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SW WA Fishing Report (1-10-11)

(REPORT COURTESY BIOLOGIST JOE HYMER)

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Cowlitz River –

Blue Creek boats: 18 boats interviewed…..47 anglers….12 Steelhead retained; 1 released

Blue Creek bank anglers: 53 anglers interviewed……15 Steelhead retained; 1 released

Barrier Dam bank anglers: 3 anglers…..0 retention

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 416 coho adults and 72 winter-run steelhead during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 190 coho adults and seven winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa and 22 coho adults and 10 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,300 cubic feet per second on Monday, January 10. Water visibility is seven feet.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Little to no effort.

Bonneville Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on steelhead.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some steelhead.

Hwy. 395 to old Hanford town site – From Paul Hoffarth Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco WA – An estimated 69 steelhead were caught in the first nine days of January.  Anglers are averaging 1 steelhead for each 15 hours of fishing. Bank anglers fared slightly better than the boat anglers so far this month. A total of 1,079 steelhead have been caught this season and 781 steelhead have been harvested. WDFW staff has sampled 26% of the estimated angler effort in this fishery. Catch and harvest numbers are well below the 2008 and 2009 fisheries but similar to those of 2004-07.

Hatchery winter steelhead returns – comparison between returns through the first week of January 2010 and 2011.  In general, hatchery returns are similar to last year.  In specific:

Station                                 2011                       2010

Grays                                    234                         0

Elochoman                          198                         260

Cowlitz                                 1,150                     1,128

Kalama                                 452                         451

Lewis                                     1,891                     1,918

Washougal                          390                         582

STURGEON

Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam – We sampled 19 bank anglers from Camas/Washougal to Bonneville Dam with no catch and 4 boat anglers (2 boats) with 1 legal kept and 4 sublegals released.

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  Slow for legals from the bank.

John Day pool – Slow for legal size fish.

WALLEYE AND BASS

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – The few boat anglers sampled had no catch.

John Day Pool – No effort observed for either specie.

TROUT

Battleground Lake – Planted with 3,000 half pound rainbows Jan. 3.  No report on angling success.

Southwest Washington waters planted with broodstock rainbows Jan. 3-5:

Water                   8-pounders                        4.5 pounders                     Comment

Klineline Pond                   74                                           116

Kidney Lake                        28                                           35                           Near North Bonneville

Icehouse Lake                   14                                           35                           At the foot of the Bridge of the Gods

Little Ash Lake                   14                                           35                           Just west of Stevenson

Tunnel Lake                        13                                           35                           Just east of Drano Lake

Northwestern Lake         13                                           35                           Reservoir on the (Big) White Salmon River

Rowland Lake                    20                                           40                           Near Lyle

Spearfish Lake                   24                                           100                         Near Dallesport

WDFW Game Warden Newsletter Out

Need some more game wardenning news to tide you over the weekend?

WDFW recently posted the Enforcement Division’s summer 2010 newsletter.

Among the highlights:

My Pop, The Outstanding Role Model!

Officers Treser and Scherzinger were called out after receiving information from Police Dispatch of a convicted felon spotlighting and shooting deer from a vehicle.

With the assistance of Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, Twisp Police, and Winthrop Police, the vehicle was stopped and the driver found with a .44 magnum pistol lying beside him. His 17-year-old son was sporting a .45 on his hip.

Our officers also found a bow, two rifles, and a very strong odor of marijuana. Marijuana and methamphetamine were found along with paraphernalia.

No deer found or any evidence of deer poaching located. The driver was high on meth and marijuana. Numerous arrests were made.

So Glad To See You, Thought You Were In Eastern Washington, Let’s Talk About How Those Deer Died, Shall We?

There’s no such thing as the dog days of summer for Officers like Justin Maschhoff. He uses spare time between pro-active summer patrols to work through active investigations. In this case, he was able to interview the main suspect in a serial deer poaching case from last fall and tie it up for good.

The elusive main suspect had been avoiding contact with Officer Maschhoff for the past four months. After the subject told the officer that he was in Eastern Washington (and therefore unavailable), Officer Maschhoff decided to go interview a minor player in the case at his home.

As luck would have it, the main suspect and his three buddies were all standing in the front yard. Upon seeing the patrol truck pull into the drive, the fellow looked like he had just swallowed a centipede. He finally gave a full confession to spotlighting four deer with his accomplice.

In all, six deer were killed last October and November at night with an artificial light.

