Category Archives: Headlines

Cuts To Columbia Sturgeon Coming?

With state managers “nervous” about declining populations of white sturgeon in the Columbia River, there’s talk of some pretty meaty cuts to sport and commercial fisheries in the future.

Catches of legal and sublegal fish are falling and it’s unclear why, though sea lion numbers are increasing and smelt numbers have dropped substantially, writes Allen Thomas of The Columbian in an article picked up in the Longview Daily News.

“The bottom end is falling out,’’ Washington “sturgeon general” Brad James tells Thomas. “We aren’t getting fish moving up from the smaller sizes.’’

Oregon and Washington managers are working on a new long-term sturgeon compact.

On another front, among the many rule proposals up for discussion on the Washington side is banning the use of shad for oversize sturgeon.

141,645 Pikeminnows Hauled In

Participation was up but catch was down during this year’s pikeminnow reward fishery on the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers.

A total of 141,645 of the native fish were brought into 18 check stations by 29,100 anglers between May 3 and Oct. 11, according to data at pikeminnow.org.

Last year, 158,191 were bonked by 26,097 fishermen, though season was basically a week longer.

But an article in today’s Columbia Basin Bulletin suggests this year’s fishery is still a success.

“…We believe it’s due to the program doing what it was designed to do: reduce the number of pikeminnow in the river,” Russell Porter at the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission told CBB.

Cash rewards of $1,000 per tagged fish may have bumped participation in mid-August, according to the article.

This year’s top “ports” were Boyer Park on the Snake (27,438), The Dalles Boat Basin (16,525) and Greenbelt in Clarkston (11,748).

Last year, $1,125,193 was paid out. The top two anglers, CBB reports, turned in $57,772 and $42,137 worth of pikeminnows and tagged fish.

The program, which began on a trial basis in 1991, aims to reduce the average size of pikeminnows to reduce the species’ overall consumption of salmon and steelhead smolts; it’s estimated that predation has been cut by 37 percent, according to pikeminnow.org.

Beaver Lake Stocked With 1000 2+pounders

WDFW planted Beaver Lake with “eye candy,” 1,008 2-plus-pound rainbows, on Tuesday this week, the earliest the Sammamish Plateau water has been stocked since fall releases began in 2003.

And another stocking is planned in a week or two, according to John Kugan, foreman at the Issaquah Hatchery.

“Nineteen hundred 2-year-olds, probably the second week of November,” he says.

Beaver features a state access and launch on its southeast side, a city park on its southwest shore.

Fish dough baits or worms from shore, or off bottom in the middle of the lake.

Kugan terms the stockers “eye-candy fish” because they’re at the hatchery’s viewing window through the summer. They’re originally hatched at the state’s Goldendale facility then brought over for fattening up.

Asked why not spread the wealth to waters besides Beaver, Kugan says that the rainbows are only allowed to be planted in the Lake Washington watershed due to concerns about IHN, a fish virus.

Hunters Speak Out At Yakima Wolf Meeting

A public meeting last night in Yakima on Washington’s draft wolf management plan drew lots of comments from hunters, according to an article by Scott Sandsberry in today’s Yakima Herald-Republic.

Attendees in Yakima gave state officials a piece of their mind on everything from fear about wolf impacts to the state’s deer and elk as well as struggling mountain caribou herd; to questions about how many packs represent recovery (officially, it’s 15) in a small habitat-poor state like Washington; to downright warnings about individuals taking matters into their own hands, a la shoot, shovel and shut up.

It was the third of a dozen meetings being held around the state to get feedback from the public on the plan. It has been in the works since 2007 as wolf numbers expanded in the Northern Rockies.

Currently, there are two confirmed packs — breeding groups — of wolves in Washington, though there have been reports of individuals or several together for years, as page 113-115 of the state’s draft management plan reports. In recent days, there has been a report of wolves in the Blue Mountains near the Oregon border as well.

Nine more public comment meetings are scheduled in the next two weeks:

Mon., Oct. 26 Colville N.E.WA Fairgrounds Ag-Trade Center 317 West Astor Ave.

Tue., Oct. 27  Spokane Spokane Valley Center Place 2426 N. Discovery Place

Wed., Oct. 28 Vancouver Water Resources Education Center 4600 SE Columbia Way

Thu., Oct. 29 Aberdeen Rotary Log Pavillion east of Aberdeen off Hwy. 12

Mon., Nov. 2 Seattle REI store 222 Yale Ave. N.

Wed., Nov.4 Mount Vernon Cottontree Inn Convention Center 2300 Market St.

Thu., Nov. 5 Sequim  Guy Cole Convention Center Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake Ave.

