Category Archives: Headlines

WA Anglers, Columbia Endorsement Required 4-1-10


Starting April 1, anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to purchase a new endorsement that will help maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the basin.

The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Pilot Program endorsement was authorized by Senate Bill 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session. The annual endorsement was one of several license fee changes approved by the Legislature earlier this year to help offset a $30 million cutback in state funding for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The total charge of the endorsement, after transaction and dealer fees, will be $8.75. The endorsement and recreational fishing licenses for the licensing year that begins April 1, 2010 can be purchased beginning Dec. 1, 2009.

Funds generated from the endorsement fee will support the evaluation of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin, said John Long, WDFW’s statewide salmon and steelhead fisheries manager. Funds also will be used for other management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring.

Selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery fish, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, but require that they release wild fish.

“This program is designed to support current selective sport fisheries for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries, and – to the maximum extent possible – expand those opportunities in the future,” said Long.

The endorsement will be required, along with a fishing license, for anglers 15 years of age and older to fish for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries when open to fishing for those species.

WDFW, working with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Advisory Board, has proposed a list of rivers, lakes and other waters in the Columbia River basin where the endorsement will be required. That list, available on the department’s website at , is one of more than 100 proposed sportfishing rules for 2010-12.

List of proposed endorsement fee waters

Mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to Chief Joseph Dam

Deep River (Wahkiakum County)

Grays River (Wahkiakum County)

  • Grays River, West Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, East Fork (Wahkiakum County)

Skamokawa Creek (Wahkiakum County)

Elochoman River (Wahkiakum County)

Mill Creek (Lewis County)

Abernathy Creek (Cowlitz County)

Germany Creek (Cowlitz County)

Coal Creek (Cowlitz County)

Cowlitz River (Cowlitz/Lewis Counties)

  • Blue Creek (Lewis County)
  • Lacamas Creek (Lewis County)
  • Mill Creek (Lewis County)
  • Olequa Creek (Lewis County)
  • Tilton River (Lewis County)
  • Mayfield Lake (Lewis County)
  • Riffe Lake (Lewis County)
  • Lake Scanewa (Lewis County)
  • Cispus River (Lewis County)

Coweeman River (Cowlitz County)

Toutle River (Cowlitz County)

  • Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County)
  • Toutle River, South Fork (Cowlitz County)
  • Green River (Cowlitz County)

Kalama River (Cowlitz County)

  • Gobar Creek (Cowlitz County)

Lewis River (Clark/Cowlitz Counties)

  • Lewis River, North Fork (Clark/Cowlitz Counties)
  • Swift Reservoir (Skamania County)
  • Lewis River, East Fork (Clark County)
  • Cedar Creek (Clark County)

Salmon Creek (Clark County)

Washougal River (Clark County)

Washougal River West (North) Fork (Clark County)

  • Little Washougal (Clark County)

Camas Slough (Clark County)

Drano Lake (Skamania County)

Hamilton Creek (Skamania County)

Rock Creek (Skamania County)

Wind River (Skamania County)

White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania Counties)

Klickitat River (Klickitat County)

Walla Walla River (Walla Walla County)

  • Mill Creek (Walla Walla County)

Touchet River (Columbia/Walla Walla Counties)

Grande Ronde River (Asotin County)

Snake River mainstem (Walla Walla/Franklin/Columbia/Whitman/Garfield/Asotin Counties)

  • Palouse River (Whitman County) (below the falls)

Tucannon River (Columbia/Garfield County)

Yakima River (Benton, Yakima, Kittitas Counties)

Wenatchee River (Chelan County)

Icicle River (Chelan County)

Lake Wenatchee (Chelan County)

Entiat River (Chelan County)

Methow River (Okanogan County)

Okanogan River (Okanogan County)

Lake Osoyoos (Okanogan County)

Similkameen River (Okanogan County)


Wen. World Issues Opinion On Wolves

The Wenatchee World editorial board wrote it last weekend, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review picked it up today as an “Outside View” — an opinion piece that supports WDFW’s current draft wolf management plan.

Wolves are not optional. We cannot declare the state a wolf-free zone or build an impenetrable wolf barrier along our border to keep out the interloper Canis lupus from Idaho or British Columbia. We can’t pack them up and send them to Issaquah. We certainly cannot send out wolf extermination patrols to do away with them.

