Category Archives: Industry News

Group Hails ‘Salmon Stimulus Plan’

It wasn’t just ODFW that benefited financially from increased fish runs in the Northwest. A regional angling organization says the “Salmon Stimulus Plan” has helped out a number of businesses during otherwise difficult economic times.

“Boat sales are improving, which is helping regional boat builders and dealers,” says the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. “Retail tackle sales have been brisk. Rod, reel and tackle manufacturers are ramping up, adding workforce and looking forward to a much better year. And fishing guides, hotels, restaurants have all been the beneficiaries of fishing opportunity that provided much-needed stimulus to those businesses that depend on salmon and steelhead fishing opportunity around the region.”

While 2009 saw Oregon unemployment as high as 11.6 percent, according to the state Employment Department, ODFW sold the most fishing licenses of the decade, 303,267, 30,000 more than the next closest year, 2007, when unemployment bottomed out in the low 5s, we reported in May.

According to the press release, one two-store Portland outdoors store began “seeing significant gains in business volume” around the time the Buoy 10 Chinook and coho fishery at the mouth of the Columbia started picking up steam.

“It really hasn’t slowed down,” added Dan Grogan, president of Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor, in a press release statement. “Fall fishing was OK, but the winter steelhead fishery this past January, February and March along with the anticipation of a large return of spring Chinook kept people coming through our doors and spending money. I can’t stress how important these fisheries are to our business and all of our vendors’ businesses … it’s huge.”

As for boat sales, uncertainty with the spring Chinook fishery last year combined with a severe economic downturn produced a “punishing one-two blow” to Stevens Marine in Portland, said president Paul Mayer.

“The fact is, that when there’s meaningful fishing opportunity for salmon and steelhead in the Northwest we sell boats – lots of them,” he stated in the release.

The same good fishing last summer seems to have carried over to this year and has anglers thinking about buying boats again, Mayer said.

“Followed by the news that spring Chinook fishing was expected to be good – that really tipped the market over and we’ve seen a much better business climate and results in 2010 than we had in 2009,” he said.

This year’s expectations are also high, starting with the first Chinook fishery in two years off most of the Oregon coast, a very large forecasted summer steelhead run up the Columbia as well as over a month of fishing for summer kings in the big river.

“We’ve dubbed this year ‘The salmon stimulus plan,’ thanks to consistently good fishing that is putting hundreds of people back to work and creating important business opportunities that had been lost the past couple of years,” said Liz Hamilton, NSIA’s executive director.

She hoped Oregon legislators would see the economic benefits the fisheries were generating, “literally tens of millions of dollars to this state and millions more in added tax base, and move quickly to assure the future of these iconic Columbia Basin salmon runs that feed so many communities.”

Hamilton said the state’s leadership in pushing for spilling more water in the Columbia River to aid the downstream passage of salmon and steelhead smolts and fishing policies and seasons that produce big returns “really does pay off.”

NSIA Psyched For Summer Kings — And Not Just The Fishing


On June 16, the mainstem Columbia River from the Astoria Bridge at the mouth to Priest Rapids Dam will open for a full season of summer Chinook fishing with a mark select fishery that is scheduled to last through the opening of the Fall Chinook fishery on August l.

In a mark-select fishery, hatchery fish-which have had their adipose fin removed-may be retained. Wild summer Chinook will be release unharmed. This will not only provide more protection of wild fish, mark-select fisheries nearly double the length of the time sport anglers can spend on the water.

Because of low return numbers, sport fishing for summer Chinook ended in 1974 and did not reopen until 2002. In 2005, the states agreed to a fishery that was catch and kill of wild summer Chinook. That decision was opposed by NSIA and the majority of sport clubs, but supported by the gillnet fleet.

NSIA has since advocated that anglers voluntarily release wild summer Chinook, and retain the adipose marked hatchery salmon, while urging the responsible agencies to prohibit retention of wild summer Chinook.

In 2002, a selective sport season provided the Northwest with the economic and cultural benefits of nearly 55,000 angler trips in less than six weeks. In contrast, the catch-and-kill wild fish policy in effect in 2007 translated into 28,000 angler trips.

Mark-select fisheries can help keep hatchery fish off spawning beds, provide more protections to wild fish and dramatically increase the economic benefits sport fisheries provide to communities.

