Category Archives: Headlines

WDFW Holding 2 Meetings On Future Of Sound Blackmouth Program

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled two public meetings to discuss the future direction of the Puget Sound Recreational Fishery Enhancement program, which includes the production of blackmouth chinook salmon.

The meetings are scheduled for:

* July 21 – From 7-9 p.m. in Room 175 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.

* July 22 – From 7-9 p.m. at the WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.

Key responsibilities of the fishery enhancement program include production of delayed-release chinook salmon, known as blackmouth, and research on factors that limit marine bottomfish populations and methods to raise marine bottomfish in hatcheries.

Blackmouth are hatchery-reared chinook salmon that are held in freshwater longer than they naturally would remain, reducing their tendency to migrate out of Puget Sound. Their name comes from the black gum line of the fish.

Production of blackmouth and other fishery-enhancement initiatives within the program, which was mandated by the state Legislature in 1993, are intended to improve fishing opportunities in Puget Sound, said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW’s Puget Sound salmon manager. A citizen oversight committee was established in 2003 to advise the department on the program.

Earlier this year, the state auditor’s office released a performance audit that recommended revising the annual production goal for blackmouth.

“We have started the process of developing recommendations to lawmakers on how to improve the fishery enhancement program,” Thiesfeld said. “We’ve had discussions with the program’s citizen oversight committee, and now we would also like to discuss with the public potential changes to the program, particularly blackmouth production goals and the general scope of the program.”

The program is funded through a portion of revenue generated by the sale of recreational fishing licenses. The annual funding level is based on the number of licensed anglers fishing in Puget Sound and for salmon in Lake Washington.

4 Pups Pictured In NE OR Wolf Pack

If it’s July in the Northwest, it’s time for wolf pups to start showing up in the news.

Today, ODFW announced that the Imnaha pack has had at least four pups, based on trail cam images from their Northeast Oregon roaming grounds.

IMNAHA PACK PUPS. (ODFW)

Cameras also picked up six adults; at least 10 wolves were captured on video by a local biologist last November.

The past two Julys, WDFW has produced images and news releases about pups belonging to packs in North-central and Northeast Washington. We’ve got a call in to Olympia to learn if litters were produced this spring.

Meanwhile, as Idaho and Montana pursue higher wolf quotas for this fall, the region remains on hold for U.S. District Court Judge Molloy to make his ruling from Missoula on whether wolves in the Northern Rockies should go back on the endangered species list. Montana has approved the culling of 186 wolves, but put tag sales on hold until Aug. 23.

Kill orders on two livestock-killing wolves in Wallowa County, where Forest Service offices burned in a mysterious fire on Sunday, have also been on hold since early July.

Diamond Lake Fishing Report

(DIAMOND LAKE RESORT PRESS RELEASE)

The lake’s water temperature is just over 66 degrees with almost 10 feet of underwater of visibility. Afternoon air temperature are reaching the 70+ degree mark in the afternoons but by then the daily breeze has come up and keeps things very comfortable.

(DIAMOND LAKE RESORT)

The trout fishing remains very good even with warming water temperatures. The Diamond Lake Charter Boat has regularly returned back at the docks early with limits for all the guests.

13 to 19 inch average fish are biting just about anything anglers put in front of them. Rainbow, Chartruse, and Orange Power Bait, Velveeta Cheese, and night crawlers continue to be best offerings in the deeper waters (30 feet) of “The Cheese Hole and “The Shrimp Beds.”

Larger than average fish are being found in 10 to 20 feet of water at both the south and north ends of the lake.

Trollers are using pulling flashers followed by a red or green wedding rings tipped with chunks of night crawler, Needle Fish, or a size F-4 frog colored FlatFish. Late evening trollers pulling dark-colored flies 75 feet behind their boats are drawing heavy, rod slapping strikes.

Be prepared, the infamous Diamond Lake mosquitoes are out and hungry.

You can call our marina (800-733-7593 x 238) for up to the minute reports or check out our website at www.diamondlake.net.

Baker, Skagit Opening For 3-day Sockeye Season

Thanks to a good run, fishing for sockeye will open for three days on the Baker River and part of the Skagit starting this Friday, July 16, WDFW announced this morning.

“You want to fish it early in the morning with Spin-N-Glos and sand shrimp,” says Stuart Forst at Holiday Sports (360-757-4361) in Burlington. “Ninety percent are caught that way.”

Use either a size 6 or 8 drift bobber in peach or other light colors.

Though it can be a bit of a combat fishery, the open areas include the Baker from its mouth up to the Highway 20 bridge, and the Skagit from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to a point 200 feet above the east bank of the Baker.

