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SW WA Fishing Report


Lower portions of Abernathy, Coal, Germany, Mill creeks near Longview and Coweeman River:  Under permanent rules, closed to all fishing in September and October to protect naturally spawning fall chinook.  Coweeman River from Mulholland Creek upstream closes to all fishing September 1 for the same reason.

New for 2010:  The lower portion of Cedar Creek (North Fork Lewis River tributary) from the Grist Mill Bridge downstream and Lacamas Creek (tributary to the Washougal River) from the foot bridge at lower falls downstream are closed to fishing in September and October to protect naturally spawning fall chinook and coho.  In addition, stream flows are increased on Lacamas Creek  in the fall when the water behind Round/Lacamas lakes is lowered for annual maintenance on the dam.  This increase in flows sometimes attracts fall Chinook to the creek.  The upper portion of Cedar Creek also closes to fishing September 1.

Cougar Creek (tributary to Yale Reservoir) – Under permanent rule, closes to fishing beginning September 1 to protect naturally spawning kokanee.

Toutle River – No report on angling success.  Anti-snagging rule and night closure begins September 1 on the North Fork Toutle River from confluence with South Fork to mouth of the Green River and the Green River from mouth to 400 feet below salmon hatchery rack.

The first couple fall chinook of the season had returned to the hatchery last week.

Cowlitz River – Some steelhead are being caught by boat anglers in the lower river.  The first fall chinook of the season had arrived at the salmon hatchery last week and three dozen sea-run cutthroat have returned to date.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 382 summer-run steelhead, 316 spring Chinook adults, 42 jacks, 65 mini-jacks, five fall Chinook adults, two jacks, one sockeye salmon and 14 sea-run cutthroat trout during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released 216 spring Chinook adults and 12 jacks into the Cispus River, 78 spring Chinook adults and 18 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, 60 spring Chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park, and five fall Chinook adults and one jack into Mayfield Lake at the Ike Kinswa boat launch the during the week.  Mayfield Lake opens to fishing for salmon September 1.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,780 cubic feet per second on Monday August 23. Water visibility is 12 feet.

Kalama River – No effort on the lowest part of the river last week.  The first few coho of the season had returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery last week.

Lewis River – No report on angling success.  The first four hatchery coho of the season had returned to the Merwin Dam trap last week.

Wind River – Bank and boat anglers at the mouth are catching some steelhead.

Drano Lake – Eighty percent of the anglers sampled had caught a steelhead.  About two-thirds of the fish caught were kept.  Some fall chinook are also being caught.  About 80 boats observed here last Saturday morning.

White Salmon River – Both boat and bank anglers are catching some steelhead.

Buoy 10 – One of every 3 private boat anglers sampled at the ports of Chinook and Ilwaco/Fort Canby had caught a salmon.  Catch was tilted  slightly towards coho than chinook.  Chinook retention is expected to be allowed through the end of the month.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Chinook catches have picked up while steelhead catches have dropped off.  Last week we sampled 776 salmonid bank anglers with 20 adult and 1 jack fall Chinook and 62 steelhead, an average of a salmonid kept/released per every 9.3 rods based on mainly incomplete trips. In addition, we sampled 696 salmonid boat anglers (335 boats) with 66 adult and 1 jack fall Chinook and 50 steelhead, an average of a salmonid kept/released per every 5.9 rods based on mainly completed trips.  Overall, 71% of the steelhead caught were kept.  We again did not sample any coho.

From August 1-15, there have been an estimated 13,900 angler trips with 182 adult fall chinook and 2,699 steelhead kept and 1,476 steelhead released.  The total catch expectation for chinook for the entire season is 17,200 fish.

Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers at the mouths of the tributaries are catching some fall chinook.

Hanford Reach – During the first three weeks of sampling the Reach WDFW staff sampled a total of 7 days. Ten boats and 23 anglers were sampled during that time with 1 Chinook retained and 7 Steelhead released. Expanded catch data will be reported weekly starting next week.


Lower Columbia from mouth to Marker 82 – Light effort during the current catch-and-release only fishery.

McNary Dam to Priest Rapids Dam – Catch-and-release only through January 31.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers in the Camas/Washougal area averaged just over a walleye each.

Courtesy Joe Hymer, PSMFC

Walla Walla Spree Shooter Charged


A Walla Walla man was charged last week in Walla Walla County District Court with poaching four deer, based on evidence gathered earlier this month by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers.

