Category Archives: Headlines

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.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Big numbers of coho, large redbands, trophy-sized stocker trout — that’s just a snippet of what awaits anglers on Oregon rivers and lakes right now.

Here are highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • Large numbers of coho have moved into the Sandy River following last weekend’s big rain event
  • Large numbers of coho continue to move into the upper Willamette River and its tributaries, where a 3-fish bag limit is in effect.
  • Retention sturgeon fishing is now open on the Willamette River and continues through the rest of the year.
  • Several valley lakes, ponds and reservoirs have recently been stocked with legal-sized or larger trout. Check the reports below to find some great nearby fishing.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Large redband trout have moved out of the Williamson River into the Sprague River. Fishing for them should improve as water temperatures begin to cool and fish begin to feed actively
  • Fishing on Long and Sevenmile creeks should be excellent for brook trout as they school to spawn.
  • Trout fishing has been improving with declining temperatures and there should be good fishing on several area lakes and reservoirs including Cottonwood Meadows, Duncan, Sherlock and Thompson Valley reservoirs.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • The lower Rogue is still kicking out chinook, coho, and steelhead. Anglers fishing the lower Rogue are picking up fish on anything from spinners, flies or eggs. Fishing will remain good until the next rain event and flows come up.
  • Wild coho are still available on the Coquille River with the best fishing between Bandon and Rocky Point boat ramp.
  • Chinook have moved into the lower Elk River and anglers have been picking up quite a few.
  • Trout anglers can enjoy excellent fall fishing in several lakes and reservoirs in the Rogue District. Hyatt Lake, Lost Creek Reservoir and Fish Lake have been stocked with large and trophy-sized trout recently. This week Lake Selmac, Expo Pond, Reinhart Park Pond, Applegate Reservoir, and Agate Lake will be stocked this week. Fishing should be good throughout the fall.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Antelope Flat Reservoir and Walton Lake closed Oct. 18 for chemical treatment to remove illegally introduced bullhead catfish.
  • Laurance Lake should offer good fishing for legal and trophy-sized trout.
  • The Deschutes River is crawling with anglers for good reason – steelhead fishing has been very good. Even trout anglers are getting their share with big caddis hatches bringing trout to the surface.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing has been fair to good in the Wallowa, lower Grande Ronde, Imnaha and Umatilla rivers; steelhead fishing is improving.
  • Holliday Park Pond, Bull Prairie Reservoir  and Willow Creek Reservoir have been stocked with good-sized trout and should provide some fine fall angling.
  • With the recent rains, steelhead are moving into the John Day River and fishing is good up to the Cottonwood Bridge

SNAKE RIVER ZONE

  • Snake below Hells CAnyon Dam: Fishing for adipose fin-clipped steelhead has opened and the fishing is very good. Beginning Oct. 18, 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.

MARINE ZONE

  • Bottom fish anglers on average continue to land three rockfish coast wide. Lingcod landings are down from last week with one ling landed for every two anglers.
  • With the reopening of bottom fishing to all depth, some charter boats are offering combination lingcod and Humboldt squid trips. The squid are medium to large (up to six feet).
  • Cabezon retention by sport boat anglers is not allowed effective Sept. 12 through Dec. 31 because the ocean boat harvest cap of 15.8 metric tons has been reached. Cabezon have a high survival rate when released carefully. Shore anglers, including shore-based divers, may continue to keep cabezon.
  • As of Oct. 15 the recreational and commercial harvest of razor clams is now open along the entire Oregon coast.
  • Recreational mussel harvesting is now open from Bastendorf Beach near Charleston to the California border. All mussel harvesting north of Bastendorf beach remains closed
  • Recreational and commercial clam harvesting is open inside all bays along the entire Oregon Coast, from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California border.
  • Crabbers in Coos Bay brought in an average of 10 crabs. Other ports report catches between four and five.

The Fickle Pickle Tickle On The Hump

Yesterday, I got a pic of a jawdropper muley from the Cascades, today’s slack-mouther comes courtesy of Andy Shanks and his 38.76-pound Humptulips River Chinook.

