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Last Clam Dates Tentatively Set; Diggers Spent $27m


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced a tentative razor-clam dig scheduled for later this month on several coastal beaches.

A final decision will be made next week after marine toxin tests are run to determine if the clams are safe to eat. If the tests come back as expected, four ocean beaches will open on Saturday, May 15 and two beaches will open the following day. The openings are all on morning low tides. They are:

* Saturday, May 15, 8:15 a.m., -1.6 ft.: Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
* Sunday, May 16, 8:58 a.m., -1.6 ft.: Long Beach and Twin Harbors only.

Kalaloch beach will remain closed.

Dan Ayres, WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager, reminds diggers that portions of the beach at Long Beach and Twin Harbors are closed to the public to protect nesting western snowy plovers, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“The birds are particularly vulnerable this time of year,” said Ayres. “Signs clearly mark the area and instruct people to stay on the hard-packed sand.”

The closed portion at each beach includes the area above the mean high tide line. At Long Beach, the closed areas are located north of the Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park. Clam diggers are reminded that the entire northern section of Long Beach is closed to all driving starting at noon each day during this razor clam opener.

No digging will be allowed after noon at any of the beaches. 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 15 years or older must have an applicable 2010-11 fishing license. Options include buying 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 licensing options are on the WDFW website at .

Licenses can be purchased online or at any of the approximately 600 vendors who sell recreational licenses. A list of vendors is at

The next razor-clam season will likely open in October. Ayres says the precise date will depend on tides, the results of marine toxin tests, negotiations with tribes that share the fishery and WDFW’s razor-clam assessment, which will be conducted this summer.

Prospective clammers for this month’s dig should be warned that overnight and weekend repairs to Interstate 5 between Tacoma and Lacey will make it considerably more difficult to get to and from Washington’s coast. A schedule of closures can be found at

Ayres estimates that approximately 300,000 trips will have been made to Washington beaches to dig clams by the time this season closes. Since the season opened last October, an estimated four million razor-clams were harvested from beaches that stretch from the mouth of the Columbia River north to Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park. That number is considerably higher than the 2.9 million average for the past 10 years. Ayres says the larger harvest reflects an increase in the total number of clams available “compliments of Mother Nature.”

WDFW also estimates that razor-clam diggers spent approximately $27 million during their visits to coastal communities during this season. The estimate is based on data collected during a survey of Washington razor clam diggers, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and conducted by the University of Washington.


ODFW To Talk Groundfish


Meetings in five Oregon ports will discuss sport and commercial groundfish issues for 2011 and 2012.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) is currently setting harvest levels and management measures for the next two years of recreational and commercial groundfish fishing. Eight West Coast groundfish species are declared overfished with six of those species affecting fisheries off Oregon.

In April the PFMC adopted preferred harvest levels for both depleted and healthy stocks, as well as a range of management measures for all groundfish fisheries. At the next PFMC meeting on June 12-17 in Foster City, Calif., the council will take final action and adopt management measures that will be recommended to the National Marine Fisheries Service for implementation.

“It is important that fishers attend the ODFW meetings so they can tell Oregon’s representatives to the PFMC what messages to give the council,” said Gway Kirchner, Assistant Program Manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Resources Program.

The meetings will be:

  • Astoria, 7 to 9 p.m. May 17 at the Holiday Inn Express, 204 W. Marine Drive;
  • Newport, 7 to 9 p.m. May 18 at the Holiday Inn Express, 135 SE 32nd St.;
  • North Bend, 6 to 8 p.m. May 19 at the North Bend Library, 1800 Sherman Ave.;
  • Brookings, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. May 20 at the Best Western Beachfront Inn, 16008 Boat Basin Road, Harbor;
  • Port Orford, 6 to 8 p.m. May 20 at the Port Orford Library, 1421 Oregon St.

The meetings will start with a general session to discuss harvest levels, then commercial and sport fishing breakout sessions to discuss specific management measures. If individuals are unable to attend the meetings, input can be submitted by e-mail at or by calling Gway Kirchner at 541-867-0300 ext. 267. Input may be received up until June 10.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Limits of rockfish out of Garibaldi and lings biting elsewhere; trout in a plethora of ponds; springers surging upstream into the Rogue and lower Columbia tribs;  youth angling events — sheesh, there’s a ton of fisheries around Oregon to check out this weekend!

Here are highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:


  • Trout stocking is well underway on area lakes and ponds. Check out the stocking schedule to help plan your next trip.
  • Chinook fishing on the middle and upper Rogue River is starting to pick up and should continue to improve as more fish enter the upper river.


