Category Archives: Headlines

THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL GAUGE FOR THE UMPQUA RIVER AT ELKTON SHOWS IT FLOWING AT HALF OF THE LONG-TERM MEDIAN, THOUGH STILL ABOVE RECORD LOWS. THE AREA IS EXPECTED TO SEE SCORCHING TEMPERATURES LATER THIS WEEK AND WEEKEND, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. (USGS)

ODFW Closes Angling Around Umpqua Tribs, Issues Hot-weather Fish-handling Tips

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

Effective immediately, an emergency regulation protects wild summer steelhead and a temporary rule better defines fall and spring Chinook angling in the Umpqua River.

Temporary rule – Umpqua River from tips of jetties to confluence of the North and South Umpqua rivers

This temporary rule change was made to allow anglers to begin harvesting fall Chinook earlier to benefit those who may already have reached their limit of spring Chinook. ODFW recognizes that biologically, the fish are classified as fall Chinook beginning July 1, not August 1.

  • Spring Chinook angling is February 1 – June 30, 2015. Harvest limit is two adult wild Chinook per day, five per year.
  • Fall Chinook angling is July 1 – December 31, 2015. Harvest limit is two adult wild Chinook per day, 20 per year in combination with all other salmon or steelhead marked on anglers’ tags.

Emergency regulation – Scottsburg Bridge (Hwy. 38) to River Forks Boat Ramp

Today through Oct. 1, 2015, angling is prohibited within 200 feet of all tributaries including no angling in the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream.

This emergency regulation will protect wild summer steelhead and fall Chinook salmon that hold in and around tributaries looking for colder water. Currently, the Umpqua River has abnormally low flows and higher than normal water temperatures due to drought conditions.

THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL GAUGE FOR THE UMPQUA RIVER AT ELKTON SHOWS IT FLOWING AT HALF OF THE LONG-TERM MEDIAN, THOUGH STILL ABOVE RECORD LOWS. THE AREA IS EXPECTED TO SEE SCORCHING TEMPERATURES LATER THIS WEEK AND WEEKEND, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. (USGS)

THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL GAUGE FOR THE UMPQUA RIVER AT ELKTON SHOWS IT FLOWING AT HALF OF THE LONG-TERM MEDIAN, THOUGH STILL ABOVE RECORD LOWS. THE AREA IS EXPECTED TO SEE SCORCHING TEMPERATURES LATER THIS WEEK AND WEEKEND, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE. (USGS)

Greg Huchko, Umpqua District fish biologist, says projected low flows and water temperatures often over 75 F will likely continue through the summer.

“The wild steelhead that haven’t made it up to the North Umpqua will stay around those mainstem tributaries until the fall rains come. They’re often easy to spot in shallow water and are more susceptible to illegal snagging. Even fish caught legally and released are stressed and mortality rates are higher in these conditions.” Huchko said.

Tips for hot weather angling

  • Fish during the cooler early mornings or evenings.
  • Land your fish quickly to help increase survival rates.
  • Keep your fish in at least six inches of water while releasing it.
  • Revive the fish before release. Keep the fish upright facing into the current, and the current is slow, move fish back and forth slowly to help oxygenate the gills.
WDFW WILL REQUIRE

WDFW To Hold Meeting Thurs. On Kalama River Steelhead Management

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

State fishery managers have scheduled a public meeting Thursday (June 25) in Vancouver to discuss changes in the way the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is managing this year’s return of hatchery steelhead to the Kalama River.

The meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at WDFW’s Region 5 office at 2108 Grand Blvd.

With summer-run steelhead now moving into the river in increasing numbers, fishery managers are taking action to reduce the number of hatchery steelhead that reach upriver spawning grounds this summer, said John Weinheimer, a WDFW fish biologist.

WDFW WILL REQUIRE

A MEETING THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 25, IN VANCOUVER WILL DISCUSS MANAGEMENT OF KALAMA RIVER SUMMER STEELHEAD, LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT A COUPLE SEASONS BACK BY HILARY BRUNTON. STATE FISHERY MANAGERS WANT TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF HATCHERY FISH IN THE UPPER RIVER. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

“Studies have shown that hatchery fish make up half to three-quarters of all summer steelhead found upriver from the Kalama Falls Hatchery in recent years,” Weinheimer said. “We want to talk to anglers about this situation, and the measures we plan to take to address it.”