It’s A Shooting Range, Not A Hunting Range

No less than six witnesses observed a none-too-smart subject shoot and illegally kill a doe that wandered onto a popular shooting range on the Lewis/Thurston county line.

The suspect shot at the deer with an assault rifle. After missing the animal several times he retrieved another rifle with a very large scope on it and after a couple more shots the deer went down. The man walked to the deer and returned to the group saying that the deer was too sick to salvage.

Sergeant Holden took the initial call and contacted witnesses, took statements, and located the dead doe. Then the hunt was on for the suspect and his vehicle as witnesses gave a very good description, including a license plate. Sergeant Holden and Officer Martin found the suspect’s residence and watched it while waiting for the vehicle to show up. When the vehicle did appear the next day, it was hidden behind an outbuilding.

Officers Schroeder and Moats immediately responded. They obtained confessions from the shooter and his partner and seized a very expensive rifle for forfeiture.

And, Finally, A Good Story For A Change

A group of local citizens volunteered to clean up the large amounts of garbage at Blue Stilly Park. A family, new to the Arlington area, had visited the park and was disgusted by its appearance and coordinated this effort. Arlington Hardware and Garden Treasures donated gloves and garbage bags.

Officer Maurstad and Sergeant Lambert stopped by and thanked the group.

Officer Maurstad wrote several access decal violations at Blue Stilly and also seized cases of beer from underage drinkers.

Officer Maurstad met with the folks who live near Blue Stilly Park who obtained a license plate from a young man who drove his vehicle through the Little League field and proceeded to tear up the grass.

If you haven’t already seen ’em, two blogs from earlier this week detail incidents that occurred in Oregon this past October.

Everyone Must Have Parking Permits At State Wildlife Areas, Oregon Commission Decides

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved an expanded parking permit program for state wildlife areas starting Jan. 1, 2012.

The program, which requires either a $7 daily parking permit or a $22 annual permit, will be phased in on the following schedule:

Jan. 1, 2012: Ken Denman, E.E. Wilson, Ladd Marsh, Summer Lake
Jan. 1, 2013: Klamath, Fern Ridge, White River, Phillip W. Schneider
Jan. 1, 2014: Elkhorn, Columbia Basin, JewellMeadows

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area near Portland has had a parking permit program since 1990.

A free annual parking permit will be included with the purchase of an annual hunting, Combination, Pioneer and Sports Pac license (adult and juvenile). All other wildlife area users will be required to purchase a permit—operation and maintenance of the areas is primarily funded by hunters through federal excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition and hunting license fees.

Revenue from the parking permit program will support habitat restoration, provide for infrastructure maintenance and enhance wildlife viewing opportunities.

“The expanded permit program allows wildlife viewers, anglers and other users to support the state’s wildlife areas,” said Nancy Breuner, ODFW Wildlife Area Operations coordinator. “These areas have become increasingly popular as viewing and outdoor recreation sites over the past decade and the increase in visitors has put a strain on our infrastructure and resources.”

ODFW staff updated the Commission on management activities under the Mule Deer Initiative. The initiative is an effort to increase mule deer populations focused in five wildlife management units.

Finally, the Commission approved rules regarding the average market price per pound of each species of food fish commercially-harvested in Oregon. These values are adopted every January and are used to set damages in lawsuits associated with the illegal harvest and sale of fish.

Two More Clam Digs Coming Up, Pending Tox Tests

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced plans for another razor-clam dig this month and one in February, so long as marine toxin tests continue to show the clams are safe to eat.

Provided that upcoming tests are favorable, clam diggers will get their next chance to hit the beach Jan. 20-22 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach. The National Park Service has also scheduled a dig Jan. 21-22 at Kalaloch, located inside the Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at the other two beaches.

Digging at all three beaches will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight.

In addition, fishery managers have tentatively scheduled a dig starting Feb. 17 at Twin Harbors and continuing Feb. 18-19 there and at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch. Again, no digging will be allowed before noon at any of those days.

Tentative digging days and tides for the two proposed openings are:

* Jan. 20, Thursday – 6:59 p.m. (-1.3 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
* Jan. 21, Friday – 7:38 p.m. (-1.1 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch
* Jan. 22, Saturday – 8:19 p.m. (-0.6 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch

* Feb. 17, Thursday – 5:53 p.m. (-0.9 ft.); Twin Harbors
* Feb. 18, Friday – 6:33 p.m. (-0.9 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch
* Feb. 19, Saturday – 7:13 p.m. (-0.5 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the agency will announce spring clam-digging opportunities after assessing how many clams are still available for harvest after the next two digs.