  • South, Town and Cape Meares lakes are scheduled to be stocked with legal size rainbow trout the week of May 10. Trout scheduled to be stocked in Hebo Lake will instead be split between South and Town lakes, increasing the number fish released into those lakes. Fishing should be fair to good in many of the lakes and ponds that have been stocked this spring.  Warmwater species will begin to be more active as lakes warm up, although cool spring weather is slowing that process.
  • Spring Chinook are available in Big Creek, Gnat Creek, and the NF Klaskanine. Good opportunities are available in these streams for adipose fin-clipped Chinook that have passed through the select area fisheries. The select area fisheries remain closed at this time, allowing fish to continue to move into these tributaries.
  • Nestucca River: Steelhead angling has been fair. The catch is a mix of bright summer steelhead and winter steelhead in various conditions. Many of the winter steelhead are dark and should be released. Bobber and jigs are working well as the water drops, but drifting small lures or baits near the bottom is producing fish also. Spring chinook will begin to sow in small numbers any time now. Fishing will improve in May. Concentrate on tidewater or lower river areas early in the season. Bobber and eggs is a good technique. Casting spinners in tidewater areas will produce some fish also.


  • ODFW will host a free youth fishing event Saturday, May 8 at Commonwealth Lake. The lake will be stocked this week with more than 200 legal-sized and larger rainbow trout. ODFW staff and volunteers will be at the site from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help youngsters with fishing gear and technique.
  • Several huge brood trout will be released at various sites throughout the month of May. These are fish that have been used to produce eggs at ODFW’s Roaring River hatchery and need to be removed to make way for younger brood stock. The first one to be released was a 29-pound trout that was released in Timber Linn Pond near Albany. The other sites and release dates are as follows: Canby Pond (May 7), Walter Wirth Pond in Salem (May 13), Waverly Lake, Albany (May 14), Sunnyside Park Pond, Sweethome (May 21), and Thistle Pond, west of Alsea, (June 12).
  • Spring chinook are now being taken on the Willamette River and in the Multnomah Channel.
  • More than 14,000 spring chinook have crossed Willamette Falls and are moving into the upper Willamette and its tributaries.
  • Steelhead fishing is good on the Clackamas River, with both summers and winters being caught. Spring chinook should be moving into the system as well.
  • Detroit Reservoir will receive its fourth stocking of 10,000 trout this week.


  • Warmer days are bringing some good insect hatches on the Deschutes and Crooked rivers.
  • Crane Prairie Reservoir is ice-free and trout fishing has been great.


  • The Umatilla spring chinook season is under way with the area downstream of Threemile Dam producing good catches of spring chinook.
  • There will be a fishing event May 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Peach Pond. The pond is located on Ladd Marsh near La Grande.  Loaner rods and reels, and bait will be available for new anglers who don’t have their own.


  • Ocean conditions did allow some fishers to get out for bottom fish last week. Only Garibaldi reported fishers getting limits of rockfish. Most other ports reported three or four rockfish per angler caught. About one in four anglers caught lingcod along the coast. Success in catching lings and most other bottom fish improves as waves moderate.

SW WA Fishing Report



Cowlitz River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught.  Most of the chinook are being caught at the barrier dam while steelhead are being caught throughout the river.  Anglers should note the south side of the river from Mill Creek to the Barrier Dam is closed to all fishing through mid June per permanent regulations.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 1,105 winter-run steelhead, 26 summer-run steelhead, 614 spring Chinook adults and ten jacks during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.  Tacoma Power employees released 271 spring Chinook adults, four jacks and 22 winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa at the Day Use Park above Cowlitz Falls Dam, 237 spring Chinook adults, three jacks and 14 winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River at Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, Washington, and one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,540 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 3. Water visibility is nine feet.

Kalama River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught though the river has been turbid at times.  The first 7 spring chinook of the year returned to Kalama Falls Hatchery last week.


Lewis River – Generally light effort and catch the couple days we sampled.  A couple hundred spring chinook were in the Merwin Dam trap today.

Wind River – Slightly less than one in every 3 boat anglers had caught a spring chinook when sampled last week.  Bank anglers at the mouth were also catching some fish.

No report from Shipherd Falls upstream that opened May 1.  However some fish should be present as total passage of hatchery chinook at the Shipherd Falls trap through April 25 was approximately 300 fish.  The trap was pulled on Sunday, April 25.  There will be no further counting of chinook through the trap until early June, 2010.