ANDY SHANKS' NEAR-40-POUND HUMPTULIPS CHINOOK. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

ANDY SHANKS' NEAR-40-POUND HUMPTULIPS CHINOOK. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

The Mercer Island, Wash., angler reports it bit on a fickle pickle K15 with a sardine wrapper.

Coho and chum were also biting, but Shanks and fishing partner had to grade through several boots to get three nicer silvers.

“The plugs were deadly all day long,” he says.

Most hatchery Hump kings are adclipped, though not all are. Daily limit is one Chinook on the Hump, despite what the fishing regulations say.

Clearwater Produces Some Nice B-runs

Hundreds of thousands of A-run steelhead flooding the Snake system at this moment? So what, there are B-runs to be caught!

Kelly Colliton and his crew came down from Spokane for the first weekend that Idaho’s Clearwater River was open for retention and did pretty well.

“I had a great few days and caught some nice B-runs. About 30 to be exact!!!” Colliton emailed me yesterday, vowing to send photos.

Well, today he delivered on the pic promise:

A NICE B-RUN FOR KELLY COLLITON'S BROTHER-IN-LAW JERRY. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

A NICE CLEARWATER STEELHEAD FOR KELLY COLLITON'S BROTHER-IN-LAW JERRY. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

RILEY COLLITON WITH A CLEARWATER STEELHEAD. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

RILEY COLLITON WITH A CLEARWATER STEELHEAD. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

KELLY COLLITON WITH CLEARWATER STEELHEAD. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

KELLY COLLITON WITH CLEARWATER STEELHEAD. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

“I like to side drift mostly,” Colliton reports. “That is the most fun and you really have to learn how to feel the bite. They will really grab it sometimes, but most of the time it is pretty subtle and you really have to differentiate that take from the bottom.”

“I drift egg sacks with a little yarn below a barrel swivel with a sliding swivel and lead above that.  I did get a couple fish on bobbers and a jig, but spent 90 percent of my time drifting,” he says.

Barred From The (West) Bar

Washington’s hunting regulations list the West Bar game unit (330) as open for true spikes during the late-October/early November modern firearms elk season, but late word from the state that that is in error.

A press release from WDFW out this afternoon says the small unit along the Columbia in eastern Kittitas County is only open for early archery and special permit hunting, not rifle season.

“Over 20 years ago when it was included during the general season, too much hunting pressure on West Bar caused elk to cross the Columbia River and enter the agricultural and residential areas of Grant County, leading to some unethical and unsafe hunting activities,” says Ted Clausing, WDFW’s regional wildlife program manager in Yakima.

The agency says they are posting signs at access points to warn hunters.

Columbia Coho Bag Limit Increased

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The daily bag limit for adult hatchery coho will increase to three fish in the mainstem Columbia River from Tongue Point upstream to the Hwy. 395 bridge at Pasco, Wash., effective Thursday, Oct. 22.  The rule change was approved Monday by the states of Oregon and Washington at a joint state hearing in response to large returns of coho salmon. The adult coho limit in the area between Buoy 10 and Tongue Point increased to three fish effective Sept. 1.

Under the new rules, anglers will be permitted to retain one additional adult fin-clipped coho in their current daily adult bag limit which varies by area.

The revised daily adult bag limits (effective Oct. 22) are:

Tongue Point upstream to Warrior Rock:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead or adipose fin-clipped coho in combination, plus one additional adipose fin-clipped coho.  Closed to the retention of chinook salmon.

Warrior Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead, adipose fin-clipped adult coho, or adult chinook (but only one may be a chinook) in combination, plus one additional adipose fin-clipped coho.

Bonneville Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 bridge at Pasco, Wash.:
Two adipose fin-clipped steelhead, coho, or chinook in combination, plus one additional coho.  All non adipose fin-clipped coho must be released downstream of the Hood River bridge.

The coho season on the Columbia is expected to continue through the rest of the year.

Detailed area-by-area regulations, updated regulations, and in-season modifications can be found at on the ODFW Web site.