Category Archives: Headlines

Columbia River Fishing Report

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE)

Salmonid angler effort decreased slightly in the lower Columbia River this past weekend with 603 boats and 183 Oregon bank anglers counted on Saturday’s (3/13) flight.  Catch rates for spring chinook are improving, and should get much better in the coming weeks.

Gorge Bank & Boat:

Weekend checking showed no catch for 11 bank anglers.

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed three adipose fin-clipped spring chinook kept and two unclipped spring chinook released for 29 boats (62 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for 61 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boat:

Weekend checking showed nine adipose fin-clipped spring chinook and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus three unclipped spring chinook released for 100 boats (241 anglers).

Estuary Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three bank anglers.

Estuary Boat:

Weekend checking showed 20 adipose fin-clipped spring chinook and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for 41 boats (93 anglers).

Bonneville Pool:

No report.

The Dalles Pool:

Weekly checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus four unclipped steelhead released for 20 bank anglers.

John Day Pool (Columbia River above John Day Dam and John Day Arm):

No report.

STURGEON:

Gorge Bank:

Weekend checking showed eight legal white sturgeon kept, plus one legal, one oversize, and 21 sublegal sturgeon released for 33 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats:

No report. Effort has been very light.

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for four boats (13 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for 12 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three boats (nine anglers).

Estuary Boats:

No report.

Bonneville Pool Boat and Bank:

Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool Boat and Bank:

Weekly checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for 27 bank anglers; and four legal white sturgeon kept, plus three oversize, and 122 sublegal sturgeon released for 10 boats (29 anglers).

John Day Pool Boat and Bank:

Closed for retention. No report.

WALLEYE:

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed no catch for one boat (one angler).

Bonneville Pool Boats:

No report.

The Dalles Pool Boats:

Weekly checking showed no catch for five bank anglers; and 14 walleye kept, plus three walleye released for 10 boats (21 anglers).

John Day Pool Boats:

No report.

Spokane Sportsmen Form Backcountry Advocacy Group

Rich Landers details a pair of Spokane sportsmen who’ve formed the Washington chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a group that establishes — in the Spokesman-Review reporter’s words — “a sportsman’s voice for protecting roadless areas and the traditions they uphold.”

Joe Mirasole and Jeff Holmes say they’re nonpartisan, don’t care what religious views you hold, don’t discriminate between fly guys and bait soakers and have no position on the wolves.

“Those are all distractions from the fundamentals of protecting roadless areas for wildlife and for our kids,” Mirasole tells Landers.

Imagine that in this overly politicized era.

ODFW Closed This Friday

It’s a workday, but ODFW will be closed for business this Friday.

It’s the third of ten furlough days for agency employees as well as those working for numerous other departments as Oregon deals with reduced revenues.

According to The Oregonian, the state saves two million bucks a day when its 26,000-plus workers stay home.

Not everyone’s staying home. The State Patrol will still be out, “prisons remain staffed; courts will operate as usual. And, yes, state liquor stores will keep their regular hours,” reporter Michelle Cole writes.

Estacada Elk Shooter Sought

(OREGON STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE)

Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division troopers are asking for the public’s help to identify the suspect(s) responsible for illegally shooting and leaving an elk wounded east of Estacada over the weekend.

According to OSP Sergeant Chris Allori, on March 13, 2010 at approximately 5:45 p.m. OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers Ken Moore and Matthew Fromme responded to a report of an injured elk along Squaw Mountain Road about two miles north of Highway 224.    When they arrived at the scene they found the shot elk alive, lying on the ground and unable to get up.

The troopers had to kill the elk at the scene.  They transported the elk to Shy Ann Meats in Oregon City for processing and subsequent donation to the Portland Rescue Mission.  The donated elk meat is estimated at over 300 pounds.

No suspect(s) have been identified.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Turn In Poacher (TIP) line at (800) 452-7888 or Senior Trooper Ken Moore at (503) 731-3020 ext. 423.