“There’s a lot of room to fish,” says Forst. “You could fish 20 at the mouth, if they’re congenial and like each other.”

WDFW says that the Baker’s run is above egg-take needs; a tribal fishery will be opened as well. Daily limit for sport anglers is two sockeye.

Forst adds that he’s had luck with a 1/4-ounce red-feathered jig too.

“Clank it along the bottom away from the plunkers,” he says.

Season opens at 12:01 a.m. on the 16th and closes at 11:59 p.m. on the 18th. Anti-snagging and night closure rules are in effect.

When dam operators start spilling water on the Baker at mid-day, it’s time to pack up because the surge flushes the salmon back to the Skagit, says Forst.

WDFW also says that there is a possibility of further openings, including on Baker Lake; they would be announced after meetings with local tribes.

In other sockeye news, Columbia River managers upped this year’s forecast to just under 400,000. So far, nearly 380,000 have gone over Bonneville Dam.

Over a quarter million have passed Rock Island Dam below the mouth of the Wenatchee River and 204,000 over the next dam above the river, Rocky Reach. We’ve got a call in to the regional fisheries manager about Lake Wenatchee sockeye, but through July 6, none of the salmon had gone over the dam in the Wenatchee River’s Tumwater Canyon below the lake.

The Lake Washington sockeye count also exceeded 100,000 on Monday, the first time it’s done so since 2006.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

UPDATE JULY 15, 2010, 3 P.M.: ODFW ANNOUNCES THE NEARSHORE HALIBUT FISHERY WILL CLOSE SAT., JULY 17 AT 11:59 AS THE QUOTA WILL HAVE BEEN REACHED.

Tuna within 30 to 40 miles of shore and walleye to 10 pounds in the John Day Pool are among the highlights for Oregon fishermen.

But Chinook fishing is beginning to ramp up in Rogue Bay, bass and walleye fishing is improving in the Multnomah Channel and trout fishing in Central and Northeast Oregon rivers and lakes is good.

BETCHA THE WALLEYE GUYS WILL BE JEALOUS OF CYBIL VAN ARSDALE'S CATCH. THE YAMHILL TEEN LANDED THIS 32-INCH-LONG, 17-INCH-AROUND COLUMBIA RIVER BUGEYE ON 6-POUND TEST. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Here are more highlights and ideas from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Chinook fishing is picking up in the Rogue River estuary with most fish being caught 1 or 2 hours on either side of high tide.
  • Bass fishing has been improving throughout the mainstem of the Umpqua River.
  • With the onset of warmer temperatures trout fishing is slowing down in many area lakes and ponds. However, fishing will continue to be good for bass and warmwater fish.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • A few spring chinook are still being caught in the lower Willamette and in Eagle Creek.
  • Now is a good time to target bass and walleye fishing on the Multnomah Channel.
  • Summer steelhead and spring chinook have moved into the North Santiam River around Stayton.
  • Good catches of kokanee have been reported recently on Green Peter Reservoir.
  • Summer steelhead are showing up in the Willamette River town run between Springfield and Eugene.
  • Trout stocking of most local valley lakes and ponds has come to an end for the summer due to warm water conditions. Lower and mid-elevation Cascade lakes are still being stocked and provide a good opportunity for trout fishing.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • According to recent creel surveys, trout fishing on the Crooked River has been excellent throughout the day.
  • Trout fishing on Crane Prairie Reservoir continues to be very good.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing has been good in Balm and Thief Valley reservoirs.
  • Fishing in the high Cascade lakes for brook trout remains excellent.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Fishing for both rainbow and brook trout has been good on Grande Ronde Reservoir.
  • Smallmouth bass and channel catfish fishing has been good on the John Day River – though the bite may slow if temperatures remain high.

SNAKE RIVER ZONE

  • Brownlee: Crappie spawning has slowed but good fishing is available. Fish very early morning or late evening. The fish are deep in the middle of the day (25-70 feet) and the bite is very light. Use 4 lb test and an ultra light rod. Use jigs with a crappie nibble (motor oil, red and whites have been good lately). Night fishing with lights is producing good catches.  Bass are biting but are fairly small. Some large catfish are being caught using cutbait, worms or stink bait. Trolling for trout is fair. The reservoir is full. Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Effective June 26 angling is open for adipose fin-clipped summer chinook, adipose fin-clipped summer steelhead, and sockeye from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Oregon/Washington Border.
  • The summer steelhead run is making a strong early showing at Bonneville Dam. Look for summer steelhead near the mouths of cooler tributaries as the water temperature in the Columbia continues to rise.
  • Sturgeon fishing is good near Astoria. Sturgeon retention is open seven days a week from Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, August 1.
  • The walleye fishing has been good in the John Day pool where anglers are finding lots of walleye — many in the 10-pound range. The best lures have been spinner and worm combinations and blade baits.