“We want to make sure we still have clams available for spring digs, when we can schedule openings on morning tides,” Ayres said. “A lot of people look forward to digging clams on morning tides.”

Even so, Ayres noted that 19,000 diggers turned out to harvest razor clams on New Year’s Eve, the first day of the last three-day opening. Despite cold, windy conditions, diggers harvested more clams than on any day this season, he said.

Under WDFW rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s limit must be kept in a separate container. All diggers must have an applicable 2010-11 fishing license to dig razor clams on any beach. A license is required for anyone age 15 or older.

Anglers can buy a combination license or an annual shellfish/seaweed license. Also available are razor-clam only licenses in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov. A list of state license vendors is available at wdfw.wa.gov/lic/vendors/vendors.htm.

Olympic National Park Superintendent Karen Gustin urged diggers to take safety precautions during night digs, especially at Kalaloch.

“Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions,” she said. “With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”

Beaches in Washington with razor-clam fisheries include:

* Long Beach , which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
* Twin Harbors Beach , which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
* Copalis Beach , which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
* Mocrocks Beach , which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
* Kalaloch Beach , which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.

‘Some (Wolf) Activity’ In Umatilla Co., ODFW Official Says

Umatilla County stretches well into the Blue Mountains near where Oregon’s Wenaha Pack resides, but members of it or other groups of wolves could be moving out of the timber into more open areas this winter.

Or maybe it’s just coyotes.

A driver photographed three apparent canids off Highway 11 between Pendleton and Milton-Freewater last weekend. A video he took shows dark shapes at some distance moving across a snow-covered field.

A number of wolf reports have come from the area recently.

“We know there’s some activity in Umatilla County,” Russ Morgan, ODFW’s wolf coordinator, told the East Oregonian. “We’re trying to get a handle on it, trying to determine how many and where they all are. It’s unreasonable to think there aren’t any wolves in Umatilla County.”

The paper reports that other reports have come from the Indian Lake as well as Starkey areas too.

Earlier this year, the Wenaha Pack numbered six individuals. The Imnaha Pack had “15 or 16” members, a December aerial survey found.

In 2009, reports came from much further west, Crater Lake, Sisters and Santiam Pass.

In other, possibly related, Oregon wildlife news, the Argus Observer today reports more than 100 antelope have gathered in the lowlands on either side of I-84 just north of Ontario “after heavy snows have forced them closer to town seeking food for survival.” Locals are being asked to restrain their dogs after at least two pronghorns were killed.

Moose Permit To Be Raffled Off

Have a good, strong heart?

Good, you may need it if you’re lucky enough to get drawn in the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s raffle to hunt moose in Northeast Washington next fall.

Not just for the pack out either.

Last year’s winner, Harry Williamson of Chattaroy, found himself “surrounded by moose!” before finally taking a 49-inch-wide bull at just 8 to 10 yards after it came right at he and his makeshift cow call.

It was the first moose hunt raffled off by the Spokane organization.

Tickets for a chance to win this year’s hunt, which stretches Sept. 1-Dec. 31 and includes all the state’s open moose units, are now on sale.

They are $10 and are available at the INWC’s office, 6116 N. Market St., Spokane, WA, 99208, or by calling (509) 487-8552

The winner can use any legal weapon and can take any moose.

If you win, you’ll still be eligible to get drawn for WDFW’s once-in-a-lifetime special permits, according to INWC executive director Wanda Clifford.

Five thousand tickets are available. Proceeds go to WDFW and help fund the club’s big game, upland bird, hunter ed and other projects.

Sales will continue up until 3 p.m. March 20 when a winner will be drawn at the Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show.

Andy, Jim said you wanted the information on our moose hunt,

Ticket price $10.00 – 5,000 tickets to be sold

The tag is for any open moose unit in Eastern – Region 1

One moose of either sex

September 1 – December 31, 2011

Any legal weapon

Department will provide hunting license (including out of state ) and tag.

This hunt will not take away from future draws for department moose hunts.

Ticket will be drawn at the Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show March 20 ,2011 , 3:00pm

Tickets can be purchased at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council office or call:

509-487-8552

6116 N. Market St

Spokane, Wa

99208

We have been selling these over the phone and mailing out to

Those out of town.

Let me know if you have any questions.

More From OSP’s October Poacher Files

Damnit, despite swearing I wouldn’t continue leering at all the poacher follies, I couldn’t help but get sucked back into OSP’s October newsletter, released today.