The Oregon Hunter’s Association is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.

UPDATE MARCH 18, 2010: THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S. AND THE HUMANE SOCIETY WILDLIFE LAND TRUST HAVE ADDED $2,500 TO THE REWARD OFFER.

North-Central WA Fishing Report

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

What’s hottest is the trench bite for Mackinaw on Lake Chelan.  Also hot is the troll bite on Roses Lake for planter Rainbows and Tiger Trout.  And finally, the Upper Columbia Steelhead bite has been spectacular when it’s on.

On Lake Chelan, we have been doing best in the lower basin from Rocky Point down to Pat and Mike’s.  The most productive lure has been the venerable Worden Lures U20 luminous chartreuse flatfish on the downriggers.  We also like flatfish off the outrigger rods, but it has been the little F7 in purple glow that has scored on the biggest fish of the day.  Speeds of 1.3 to 1.6 mph will generate the most bites.  The best of this bite has been from about 8:30AM to Noon.  It is a classic “bankers bite”.

Roses Lake boat anglers have been having some of the best surface trolling that you are ever going to see for Rainbow and Tiger Trout.  They will eagerly bite a trolled or cast 1/8 ounce Worden’s Lures Roostertail.  A Mack’s Lures baited wedding ring will produce fish too, sans attractor.  Also, green and black wooly buggers and muddlers in sizes from 8 to 1/0 with an action disk by wiggle fin in front are effective.  Fish for these guys with 4 pound test line on light tackle.  Put a ¼ ounce sinker in front of them just to get your presentation below the surface.  You too, will call these rainbows, mini-marlin.

GUIDE AL BROOKS WITH A ROSES LAKE LIMIT. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

The Upper Columbia Steelhead fishing continues to be good on Lake Pateros using baited quarter ounce Rock Dancer jigs from Mack’s Lures.  Frankly, some days are better than others.  See this week’s pictures for a shot of 10 of the 22 steelhead brought to the boat on one of the days during this reporting period.  The season will close March 31st.

UPPER COLUMBIA STEELHEAD. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

Your fishing tip of the week is to test those knots before putting them in the water.  It is disappointing to lose a fish to a bad knot.

Your kid’s tip of the week is to fit those lifejackets so they are comfortable.  That will alleviate a lot of fussing and their tendency to remove them.

The safety tip of the week is a simple but often overlooked one.  Remember to pull some line so you have slack before fooling around with your hooks or lures.  Hanging on to them with tension on the line can create an excellent hookset, in a body part.  I’ve seen it happen to loads of fingers and one very memorable nose…

OR Halibut Seasons, Sturgeon Protections Approved

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

Halibut fishing opens in May

The Commission approved a suite of halibut fishing seasons off the Oregon coast recommended by ODFW’s marine staff based in Newport. The largest and most popular halibut fishery is a 200-mile all-depths section of the coast between Cape Falcon near Manzanita and Humbug Mountain south of Port Orford. For this area, the Commission approved a nine-day spring halibut season and a 14-day fall season. The spring season will take place May 13-15, May 20-22 and June 3-5, with extra back-up dates of June 17-19, July 1-3, July 15-17, and July 29-31 available as long as the total catch does not exceed 105,948 pounds. The fall recreational halibut fishing season will take place every other Friday and Saturday from Aug. 6 to Oct. 30 or until the sub-area all-depth catch limit of 141,265 pounds of halibut is harvested. The near-shore season, for ocean waters inside the 40 fathom line, will be open seven days a week from May 1 until Oct. 31 or until the harvest quota of 12,284 pounds is achieved.

North of Cape Falcon, off the coast near Astoria and north to Leadbetter Point in Washington state, sport halibut fishing will be open three days a week, Thursday – Saturday, through July 18 or until 9,405 pounds of halibut is harvested. The summer season in this area will open three days a week, Friday-Sunday, from Aug. 6 through Sept. 27 or the total harvest reaches 13,436 pounds. On the Oregon coast south of Humbug Mountain, halibut fishing will be open seven days a week, through Oct. 31.