In this regard, some of the anti-wolf sentiment expressed so vociferously at the state’s recent meetings in Okanogan and Wenatchee has no serious point. The question is not whether there will be wolves in Washington. The question is how to manage them. For that, the state Department of Wildlife’s proposed wolf management plan seems as reasonable as a plan could be.

Public meetings on the plan, which in part describes recovery as 15 packs in three areas of the state for three consecutive years, wrapped up last week in Wenatchee, though comments are still being taken through Jan. 8.

Currently, Washington has two confirmed packs — the Lookout and Diamond packs in Okanogan and Pend Oreille counties — though it’s possible there’s a third in the Blue Mountains along the Oregon border.

The piece calls BS on allegations that the packs were reintroduced in “secret wolf-by-night relocation scheme, as some claim,” and continues by saying “It is the state’s obligation to protect them until they are plentiful enough to be self-sustaining. Then, when they are removed from the endangered species list, it will be its obligation to manage the population at a reasonable level.”




SW Washington Fishing Report


Cowlitz River – Anglers continue to catch a mixture of fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead.  A 41 pound Chinook was caught at the barrier dam last week.  Most of the salmon catch was observed in the upper river.  Flows below Mayfield Dam are increasing and expected reach 8,000 cfs today.  Flows are expected to remain at that level for at least the next week or so.

Kalama River –  More steelhead than salmon continue to be observed in the creel.

Lewis River – Anglers continue to catch coho although the majority of the fish are now being released.  Flows below Merwin Dam were 4,400 cfs which is less than the long-term mean of 6,100 cfs for this date.

Klickitat River – Bank anglers from the Fisher Hill Bridge continue to catch coho although fishing reportedly had slowed some the past few days.  Anglers still averaged over 1.3 fish per rod when including fish released.    A higher percent of the fish caught are being released.

Flows at Pitt continue to range from 750 to 950 cfs the next few days, similar to the long-term mean.

Bonneville Dam – Boat anglers at the mouth of the Klickitat continue to average slightly less than a coho per rod.  Effort has declined with only 10 boats counted there yesterday morning.


Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam – Catches in the gorge have improved with the higher flows.  Bank anglers just below the dam averaged a legal kept per every 6 rods.  Flows below Bonneville Dam have been between 120,000 and 140,000 cfs the past week.

An estimated 16,100 angler trips in October produced 2,200 legal size fish.  Most of the fish were caught by Washington and Oregon bank anglers fishing just below Bonneville Dam.


Silver Lake near Castle Rock – 4,269 catchable size rainbows were planted there Nov. 9.

Courtesy Joe Hymer, PSMFC

Coho Spread Deep Into Willamette Valley

This year’s bumper run of coho up the Willamette is tapering out, but not before salmon have made it as far up as the Gate area on the North Fork Santiam and other rivers around Albany, Ore.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” ODFW fisheries biologist Karen Hans told the Albany Democrat-Herald in an article posted today. “Most of the fish are in the Yamhill and Tualatin rivers, but we have been getting reports they are in the Luckiamute, Santiam and Calapooia rivers as well.”

Through yesterday, 25,034 adult coho and 2,082 jacks have passed over Willamette Falls, around 9,000 more than the previous record, set in 1973, according to the paper.

There were so many fish this year that ODFW bumped the bag limit above the falls to three a day.

Razor Clams NOT Closing On WA Coast

An AP story early this afternoon said that a yearlong closure of razor clamming on the Washington coast would cost local communities $22 million in lost revenue.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself, we’re digging clams right now, what’s going on here? Why are we talking about a closure? That wasn’t in WDFW’s press releases! And what’s this of the algae bloom? Better get to the bottom of this one — and head off any potential confusion.

So I called my clam man, Dan Ayres, a state shellfish biologist based out of the Montesano office.

Right now he’s in “windy, stormy Ocean Shores,” with 300 other marine biologist sorts attending the “Fifth Symposium on Harmful Algae in the U.S.” — and hoping the lights don’t go out.

“We’re not anticipating closing the fishery and we don’t see any blooms in the future,” says Ayres.

The deal is, this morning, the University of Washington and NOAA reported on the results of an economic study that reveals how much closing the October-April razor clam season due to a theoretical harmful algae bloom would cost the towns of Long Beach, Tokeland, Westport, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, Pacific City, etc., etc., etc.

They say:

Researchers found that harmful blooms of the Pseudo-nitzschia alga threaten coastal counties that depend on the tourism boom associated with the 7-8 month razor clam dig season on the state’s southwest coast.


