Tag Archives: 2017

King-sized Prize At Westport Derby

The top prize at the annual Westport salmon derby has quadrupled for 2017, from $2,500 to a whopping $10,000, thanks to a generous donation from a small Southwest Washington grocery chain.

An effort to draw more anglers to this coastal town as well as support its charter association, the money is being put up by Shop’n Kart, and to claim that prize, you’ll need to first purchase a derby ticket, fish aboard one of the participating boats and catch the biggest Chinook of the season. Easy sneezy!

Make sure to buy a derby ticket when you fish out of Westport – there’s a supersized prize of $10,000 for this year’s biggest Chinook landed aboard a charter boat. This 30-pounder was caught in June 2014 off the Tequila Too on a trip Kelly Corcoran took. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

King season kicks off July 1 in WDFW’s Marine Area 2.

However, a glance at the Westport Charterboat Association’s winner logs since 2000 shows the largest kings being caught between July 27 and Aug. 27, including a 50-3-pounder (“in the round” weight, meaning gutted and gilled) landed Aug. 19, 2004, during a return of exceptionally large kings that year. That fish was caught by Ann Diehm aboard the Fury, but the honor of putting anglers onto the season’s biggest has been shared amongst the fleet. Last year’s biggest was landed by the Freedom, 2015’s on the Fury, with the Stardust, Spindrift, Playboy Too, Hula Girl, Pescatore, Gold Rush and Ms. Magoo all claiming at least one.

This year will also see a return of a prize for biggest coho, after silver fishing was closed off Westport last year. A cool $2,500 will go to whomever catches that fish.

For more information, see westportgrayland-chamber.org and charterwestport.com, and for in-season updates, scope out Westport Weighmaster on Facebook.

ODFW Looking For Input On 2017 Columbia Gorge, Tribs Steelhead Seasons

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a public meeting on May 11 to solicit input for recreational summer steelhead fisheries upstream of Bonneville Dam in the mainstem Columbia River and adjacent streams, including the lower Deschutes and John Day rivers. The meeting that will be held at the ODFW Screen Shop, 3561 Klindt Drive, in The Dalles.  The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m.

COLUMBIA GORGE STEELHEAD ANGLERS LIKE ROGER GUZMAN, HERE WITH A JOHN DAY-AREA SUMMER-RUN, ARE BEING ASKED FOR INPUT ON THIS YEAR’S SEASONS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Forecasted 2017 returns for Columbia and Snake River summer steelhead are at unprecedentedly low levels and restrictions to recreational fisheries will be necessary. The agenda will include an overview of the 2017 summer steelhead forecast and Columbia River fall fisheries proposals.  Management issues and the season structure for Columbia River sport fisheries (including the lower Deschutes and John Day rivers) will be discussed.

People who cannot attend the meeting can send input to John North (john.a.north@state.or.us), Rod French (rod.a.french@state.or.us), or Tucker Jones (tucker.a.jones@state.or.us)

RMEF Grants To Benefit Habitat, Elk Research In 14 Counties

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $269,750 in grant funding to assist with habitat stewardship projects and elk research in the state of Oregon.

The grants benefit 9,106 acres across Baker, Crook, Douglas, Grant, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Morrow, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill Counties.

NEARLY $270,000 IN GRANTS FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION WILL BENEFIT OVER 9,100 ACRES IN 14 OREGON COUNTIES. (RMEF)

“The Starkey Experimental Forest and Range offers a unique opportunity to study elk behavior, nutrition, population densities, habitat conditions and other elements that can benefit at-large elk populations,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Additional grant funding will enhance elk habitat through a variety of hands-on stewardship work across Oregon.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 856 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $56.9 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 792,276 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 90,703 acres.

Volunteers in Oregon raised the funding by hosting chapter banquets, membership drives and other events.

Here is a sampling of the 2017 projects, listed by county:

Grant County—Provide funding to place radio collars on five elk on the Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area so researchers can better understand elk migration from winter to summer range in order to guide future collaring projects and management decisions including harvest timing and allocation.

Lane County—Enhance 299 acres of Roosevelt elk habitat on the Willamette National Forest through a combination of prescribed burning and noxious weed treatment followed by mulching, inoculation with fungi, seeding and planting burned and sprayed areas, and installation of three wildlife water guzzlers.

Union County—Thin 820 acres from the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to create a mosaic of cover and open area to increase forage quantity and quality as a benefit to elk habitat, increase forest resiliency to insect outbreaks and fire, and help restore ecological functions within the watershed (also benefits Baker County); and provide funding for research at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range to determine if elk population performance increases at lower densities which will assist managers to more effectively set population management objectives in order to maximize population performance, hunter opportunity and increase understanding of the nutritional and habitat requirements of mule deer.

Go here for a complete project listing.