The statewide daily bag limit on halibut is one fish, with an annual limit of six fish.

The 2010 harvest limits are 15 percent lower than last year and were set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

New measures aim to protect sturgeon

The Commission dealt with several measures designed to protect the state’s sturgeon populations, which have been showing some signs of distress.

Commissioners adopted a statewide ban on green sturgeon, established a new white sturgeon sanctuary in the Willamette River, and extended an existing white sturgeon sanctuary in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam.

The new Willamette River sturgeon sanctuary extends from the Willamette Falls about two miles downstream to the I-205 Bridge. The revised Columbia River sturgeon sanctuary begins at Bonneville Dam and continues downstream to the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82. Sturgeon fishing will be prohibited in both sanctuaries May 1 – Aug. 31, during sturgeon spawning season. Fishing for other species such as salmon, steelhead and shad will still be allowed inside the sanctuaries during the sturgeon fishing closure.

The Commission also closed a bank fishing site below Willamette Falls known as the “Oregon City Wall” out of concern that 40-foot cliffs in the area pose a risk to the safe release of sturgeon caught from the bank in this area. The closure takes effect April 1. The closure area is approximately 300 feet downstream of the Oregon City/West Linn Bridge (Hwy.43) extending upstream approximately 1,700 feet. Boat fishing in this area will still be allowed.

Ocean Salmon Fishing Options Out

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

Anglers fishing along the Washington coast will see an increase in catch quotas for chinook salmon this summer, although harvest guidelines for coho will be lower than seasons adopted last year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Three ocean salmon-fishing options approved today by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) anticipate a strong return of chinook along the Washington coast bound for the Columbia River this summer. But the three options also point to a decrease from last year in Columbia River coho returns.

“These options are designed to meet our conservation objectives for wild chinook and coho salmon,” said Phil Anderson, WDFW director. “Using these options as a framework, we will work with stakeholders on the coast and Washington’s inside waters to develop a final fishing package that provides fishing opportunities on healthy salmon runs while meeting our conservation goals for weak salmon populations.”

The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, last year adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas of 20,500 chinook and 176,400 coho salmon. This year’s recreational ocean options are:

* Option 1 – 55,000 chinook and 92,400 coho;
* Option 2 – 47,500 chinook and 75,600 coho; and
* Option 3 – 40,000 chinook and 58,800 coho.

Nearly 653,000 fall chinook are forecasted to return to the Columbia River this season, about 234,000 more chinook than the number returning last year. The increased numbers represent strong returns to Spring Creek and other Columbia River hatcheries, which traditionally have been the backbone of the recreational ocean chinook fishery.

“The expected abundance of hatchery chinook salmon should allow fishery managers to structure seasons that enhance fishing opportunities for chinook in the ocean and the Columbia River this year,” Anderson said.

Under Option 1, the PFMC proposed a recreational salmon fishing season this summer that would get under way June 12 in all ocean areas with mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook. The selective fishery would run from June 12-30 or until 19,000 hatchery chinook are retained.

Selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery salmon, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, but require that they release wild salmon. If implemented, the mark-selective fishery would be the first in Washington’s ocean waters for hatchery chinook.

For nearly a decade, the mass marking of hatchery-produced coho salmon has allowed anglers to fish selectively for coho in Washington’s ocean waters. Mass marking of lower Columbia River hatchery chinook – known as “tules” – has been under way since the mid-2000s and the PFMC is considering using this management tool in ocean fisheries for chinook, Anderson said.

Under Option 2, recreational salmon fishing would begin June 19 in all ocean areas for both hatchery and wild chinook salmon. That fishery would run through June 30 or until 7,000 chinook are retained. Option 2 does not include a mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook in the ocean this year.