In mid-May, WDFW raised the catch limit to three hatchery steelhead a day to help reduce the number of hatchery fish moving upriver, Weinheimer said. Other measures planned or already in effect include:

Requiring anglers, effective July 1, to retain all hatchery steelhead they catch and stop fishing for steelhead once they reach their three-fish daily limit.
Suspending WDFW’s practice of transporting hatchery steelhead above Kalama Falls, while encouraging anglers to catch hatchery fish that move above the barrier on their own.
Suspending WDFW’s practice of “recycling” hatchery summer steelhead, a process that involves collecting the fish at Kalama Falls Hatchery and trucking them back downstream to give anglers another chance to catch them.

The main reason so many hatchery fish are reaching the upper river is that the fish barrier at Kalama Falls is failing to stop them, Weinheimer said. In recent years, significant numbers of fish have been observed jumping over the aging concrete structure, which is supposed to channel those fish back to the hatchery, he said.

The problem is exacerbated by recycling, which gives hatchery steelhead multiple opportunities to clear the barrier, Weinheimer said.

“Studies have shown that anglers catch about 20 percent of the hatchery steelhead recycled to the lower Kalama River,” he said. “That would be OK, except that the barrier at the hatchery does not reliably stop the remaining fish from moving upriver.”

Weinheimer said WDFW is seeking funding to improve the fish barrier, but that completing the project could take a year or more.

“Once we bring down the number of hatchery fish in the upper river, we can consider resuming the lower river recycling program,” he said. “But that could take some time.”

To help restore wild runs, WDFW’s Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy includes provisions to control the number of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds.

Wild steelhead populations on the Kalama River and in most other major Washington tributaries to the lower Columbia River were listed as “threatened” in 1998 under the federal Endangered Species Act.

LILY HORNISH AND HER FAMILY

Boise Lass Hooks Alaskan Barndoor

A 10-year-old Boise girl hooked the halibut of a lifetime while fishing in Alaska last weekend.

And with a little help from “every hand on the ship” during the hour-long battle, Lily Cornish was able to bring her 333-pound, 84-inch barndoor of a halibut back to Ketchikan.

“It was the first bait down, then my pole was tugging,” she told a TV station in her hometown. “I started reeling it in and then my dad helped me. And then a big fish came out.”

LILY HORNISH AND HER FAMILY

LILY HORNISH AND HER DAD, BILL, BROTHER CARSON AND MOTHER ERIN CARVER AND THE WHALE OF A HALIBUT. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Her parents describe Lily as an avid angler.

“We flew to and from Alaska on Alaska Airlines for the weekend to fish,” mom Erin Carver emailed to Northwest Sportsman. “Lily loves to fish and couldn’t wait to fish in Alaska.”

The giant was caught while the family was fishing with Oasis Alaska Charters.

It was weighed on the Clover Pass Resort scale, which reportedly only goes up to 250 pounds, but using Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculations for an 84-incher, Lily’s halibut went just a hair under 333 pounds and provided 243 pounds of meat.

WITH ONE BIG FILLETING JOB AHEAD OF HER, LILY DIVES INTO THE MONSTER HALIBUT SHE HOOKED IN MID-JUNE.  (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

WITH ONE BIG FILLETING JOB AHEAD OF HER, LILY DIVES INTO THE MONSTER HALIBUT SHE HOOKED IN MID-JUNE. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

071213_John_Day_chinook-550x412

‘Unusually Large Number’ Of Springers Dying In Willamette System; Warm Water Suspected

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

Elevated water temperatures are most likely the cause of spring Chinook salmon deaths in the Willamette River and some of its tributaries, according to fish biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Spring Chinook salmon typically die in the fall after they have spawned. However, some also die before they are able to spawn as the result of stress, disease, and predation. This year, Chinook are dying earlier than usual, according to Tom Friesen, manager of ODFW’s Upper Willamette Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Program.