Today’s summer Chinook are remnants of a huge race of salmon, once known as “June Hogs” for their size and strength. June Hogs, known to reach up to 70 pounds, were nearly eliminated when most of their spawning and rearing grounds were blocked by the building of the Grand Coulee Dam and from overfishing.

“It’s gratifying to know that in 2010, more wild summer Chinook will reach their spawning beds in the upper Columbia and its tributaries. Some of these mighty salmon enter the Columbia in May and June and end up spawning in Canada via the Okanogan River. It’s a real testament to the tenacity of wild fish and their genetics” said Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.

Buzz Ramsey, brand manager for Yakima Bait, added, “Although summer Chinook come in all sizes, they often average 25 to 35 pounds and can reach weights of 40 pounds or more. These salmon pass close to the homes of many Northwest residents, sustaining rural jobs as they move up the Columbia. And summer Chinook are accessible to those fishing from the bank or a boat. Since the reopening of this fishery in 2002 after a 29-year fishing closure, this has become a favorite fishery for many Northwest residents, including me and my family!”

Hamilton finished: “Given the unemployment rates in Oregon and Washington, having a full summer Chinook fishery, followed on August 1, by nearly three-quarters of a million fall Chinook, returns will punctuate that sportfishing means business. Policies that create full sport fisheries sustain jobs in every corner of the Northwest.”

2 More Scientists Join NSIA Board


Retired scientists, Dr. Douglas DeHart and Dan Diggs have been appointed to the Science and Policy Board for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA), bringing the number of science professionals to six.

The newly expanded advisory board lends accumulative career experience of over 230 years in natural resource and fishery management expertise to NSIA.

The Science and Policy Board advises the Board, staff and Government Affairs directors on the scientific and regulatory management implications prior to the development of industry policy positions.  NSIA science advisors are unpaid volunteers.

Dan Diggs joins NSIA after a 35-year career at US Fish and Wildlife Service, retiring as the Fisheries Program Assistant Regional Director responsible for all aspects of Fisheries Program in Pacific Region.  Of great value to NSIA is his most recent focus on hatchery reform efforts throughout the Northwest, Columbia River Basin endangered species adjudication issues, development of National Fish Habitat initiatives in the Northwest, U.S. vs. Oregon policy issues, and as the FWS representative to the Columbia Basin Federal Caucus.

Mr. Digg’s latest honor was the February 2010 Oregon Chapter of American Fisheries Society’s Award of Merit for career long advancement of the principles of science in managing fisheries programs.

Dan is married, an avid angler and conservationist, with two sons and three grandchildren.

Dr. Douglas DeHart is a familiar face in Oregon natural resource management with 35 years of state and federal fishery agency experience, much of that in the Columbia Basin.

Dr. DeHart received his B.S. in Biology from Harvard University, M.S. in Fisheries from Oregon State University, and Ph.D. in Fisheries from the University of Washington.  His expertise spans fishery research, hatchery operations and reforms, and habitat restoration programs.

Career positions have included fishery research coordinator for the Corps of Engineers Portland, Bioengineering Chief for National Marine Fisheries Service, Chief of Fisheries for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and senior fishery biologist at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He has special expertise in the design, operation, and evaluation of fish passage and screening facilities and was recently appointed by the Director to the Fish Screening Task Force for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Doug is an avid boater, has two grown sons, and maintains a small consulting firm in Oregon City.

Chair and coordinator of NSIA’s Science and Policy Board, Rod Sando welcomed the two new partners.

“It is a pleasure to apply our collective experience and knowledge to an organization at the forefront of fishery management issues in the northwest.  We welcome these extremely competent people to the science board.  This greatly strengthens the qualifications on the NSIA bench, enabling us to be even more effective in the future,”  said Sando.

June Shooting Events In NE WA Announced

Billed as the 1st Annual Northeast Washington Ultimate Shooting Events, the public is invited to a weekend of shooting competition and instruction June 13 in Colville, while members of a local NWTF chapter can also compete in a weekend-long coyote hunt in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties with cash prizes plus a raffle varmint rifle.

Sponsored by the Colville Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Remington Arms, Marlin Firearms and Washington For Wildlife, the shooting events will be held at the Colville Gun Club.

“The purpose of this event is to provide fun and exciting events for all levels and types of shooters,” says a press release sent out by one of the organizers, Dale Denney of Bearpaw Outfitters.

Burgers, drinks and snacks will be sold by a local 4-H shooting team which is raising money to compete at
the National 4-H Shooting Competition in late June.