Drano Lake – Just over 40% of the boat and bank anglers had caught a spring chinook when sampled last week.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream are catching some spring chinook and summer run steelhead.

Bonneville Pool – Some spring chinook are being caught by bank anglers just outside the mouth of Drano Lake.

The Dalles Pool – About one in five bank anglers while one in six boat anglers had kept/released a spring chinook when sampled last week.  Overall 82% of the fish caught were kept.

John Day Pool – From Paul Hoffarth Washington Dept of Fish & Wildlife District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco WAFor the week of April 26 – May 2, an estimated 558 adult hatchery chinook were harvested and 138 wild chinook were released. The majority of the harvest were retained by bank anglers fishing the Oregon shore. WDFW staff interviewed 282 salmon anglers this past week and sampled 90 hatchery chinook. For the season, an estimated 1,453 adult hatchery chinook have been harvested and 298 wild chinook were released.


Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam – Sturgeon catch has improved from Kalama upstream with one in five boat anglers keeping/releasing a legal size fish last week.  Effort remains light with just over a hundred boats and 40 bank anglers counted during the Saturday May 1 flight.

The Dalles Pool – Slow for legal size fish.  Wednesday May 5 is the last day of the year that sturgeon may be kept from The Dalles Pool.


The Dalles Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on walleye.  Some bass were caught by bank anglers.

John Day Pool – The few boat anglers sampled did well on bass and walleye.


Last week’s trout plants:

Kress Lake near Kalama – 19 surplus hatchery winter run steelhead averaging 10 pounds each;

Battleground Lake – 4,000 catchable size cutthroats and 1,500 rainbows averaging ¾ pound each;

Klineline Pond – 4,000 catchable size cutthroats;

Lacamas Lake near Camas – 10,000 catchable size browns

That’s A Lotta Perch!

A whopping 300,000 yellow perch were netted out of Phillips Reservoir last month — six to seven times as many as last year’s effort.

ODFW put nets into the Eastern Oregon lake, once a popular and lucrative trout fishery, for two and a half weeks right after ice-off when the fish come shallow, reports the Baker City Herald.

The perch were illegally stocked at some point during the 1980s or 1990s are so crazily productive that they’ve overpopulated the lake and stunted themselves.

We wrote about the perch problem last fall. Here are some images from last spring’s haul, which netted an estimated 46,500 perch:




ODFW also netted two years in a row in the mid-2000s, gathering a total of 300,000.

This year, the dead ones were hauled off to a farmer’s field, the paper notes. The agency will also net next spring, the Herald writes.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

This season’s good springer fishing has spread to the Umatilla River while lakes across Oregon are getting fresh batches of stocker trout. Meanwhile, you can also catch steelies, walleye and even bull trout in parts of the Beaver State.

Here are highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:


  • Trout fishing has been good in several Coos County lakes including Powers Pond, Empire Lakes and Tenmile Lakes.
  • Steelhead fishing on the Rogue River has been good in the Grants Pass area, with all the standard techniques producing fish.


  • Battle Lake was stocked last week. South Lake was also stocked, making up for a missed stocking earlier when snow blocked access. Sunset, Lost, and Coffenbury lakes, and Vernonia Pond are scheduled to be stocked the week of April 26. Fishing should be fair to good in many of the lakes and ponds that have been stocked this spring.
  • A youth angling event is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vernonia Pond. ODFW and volunteers will be available to assist young anglers wanting to learn about fishing. Adult anglers are encouraged to refrain from fishing the lake immediately before the event to ensure there are sufficient numbers of trout to provide good catch rates for the youngsters.
  • Fishing in most mid coast lakes has been very good so far this spring and should continue to provide anglers with great opportunities well into June. Most water bodies have been stocked several times this spring and at least once with trophy sized trout. Check the online stocking report for specific weeks and lakes to be stocked.
  • Hatchery winter steelhead have been released into Olalla Reservoir several times this spring. Hatchery steelhead are considered “trophy trout” and a hatchery harvest card is not necessary.



  • Spring chinook are now being taken on the Willamette River and in the Multnomah Channel.
  • More than 9,000 spring chinook have crossed Willamette Falls and are moving into the upper Willamette and its tributaries.
  • Steelhead fishing is good on the Clackamas River, with both summers and winters being caught. Spring chinook should be moving into the system as well.
  • Detroit Reservoir will be stocked with 10,000 trout this week and Henry Hagg Lake will be stocked with 7,000 trout as the trout season gets into full swing across the region.