MARINE ZONE

  • Anglers targeting tuna found the fish between 30 and 40 miles offshore. Tuna catches landed in ports on the central coast averaged between four and five fish.
  • Anglers fishing Cape Falcon to the Oregon/Washington border are now allowed to keep up to two chinook salmon in the bag limit. Daily bag limit is now two salmon per day, and all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin clip.
  • Fishing for marked coho south of Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California border opened Saturday (June 26). Only about one angler in 10 were successful at landing a coho last week. Only marked coho (all coho must have a healed adipose fin clip) may be retained. That season will run through Sept. 6 or until the quota of 26,000 marked coho is met, which ever comes first. The bag limit is two salmon.
  • Fishing for Chinook was slow again last week with fewer than one in seven anglers landing a fish. The “All Salmon Except Coho” salmon season from Cape Falcon to Oregon/California  border opened May 29 and runs through Sept. 6. Bag Limit: Two salmon.
  • The near-shore (inside 40 fathoms) halibut fishery between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain is remains open with more than 30 percent of the quota remaining.
  • Fishing for lingcod remained at about one fish for every two anglers targeting lingcodSuccess in catching lings and most other bottom fish improves as waves moderate.
  • Fishing for rockfish slowed down this week. One possible explanation is that there are many small food fish in the water. Many anglers report that the rockfish they do catch are stuffed with smaller fish.
  • The annual conservation closure north of Tillamook Head to protect newly set razor clams begins July 15 and continues through Sept. 30. Since 1967, ODFW has closed the 18 miles of beaches in Clatsop County to razor clam digging on July 15. The closure is to protect newly-set young clams that are establishing themselves on the beach during this time of the year.
  • The Oregon Department of Agriculture closed all recreational razor clam harvesting from Coos Bay to Bandon last month and extended the closure on July 2 north to Tillamook Head north of Cannon Beach due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Razor clamming remains open north of Coos Bay and south of Bandon.
  • July has two minus tide series in the mornings: July 8-16 and 21-29 for bay clam diggers.
  • Mussel harvesting is open on the entire Oregon coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border. The consumption of whole, recreationally-harvested scallops is not recommended. However, coastal scallops are not affected by toxins when only the adductor muscle is eaten.
  • Most crabbers had average catches between one and three crab. Crabbing in the ocean this time of year can be very productive, but also dangerous because of wind, sea and bar conditions.
  • Crabbing success is often best during the slack tide at high tide or low tide when crabs are looking for food

SW WA Fishing Report

(COURTESY JOE HYMER, PFMC)

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Cowlitz River – No report on angling success.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 714 summer-run steelhead, 222 spring Chinook adults, 43 jacks and 179 mini-jacks during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. Tacoma Power employees released 58 spring Chinook adults and 44 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam during the week.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,930 cubic feet per second on Monday July 12. Water visibility is 13 feet.

Drano Lake – 13 boats observed there last Saturday (July 10) morning.  No reports on angling success.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 1,142 salmonid bank anglers below Bonneville Dam with 42 adult and 2 jack summer Chinook, 227 steelhead, and 12 sockeye. In addition, we sampled 351 salmonid boat anglers (171 boats) with 12 adult and 1 jack summer Chinook, 95 steelhead, and 1 sockeye.   Overall, 46% of the adult Chinook and 54% of the steelhead caught were kept.  Ten of the 13 sockeye (77%) were kept.

Approximately 300 salmonid boats and 700 bank anglers were counted from Bonneville Dam downstream during last Saturday’s (July 10) flight.

At Bonneville Dam, daily steelhead counts reached 7,182 fish on July 11.  It was the highest daily count for the year (at least so far).

Bonneville Pool – Fifteen boats were observed off the mouth of the White Salmon River and 2 outside Drano Lake last Saturday (July 10) morning.  No report on angling success.

The Dalles Pool – Catch has switched over from summer chinook to steelhead though most of the steelhead were wild fish that had to be released.

John Day Pool – Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco, reports very little effort for salmonids last week and no catch was reported.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines downstream – Sturgeon angling success improved as measured at the Deep River and Knappton ramps.  Boat anglers there averaged 1.3 legals kept per boat.  Bank anglers sampled in the estuary did not catch any fish.   The ports of Chinook and Ilwaco data is being picked up later today.

About 240 private and 9 charter boats were observed fishing for sturgeon below Wauna (though no flight past Chinook) during last Saturday’s flight count.