If you preregister by June 7th, it’s free and insures your entry in the free events, and if you participate in at least one of the Remington shooting events and are present for the drawing at 5:00 p.m. June 13, you
will be eligible to win a $100 early bird prize.

The coyote hunt features cash prizes for the four teams who turn in the most coyotes while all participants have a chance to win a Remington Tactical Varmint Rifle donated by Remington Arms.

Coyote hunters who pre-register by June 7 will also be eligible to win the $100 Early Bird Raffle. To compete, you must be a member of the Colville chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and register by 9 p.m. Friday, June 11. Late entries will not be accepted. Interested hunters are encouraged to join the Colville Chapter; membership is only $50.

The lineup includes:

Coyote Hunting Competition
When: June 12-13
Cost: Free, but Colville NWTF chapter membership required (join for $50)
Where: Hunt anywhere in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties
Prizes: Remington Varmint Rifle, cash for top 4 teams, $100 early bird raffle
More info:

Remington / Marlin Free Shooting Events
When: June 13
Cost: Free
Where: Colville Gun Club (3 mile east of Colville on Highway 20)
Prizes: Remington baseball caps and promotional gear
More info:

Ultimate Shooting Competition
When: June 13
Cost: $20 per event (categories: pistol, rifle, bow, muzzleloader, shotgun)
Where: Colville Gun Club (3 mile east of Colville on Highway 20)
Prizes: 70% cash payback on each 4- or 5-person event, 5% Ultimate Shooter Cash Purse from all events.
More info:

Remington / Marlin Free Shooting Clinic
When: June 13
Cost: Free
Where: Colville Gun Club (3 mile east of Colville on Hwy 20)
Prizes: None, this is an opportunity for individuals to learn how to shoot Remington guns and ammo under professional supervision.
More info:

Mixed News On Boat Sales Front

Boat buying tanked when the recession bit in the Northwest — but hope is on the horizon for dealers.

New figures from the National Marine Manufacturers Association show that new jet, inboard and outboard boats, engines, trailers and accessory sales dropped 13.3 percent in Alaska between 2008 and 2009, 15.9 percent in Washington, 18.3 percent in Idaho, 18.7 percent in Oregon and 21.2 percent in Montana.

“Last year was the worst year of all time,” said one salesman who calls on numerous boat dealers around the Northwest.

That said, first quarter 2010 data from NMMA also shows a nationwide slowing in the sales declines of new powerboats – down 12 percent compared to a decline of 35 percent during the first quarter 2009 – as well as a 2 percent increase in boat services such as repairs/services, storage, insurance, taxes and interest payments worth $6.3 billion.

Sales of pre-owned powerboats increased 7.7 percent to 780,300 and increased 5.4 percent in dollars for a retail value of $8.5 billion in 2009 too.

Leading this new-boat sales recovery are small aluminum outboard boats, says a press release from NMMA. Sales of those in the 18-foot range increased 30 percent during the first quarter 2010.

The jump is said to provide an early indicator that a recovery in new boat sales is coming — though the rise was most pronounced east of the Rockies.

“Consumer spending and consumer confidence increases in March and April have helped boost new aluminum outboard powerboat sales, leading a recovery for the recreational boating industry as overall new powerboat sales declines slow,” says Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA, in a press release. “This growth can signal a return of the entry-level boater and the outdoors enthusiast and angler to boating and overall growing trend in fishing.”

The top ten states for aluminum boat sales last year were, in order, Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Georgia.

“We anticipate 2010 new powerboat sales to remain flat with 2009 as the economic indicators that impact our industry – consumer confidence, housing and credit markets, as well as unemployment— start to improve and open the door for boat sales to begin increasing in 2011 and 2012,” notes Dammrich. “The growth in the aluminum outboard boat market is consistent with recent trends showing increased fishing license sales and is an indicator of the beginning of a turnaround for new boat sales. Consumer spending has been increasing for seven months and recreational boating will get its share of new consumer spending as the economy continues to recover.”

That would be good news for Northwest boat dealers such as Three Rivers Marine & Tackle, Auburn Sports & Marine, Master Marine, Boat Country, Bob Feil, Lake Union Sea Ray, Verle’s and Valley Marine in Washington and Stevens Marine, Sigler’s Marine and Y Marine in Oregon, among other outlets for Wooldridges, Alumawelds, Hewescraft, Arimas and more.