071213_John_Day_chinook-550x412

IN 2013 A SUDDEN WATER TEMPERATURE SPIKE IN OREGON’S JOHN DAY SYSTEM LED TO THE DEATHS OF AN ESTIMATED 60 PERCENT OF THE SPRING CHINOOK IN THE MIDDLE FORK AT THE TIME. (ODFW)

ODFW biologists and survey crews have observed unusually large numbers of spring Chinook salmon carcasses in the Willamette, Clackamas, and Santiam rivers recently.

“Pre-spawning mortality is normal and happens every year to some extent,” said Friesen. “But usually we don’t see dead spring Chinook in the mainstem Willamette until mid-summer.”

ODFW biologists say that high water temperatures likely contributed to the death of the fish.

Chinook salmon are more prone to disease, injury, and stress when water temperatures exceed 60° F. At 70°, the fish start to get into real trouble.

For the past week, water temperatures in the Willamette River have risen steadily, from 70° to 74° F. During the same period, Clackamas River water temperatures rose from 62° to 64° while the Santiam rose from 62° to 66°.

“We get concerned about the impact on Chinook anytime water temperatures approach 70 degrees,” said Friesen.

If forecast drought conditions and elevated water temperatures persist, some spring Chinook will likely continue to die before they have a chance to spawn, especially in the mainstem Willamette and lower portions of tributaries.

The good news is that the Willamette basin is experiencing one of the strongest spring Chinook salmon returns in years. Through, June 13, more than 51,000 Chinook had passed upstream through ODFW’s fish counting station at Willamette Falls, exceeding the 50-year average of 41,000 Chinook.

“Fortunately, many of this year’s spring Chinook have already entered the tributaries, which should help ensure their survival,” Friesen said.

Despite higher than normal water temperatures, most of the region’s hatcheries are doing well and are on track to meet their brood stock needs, according to Manny Farinas, ODFW’s North Hatchery Group coordinator.

“Throughout the region our hatcheries have been experiencing higher water temperatures earlier in the season,” added John Thorpe, ODFW’s Willamette South Hatchery Group coordinator. “We had planned for this and have successfully adjusted fish husbandry practices to respond.”

Washington Ocean Salmon Fishing Report (6-20-15)

THE FOLLOWING NEWS ORIGINATED FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY, WDFW, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 16 anglers participated in the Chinook MSF in the Columbia Ocean area (Ocean Area 1) during the week of June 8-12, landing no marked Chinook.   A total of 134 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery over the weekend of June 13-14, landing 75 Chinook (1% of the area guideline) and 120 coho (less than 1% of the area sub-quota).

Westport

A total of 267 anglers participated in the Chinook MSF in the Westport area (Ocean Area 2) during the week of June 8-12, landing 77 marked Chinook.   A total of 498 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery over the weekend of June 13-14, landing 105 Chinook (less than 1% of the area guideline) and 4 coho (less than 1% of the area sub-quota).

La Push

No anglers participated in the Chinook MSF in the La Push area (Ocean Area 3) during the week of June 8-12.  A total of 15 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery over the weekend of June 13-14, landing 17 Chinook (1% of the area guideline) and no coho.

Neah Bay

A total of 113 anglers participated in the Chinook MSF in the Neah Bay area (Ocean Area 4) during the week of June 8-12, landing 44 marked Chinook.   A total of 134 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery over the weekend of June 13-14, landing 93 Chinook (1% of the area guideline) and 7 coho (less than 1% of the area sub-quota).

CASSIDY VOSS SHOWS OFF A STURGEON CAUGHT IN A COLUMBIA GORGE RESERVOIR LAST YEAR. THE THEN-12-YEAR-OLD'S FISH MEASURED 50.5 INCHES AND WAS HER FIRST STURGEON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

SW WA, Lower, Middle Columbia Fishing Report (6-17-15)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND INCLUDES REPORTS FROM TANNA TAKATA, ODFW

Today’s Factoids

*         This year’s sockeye counts at Bonneville Dam continue at a record pace.  Through June 15, a total of 38,997 fish have been counted.  The current 2nd place record (since at least 1938) are the 33,161 fish in 2012.

