, Muckleshoot fishermen will gillnet up to 230 of the salmon in the upper Ship Canal as part of a joint tribal-state-international effort to collect biological data on the run.

Done in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Salmon Commission, the goal is to measure survival rates for different year classes of sockeye, determine the percentage of hatchery versus wild fish through marked otoliths in the former stock, and test for genetic diversity.

It’s part of a weekly series of tests on the run slated this year to occur between early June and mid-August.

According to WDFW, Seattle Public Utilities, which operates the hatchery on the Cedar River where many sockeye return, pays for the processing and analysis of each week’s salmon.

This year’s forecast calls for 77,292 back to the locks, well shy of the escapement goal of 350,000 needed to be met before recreational fisheries take place, though the count is off to a notable start.

As usual, tribal ceremonial and subsistence fisheries are included in this year’s LOAF, or list of agreed-to fisheries between WDFW and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Those typically occur below the locks and in the fish ladder, and can cause alarm. Last year the Muckleshoots had a goal of 1,000 for their C&S fisheries, the Suquamish Tribe 2,000. Larger-scale tribal sockeye fisheries are dependent on locks counts

The Ballard Locks will be part of World Fisheries Day celebrations tomorrow from 11 to 3:30.

Sockeye Begin Returning To Lake Washington, Skagit Systems

OK, I don’t want to jinx things, but the sockeye count at the _____ ____ is higher than it was at this point the last time we had a fishery on ___ _______.

Ahem.

Whether it’s an early start to the run or a bigger return than forecast or both, who can say, but for fishermen, it’s something to start watching.

WESTERN WASHINGTON SOCKEYE SLAYERS WILL AGAIN MOST LIKELY ONLY GET THEIR KICKS AT BAKER LAKE, WHERE BRANDY MCPHEE CAUGHT THIS ONE A FEW SEASONS AGO, BUT THE EARLY NUMBERS AT LAKE WASHINGTON ARE NOTABLE. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

The first unfilled blanks are of course Ballard Locks, where in the first three official days of counting, 2,341 have passed through on their way to Lake Washington (the second set of blanks), where it’s been more than a decade since the last season — 2006, when the tally through June 14 was 1,217.

“The fish look great — good condition and several very large individuals mixed in there,” notes WDFW’s Aaron Bosworth.

The official forecast is for 77,292 sockeye back to the locks, well shy of the 350,000 needed for escapement.

That means, you’re more likely to get your sockeye fix this season at Baker Lake, where, surprise, surprise, the first of this year’s reds showed up at the trap today, according to a source.

Some 47,000 are expected back to the mouth of the Skagit, and a few are being caught in the lower river. Baker Lake opens July 8.

 

Columbia Estuary Keeper Sturgeon Closes, But Opener Coming To Bonneville Pool

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

Columbia River fishery managers today closed one recreational white sturgeon season and scheduled another.

Higher than expected effort and catch prompted fishery managers to close the sturgeon season planned for Saturday June 17 from the Wauna power lines downstream to the river mouth. Recreational anglers exhausted their harvest quota of 3,000 legal-sized sturgeon during the first five days of this fishery, with about 12,000 angler trips expected.

MAY 2017 NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN COVER GUY MIKE FUNG SHOWS OFF A LOWER COLUMBIA STURGEON CAUGHT ON LAST SATURDAY’S OPENER. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

Fishery managers also set a one-day sturgeon retention season on Friday June 23 in the mainstem Columbia from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam, including adjacent tributaries. Anglers who haven’t met the annual bag limit will be allowed to keep one sturgeon with a fork length of 38-54 inches. Anglers are reminded that sturgeon fishing is prohibited through July within the sturgeon sanctuary from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the Port of The Dalles boat ramp across the river to a marker on the Washington shore.

For more information, visit ODFW’s Columbia Zone Regulations Update Page.

Oregon, Washington Big Game Special Permit Draw Results Up

It’s raining draw results in the Northwest this morning!

The guys at Hunting-Washington have been poking around WDFW’s special hunt application portal for awhile and early this morning it started to spit out results.

ODFW followed suit a couple hours later and posted theirs.

JOSH MILLER DREW INTO A CHEWUCH LATE SEASON RIFLE PERMIT IN 2013 AND BAGGED THIS BRUISER MULEY. YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW HOW FEW POINTS HE’D BUILT UP … (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST) OK, JUST 3.

To check how your Washington applications fared, sign into your WILD account and then look for “Special Hunt” on that page.

There’s a user guide here should you have issues with logging in to your account.