Kyle O’Brien, 18, was charged with four gross misdemeanor counts each of hunting deer during closed season and wastage, one gross misdemeanor count of spotlighting big game, and one misdemeanor count each of shooting from a road and having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.


WDFW Officer Rob McQuary received a tip Aug. 2 about two mule deer bucks that had been shot and killed found off Nelms Road, just north of Woodward Canyon Road in western Walla Walla County.  When McQuary found the two carcasses with velvet-covered antlers still attached, he and WDFW Officer Mike Johnson set up watch in the area to see if the shooter returned to remove the antlers.

Before 11 p.m. that night, O’Brien was observed by the officers shining a spotlight from a car and shooting a rifle seven times within a few minutes. The officers stopped and questioned O’Brien and said O’Brien admitted to shooting two deer that night and two the night before.

Officers recovered the two other mule deer nearby and seized O’Brien’s rifle.

A gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. In addition, criminal wildlife penalties can be assessed up to $6,000.


New OR Coast Wild Coho Fisheries To Open

Three wild coho fisheries to open on Oregon Coast

August 25, 2010

SALEM, Ore. – A forecast for large numbers of returning coho salmon will allow anglers to harvest wild coho in three fisheries along the Oregon Coast beginning Sept. 1 and   Oct. 1.

The three fisheries  are:

Siletz River, mainstem open from   the mouth to Old   Mill Park boat launch (RM   36)

Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 or until a quota of 400 fish has been caught.

One adult wild coho per day and one for the season.

Coquille River, mainstem open from   the mouth to the Hwy 42S bridge (RM 25)

Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 or until a quota of 1, 200 fish has been caught.

One adult wild coho per day and five for the season.

Tenmile Lakes, North and South lakes open; closed downstream of Hilltop Bridge. Also closed is the canal between   lakes and all tributaries.

Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 or until a quota of 500 fish has been caught.

One adult wild coho per day and five for the season.

The daily and seasonal bag limits for each individual lake or river are in aggregate with all wild coho fisheries   in the Northwest and Southwest zones, including the long-standing coho fisheries in Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes. Anglers also may keep one wild jack coho   salmon as part of the daily bag limit on the three fisheries. Jacks are coho salmon between 15 and 20-inches long.

In addition, on Tenmile, Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes anglers may fish only one rod when the wild coho fishery is   open.

Even though wild coho along the Oregon coast are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, fisheries   biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife feel conditions have improved enough that monitored, conservative harvest by sport anglers will not   negatively affect the populations in these five basins.

Lake Wenatchee Sockeye To Close


Lake Wenatchee closes for sockeye salmon fishing.

Effective date/time:   One hour after sunset Aug. 31, 2010.

Species affected:   Sockeye salmon.

Location:   Lake Wenatchee (Chelan Co.).

Reason for action:   By Aug. 31, most of the sockeye currently in the lake will have migrated to the White and Little Wenatchee rivers and will be unavailable to anglers. Continuing the fishery would also increase bull trout impacts.

Other information:   Trout and other game fish seasons will continue as described in the 2010/2011 “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet.

Information contact: Art Viola, (509) 665-3337, Jeff Korth (509) 754-6066.

Tulalips Release Turkeys On Reservation For Future Hunts

The Tulalip Tribes recently released 170 turkeys onto their Snohomish County, Wash., reservation.

After being raised from chicks obtained this past spring, the Rio Grandes were let loose this month in a meadow in hopes the birds would build a harvestable population, according to a press release from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

The effort began several years ago with restoration of the meadow for wildlife habitat.

Tribal wildlife manager Mike Sevigny thinks that if birds breed next spring, there could be hunts next fall.


The Tribes plans to release more game birds in the meadow.

Fall Kings To Open In Hells Canyon


For the first time in recent history, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will open the upper Snake River for fall chinook harvest on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010.

The chinook fishery will open to sport fishing seven days a week concurrent with the annual Hell’s Canyon steelhead fishery. The river will be open from the Oregon / Washington border to the deadline below Hells Canyon Dam and will remain open until Oct. 31, or until a closure is announced.

The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped fall chinook salmon per day, only one of which can be an adult salmon longer than 24 inches. Only barbless hooks may be used. Anglers are reminded to consult the 2010 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for other applicable regulations.