*         The 265,558 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through June 15 is the 4th largest on record since at least 1938.  The record is 414,628 fish tallied in 2001.

*         This year’s Bonneville Dam jack spring Chinook count of 18,138 fish is the 8th largest since at least 1980.  The record is 81,782 fish counted in 2009.

*         Overall, this year’s shad count of nearly 900,000 fish at Bonneville Dam through June 15 is one-half of the 1.8 million fish counted at same time last year.  It is also 60% of the recent 10-year average of 1.5 million fish.

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 20 bank anglers released 1 winter steelhead.  20 boat anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 7 summer run steelhead.  Summer run steelhead were sampled in the trout hatchery area.

During five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator, last week Tacoma Power recovered: two winter-run steelhead, 655 spring Chinook salmon, 125 jacks, four maxi-jacks and 88 summer steelhead.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released: 523 spring Chinook and 110 jacks and one winter steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,130 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 15. Water visibility is 15 feet.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – In general, the Chinook mark rate continues to go down, now around 50%.  In addition, the Visual Stock Identification (VSI) is switching over to lower river stock (probably upper Columbia summer Chinook).  Steelhead catch picked up on the lower river and a few sockeye continue to be released.

Last week we sampled  1,006 salmonid anglers (including 213 boats) with 124 adult and 4 jack spring Chinook, 55 steelhead and 5 sockeye.  56 (45%) of the adult Chinook were kept.  We sampled 45 (80%) of the adult Chinook kept.  26 (58%) of the adult Chinook were upriver origin based on VSI.  43 (78%) of the steelhead were kept.  All 5 sockeye were released as required.

The Dalles Pool – Light effort and catch.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Marker 82 line downstream – Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing remains very good from Vancouver to Longview.

Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam including adjoining tributaries – Catch-and-release angling is allowed.  Sturgeon retention will be allowed June 19-21, June 26-28, and July 3-July 5.  The daily limit will be 1 fish, min. size 38″ fork length and max. 54″ fork length.

All fishing for sturgeon is prohibited in the spawning sanctuary from 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 through July 31.

CASSIDY VOSS SHOWS OFF A STURGEON CAUGHT IN A COLUMBIA GORGE RESERVOIR LAST YEAR. THE THEN-12-YEAR-OLD'S FISH MEASURED 50.5 INCHES AND WAS HER FIRST STURGEON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

CASSIDY VOSS SHOWS OFF A STURGEON CAUGHT IN A COLUMBIA GORGE RESERVOIR LAST YEAR. THE THEN-12-YEAR-OLD’S FISH MEASURED 50.5 INCHES AND WAS HER FIRST STURGEON. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

In Bonneville Pool, kept catch during the 2015 winter season was 155 fish, or 14% of the 1,100 fish guideline leaving a balance of 945 sturgeon for the summer retention season.

Walleye

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers are catching some walleye in the Camas/Washougal and Woodland areas.

The Dalles Pool – 7 walleye boat anglers kept 20 walleye and released 3.

Shad

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Shad fishing remains  so-so on the Washington side with bank anglers averaging just over 2 fish kept/released per rod based on mainly incomplete trips.  Boat anglers averaged less than a fish per rod based on mainly completed trips.  Recent checks on the Oregon shore just below Bonneville Dam have been better.

The Dalles Pool – 4 bank anglers kept 2 shad

……………………..

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On the lower Columbia this past weekend, salmonid angling was fair to good while shad angling remains fair.  In the gorge, boat anglers averaged 0.68 spring Chinook caught per boat, while anglers fishing in Troutdale averaged 0.27 spring Chinook and 0.02 steelhead caught per boat.  In the Portland to Westport area, boat anglers averaged 0.15 spring Chinook and 0.02 steelhead caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.26 spring Chinook caught per angler, while anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.02 spring Chinook caught per angler.  In the estuary, bank anglers averaged 0.12 spring Chinook and 0.12 steelhead caught per angler.  On Sunday’s (6/7) flight, 356 salmonid boats and 160 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River Estuary to Bonneville Dam.