The new study estimates that during prime dig days, as many as 30,000 people – including families – take advantage of the recreational fishery.

Twenty-two million’s just part of the economic loss too.

“Reduced lodging, transportation, and dining sales would also translate to a direct loss in labor income of $13.3 million to residents of affected areas, including a small commercial fishery,” NOAA reports.

The most recent outbreak that affected clamming occurred in 2002-03.

The next question for NOAA to answer, Ayres says, is why the the blooms occur.

He says they begin in a “big tidal eddy” outside the Strait of Juan de Fuca where upwellings concentrate nutrients in late summer and early fall.

But blooms only occur some years, and it’s even rarer that they are blown to shore by storms.

When they do, however, razor clams take the toxins into their systems and store them in their fat. While the poison doesn’t affect creatures without central nervous systems, the danger to humans leads to closed seasons.

It’s not till the spring spawn that the toxins work out of the clams’ systems, says Ayres.

“The razor clams can’t be eaten until those toxins leave them,” he says.

NOAA’s study updates the value of the fishery, he adds. A 1989 study by the Grays Harbor Development Council estimated a yearlong closure would cost $6 to $7 million, based on diggers spending $25 each per trip, he says.

CB World Reports On Yaquina Clammer’s Concerns

The Coos Bay World writes about Oregon Clam Diggers Association head Bill Lackner’s concerns about the new NOAA homeport planned for Yaquina Bay.

He worries about the destruction of eel grass and recreational opportunities in the bay.

“Eel grass beds are dynamic, necessary for a whole host of marine species. What we’re willing to give up just isn’t worth it,” Lackner tells the World.

He also calls the loss of clamming areas “counterproductive” to tourism.

An ODFW biologist, Bob Buckman, confirms the richness of the habitat where the federal agency wants to build docks near the Hatfield Marine Center, in South Beach. However, the article says that mitigations for the project have yet to be worked out.

The Newport News-Times reports the port could be worth $370 million over its 20-year lease. But Lackner, the World writes,

Just wants to make sure wildlife has somewhere to live, and recreational clamming and crabbing doesn’t die out.

“I’m the only one that beats the drum because I care about clamming,” Lackner said. “Somebody, somewhere, at some point in time has to point this out to them.”


Part Of NF Nooksack A No-Fish Zone In Dec. 1


Fishing to close Dec. 1 on a portion
of the North Fork Nooksack River

Action: A portion of the North Fork Nooksack River will be closed to fishing.

Effective dates: Dec. 1, 2009, until further notice.

Species affected: All gamefish.

Location: The North Fork Nooksack River from the yellow post located at the upstream most corner of the hatchery grounds, approximately 1,000 feet upstream of the mouth of Kendall Creek, downstream to the Mosquito Lake Road Bridge.

Reasons for action: The Kendall Creek Hatchery in recent years has been unable to secure sufficient eggs from returning hatchery winter steelhead to meet basin production goals.  Closure of the fishery is needed to collect sufficient fish to meet egg-take needs.

Those Damned Salmon

And you thought the 2009 Columbia springer forecast was blown!

A Canadian judge has been picked to head up an investigation into why and how runs of Fraser River sockeye salmon came in at as low as 7.2 percent of the preseason forecast.

Ten million were expected, including 9,000,000 summer stock, according to Northwest Fishletter, but only 1.4 mil came back overall, a paltry 650,000 of which were those summer fish.

However, the Cannucks did get the Fraser pink return right, NFL reports. It came it around 20 million, around 10 percent above the forecast.

The article says that critics of fish farming blame netpens along the young sockeye’s outmigration path up the inside of Vancouver Island … which is also the way that Fraser pinks take to the North Pacific.

NFL also reported yesterday that the Skagit summer/fall Chinook run came in slightly above the preseason forecast of 24,000 (which is at odds with what the state biologist is telling me).

Which is much better than what Columbia Chinook managers came up with. The springer run was just 57 percent of forecast.

Well, there’s always 2010.

Wolf Meetings Wrap Up In Wenatchee

In what has become headcount journalism (guilty as charged), wolf foes appear to have taken the evening in Wenatchee at the 12th and final meeting on WDFW’s draft wolf management plan.

“Speakers who opposed the plan outnumbered those who said they favored it two-to-one,” reports Rachel Schlief in the Wenatchee World today.

The now-familiar thoughts included worries about “the loss and displacement of deer and elk, the economic impact on livestock owners and how the state will ensure funding the plan.”