Mon., Nov. 9 Omak  Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex Hwy. 97 South

Tue., Nov. 10  Wenatchee Chelan County PUD Auditorium 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Psst, Wanna See A Man In A Pink Tux Holding A Carp?

Those snap-happy folks at Mar Don Resort on Washington’s Potholes Reservoir got a chuckle out of me this morning.

On page 2 of their photo-strewn “Fresh News Report” is a shot of Dick Hemore in yet another suit and tophat holding yet another fish.

A couple years ago, Hemore was photographed decked out in a white tuxedo and holding a pretty nice walleye caught just below Moses Lake. He’d just come from flagging some sort of demolition derby.

Then, at Mar Don’s annual dock tournament this past September, Mr. Hemore, showed up in a pink tophat and pink tuxedo. Fresh from waving the flag at car races in nearby Lind, he managed to land a 11.47-pound carp, taking second in that division.

THE BEST-DRESSED CARP ANGLER OF ALL TIME, DICK HEMORE. (MAR DON RESORT)

THE BEST-DRESSED CARP ANGLER OF ALL TIME, DICK HEMORE. (MAR DON RESORT)

While Hemore’s a local, the tournament drew anglers from as far as northern Idaho and the Oregon coast.

Species winners included Caley Larson of Old Town, Idaho (13.51-pound carp); Amos Trent of Kent, Wash. (1.22-pound bluegill); Aaron Knowlton of Seattle (1.03-pound crappie); Tony Tolmich of Seattle (7.24-pound walleye); Shawn McCarrell of Moses Lake (4.38-pound largemouth); Tom Logan of Garibaldi, Ore. (4.28-pound smallmouth);  Danny Goss of Old Town (1.5-pound rainbow and .57-pound perch).

Hunter Report Penalties Coming To OR?

While mandatory hunter reporting is new to Oregon, having only begun in spring 2008 for the 2007 big game and turkey seasons, a 17-percent compliance rate has ODFW apparently reaching for the stick.

Penalties could range from restricting hunters from getting a new tag until the previous year’s reporting is complete or fines. However no penalties would take effect until 2011 or late,” reports the Molalla Pioneer today.

“Mandatory reporting is needed so agency biologists can get accurate information on big-game hunting success rates and total numbers of animals killed. This and other data are used in computer formulas to estimate herd populations, sex ratios and to determine the number of tags offered in specific hunts,” reports Mark Freeman of the Medford Mail-Tribune in an early October article.

You can report online at ODFW’s Hunter Reporting page or by calling (866) 947-6339 and follow the prompts.

On the plus side, the Pioneer reports the agency will award three tags (antelope, deer, elk) for folks who report their activities. Deadline is Jan. 31, 2010.

The agency asks that you have your hunter ID number, know the number of the wildlife management unit you hunted the most in, as well as the total number of days hunted this season as well as in your most-hunted unit when you call or log in.

Lots Of Wild Silvers In The Umpqua

Good coho runs on the Oregon coast have at least one guide wishing more waters were open this year for wild fish.

Eugene-based guide Todd Linklater tells Mike Stahlberg of the Register-Guard (in an article picked up by KGW TV) that 90 percent of this year’s “bonus, bonus” run of silvers up the Umpqua River is wild.

“There are more coho in the Umpqua than I’ve ever seen,” Linklater tells Stahlberg. “It wouldn’t hurt to let people keep one wild fish.”

While you can catch-and-release for native silvers on coastal rivers where steelhead or Chinook are open, the article states, retention fisheries are only currently allowed on the lower Coquille River and Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes.

The Yaquina, Nestucca and Coos were opened for wild-fish harvest as well under a federal permit, but their quotas were quickly filled in September. As of Oct. 11, the Coke’s quota was 44.5 percent filled, with around 833 more available for harvest. ODFW reports “best fishing between Bandon and Rocky Point boat ramp.”

The bad news is that this year’s strong runs may not repeat next year due to a poor adult class three years ago, according to an expert quoted by Stahlberg, but the future beyond that looks good.

Methow Deer Take Up, Despite Fog

I can personally attest to the fog and rain that descended upon the Winthrop area over opening weekend of deer season, but despite the inclement weather, the local biologist reports that “twice” as many deer were hauled past the game check station as in 2008, three dozen.

“I think the wet weather and the later start to the season this year helped hunters a bit,” biologist Scott Fitkin told the Methow Valley News. “The deer that were taken were really healthy, fat, big-bodied bucks.”

The article interviews several hunters, including Cullen Smith of North Bend. He and friends took three bucks on the opener.

Other hunters report not seeing any bucks.

It was definitely difficult to see any deer through the opener’s clouds, fog then rain, but by Sunday, conditions had cleared up. By the time he left late on Monday morning, my own pops had seen 35 deer. He’ll likely be heading back for the second and last weekend of season, along with several others from our deer camp.