Gorge Bank: Weekly checking showed seven adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook kept, plus three unclipped adult spring Chinook and one unclipped jack spring Chinook released for 39 bank anglers; and 270 shad kept for 109 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed seven adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and one adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook kept, plus six unclipped adult spring Chinook released for 19 boats (52 anglers); and 80 shad kept for 13 boats (47 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed nine adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and two adipose fin-clipped jack spring Chinook kept, plus three unclipped adult spring Chinook and one unclipped steelhead released for 44 boats (113 anglers); and no shad caught for four boats (nine anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook kept for 85 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed three adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus three unclipped adult spring Chinook released for 41 boats (104 anglers); and two shad kept for two boats (three anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook kept, plus two unclipped steelhead released for 17 bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed no catch for six boats (eight anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for three bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool (Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam): No report.

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed four adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook kept for 11 bank anglers; and one adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook kept for two boats (seven anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia (below Bonneville Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.

Gorge Boats (below Marker 82): Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed three oversize sturgeon released for one boat (three anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed three legal white sturgeon released for one boat (one angler).

Portland to Westport Bank: Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed no catch for four bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Closed for retention.  Weekend checking showed 25 legal, one oversize and four sublegal sturgeon released for three boats (14 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.  No report.

The Dalles Pool (Columbia River between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Closed to retention, catch-and-release only.  Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler; and two legal white sturgeon kept, plus four oversize and three sublegal sturgeon released for four boats (10 anglers).

WALLEYE

Troutdale: Weekend checking showed one walleye kept for two boats (six anglers).

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool (Columbia River between John Day Dam and McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed nine walleye kept for three boats (six anglers).

(NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE)

Fishing On Sol Duc At Hatchery Closing To Protect Wild Chinook

Normally, the Olympic Peninsula is about the wettest spot in the Lower 48, but this spring not only is it so dry that a fire is burning in the Queets Rain Forest, but state and tribal fishery managers have closed angling near a hatchery due to low flows.

The Sol Duc from 200 feet below the hatchery outfall upstream to the pump station to the hatchery will be off limits for all species until further notice, WDFW announced in an emergency rule-change notice out late this afternoon.

“Low water is causing a delay in migration past the hatchery, resulting in greater vulnerability of the wild spring/summer Chinook to fishing pressure,” the agency explained. “This is likely to remain a problem until stream flows increase in the fall.”

“The Quileute Tribe is implementing a similar closure to subsistence fishing in the vicinity of the hatchery. This closure is needed to protect wild chinook,” the agency added.

As for that fire, it’s smoldering near Paradise Creek, about a dozen miles upstream of the Queets River trailhead. The National Park Service reported it at 250 acres and said today a crew was hiking in to assess it with another coming tomorrow.

A map created by the National Weather Service shows how starkly out of ordinary precipitation was for the Olympic Peninsula in May; all of 5 percent normal rainfall fell there last month.

(NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE)

(NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE)

The lack of rain follows on a pathetic winter snowpack. While there is no USGS gauge on the Sol Duc, the one on the nearby Calawah reads 104 cubic feet per second today, 27 percent of average and just 86 percent of the old record low flow for June 16.

 

 

A N.O.A.A. IMAGE SHOWS THE DIATOM THAT PRODUCES TOXIC DOMIC ACID. THIS SAMPLE WAS COLLECTED OFF THE OREGON COAST. (NOAA)

Unlikely Ore. Razor Clamming Will Reopen, Due To Toxins, But ODFW Say Crabs Safe

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

With concentrations of domoic acid reaching levels not seen since 1998, ODFW shellfish biologists see no possibility that razor clamming on Oregon’s most popular beaches will re-open before the annual conservation closure on Clatsop beaches begins on July 15.

Razor clamming along the entire Oregon coast has been closed since May 14 due to high concentration of domoic acid. The Clatsop beaches, home to 90 percent of Oregon’s razor clam harvest, close every year in mid-July to allow newly-set young clams to establish themselves.