Starting in early July, retention of chinook, as well as hatchery coho, would be allowed under both options 1 and 2.

Under Option 3, recreational chinook and hatchery coho salmon fisheries would begin June 27 in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) and June 29 in marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay). Like Option 2, this option does not include a mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook in the ocean this year.

While the chinook forecast is up, the Columbia River coho return is expected to be down this year. Nearly 390,000 Columbia River coho are projected to make their way along Washington’s coast this summer, compared to one million coho in 2009 – the largest return in nearly decade.

“This year’s Columbia River coho run, which is well below last year’s return, will challenge fishery managers to develop meaningful fishing opportunities while still meeting our conservation goals for coho,” Anderson said.

As in the past, all three ocean options are based on mark-selective fisheries for hatchery coho salmon.

Chinook and coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2010 salmon fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington’s coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those fisheries.

The co-managers will complete the final 2010 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with the PFMC process during its April meeting.

Meanwhile, public meetings are scheduled in March and early April to discuss regional fisheries issues. A public hearing on the three options for ocean salmon fisheries is scheduled for March 29 in Westport.

Fishery managers will consider input from the regional discussions during the “North of Falcon” process, which involves planning for fishing seasons in Washington’s waters. Two public North of Falcon meetings are scheduled for March 16 in Olympia and April 6 in Lynnwood. Both meetings will begin at 9 a.m.

More information about the salmon-season setting process, as well as a schedule of public meetings and salmon run-size forecasts, can be found on WDFW’s North of Falcon website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon/ ).

Spokane Has New Hunter Ed Home

There’s a good story in today’s Spokesman-Review about a new “Outpost” for hunter education classes in Spokane, courtesy of a co-owner of White Elephant.

Reports Sandra Babcock:

The “area” that Pat Conley made available is a warehouse behind the White Elephant Store on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley, which he and his family own. With the help of many hands and generous grants from the Friends of the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, the warehouse was gutted, cleaned and remodeled. High-definition television monitors for video presentations and furniture were purchased in preparation for the formal dedication of the Outpost last week. The first class begins Friday.

The article also has some good stuff about Teddy Roosevelt, seen as one of the father’s of the American conservation movement and a real key supporter for wildlife and wildlands, as well as the Pitman-Robertson Act. (I wrote about some of that stuff in a book review a couple months ago.)

And there’s this interesting tidbit from Conley on who’s taking hunter ed these days: “It’s probably 50-50 now of boys and girls. It used to be all boys and that was the norm but now it’s a lot of girls.”

Hunter Ed Classes, Field Days In OR Coming Up

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

A number of hunter education classes and field days are available in March and early April, so young hunters have the chance to get certified before spring turkey season opens in mid-April.

Hunter education is mandatory for all hunters under the age of 18 and recommended for any new hunter. The course covers topics like firearms safety, hunter ethics, wildlife identification, hunt preparation and techniques and outdoor survival.

Students now have three options to complete hunter education: an online course, an independent study workbook course, or in-person attendance at a traditional class taught through ODFW’s statewide network of 600 volunteer instructors. A list of traditional classes can be found here. A $10 fee is due at the beginning of the course.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/outdoor_skills/hunter/courses/index.asp

Independent study and online course students are still required to attend and complete a field day course, which typically last six to eight hours. Students receive hands-on instruction on safe firearms handling techniques, including crossing obstacles and hunting with others, situational ethics, and live fire exercises. Finally, students take a final certification exam to receive their official hunter safety card. Field day class listings can be found here. A $10 fee is due at the field day.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/outdoor_skills/hunter/courses/independent_study.asp

The online course is offered through Kalkomey Enterprises and costs an additional $15, paid to Kalkomey. The course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and includes a Field Day Qualifier Exam. Use of the online course and all practice tests is free until a student signs up to take the exam. Students who pass the online exam with an 80 percent grade or better receive a certificate which qualifies them to attend the required field day. To register for the online course, visit the following Web site:

http://www.hunter-ed.com/or/index.htm

To register for the independent study option, contact Myrna Britton (Myrna.B.Britton@state.or.us; tel. 503-947-6028) for a Hunter Education workbook, which must be fully completed when brought to the first field day class. A $10 fee is required for registration and class materials.