Washington boaters of all types spent $338,733,741 on their watercraft, engines, trailers and more in 2009, down from $402,881,675 in 2008 and well off 2005’s $638,026,034.

Oregon recorded $148,255,108 in sales last year, down from $182,273,601 the previous year and a high of $404,682,021 in 2004.

However, at the same time, Beaver State anglers didn’t let the recession stop them from fishing. They purchased over 303,000 licenses in 2009 , the most in the 2000s, despite unemployment of up to 11.2 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, California boat and accessory sales were off by nearly 30 percent, Utah’s by 33.8 percent.

In the national survey, only one state, Iowa, showed an increase last year, up 3.5 percent.

Sig Sauer Joins Ranks Of Many NWS Advertisers On Facebook

With the mushrooming growth of Facebook, it should come as no surprise that those in the fishing and hunting world are showing up on the site. For instance, Northwest Sportsman.

We joined back in February, but this past weekend, SIG SAUER officially got on board. The New Hampshire-based company, which makes firearms for military, law enforcement and commercial use, and which advertises in our magazine, made the announcement during last weekend’s NRA annual meeting in Charlotte.

“With the explosion of Social Media over the past few years as a way to directly interact with your customers, a decision was made at SIG SAUER to join the revolution and open a Facebook Fan Page,” the company said in a press release. “The goal of the page is to create a place for fans to interact directly with the company and with other enthusiasts, where they can discuss and review SIG’s various products, its shooting team, Academy and learn about upcoming events.”

Bud Fini, SIG SAUER’s vice president of marketing said his company’s excited about tapping into the site.

“Companies around the world are beginning to realize the benefits of connecting directly with their customers through social media platforms, including Facebook,” he says.

You can find their fan page by typing in SIGSAUERInc on Facebook’s search page.

And that got us to wondering, what other Northwest Sportsman advertisers could you can find on Facebook? So we started punching in company names and found:

Pautzke Bait Company

Three Rivers Marine & Tackle

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Dick Nite Spoons

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

Brandon Glass of Team Hook-up Guide Service

Ocean Charters



Pavati Marine

Stevens Marine

Lyons Ferry Marina

Honda Marine

Rockaway Beach, Oregon

Nootka Sound Resort



Michelle Nelson Taxidermy

Wholesale Sports


Doug’s Boats & Outdoor

Bearpaw Outfitters

Bonneville Power Administration

Silverthorn Resort

Shandy & Sons Charters

Wild Strawberry Lodge/Alaska Premier Charters

Togiak River Lodge

Fred Meyer

Cabela’s Coming To Eugene Area

Cabela’s today announced plans to open a store in Springfield, Ore., next year, according to a press release from the company.

The Beaver State’s first Cabela’s, the 58,000-square-foot facility will be located in the Gateway Mall at 3000 Gateway Street.

Construction is expected to begin in mid-August.

The Sidney, Nebraska-based company has three other stores in the Northwest; Lacey, Wash. (185,000 square feet), Boise (175,000 sq. ft.) and Post Falls (125,000 sq. ft.), Idaho.

The new store will include an aquarium, conservation-themed wildlife displays and trophy animal mounts as well as a gun library, fly fishing shop, general store and bargain cave.

For the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, it presents another group to work with as it tries to get more folks outside.

“Cabela’s brings a strong tradition of supporting hunting, fishing and camping through clinics and classes. We look forward to possibly partnering with them to get people outdoors,” says David Lane, the agency’s marketing coordinator in Salem.

RMEF Vols Impact 1 Acre Of Wildlife Habitat Every 6 Hours

Volunteers for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are helping to enhance or conserve one acre of wildlife habitat for every six hours worked, according to a press release today from the Missoula-based conservation organization.

The stats were released ahead of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 18-24, 2010, first designated in 1974.

“Our organization depends on volunteers who are passionate about conserving elk country, and we do our best to deliver efficient, measurable, on-the-ground results. I’m proud of our numbers over the past year,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

According to RMEF, the organization has more than 10,000 volunteers nationwide who conservatively average 80 hours of donated labor a year, everything from coordinating banquets and other fundraising events to assisting wildlife and land managers by building wildlife watering devices, conducting elk research, removing unneeded fencing and countless other jobs.

Last year, the 800,000 hours of donated labor conserved or enhanced 132,000 acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife.