  • The 2010 catch guideline for this fishery is 9,600 white sturgeon (60% of recent years).
  • Catch estimates through July 5 total 3,500 sturgeon kept from 25,769 angler trips.   Projections through July 11 total 28,300 angler trips with 3,900 sturgeon kept, or 41% of the 2010 adjusted harvest guideline.
  • White sturgeon may be retained daily in the estuary from July 15 through August 1.
  • The estimated kept catch for the July 15-August 1 extension is 1,500-2,700 fish resulting in a season total projected kept catch of 5,400-6,600 fish (56%-69% of 2010 adjusted quota).
  • A Compact hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on July 29 in Cathlamet Washington to consider fall season commercial fishing periods.  Given the date, this hearing will also provide a timely opportunity to review the estuary sturgeon fishery

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Marker 82 – Boat anglers in the Camas/Washougal and Kalama areas kept some legals. About 100 boats from Wauna upstream and a dozen bank rods were counted during last Saturday’s flight.

WALLEYE AND BASS

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Some walleye are being caught by boaters in the Camas/Washougal area.

The Dalles Pool –  Boat anglers averaged a walleye and 4 bass kept/released per rod.

John Day Pool – Paul Hoffarth reports walleye fishing was excellent with a fish per every 2.7 hours fished.  Boat anglers also caught some bass.

SHAD

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers in the Camas/Washougal area are still catching some shad.  Effort and catch is light on the rest of the river.

The Dalles Pool – Bank anglers are still catching a few fish.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers kept nearly 4 shad per rod.  Light effort and catch from the bank.

U Can Now Txt Poaching Tips 2 WDFW

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

Reporting poaching and other fish and wildlife violations to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) just got easier.

WDFW has added a new text-messaging option for reporting activity that threatens fish, wildlife and critical habitat. Tip411 allows users to send a text message to WDFW’s communications dispatch center.

“We have a limited number of fish and wildlife officers in the field, so the public plays a critical role in protecting our natural resources by reporting violations,” said Chief Bruce Bjork, who heads WDFW’s enforcement program. “Text messaging is a quick and easy way to report violations.”

The text reporting system is powered by Minnesota-based Citizen Observer, a private vendor under contract with WDFW. The system removes the texter’s name and replaces it with an alias before the message arrives at WDFW’s communications center, said WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. When necessary, the system allows the reporting party and the on-duty fish and wildlife officer to exchange text messages in real time, Cenci said.

WDFW enforcement officials ask anyone who witnesses a potential violation to collect as much information as possible without confronting the individual under suspicion. Bjork said helpful information includes license plate numbers, vehicle color and make, the type of violation, the time it occurred and a description of the individual or individuals involved.

Tips should be sent to 847411 (Tip411). The message must begin with the letters WDFWTIP followed by a space, and then a brief description of the violation and location.

Go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/poaching/ for more information about how to report emergency and non-emergency fish and wildlife violations. The site includes instructions for texting, phone numbers and direct links to the email and online reporting options. The site also contains a link to Crime Observation Reporting Training (CORT) provided by the Eyes In the Woods association and WDFW enforcement officers.

To report Aquatic Invasive Species violations call toll free at 1-888-933-9247. Violations also can be reported to any WDFW regional office, or by calling the Washington State Patrol Communications Center (see local phone directories).

Reporting poaching and other fish and wildlife violations to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) just got easier.

WDFW has added a new text-messaging option for reporting activity that threatens fish, wildlife and critical habitat. Tip411 allows users to send a text message to WDFW’s communications dispatch center.

“We have a limited number of fish and wildlife officers in the field, so the public plays a critical role in protecting our natural resources by reporting violations,” said Chief Bruce Bjork, who heads WDFW’s enforcement program. “Text messaging is a quick and easy way to report violations.”

The text reporting system is powered by Minnesota-based Citizen Observer, a private vendor under contract with WDFW. The system removes the texter’s name and replaces it with an alias before the message arrives at WDFW’s communications center, said WDFW Deputy Chief Mike Cenci. When necessary, the system allows the reporting party and the on-duty fish and wildlife officer to exchange text messages in real time, Cenci said.

WDFW enforcement officials ask anyone who witnesses a potential violation to collect as much information as possible without confronting the individual under suspicion. Bjork said helpful information includes license plate numbers, vehicle color and make, the type of violation, the time it occurred and a description of the individual or individuals involved.

Tips should be sent to 847411 (Tip411). The message must begin with the letters WDFWTIP followed by a space, and then a brief description of the violation and location.