  • Warmer days are bringing some good insect hatches on the Deschutes River.
  • Good returns of winter steelhead to the Hood River have produced good fishing and it should continue into early May.
  • Trout fishing is picking up on Lake Billy Chinook with reports of some legal-sized bull trout being caught.


  • The Umatilla spring chinook season is under way with the area downstream of Threemile Dam producing good catches of spring chinook.


  • Spring chinook are beginning to move upstream and should be available in the Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day Pools.
  • Walleye angling is good in The Dalles Pool.

Trail Cam Leads To Massive Fines For Ore. Man


A trail camera left at an illegal bear bait in Oregon in 2008 has led to the conviction of a former Idaho resident on wildlife related violations that occurred in Idaho.

On April 12, 2010, Aaron Loosli, formerly of Rexburg and now of La Pine, Ore., was sentenced in Idaho’s Madison County for unlawful possession of a bull moose in October of 2004.

Information stored on the camera implicated a number of other individuals in illegal wildlife activities both in Oregon and Idaho. A joint investigation between Oregon and Idaho wildlife enforcement officers resulted not only in this conviction, but a variety of other charges.

The investigation resulted in the confiscation of numerous illegally taken trophy animals. Officers involved in the investigation said this was not about subsistence poaching to feed a family, but lust for trophy quality animals.

While investigators were able to charge Loosli with nearly 30 violations as the result of their investigation, legal maneuverings resulted in only the bull moose charge moving entirely through the court system.

Loosli’s sentence issued April 12 included:

* Nine-year revocation of hunting privileges.

* One-year of determinant, two years indeterminate jail time (suspended).

* $10,000 civil penalty to be paid to the State of Idaho at $200 a month.

* $500 in fines plus $181 in court costs.

* 150 hours of community service.

* 30 days in jail served in either Idaho or Oregon.

* Shall not carry any weapons during probation.

Daniel Parker of Bend, Ore., was also found guilty for his role in the illegal killing of this same bull moose. He received a similar sentence. Because of the interstate Wildlife Violator Compact both individuals will lose the privilege to hunt in the participating 33 states for the next nine years.

“This case demonstrates the distance that wildlife criminals will cover, as well as the staggering number of animals that they can illegally kill over the course of a few years,” Idaho Fish and Game Regional Investigator Robert Howe said.

NWS Scribe Finds Potholes Walleye

About the same time that tens of thousands of Washington moms and dads were serving up stocker trout breakfasts yesterday, Northwest Sportsman writer Leroy Ledeboer and crew were out cleaning up on walleye.

Ledeboer, of Moses Lake, was “guiding” his old friend Dan Whitmus as well as Paul Ness of Southern Idaho on Potholes Reservoir’s Lind Coulee Arm. They used silver Smile Blade-worm combos for nine walleye.


Ledeboer says the fish ranged from 15 to 19 inches and that Ness, who regulates in Central Idaho for steelhead but hadn’t done much of any walleye angling, did most of the damage.

Ledeboer also kept a sizable hen smallmouth that sucked in a bait too far while they had stopped the boat to fight one of the walleye.

With this weekend’s Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic, the fishing’s turned on at just the right time, Ledeboer notes. Something like 30 boats were in the arm yesterday.

He was back out today and was “plagued” with small walleye though watched another boat do pretty well.

For updates or more information, call Mar Don Resort (800-416-2736), on Potholes’ southwest corner.

SW WA Fishin’ Report



Cowlitz River – Spring chinook and steelhead are being caught, primarily from the trout hatchery to the barrier dam.  The first 14 hatchery summer run steelhead of the season were trapped at Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery last week.

Flows have been steady at 3,540 cfs (except for the weekly flushing flow).  A total of 1,280 spring chinook adults have returned to the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator as of April 23.  The 13 year average cumulative total to date is 6.97% of the run (range 1.1 ~ 12.8).  Using average run timing returns to date would convert to a run size of 18,364 to the separator.  The pre-season forecast was 12,500 adults returning to the Cowlitz in 2010.

Kalama River – Both spring chinook and steelhead are being caught.

Lewis River – Some spring chinook and steelhead are being caught in the North Fork; light effort and catch on the mainstem Lewis.

Flows below Merwin Dam were 4,200 cfs today which is slightly less than the long-term mean of 5,100 for this date.

Wind River – Overall one in every three boat anglers caught a spring chinook.  Some fish are being caught by bank anglers at the mouth and in the gorge.