Fishery managers predict over 60,000 fall chinook salmon will pass Lower Granite Dam this year. This is more fish than needed for hatchery production needs and thus will be available for sport harvest.

Hells Canyon Dam is the farthest Snake River fall chinook will travel in Oregon, having migrated over 800 miles and passing 8 mainstem dams.

“We’ve had a great spring chinook season, a huge steelhead return is on its way and now there’s a new opportunity to retain fall chinook, ”said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise. “We encourage anglers to take advantage of the excellent fall fishing in Hell’s Canyon.”

USFWS On The Way Forward For Idaho And Wolves

Here’s the text of a Q&A sheet/PDF prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for a recent meeting of the Idaho Fish & Game Commission.

It was posted on The Wildlife News’ blog.

U.S. Fish Wildlife Service Pacific Regional Office
911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181

Gray Wolves in Idaho: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Answers to Idaho Department of Fish and Game Questions

August 16,2010

• What is the history of wolf reintroduction in Idaho?

A detailed chronology of the reintroduction and events leading up to gray wolf reintroduction in Idaho is located on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website: cms/wildlife/wolves/timeline.cfm

• Is there any possibility ofhaving a wolfhunting season unde1′ the current listing status in Idaho?

It is unlikely, now that the U.S. District Court has ruled that the gray wolf must be returned to the List of Threatened and Endangered Species. During the past six months, while the court deliberated, FWS has worked diligently with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to explore a variety of options for permitting a hunting season for wolves in Idaho and Montana (in the event the court ruled invalidated the delisting, which it did). FWS, however does not believe we would prevail against the inevitable legal challenge. This is a difficult and frustrating message to convey, and it is a decision FWS does not take lightly. However, we cannot promote decisions we know are legally indefensible, as this would only increase our collective frustrations over the long term, rather than relieve them.

• After the FWS receives our proposal to control wolves that are impacting ungulates, how long will it take the FWS to respond?

Upon receipt of all necessary documentation associated with a control proposal, including peer review and a record of public review and comment as required in the lOG) rule, we anticipate being able to respond within 60 days.

• Can Idaho get broader approval from FWS for wolfmanagement in response to ungulate population declines under section 10(J) of the ESA as it has for livestocll depredation response?

The NRM wolf lOG) rule was revised in 2008 to give states more latitude in managing wolves that were affecting ungulate herds within the experimental population area. Accordingly, the State may request broader approval for ungulate management. FWS must then make a determination that the requested action would continue to provide for the conservation of the wolf. Changes to the 100) regulations would also require rulemaking, including pu blic notice and comment.

Note: the 2008 lOG) rule is currently being litigated, and the outcome of that litigation may define sideboards within which we can amend the 1O(j) rule. At this time the 2008 revised 1O(i) rule remains in full effect.

• Why should the State ofIdaho remain the FWS’s designated agent?

This is Idaho’s question to answer. From FWS perspective, there are advantages for a state to be fully engaged in species management, including the direct contribution of state expertise and issues in management decisions. In addition:

• Continued demonstration of successful State management of wolves is critical to the legal argument for delisting wolves in Idaho. If IDFG is stripped of its ability to manage wolves under the approved State management plan, the likelihood of delisting wolves in Idaho may be substantially diminished.

• FWS will not manage wolves to achieve ungulate population objectives. Ungulate population management is the purview of the State, and as such, the State may address that priority by maintaining status as a designated agent.

• The State is currently better positioned than the Service to address on-the-ground depredation control issues. Lack of State management would mean increased presence of contract or Federal biologists in Idaho to handle on-the-groundmanagement.

• What is the FWS’s strategy to delist wolves and what is your timeline?

Any path forward to down-listing or delisting the NRM wolf will require rulemaking, including public notice and comment. A proposed and final rule, including adequate time for public comment, at minimum would take 18 months, and more likely 24 months to complete.

• What should Idaho tell hunters about future wolfpopulation levels and their impact on Idaho elk?

FWS supports the wolf population goals in Idaho’s State wolf management plan. FWS also supports lethal removal of wolves in the experimental population area when scientific evidence indicates that wolves are having an unacceptable impact on wild ungulate populations. FWS delisted wolves in Idaho based on recognition that wolves are biologically recovered in the State and a sound State management plan is in place, and FWS has recognized Idaho’s management of a fair-chase hunt conducted last year. Without condition, FWS shares the goal of a viable delisted wolf population under State management.