There are some real prizes in this one — plus proof that justice prevails.

Hey, Let’s Go Snaggin For The Fun Of It!

Rct. Herman (Astoria) watched as two anglers snagged multiple salmon at Youngs River Falls, but they threw all of the salmon back into the water. As Herman approached to contact the anglers, one of the anglers saw him coming and threw his fishing rod into the brush. Herman retrieved the rod and found the anglers were using an extremely large bare treble hook with no bait or lure, and they had a large amount of lead weight wrapped around the hook shank.

Upon a frisk for weapons, Herman found one angler in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The anglers stated they were just snagging the salmon for fun, and they were not planning on keeping the fish. In addition, neither had a harvest card, and only one had an angling license.

Herman cited the anglers for multiple offenses including Angling Prohibited Method—Snagging, No Valid 2010 Combined Angling Harvest Card, and UPCS—Marijuana.

Not The Brightest Corky In The Display Rack, If You Get Our Drift

Rct. King (Tillamook) finished a case involving a subject who has been catching wild Chinook on the Nestucca River and not validating them on his angling harvest card. He would have his picture taken with the wild fish and display these photographs at a local sporting goods store.

The Nestucca Basin has a bag limit this year of two wild (nonadipose fin-clipped ) Chinook per year due to poor return estimates in the river system. King cited the subject for Exceeding Bag Limit Fall Chinook.

Hey, Let’s Go Snaggin For The Fun Of It, Episode 2!

While checking anglers at Big Creek, Rct. Herman (Astoria) observed an angler he cited at Youngs River Falls two days earlier for illegal salmon angling. When checking his license and tag during this patrol, Herman found the angler still did not have a harvest card. In addition, Herman discovered the second angler with him foul-hooked and retained a coho.

Although the second angler did have a harvest card, he had not validated any fish. Herman cited the first subject again for No Valid 2010 Combined Angling Harvest Card and the second for Unlawful Possession of a Foul-Hooked Salmon and Failure to Immediately Validate Angling Harvest Card.

Herman’s subsequent investigation revealed the second subject was also driving with a suspended driver license. Herman additionally cited him for DWS as well.

The Woods Are This Person’s Safeway Meat Market

Tpr. Boyd (Springfield) and Tpr. Cutsforth (Patrol) responded to a poaching complaint in the Springfield area. The complaint indicated one individual killed at least five buck deer this year. The suspect was contacted and interviewed about the alleged violations that occurred in Lane County.

At the conclusion of the contact, the troopers cited the suspect for Exceeding the Bag Limit of General Season Blacktail Buck Deer x 4, Unlawful Take of Buck Deer—No 2010 Bow Tag, and Failure to Immediately Validate Big Game Tag—2010 Western Oregon Buck Deer Tag and seized 57 large packages of deer meat, a scoped centerfire rifle, five deer buck heads, one elk skull, and an arrow shaft as evidence.

Deer Hunter Fail

Tpr. Mayer (Heppner) responded to a report of two deer hunters who shot and killed two bull elk near the Penland Lake area.

The witness stated he walked up on two young men who were very excited to have just shot and killed their deer. As the suspects were congratulating each other on their kills, the witness informed them the two animals were both bull elk, not mule deer.

Sr. Tpr. Klepp (Astoria) and Tpr. Davis (Patrol) responded to assist. The troopers seized and salvaged both elk, citing both suspects for Taking Elk Closed Season.

Belted, Deep In Left Field

Sr. Tpr. Urbigkeit (Newport) received a complaint from Toledo PD of a four-point buck shot inside the city limits the night before and left to waste. Sgt. Thompson, Sr. Tpr. Kehr, and Tpr. Van Meter (Newport) responded.

The investigation led to a subject who had seen the buck in the baseball field across from his house. He went inside and grabbed a 22 rimfire rifle and opened the top window that faced the ball field. He fired one time hitting the buck in the head and killing it.

He was going to retrieve it after dark, but when Toledo PD showed up asking questions about gunfire, he decided to leave the buck in the field. He was interviewed and eventually admitted to shooting the buck. He said he just wanted to fill his tag.

The troopers cited him for Hunting Prohibited Method—22 Rimfire, Hunting Prohibited Area—Inside City Limits, and Waste of a Game Mammal Buck Deer and seized his rifle, tag, and the deer as evidence.