For Oregon results, go to My Hunter Information or call 1-866-947-6339.

You’ll need your ODFW Hunter/Angler ID number, found on all licenses and tags.

‘Unprecedented’ Pyrosome Explosion Off Northwest Coast; Not Seen Before 2014

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS STORY FROM THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE’S NORTHWEST FISHERIES SCIENCE CENTER

By Michael Milstein

Call it the invasion of the pyrosomes.

Researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are collaborating with colleagues from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon to unravel the mystery of why the strange jelly-like organisms have exploded in number off the Northwest Coast in recent months.

PYROSOMES ARE “BASICALLY LIKE WADS OF GOO” THAT DON’T DO MUCH FOR THE FOOD CHAIN BUT EAT PLANKTON THAT OTHERWISE MIGHT HAVE FED ORGANISMS THAT YOUNG SALMON WOULD HAVE EATEN. (HILARIE SORENSEN/NOAA FISHERIES)

Generally found in more tropical waters around the globe, the tubular pyrosomes were rarely if ever seen off the Northwest until about two years ago. They have since multiplied and this spring appear to be everywhere off the Oregon Coast to the point they are clogging fishing gear by the thousands.

A five-minute midwater tow of a research net off the Columbia River in late May brought up approximately 60,000 pyrosomes. Scientists spent hours sorting through the massive catch to find the rare fish they were targeting.

A LONGTIME FEDERAL RESEARCHER BASED IN NEWPORT SAYS THAT HE’D NEVER SEEN PYROSOMES HERE BEFORE 2014. A NUMBER OF THEM COVER FISHING GEAR. (HILARIE SORENSEN/NOAA FISHERIES)

“We have a lot of questions and not many answers,” said Ric Brodeur of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s research station in Newport, Oregon. Brodeur has worked off the Oregon Coast since the 1980s and had never seen a pyrosome before 2014. “We’re trying to collect as much information as we can to try to understand what is happening, and why.”

Underwater video captured by the NOAA research ship Bell M. Shimada in May show legions of pyrosomes in extremely high densities from approximately 40 to 200 miles off of the Oregon Coast. They ranged in size from 4-6 cm (about an inch) to a whopping 78 centimeters, or more than two feet long. Researchers found larger and more abundant pyrosomes farther offshore.

PYROSOMES RANGE FROM A FEW INCHES TO MORE THAN 2 FEET LONG. (HILARIE SORENSEN/NOAA FISHERIES)

Pyrosomes are as mysterious as they are strange. Each pyrosome is made up of individual zooids – small, multicellular organisms – linked together in a tunic to form a tube-like colony that is closed on one end. They are filter feeders and use cilia to draw plankton into their mucous filter.

Some bony fish, dolphins and whales are known to eat pyrosomes, but scientists know little about their role in the offshore ecosystem or how they may affect the food web in areas where they are now appearing in such high densities.

“At first we didn’t know what to make of these odd creatures coming up in our nets but as we headed north and further off shore, we started to get more and more,” said Hilarie Sorensen, a University of Oregon graduate student who was aboard the Shimada on its May research trip off Oregon. “We began counting and measuring them to try to get a better understanding of their size and distribution related to the local environmental conditions.”

PYROSOMES DRIFT AT SEA. (HILARIE SORENSEN/NOAA FISHERIES)

Pyrosome numbers in the Northern California Current – which encompasses Northern California, Oregon and Washington – increased in 2015 and again in 2016. As far as scientists know, however, their abundance this year is unprecedented. Salmon and shrimp fisheries reported large catches of pyrosomes off Oregon early in the season and the odd organisms are turning up in large numbers as far north as Southeast Alaska.

The feeding behavior of pyrosomes, the environmental variables that may affect their numbers and their impacts on the food web are largely unknown. Researchers are interested in unraveling those mysteries by exploring pyrosome population dynamics and determining what could be driving such high abundances in the Northern California Current.

Pikeminnow Program Catch Nears 60,000 Since May 1; How-to Seminar Coming Up

Pikeminnow catches dipped slightly last week from 2017’s top period so far on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, with 10,804 qualifying fish brought in for the sport reward program.

The Dalles station recorded the highest number overall, with 4,818 checked, a bit down from the previous week, but this year’s catch to date of 27,674 there has already surpassed three of the last six complete seasons.

THE PIKEMINNOW SPORT REWARD PROGRAM OFFERS INCENTIVES TO CATCH THE SPECIES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA UP TO TRI-CITIES, AND IN THE SNAKE FROM TRI-CITIES UP TO CLARKSTON. (PIKEMINNOW.ORG)

Columbia Point Park in Tri-Cities took in 1,191 pikeminnow and Bingen 858.