• Is FWS considering revising its Distinct Population Segment (DPS) policy to allow delisting along State lines? The FWS is not pursuing that option at this time.

• Will FWS appeal judge Molloy’s decision?

The Department of the Interior and Department of Justice have not determined whether or not to appeal Judge Molloy’s decision.

Meanwhile, a Montana Congressman has announced he’d cosponsor a Texan’s legislation that would make wolves exempt from threatened or endangered status under the ESA.

Ocean, Buoy 10 Salmon Update

There’s still plenty of room in the coho and Chinook quotas out of Ilwaco while the salmon catch at Buoy 10 begins to ramp up.

Joe Hymer of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission reports that last week, anglers in Washington’s Marine Area 1 on the south coast averaged .85 salmon per rod, with 71 percent of the catch being coho.

“Through August 15, an estimated 35.8% of the coho quota and 37.7% of the Chinook guideline had been taken,” he reported last night.

Further north, the Chinook guideline at Westport is 65.8 percent toast; nearly 18,500 have been caught there, including a marked 51-pounder by Olympia angler Jerry Dolgash.


Northwest Sportsman writer Terry Otto fished Buoy 10 yesterday with Northwest Sportsman columnist Buzz Ramsey and reports that they and three other anglers caught a total of 10 salmon, releasing four and keeping three Chinook and three coho.

Otto retained a 25-pound king and says that one of the other anglers on the boat had one 3 or 4 pounds heavier.

“One of Buzz’s friends told him about a 61-pounder caught that day,” he adds.

“Although we started off using a mix of spinners and herring, every fish came on the 6-1/2 Toman Cascade Squid Spinner,” reports Ramsey, a staffer for Yakima Bait, which makes the lure mentioned. “Eight of the 11 fish hooked were on red-and-white, one on chartreuse green dot.”


Otto also had one king stolen by a sea lion.

“Li’l bastard hung out near a good hole all day. We saw him rob another fisherman. The stater said that seal did real well for himself all day long by working that hot hole, according to reports,” he notes.

Joel Shangle at Northwest Wild Country Radio also posted a shot of guide Chris Vertopolous’s 45-pounder from yesterday.


Aug 1-15: 8,500 anglers, 500 Chinook, 100 coho

Aug 16-18: 4,400 anglers, 1,450 Chinook, 700 coho

Total catch estimate Aug 1-18: 12,900 anglers for 1,950 Chinook and 800 coho

Allocation: Chinook – 12,500 fish (16% taken); Coho – 11,900 fish (7% taken)

ODFW Wants Your Buck Teeth


ODFW biologists are asking black-tailed deer bowhunters to send the department a tooth from the animal they harvest. ODFW staff uses the teeth to determine the age of the animals, which is used in population modeling efforts.

Accurate population estimation is a key goal of the Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan which was adopted in 2008 by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to strategically manage black-tailed deer populations consistent with available habitat and other land uses.

“These teeth are critically important to us. Black-tailed deer are not easy to count. They often move in the dark, in dense cover,” said Don Whittaker, ODFW Ungulate Species Coordinator. “The more information we have about the age of the deer in the population, the better decisions we can make about hunting seasons and the health of the species.”

Last year, bowhunters harvested almost 2,000 black-tailed deer.

“To get an accurate population estimate, we really need to get teeth from all of this year’s animals,” said Whittaker.

The age of deer can be accurately determined by analyzing tooth roots. Removing and returning a tooth to ODFW is relatively easy and in no way harms the taxidermy mount. Postage-paid envelopes and instructions are available at license sales agents or ODFW offices.

In six or seven months, hunters will receive a postcard showing the age of their deer.

The Columbian black-tailed deer is one of two sub species of mule deer in Oregon. The species is found from the Pacific Ocean coastline east to the forested portions along the east side of the crest of the Cascades. The Black-Tailed Deer Management Plan is available on ODFW’s website.

Tackling Cacklers

Interesting article in the Portland area’s South County Spotlight on cacklers, those Canada geese that for unknown reasons now flock to the Willamette Valley starting in September and eat their way through farm fields at sometimes shocking speeds.

A task force including ODFW, lawmakers, hunters and farmers is trying to come up with ways to deal with them, including hunting, though doing so would double hunt-monitoring costs, and eliminating the geese other ways raises the hackle of Alaska natives who want even more of the migratory birds.