Not Funny, But Notable — Case Closed: Astoria High Schoolers Sentenced For Poaching Elk

Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Phil Nelson sentenced three 16-year-old boys for their involvement in the unlawful take and waste of four elk in April 2010. Two of the defendants shot the four elk, one of which was pregnant. Additionally, one of these two defendants led Tpr. O’Connor (Astoria) to a false location of where the incident took place.

Defendant #1 admitted to Unlawful Take of Elk—Closed Season (4 counts) and Wasting Wildlife (4 counts). The judge imposed the following sentence:
• 10 days detention at Oregon Youth Authority, served up front, and 22 additional days, used at counselor’s discretion (2 of the 10 days are for taking trooper to wrong location)
• $6,000 restitution to ODFW
• $200 restitution to OHA TIP program
• 160 hours community service at the Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery
• 2 years suspension of hunting privileges
• 5 years probation stipulating defendant write an apology letter to trooper

Defendant #2 admitted to Unlawful Take of Elk—Closed Season (2 counts) and Wasting Wildlife (2 counts). The judge imposed the following sentence:
• 4 days detention at Oregon Youth Authority with 12 days used at counselor’s discretion
• $3,000 restitution to ODFW
• $200 restitution to OHA TIP program
• 80 hours community service at the Big Creek Fish Hatchery
• 2 years suspension of hunting privileges

Defendant #3 admitted to Aiding in a Wildlife Offense. The judge imposed the following:
• $500 restitution
• $299 fine
• 2 years suspension of hunting privileges

NW WA Permit Brant Hunt A Go

That big “phew” you just heard in Pugetropolis?

The editor of Northwest Sportsman after getting word that there are enough brant in Skagit County to hold a hunt this month.

In our January issue, we have a three-page feature on the history, tradition and rarity of the hunt, which only occurs when there are at least 6,000 of the geese back on bays of the North Puget Sound county.

Last year, only 6,002 showed.

There are more than enough, however, this year. According to WDFW, a Monday morning aerial count found 8,519 brant on Fidalgo, Padilla and Samish bays.

“Significant” numbers were also seen elsewhere in the North Sound, including 6,877 birds in Whatcom County to the north, WDFW reports.

Hunting is scheduled Jan. 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30 with a bag limit of two geese per day.

To participate in the Skagit County brant season, hunters must have written authorization and a harvest record card from WDFW. After taking a brant, hunters are required to record their harvest information immediately, and report their harvest to WDFW by Feb. 15. Hunters who fail to report by Feb. 15 will be ineligible to hunt brant in the 2011-2012 season.

Our feature on the hunt included some great photos courtesy of longtime brant hunter Maynard Axelson:

For more on the traditions and history of Washington brant hunting, see our January issue, on sale at newsstands now.

WDFW Chief To Discuss Merger In Spokane

With the start of what’s sure to be a bruising legislative session dead ahead, WDFW Director Phil Anderson’s schedule is fast filling up, but right now he is expected to be in Spokane early next week to talk about the proposed merger of his agency with State Parks, and other topics.

The get-together will occur at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council‘s headquarters, 6116 N. Market St., at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 11.

According to Wanda Clifford, INWC executive director, it will be open to club members and the general public.

Anderson is expected to take questions.

A WDFW spokesman says that the director as well as Deputy Director Joe Stohr often meet with Washington’s outdoor clubs. INWC is among the state’s oldest sportsman’s groups; it was founded in 1951.

$1,000 Reward Offered For Info On Nehalem Elk Poaching

A pair of vehicles from the Portland area may be key to figuring out whomever illegally slaying a 3×3 bull elk near Nehalem just before Thanksgiving.

Oregon State Police Trooper Clint Galusha believes that four Hispanic male adults associated with a dark blue full-sized Hummer and a newer model gray or silver Ford three-quarter ton crew cab pickup were involved in killing and wasting the animal off of Lost Creek Road.

It was found near the bottom of a clearcut.

POACHED ELK, LOST CREEK ROAD NEAR NEHALEM, ORE. (OSP)

Though the incident occurred during the second Coast rifle elk season, the hunt in that area was only open for spike bulls.

OSP was unable to salvage any meat from the carcass.

The Oregon Hunter’s Association in is offering a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this crime.

Anyone with information on the case is being urged to call the OSP Turn in Poacher (TIP) line at 1-800-452-7888 or Galusha at (503) 815-3314.

November saw several other elk-poaching incidents on the North Coast, including the deaths of three near the Clatsop and Columbia County line and three more along the Trask River as well as the shooting of a spike in the Wilson River drainage.