Oregon project partners include the Deschutes, Fremont, Malheur, Ochoco, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Willamette National Forests, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and private landowners as well as sportsmen, government, civic and other organizations.

Oregon Controlled Tag Deadline Just 2 Weeks Away, May 15

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Fall may be months away but it’s time to start planning your big game hunt. Don’t forget to apply for a controlled hunt by Monday, May 15 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Apply online, at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses, or by mail/fax order. The cost is $8 per application and hunters need a 2017 annual hunting license to apply.
Last year, more than half of the 467,028 applications were submitted in the last week before the deadline, including nearly 74,149 on deadline day. Many hunters wait till the last minute to apply, which can cause long lines at license sales stores and ODFW offices.

HUNTER CJ ZITA (RIGHT) WITH HIS 2016 COLUMBIA BASIN PREMIUM DEER, A FINE MULEY BUCK. (VIA ODFW)

“Get your application in early to avoid the long lines and if you do wait until the last minute, be sure to check store hours where you plan to apply,” recommends Linda Lytle, ODFW license sales manager. ‘Remember you can submit an application online until 11:59 p.m. PT on May 15.”

Lytle also urged hunters to avoid common mistakes on applications. “Double check your hunt number against the 2017 Oregon Big Game Regulations, make sure your party leader number is correct, and check your current preference points at the My Hunter Information page,” she said. “And before you walk out of the store or ODFW office, check your application to be sure it’s correct.”

New this year as part of efforts to simplify the regulations, final tag numbers are already printed in the 2017 Oregon Big Game Regulations. (Previously, big game tag numbers for fall were not formally adopted until June.) Due to the severe winter in parts of eastern Oregon and higher winter mortality of wildlife, there have been some tag reductions for deer and pronghorn hunts in Baker, Union and northern Malheur county units. More information

ODFW limits the number of tags for some hunts (all rifle deer and most rifle elk hunting in eastern Oregon, plus all pronghorn, Rocky Mtn goat and bighorn sheep hunting) to fairly distribute tags and control hunting pressure. Hunters who apply for one of the controlled deer, elk or pronghorn hunts and don’t draw their first choice receive a preference point for that hunt series, which increases their chances the following year.

While the most sought after hunts can take more than 10 years to draw, every hunter has a chance to draw each year. Only 75 percent of tags are awarded based on preference points; the remaining 25 percent are awarded randomly among first choice applicants. Find out more about how the process works on ODFW’s Controlled Hunts page.

2016 Premium Hunt Winners rave about experience

Last year was the first year that Oregon offered “Premium Hunts,” special deer, elk and pronghorn tags with a months-long hunting season that includes both early and late season opportunity. The same number of tags are available this year—one Premium Deer tag in each of Oregon’s 67 wildlife management units, one Premium Elk tag in 59 hunts, and one Premium Pronghorn tag in 27 hunts. (A few elk and pronghorn Premium Hunts include two units.)

Unlike regular controlled hunts, Premium Hunts don’t use preference points, so every hunter who applies has the same chance ever year. Premium Hunts are also considered additional hunting opportunities, meaning hunters who draw one of these tags can still hunt on a regular controlled or general season big game tag. The hunts are open to both residents and non-residents and are not “once-in-a-lifetime” hunts, so hunters can reapply even if they drew a Premium Hunt tag last year. Applications also cost $8 and Premium Hunt tags are the same price as other deer, elk and pronghorn tags.

While the bag limit for Premium Hunts is any-sex, most 2016 Premium Hunt winners took a male animal. Among hunters who reported, 39 Premium Deer hunters took four-point bucks and 18 Premium Elk hunters took six-point bulls.

Second-year hunter Kayla Hathorn of Bonanza, Ore. says “I’ve never seen, or imagined getting any harvest larger than a four-point.” She took a six-point buck in the Sprague Unit.

“The length of the hunt gave me a chance to grow as a beginner elk hunter and I really became a better elk hunter overall,” said Nick Baszler of Creswell, Ore., who took an impressive elk in Sled Springs Unit.

Kent Berkey of Enterprise, Ore. took a very nice mule deer buck in the Imnaha Unit. “I looked at over 60 bucks, all on public lands, and saw two bigger than the one I harvested,” he said.

Tim Mickelson of Independence, Ore. took a “speedgoat” aka a pronghorn in Beatys Butte. “It was so nice being able to hunt speed goats that had not been pressured by other hunters,” Mickelson said. “Thank you ODFW for the unique opportunity to harvest this unique, beautiful, symbol of the American West.”

The most applied-for units for Premium Hunt applications last year were Metolius for deer, Mt Emily for elk and Juniper for pronghorn while the least applied-for were Sixes for deer, Klamath Falls for elk, and Sprague for pronghorn.

See pictures of the winners, hear their stories and learn more at ODFW’s Premium Hunts page or Facebook page. Applications for Premium Hunts are also due by May 15, 2017.