Oregon Hunting Report

Rutty blacktails await Beaver State hunters when deer season reopens this weekend, but if you haven’t filled your elk tag, there’s news for you too.

Here’s more from ODFW’s most recent Recreation Report:

NORTHWEST ZONE

General DEER rifle season is open (Cascade area reopens Oct. 24). The north coast is home to modest populations of black-tailed deer, but the ratios of bucks to does are relatively high, especially in the Wilson Unit. Look for deer early in the morning and late in the evening in clearcuts or other openings. During the middle of the day, stalk-hunting timbered areas or making drives through cover areas is more productive. As October progresses, bucks will be more vulnerable due to the rut. In general, areas on the eastern slope of the coast range tend to have higher deer numbers than those in the far western side near the coast. When hunting on private industrial forest lands, please be mindful of the company’s access policies.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

Western Oregon General Rifle DEER season is open, though the Cascade area closes from Oct. 17-23 for elk season. Hunters are encouraged to bring the heads from any harvested deer or elk into the ODFW offices in Clackamas or Sauvie Island so that samples can be taken for ongoing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) monitoring. Call ahead (Clackamas 971-673-6000 and Sauvie Island 503-621-3488) to ensure someone will be around to collect the sample or to make an appointment for another day.

DEER hunting in the Cascades will reopen on Oct. 24 and reports indicate that some of the mature bucks are already showing signs of the rut. Hunters can increase their chance for success by using deer scents to attract and hold bucks in more open habitat where they will be easier to locate. Hunters heading to the National Forest should also look for patches of available forage. Forage may be found in burned areas, recent thinnings, or old clearcuts. Many of the old clear cuts are brushing in and becoming difficult to hunt but hunters may have luck finding deer in the large timber next to the old cuts.

Coastal black-tailed deer hunters are reporting average success despite the favorable hunting conditions.  Hunters will find higher densities of deer occurring on private timberland properties where clearcuts have increased forage availability. Deer hunters checked in the field report they are finding more deer by getting away from roads open to vehicle traffic and still hunting and glassing clearcuts along roads open only to non-motorized travel.  There are several travel management  areas (TMA), North Coast TMA and Upper Tualatin-Trask TMA,  located in the coast range that provide hunters an opportunity to leave their vehicle behind and hunt on foot.  Remember to obtain permission before hunting on private property.

Hunters in the Indigo Unit need to be aware that the USFS has implemented a large public access closure due to the Tumblebug Wildfire. Hunters in the Indigo Unit should check with the Willamette National Forest for closure details and update. Closure information can also be found at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/1894/.

Cascade Bull ELK hunters are finding low numbers of elk in the Mt. Hood National Forest and hunting is expected to be similar to last year with only fair success.  As is previous years, bull elk will be widely scattered and difficult to locate and hunters will need to find fresh tracks and other sign to ensure that herds are in the area.  Hunters heading for the industrial timberlands or agricultural lands in the northern half of the Santiam Unit should see increasing elk numbers and success rates should improve.  Weather conditions have been and continue to be excellent for elk hunting.

DOUGLAS COUNTY

General Cascade DEER rifle season in Indigo, Dixon and Evans Creek units re-opens Oct. 24 in the Cascade units. The recent wet weather will help hunters locate bucks for the last couple weeks of the season. Also, harvest success should continue to improve as the season progresses with bucks starting to come into rut. Many of the controlled doe seasons are open from Oct. 24– Nov. 6 in Douglas County.

Local wildlife biologists checked some nice ELK opening weekend in the Diamond Lake and Lemolo Lake areas. The duff/forest floor was relatively quiet because the last several rain storms quieted the woods but warmer weather fronts with a southwest flow created little precipitation with high snow levels. Hunting pressure was down slightly compared to last several years. Cascade elk rifle season continues through Oct. 23.

COOS COUNTY

RIFLE DEER season is open and the Coast season continues through Nov. 6. Deer will become most active during rain and shortly afterwards, as weather fronts pass. Walking roads closed to motor vehicles and glassing clear cuts will be most effective.  Some hunters find that rattling deer antlers can be an effective way to attract bucks lat in the centerfire rifle buck season as the rut approaches. Wearing florescent orange clothing is recommended while rattling deer to make the hunter more visible to other hunters. Florescent colors are not colors deer see well so wearing them will not scare approaching deer.

JACKSON, JOSEPHINE, CURRY COUNTIES

DEER rifle season will reopen Oct 24 for the Cascade units (Rogue, Evans, and Dixon). Coast season will remain open (Applegate) through Nov 6. With the wet conditions of opening weekend a big portion of deer have migrated down although more will trickle for the next three or so weeks. When deer season reopens lower elevation will be the best areas to find deer.