There have been a total of 81 detections of Carson National Fish Hatchery (CNFH) Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagged adult spring Chinook at Bonneville Dam as of April 21.  Applying the juvenile tag rate from CNFH produces an estimate of 6,282 CNFH chinook over Bonneville Dam through April 21.

The final CNFH run size projections at Bonneville Dam, using early and average timing data from 2000-2009, are 10,593 and 21,547, respectively.  The pre-season forecast was 14,000 adults returning to the Wind in 2010.

There have been 80 spring chinook passed at Shipherd Falls through April 21.

For more information about PIT Tag observations, see

CNFH daily counts will be available beginning May 1 via web site and phone. Web site address is  Main office number is 509 427 5905.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to boundary markers approximately 800 yards downstream from Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the Coffer Dam) – From May 1 through June 30, the salmon and steelhead daily limits will be a total of 2 chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each.  Unmarked chinook may be retained in this section of the Wind. Night closure and anti-snag rule will be in effect.  Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Drano Lake – About 40% of the bank and boat anglers at Drano Lake had caught a spring chinook when sampled last week.  About 120 boats observed here last Saturday (April 24) around noon.

There have been a total of 108 detections of Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery(LWSNFH)  PIT tagged spring Chinook at Bonneville Dam as of April 25.  Applying the juvenile tag rate from LWSNFH produces an estimate of 6,756 LWSNFH adult chinook over Bonneville through April 25.

The pre-season forecast was 28,900 adults returning to Drano Lake in 2010.

White Salmon River – Spring chinook are no longer released here but there have been sporadic catches of stray fish based on angler reports.

Klickitat River – Some spring chinook are being caught by bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream.

The first few spring Chinook of the year have been counted at the Lyle Falls adult trap.  Trap counts will be updated starting this week on the Yakama Indian Nation website at

Flow at Pitt were 2,250 cfs today which is close to the long-term mean of 2,330 for this date.

Bonneville Pool – Bank angles just outside of Drano Lake are catching some spring chinook.

The Dalles Pool – Including fish released, just over one in every 3 bank anglers kept/released a spring chinook while about one in six boat anglers had caught a fish. Overall  78% of the fish caught were kept.

John Day Pool – From Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco: For the week of April 19-25, an estimated 549 adult hatchery chinook were harvested and 138 wild chinook were released. The majority of the harvest were retained by bank anglers fishing the Oregon shore. WDFW staff interviewed 336 salmon anglers this past week and sampled 85 hatchery chinook. For the season, an estimated 748 adult hatchery chinook have been harvested and 154 wild chinook were released.


§  Bonneville Dam passage of adult Chinook through April 25 totals 95,512.  This is the highest cumulative count to date since 2003 and the 3th highest count to date since 1977.

§  With the total Bonneville count plus upriver impacts in treaty and non-treaty fishing below Bonneville Dam, 129,679 upriver spring Chinook can be accounted for.

§  The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met today and says it is still too early to update the run size.   TAC will be meeting regularly to review dam counts and harvest data.


Lower Columbia from Bonneville Dam downstream – Effort and catches remain light except in the gorge.  A total of 123 boats and 200 bank anglers were counted during the Saturday April 24 flight.  Just under half the boats and over three-quarters of the bank anglers were found in the gorge.

Lower Columbia from the mouth to the Wauna powerlines – White sturgeon may be retained daily through April and from May 22 through June 26.  Daily limit 1.  Maximum size is 54” fork length. Through April, minimum size is 38” fork length.  Effective May 22, the minimum size will be 41” fork length.  Catch-and-release fishing is allowed during non-retention days.

From Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore through the upstream exposed end of Skamania Island, continuing in a straight line to a boundary marker on the Washington shore:  CLOSED to fishing for STURGEON May 1-Aug. 31.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged a legal per every 2 rods when including fish released.  Bank angling was slow for legal size fish.

From John Day Dam downstream 5.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus, Oregon:  CLOSED to fishing for STURGEON May 1-July 31.

John Day Dam to McNary Dam (including all tributaries) – The retention of sturgeon is prohibited through the rest of the year.   Catch-and-release fishing is permitted.  From McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge:  CLOSED to fishing for STURGEON May 1-July 31.


The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged 1.3 walleye per rod while bank anglers averaged 2.6 bass per rod when including fish released.

John Day Pool – Few boat anglers sampled and those that were sampled had no catch.


Klineline Pond – 47 bank anglers kept 58 catchable size and 1 brood stock rainbow and released 19 catchable size rainbows.  Planted with 2,000 rainbows averaging 2/3 pound each and 256 averaging 1.5 pounds each last week.