“Together we’re impacting more than just habitat for elk and other wildlife. We’re also ensuring a future for the experiences and lifestyles and values that are borne of elk hunting,” Allen said.

Since launching in 1984, RMEF has tallied 5.7 million acres of mostly public-land habitat enhanced or conserved, and 585,000 acres opened or secured for public hunting.

R.I.P. Marlin North Haven, Conn.

Word from the other end of the U.S. today has it that the North Haven, Conn., plant of venerable Marlin Firearms is closing.

“As far as we thought we thought we were doing good, and then it was like boom,” said a worker interviewed by local TV media outside the facility after a company meeting this afternoon.

The announcement affects over 250 employees, and begins in May with final plant closure in June 2011.

Marlin was bought by Remington which was in turn bought by Freedom Group, which owns a mess of gun and ammo brands.

The Associated Press reports that a Freedom Group spokesman provided the following explanation for the move:

“Although long term prospects of the business look positive, economic factors beyond Freedom Group’s control related to increasing costs and pricing pressures within the firearms industry are impacting the entire Freedom Group of companies.”

Reports from Field & Stream and Outdoor Life blogs indicate that while the plant is closing, the manufacture of Marlin rifles will continue at a new location.

RMEF Fires Back On Wolf Groups’ ‘Disingenuous’ Use Of Its Data


In letters to legislators and newspapers across the West, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling out groups like Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk.

The RMEF action was prompted by each group’s recent op-ed articles in the media, as well as testimony before Utah lawmakers by Western Wildlife Conservancy Executive Director Kirk Robinson. All cited RMEF statistics to argue that restored wolf populations have somehow translated to growing elk herds in the northern Rockies.

“The theory that wolves haven’t had a significant adverse impact on some elk populations is not accurate. We’ve become all too familiar with these groups’ tactic of cherry-picking select pieces of information to support their own agenda, even when it is misleading,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We will not allow that claim to go unchallenged.”

RMEF population data, which come from state wildlife agencies, show that elk populations are expanding the most in areas of the northern Rockies where wolves are not present.

However, where elk share habitat with wolves, such as the greater Yellowstone area, some elk populations are declining fast. In fact, since the mid-1990s introduction of gray wolves, the northern Yellowstone elk herd has dropped from about 17,000 to 7,100 animals – a 58 percent decline. Other localities in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming also are documenting precipitous downward trends.

Additionally, some research shows that elk remaining in areas of concentrated wolf populations are suffering nutrition loss, lower body weights and decreasing birth rates.

Allen said, “Every wildlife conservation agency, both state and federal, working at ground zero of wolf restoration – Idaho, Montana and Wyoming — has abundant data to demonstrate how undermanaged wolf populations can compromise local elk herds and local livestock production. There’s just no dispute, and emotion-over-science is not the way to professionally manage wildlife.”

RMEF continues to support state-regulated wolf management to include hunting and other viable methods. This position is supported by new reports of diseased wolf populations in the Yellowstone area.

“When wolves are too abundant, they’re more susceptible to diseases, just like all wildlife. The viruses and mange now spreading through wolf packs is another sign of way too many wolves,” said Allen. “Defenders of Wildlife would like to spin sick wolves as a reason to end hunting. But real conservationists know that diseased wildlife populations need better management. Hunting as a management tool delivers that, period.”

He added, “Remember, pro-wolf groups make their living by prolonging this conflict. There is no real incentive for them to admit that wolves are overly recovered. Fundraising is their major motive and they’ve built a goldmine by filing lawsuits and preaching that nature will find its own equilibrium between predators and prey if man would just leave it alone. That’s a myth. The truth is that people are the most important part of the equation. This isn’t the Wild West anymore. People live here – actually quite a lot of us. So our land and resources must be managed. Wildlife must be managed. Radical spikes and dips in populations show that we should be doing it better. It’s not profitable for plaintiffs, but the rest of us would be better served if the conflict ended and conservation professionals were allowed to get on with their business of managing wildlife, including a well regulated hunting strategy.”

In 2009, RMEF got involved in the ongoing wolf litigation, supporting defendant agencies by filing legal briefs used in federal court to help delist wolves and proceed with hunting – “facts conveniently ignored by groups who misuse our name, data and credibility to prolong the conflict. We stand for elk and other wildlife and what is happening right now is simply not good wildlife management,” said Allen.