Highest catch per registered angler was at Bingen, where 56 fishermen brought in 858 pikeminnow, an average of 15.3 fish each.

Other stations seeing relatively high catch per angler include The Dalles (11.9), Washougal (9.9) and Cascade Locks (9.1).

Seventeen specially tagged pikeminnow were caught last week, with six of those turned in at Columbia Point Park, four at The Dalles, two at Cathlamet and one each at Washougal, Beacon Rock and Bingen.

Since the 2017 season started May 1, 58,245 qualifying pikeminnow have been removed from the Columbia and Snake, 58,359 overall.

The sport reward program pays anglers from $5 to $8 per pikeminnow, with tagged ones worth $500. The idea is to reduce the numbers of the native species that prey on young salmon and steelhead in the Columbia hydropower system.

For more details, including fishing maps, check out pikeminnow.org, and if you’re interested in putting your angling skills to work, check out the June 22 seminar coming to Longview and put on by program leader Eric Winther.

 

One More Day For Washington Halibut Anglers To Get Out On Areas 1-10

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

Recreational halibut fishing to open June 17 in the ocean and most of Puget Sound

Action: Open all depth recreational halibut fishing in Marine Areas 1 (Columbia River), Marine Area 2 (Westport), Marine Area 3 (La Push), Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) and Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5-10) on Saturday, June 17.

NO DOUBT JEFF ANDERSON EXPENDED A LITTLE EFFORT GETTING OUT AFTER THIS NEAH BAY HALIBUT, BUT LOWER THAN EXPECTED FISHING PRESSURE AND ENOUGH FISH IN THE QUOTA ARE ALLOWING WASHINGTON FLATTIE MANAGERS TO OPEN UP ONE LAST DAY OF RETENTION. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Saturday, June 17, 2017.

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Location: Marine Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Reason for action: Given the amount of halibut quota remaining and the lower than expected fishing effort in recent weeks, sufficient quota remains to open another day in the all-depth fishery in all coastal and Puget Sound marine areas on Saturday, June 17. Fishery managers expect the full Washington recreational all-depth halibut quota to be taken after Saturday, June 17, and the fishery will be closed for the remainder of the season.

The Marine Area 1 nearshore area will remain open seven days per week until further notice.

These rules conform to action taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Middle Yakima River Opening For Spring Chinook Friday

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

Middle Yakima River to open for hatchery spring chinook fishing

Action: Opens the middle section of the Yakima River to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon.

ERIC STEIN AND ERIC HAVORKA SHOW OFF A QUARTET OF YAKIMA SPRING CHINOOK, CAUGHT A COUPLE YEARS AGO. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Location: From the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap (river mile 107.1) to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam (river mile 127.8).

Dates:  June 16, 2017, until further notice.

Reason for action: Yakama Nation and WDFW fishery managers are still forecasting a harvestable return of 2,000 or more adult Cle Elum hatchery spring chinook to the Yakima River even though the run is extremely late this year.

Other information:

·         Daily limit of two (2) hatchery chinook.  Minimum size: 12 inches.  Hatchery salmon are identified by a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Wild salmon (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

·         Terminal Gear: Up to two (2), single-point, barbless hooks with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less. Use of bait is allowed.

·         During the salmon fishery, the “Selective Gear Rules” prohibiting use of bait and knotted nets is temporarily suspended, but only in the river section open to salmon fishing.

·         For the duration of this salmon fishery, the upper “closed water” boundary line is moved upstream to the railroad bridge downstream of Roza Dam to provide additional opportunity to harvest hatchery chinook.

·         Night closure in effect.

·         Fishing for steelhead remains closed.  All steelhead (rainbow trout greater than 20” in total length) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.

·         A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this fishery.

·         The use of two (2) fishing poles is permitted during the salmon fishery provided the participating angler has purchased a “Two-Pole Endorsement” (in addition to the freshwater fishing license and Columbia River salmon/steelhead endorsement).

·         Fishing from boats equipped with an internal combustion motor is allowed only from the I-82 bridge at Union Gap to the east-bound I-82 bridge (upstream) at Selah Gap.  Boats with an internal combustion motor may be used for transportation only upstream of the Selah Gap bridge.

·         Closed to fishing for all species 400 feet upstream from the upstream side of the Yakima Ave. /Terrace Heights Rd. bridge in Yakima, including the area adjacent and downstream of the Roza Wasteway No. 2 fish barrier rack next to Morton & Sons Inc.