A N.O.A.A. IMAGE SHOWS THE DIATOM THAT PRODUCES TOXIC DOMIC ACID. THIS SAMPLE WAS COLLECTED OFF THE OREGON COAST. (NOAA)

A N.O.A.A. IMAGE SHOWS THE DIATOM THAT PRODUCES TOXIC DOMOIC ACID. THIS SAMPLE WAS COLLECTED OFF THE OREGON COAST. (NOAA)

While Matt Hunter, ODFW shellfish biologist in Astoria, is confident clamming won’t reopen before July 15, he is hesitant to predict a re-opening of the clamming season when the conservation closure ends Sept. 30.

“We still haven’t seen domoic acids levels peak,” he said. “As long are they are still going up it’s hard to predict when they might start coming down.”

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae called phytoplankton, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.

Shellfish samples are collected every low tide series for biotoxin analysis.  It takes two consecutive samples under the alert level before a harvesting area can be reopened, Hunter said.

The high levels of domoic acid that are affecting razor clams are not influencing the Oregon crab season, which remains open. Washington State’s recent closure of its southern coast to all sport and commercial crabbing has prompted concerns that Oregon might follow suit.

But according to Hunter, recent tests of crabs off the Oregon coast showed domoic acid levels were undetectable in most samples.

“It could be that the crabs off the Washington coast are eating something different, or that the Columbia River is forming some sort of north/south barrier,” Hunter said.

Bay clamming in areas south of Tillamook Head also remains open and safe, Hunter added.

For current shellfish closure information, call the Oregon Department of Agriculture Shellfish Hotline at 800-448-2474. For more information about clamming and crabbing, visit the ODFW shellfish page at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/shellfish/index.asp.

Dads And Dinos: ODFW Highlights Father’s Day Sturgeon Op

Among the ways the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has identified to help deal with its out-of-whack budget is to increase revenue by pimping the fishing and hunting opportunities across the state.

Compared to elsewhere, ODFW already does a pretty good job of that, what with the weekly wildlife recreation reports, fall hunting previews, spring fishing forecasts and angling ops around urban areas that the comm staff and bios pump out through the year.

Wanna know where to go shellfishing? The agency has maps for clammers and crabbers too.

While it’s not like ODFW has never talked about sturgeon fishing in the Columbia in June — prime time in the estuary — it’s using an interesting approach to draw attention to another fishery on the big river.

Here’s a press release out of Clackamas yesterday:

Looking for a unique way to spend Father’s Day? Think about a day of fishing for North America’s largest freshwater fish species – white sturgeon – on the Columbia River. The first of three scheduled summer sturgeon seasons kicks off just in time for Father’s Day.

Retention sturgeon fishing will take place June 19-21 on the Columbia River between Bonneville and The Dalles dams. Additional three-day fishing periods are scheduled for June 26-28 and July 3-5, although managers may adjust those dates to remain within the 1,100 fish annual harvest guideline.

Fishery managers adopted the three-day summer seasons above Bonneville last year based on feedback from anglers, who in a series of public meetings expressed strong support for summer sturgeon fisheries. Retention sturgeon fishing is also open from McNary Dam to the Oregon/Washington border through July. The rest of the Columbia is limited to catch-and-release sturgeon fishing.

Sturgeon must be between 38 inches and 54 inches fork length to be retained in Bonneville Pool and between 43 and 54 inches fork length upstream of McNary Dam. The bag limit is one fish per day and two for the year. Fishing is restricted to the use of a single, barbless hook.

Anglers are reminded that sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, is not permitted in the sturgeon sanctuary from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to the boat ramp at the Port of The Dalles.

THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION HAS APPROVED PURCHASING LAND ALONG THE WALLACE RIVER, WHICH FEATURES RUNS OF HATCHERY COHO. THE SITE, NEAR STARTUP, WILL PROVIDE IMPROVED ACCESS TO THE

WA Fish Commission Approves New Policy To Rebuild Willapa Wild King Runs

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a new management policy designed to restore depleted runs of wild, natural-origin chinook salmon in Willapa Bay during a public meeting June 12-13 in Olympia.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the Governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also approved several land transactions and a proposal to reopen fisheries for some flatfish in portions of two bays in Hood Canal.