Go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/poaching/   for more information about how to report emergency and non-emergency fish and wildlife violations. The site includes instructions for texting, phone numbers and direct links to the email and online reporting options. The site also contains a link to Crime Observation Reporting Training (CORT) provided by the Eyes In the Woods association and WDFW enforcement officers.

To report Aquatic Invasive Species violations call toll free at 1-888-933-9247. Violations also can be reported to any WDFW regional office, or by calling the Washington State Patrol Communications Center (see local phone directories).

Fees Considered In WDFW Long-term Plans

Out 31 percent of its support from the state’s general fund, now with 10 percent fewer employees than just a year or so ago and having to take 10 days off work through the end of the 2011 fiscal year due to the recession, WDFW still must move forward with its legislative mandates to protect wildlife and provide recreational opportunity.

How to do so and what to focus on is at the crux of the draft 2011-2017 strategic plan that was posted online last week.

Not surprisingly, fee increases come to the forefront, but not just for hunters and anglers.

The agency is “exploring the option to extend, permanently adopt or perhaps increase the temporary 10 percent surcharge on sales of recreational licenses, permits, tags, stamps and raffle tickets initiated in 2009. With the temporary surcharge set to expire in mid-2011, a fee increase for sport and commercial licenses is under consideration. This increase would help support hunting and fishing opportunities throughout the state and help fund hatchery production, stock assessments and other activities that support sustainable fisheries.”

To stabilize funding, WDFW is also “seeking new ways to share costs with others who benefit from these services. A number of initiatives are being explored to offset funding reductions and continue to offer core functions and services. Any fee increase is subject to approval by the state Legislature.”

The plan speaks of a renewed focus on conservation to meet increased human population growth and habitat fragmentation. Over the coming years, the agency hopes to recover wild fish, implement hatchery program improvements and develop new, more selective gear for commercial fisheries.

In the meanwhile, for the rest of the 2009-2011 biennium, goals include cracking down on invasive species, recruiting more enforcement officers, figuring out how to acquire land on Simcoe Mountain in Klickitat County and to develop trout and warmwater stocking plans to increase public participation as well as better market them.

There’s much, much more to the plan, but not much time to dig into and comment upon. The deadline to submit your thoughts is July 23.

NC Washington Fishing Report

(ANTON JONES, DARRELL & DAD’S GUIDE SERVICE)

What’s hot is trolling the Bar for Lakers early in the morning on Lake Chelan.  Trolling for   Sockeye Salmon below Wells Dam on the Upper Columbia has been good.  Grimes Lake   continues to be great for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

GUIDE ANDY BYRD OF MANSON WITH AN UPPER COLUMBIA SOCKEYE. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

Fish for Lakers with T-4 Flatfish in either Purple Glow or Luminous Chartreuse off the downriggers.  Fish the little F7 flatfish in the same colors off the outrigger rods for a shot at some big honkers.  A nice scattering of big fish came to the net during the first hour of fishing this week!  After the early morning bite, it has been spotty, but we’ve had some success fishing over to Minneapolis and out into the trench as well as at the Nursery and off of Sunnybank.  Switch the Downrigger rods to U20 flatfish and the outrigger rods to either Rushin’ Salmon Wobblers by Critter Gitter or those Kingfisher Lite’s by Silver Horde.

While the Chinook continue to be scarce in the Upper Columbia, the Sockeye are really stacked below Wells Dam.  The old bare hook deal, Mack’s squid rigs or trolling shrimp will work.  Place all of them behind a big dodger with a very short leader for best success.  Gear down for a real battle with these 2 to 5 pound scrappers.

At Grimes Lake, fish for Lahontan Cutthroat with chronomids and pheasant tail nymphs from 20 to 30 feet down.  There are nice numbers of fish from 16 to 25 inches with a chance at larger fish. Your fishing tip of the week is to rethink attractors for Columbia Sockeye.  Really shorten them up.  A 00 dodger with a 12” leader is average.  Try varying the leader from 7 to 20 inches.  Bare red hooks, hooks baited with shrimp or Mack’s Lures mini-squid rigs will do the trick.

The kid’s tip of the week is to make a game out of hydration.  You can make the water drinking into a contest.  You can offer a treat when the requisite amount of water has been drunk.  Be creative.  Make it fun.

The safety tip of the week is to strap on your patience.  Both Lake Chelan and the Upper Columbia River will experience their busiest time of the year for boaters over the next 30 days or so.  Some people are more experienced and quicker at the dock and the ramp.  Those of us that are experienced need to calm down and help others when possible.  The less experienced people need to remember to prep their boat before clogging the ramp or the launch.  Remember, the kids are watching, and besides, it’s supposed to be fun.

Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service

(antonj@aol.com or 1-866-360-1523)