ODFW certifies about 6,000 new hunters each year through the hunter education program. Completion of the class is mandatory for any person under the age of 18 to hunt in Oregon, unless they are hunting on land owned by their parents or legal guardian or participating in the Mentored Youth Hunter Program.

For more information about Hunter Education visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/outdoor_skills/hunter/index.asp

Spring turkey season is open statewide April 15-May 31. Hunters under the age of 17 may also hunt April 10-11. See the 2009-2010 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more information.

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/upland_bird/docs/ODFWbird09_10final.pdf

Obama To Ban Fishing?! Not So Fast

It seems that President Obama has weightier things on his plate these days than banning angling, but a post on ESPN.com earlier this week sparked concern around the fishing world that his administration, through its Ocean Policy Task Force, just might be up to that.

Or … it may not.

All depends on who you want to listen to.

It started with the latest coverage of the OPTF from ESPN columnist Robert Montgomery:

The Obama administration has ended public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing some of the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.

This announcement comes at the time when the situation supposedly still is “fluid” and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force still hasn’t issued its final report on zoning uses of these waters.
Afterwards, the charges were echoed by a cascade of blogs (collated by Media Matters) similar to this one by Jim Hoft of gatewaypundit:
More Hope and Change…
Obama’s latest assault on your rights– He wants to ban sport fishing.
Barack Obama has a message for America’s 60,000,000 anglers– We don’t need you.
There was some straight-news coverage from the Christian Science Monitor‘s Patrik Jonsson:
The Obama administration has proposed using United Nations-guided principles to expand a type of zoning to coastal and even some inland waters. That’s raising concerns among fishermen that their favorite fishing holes may soon be off-limits for bait-casting.

In the battle of incremental change that epitomizes the American conservation movement, many weekend anglers fear that the Obama administration’s promise to “fundamentally change” water management in the US will erode what they call the public’s “right to fish,” in turn creating economic losses for the $82 billion recreational fishing industry and a further deterioration of the American outdoorsman’s legacy.

And today, ESPN.com editor Steve Bowman has tagged a note onto Montgomery’s piece:

… While our series overall has examined several sides of this topic, this particular column was not properly balanced and failed to represent contrary points of view. We have reached out to people on every side of the issue and reported their points of view — if they chose to respond — throughout the series, but failed to do so in this specific column.

Bowman also says that the post — the 14th in a series that began last October — was an opinion piece and should have been labeled as such.

We do feel it is our duty to cover issues surrounding outdoor sports to the best of our abilities, and given the nature of this task force and the potential impact on all fisherman, this was an appropriate topic to address for our audience.

Indeed, this is definitely something to keep your eyes on if you’re a recreational fisherman. As the Science Monitor reports:

The final report of the (Ocean Policy) task force is expected in late March. Congress will decide its fate, unless Obama issues an executive order establishing MSP as the law of the water.

UPDATES: Even as Glenn Beck joined in the bashing, FOX News reporter Joshua Rhett Miller has a pretty good straight-news article with comments from a Federal official.

And North Carolina-based outdoors writer Jeffrey Weeks has some interesting incites from his years spent covering the wars between commercial and recreational fishing and environmental groups in three successive posts.

If you’ve made it this far and need a laugh on the whole matter, here’s a chuckle from Wednesday night’s Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, as reported by several sources:

Some Web sites are saying the Obama administration may ban fishing in rivers and lakes. The new fishing rules haven’t been announced yet, so I’m not sure what’s really going on. On Fox News, they’re saying, “Obama wages jihad on fishing.” On NPR, they’re saying, “Obama protects aquatic unicorns.”