Developed over the past nine months with extensive public involvement, the new salmon-management policy includes three basic strategies for rebuilding natural-origin chinook stocks in Willapa Bay:

·         Fisheries:  Mortality rates for wild chinook intercepted by sport and commercial fisheries returning to the Willapa and Naselle rivers will be limited to 20 percent a year through 2018, declining to 14 percent thereafter. If fisheries exceed projected levels in any year, WDFW has the authority to reduce the next year’s limit by a corresponding amount.

·         Hatcheries: WDFW will reduce hatchery production of chinook salmon at three hatcheries in the Willapa Bay watershed by 36 percent to curtail interference with natural-origin fish on the spawning grounds.

·         Fishing gear: The commission directed WDFW to pursue options for introducing new types of commercial fishing gear that improve survival rates for natural-origin salmon and steelhead released in accordance with state fishing rules.

The new policy takes effect immediately, replacing a one-year interim policy approved by the commission in April.

“This policy clearly establishes rebuilding natural-origin chinook runs as our top priority for salmon management in Willapa Bay,” said Brad Smith, who chairs the nine-member commission. “It is consistent with similar actions this commission has taken in recent years to restore wild salmon and steelhead runs in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Grays Harbor.”

The new management policy also establishes new guidelines for coho and chum salmon, but does not call for significant changes in fisheries or hatchery programs for those species.

Jim Scott, director of WDFW’s Fish Program, said surveys conducted by WDFW estimated last year’s return at approximately 975 fish to the Naselle River, 780 to the Willapa River, and 100 to the North/Smith rivers – all well below the natural annual spawning capacity of those rivers.

“The new policy adopted by the commission will help to ensure that future returns of natural-origin chinook salmon meet annual spawning goals for Willapa Bay tributaries,” Scott said.

The final Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy will be posted on WDFW’s website within a few days at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/.

In a separate action, the commission approved a proposal by WDFW to reopen recreational fishing for flounder, sole and other flatfish – except halibut – in some areas of Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay in Hood Canal.

Due to low-dissolved oxygen conditions, all areas of Hood Canal have been closed to fishing for flatfish since August 2004, but fishery managers believe they can now allow recreational fishing for some flatfish in shallow areas of the two bays and still provide adequate protection for those stocks.

WDFW expects to issue a new rule by early July authorizing fishing for most types of flatfish in waters of Quilcene and Dabob bays shallower than 120 feet.

In addition, the commission approved several land transactions proposed by WDFW, including one to sell four properties in Skagit and Whatcom counties at auction this fall. The four properties, ranging in size from 7 to 13.7 acres and zoned for agricultural use, were purchased in 1944, but do not provide suitable habitat for fish and wildlife.

Other transactions approved by the commission include:

·         Acquisition of 15.4 acres in Kittitas County adjacent to Interstate 90 to improve elk fencing.

·         The purchase of 3.1 acres in Snohomish County to meet mitigation requirements for the construction of a King County bridge approach on WDFW owned land. This property will provide additional public access to the Wallace River.

THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION HAS APPROVED PURCHASING LAND ALONG THE WALLACE RIVER, WHICH FEATURES RUNS OF HATCHERY COHO. THE SITE, NEAR STARTUP, WILL PROVIDE IMPROVED ACCESS TO THE

THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION HAS APPROVED PURCHASING LAND ALONG THE WALLACE RIVER NEAR STARTUP. THE SITE, JUST UPSTREAM  OF THIS PART OF THE SNOHOMISH COUNTY STREAM, WILL PROVIDE IMPROVED ACCESS TO THE RIVER WHICH FEATURES RUNS OF HATCHERY COHO, AS WELL AS HATCHERY WINTER STEELHEAD IN PAST YEARS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

·         A 1.2-acre conservation easement to meet mitigation requirements for restoring the Point No Point boat launch in Kitsap County.

·         An easement for a land exchange that will allow Clark Public Utilities to construct underground water pipelines under WDFW’s Two Forks property to provide potable water to Ridgefield, Battle Ground, and other communities.