Schlief also reports on a geography professor from Ellensburg who pointed out that possible wolf range in more densely populated Washington is far lower than in Montana and Idaho, but also quoted a Conservation Northwest staffer, who’s also a hunter, who said the ecosystem balance wolves might help restore was more important than getting “an elk every year” to him.

It’s impossible to say for sure from the news coverage, but looking at headlines, it would appear that those opposed to wolf recovery in Washington outnumbered those who supported during the public comment meetings.

Here are some of the headlines coming out of those forums:

WENATCHEE:  Wolf foes outnumber friends at Fish and Wildlife hearing in Wenatchee

OMAK:  Wolf opponents circle at Okanogan hearing

SEQUIM: Wolf management plan draws big crowd; Few fear the big, bad wolf

SEATTLE: More Wolves, Not Less, Seattle Says

ABERDEEN: Hunters tell state wolves not welcome here

COLVILLE: Wolf plan is unpopular with local residents

YAKIMA: Community voices wolf concerns at WDFW forum

While the meetings have wrapped up, comment is still being taken three ways through Jan. 8:

FAX: (360) 902-2946

Mail: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.



What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Here are highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:


  • Clamming has been excellent in Coos Bay. There will be some good negative tides near the end of the week.
  • With rain expected this week, anglers on the Elk River can expect some really good fishing for chinook this weekend through early next week.
  • Several area lakes recently received a supplemental stocking of larger and trophy-sized trout. These include Hyatt Lake, Lake Selmac, Expo Pond, Reinhart Pond, Applegate Reservoir, Agate Lake, Garrison Lake, Butterfield Lake, and Upper and Lower Empire Lakes. Trout fishing in these waterbodies should remain good well into the fall.


  • SILTCOOS LAKE: The coho fishery in the lake is under way. Anglers are catching some coho which have recently entered the lake. Trolling or casting spinners or other lures can be effective. Best times are early or late in the day and after rain events. The month of November typically produces the best catch rates. Anglers may retain one wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho and 1 jack coho per day. There is a seasonal limit of five wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho per year.
  • TAHKENITCH LAKE: The lake coho fishery is slow to fair. Anglers are catching some coho which have recently entered the lake. Trolling or casting spinners or other lures can be effective. Best times are early or late in the day and after rain events. The month of November typically produces the best catch rates. Anglers may retain one wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho and 1 jack coho per day. There is a seasonal limit of five wild (non-adipose fin clip) adult coho per year.


  • Trout fishing has been improving with declining temperatures and there should be good fishing on several area lakes and reservoirs including Fourmile Lake, Grande Ronde Lake, Lake of the Woods and Thief Valley Reservoir.
  • Rainbow and brown trout fishing on the lower Owyhee River remains fair to good, but be on the lookout for (and avoid) brown trout redds in the gravel.
  • Fishing is closed in all streams unless designated otherwise.


  • Large brood trout will be released this week at three Junction City Pond near Eugene and Walter Wirth and Walling ponds near Salem. The fish are 4- and 5-year-old rainbow trout from ODFW’s Roaring River hatchery and range in size from 8 to 18 pounds.
  • The coho run is winding down on the Sandy River, Eagle Creek and the upper Willamette, although some fish should still be available for the persistent angler.
  • The sturgeon bite on the lower Willamette River is improving.


  • Trout fishing on Magone and Olive lakes has been good.
  • Steelhead fishing is good on the lower Grande Ronde, Imnaha, and Snake rivers.


  • Several area lakes closed to fishing after Saturday, Oct. 31. Be sure check the regulations or reports below before heading out.
  • For fly fishers, the Crooked, Metolius and Fall rivers offer good year-round trout fishing opportunities.


  • BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: Perch fishing has been good from shore at Hewitt Park.  Crappie fishing is good also and the fish are heavy.  Pink and white jigs are working well. Catfish angling has slowed but some fish are still being taken. Bass angling is fair.The water level is 30 feet below full and Hewitt Park ramp is accessible. 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.
  • HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Approximately 500 steelhead have been put in the reservoir as of Nov. 9 and approximately 1,100 more are expected to go in by the third week of November. These surplus steelhead are considered trout in the reservoir. No tag is needed but only one can be kept per day if over 20 inches.

SNAKE RIVER below HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Fishing for adipose fin-clipped steelhead has opened and the fishing is very good. The bag limit for steelhead increased to five adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day, with no more than three 32 inches in total length or greater. There are a lot of fishermen in the area, so please use good fishing ethics.