Mayday! Columbia Springer Run Sets New Low Through April

Ever try to start your rig and it just won’t turn over?

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

That’s what comes to mind this morning as I look at the spring Chinook count.

Faced with high, cold flows pumping down the Columbia, the 2017 run has had a heckuva time getting going. Only 10 through March 15, triple digits not reached till April 8, the thousand-fish mark breached April 21, just under 3,350 through yesterday.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

A FISHING BOAT RUNS UPSTREAM IN THE WESTERN COLUMBIA GORGE ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FISHERY THIS YEAR. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The collection of emails from Fish HQ with the words “record low” is slowly building towards grimmer signs.

The Bonneville tally through yesterday, April 30, is less than 60 percent of the old record low for the same date, and not even 6 percent of the 10-year average.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

A total of 3,347 have been counted, well below 1949’s 5,770, the former record low.

And it’s a fraction of 1998’s and 1999’s very low runs in the upper 30,000s, though those appear to have been early-timed returns.

R-r-r-r.

“Weird year. Washington Lower Columbia hatcheries are on track based on the preseason forecasts,” says fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver. “Willamette only has 16 fish through the falls fishway through April 27.”

“Flows, water temps, and pinnipeds all probably are affecting the counts,” he adds.

It almost felt like the run was going to turn over coming out of April’s second fishery extension. Good numbers were caught, especially below Bonneville.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-vrooom-r-r-r.

But in the week after it closed, the count didn’t do much.

Elizabeth Daly at Oregon State University wonders if fishcounting devices at the dam have been affected by water conditions, but she has her doubts that high flows are slowing the progress of springers upstream.

Daly, a senior faculty research assistant at OSU’s and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies in Newport, was a coauthor of a paper published earlier this year that predicted this year’s springer run could come in well below the forecast of 166,000-plus above-Bonneville-bound fish.

She says the paper didn’t give a specific forecast, but gave a range of 200,000 down to 80,000, based on different indicators.

R-r-r-r-r-r-r.

Bill Monroe had an interesting tidbit in an Oregonian article that came out 10 days ago. He wrote:

John North, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Columbia River program, said a rough look at 152 coded wire tags recovered by fish checkers from anglers showed nearly a quarter of the salmon were close to the 24-inch mark.

However, he said, all were 4- and 5-year-old adults.

When this year’s returning adults went to sea as juveniles in summer 2015, The Blob was at its strongest, most destructive for Northwest fish and wildlife.

Offshore surveys found spring Chinook that were “thin, with empty stomachs, just not doing well,” says Daly.

(OSU/NOAA)

“That first year is really critical to survival to adulthood,” she says.

Many probably died, starved or eaten.

Perhaps for some reason this year’s springers are just behaving differently, Daly wonders.

Similar to the adult count, jacks are just 2 percent of the 10-year average. Packed with fat for their long upstream journeys to spawning grounds they’ll visit in summer, maybe springers can afford to wait a bit for better flows.

But on the other hand, steelhead don’t appear to be having issues at Bonneville. Though this year’s return is below the average over the past decade, that rate held steady through April.

This speculation springs to mind: Perhaps a Blob-hamstrung year-class just doesn’t have the strength to swim upstream in the face of such cold volumes of water pouring downstream?

I call this my “have your springer and eat it too” theory.

For the time being, me and Daly will continue watching the dam count — “every day,” she says — hoping there’s some gas in the tank somewhere.

R-r.

2017 Washington Lowland Trout Opener Catch Stats

It was a sunny, mild, blustery, rainy and chilly lowland trout opener depending on where you were fishing in Washington today, as anglers took to the lakes to try and catch their limit of rainbow trout, a tradition that goes back decades, as well as specially tagged fish good for prizes in WDFW’s derby.

Numerous 20-inch-plus rainbows were caught, and Jameson Lake had one of the highest average stringers with 4.37 per angler.

JAMESON LAKES PRODUCED SOME OF THE FULLEST STRINGERS ON WASHINGTON’S OPENING DAY OF TROUT SEASON, AS EVIDENCED BY KALEY BAKER’S CATCH AT THE DOUGLAS COUNTY LAKE. (WDFW)

Here is the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife creel sample summaries for April 22 opener lakes on both sides of the mountains where they had staffers talking with anglers and recording the catches:

Chelan County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Wapato 75 204 50 3.39 2.72 19 inch Rainbow Angler Participation seemed lower than usual, likely due to a concurrent fishing derby on nearby Lake Chelan. However, anglers were very pleased with the numbers and quality of fish.
Douglas County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Jameson 19 83 9 4.84 4.37 24 inch Rainbow Good weather. Anglers were very happy about the 400+ 4-lb. jumbo Rainbows that were recently stocked. Fingerling plants from 2016 showed nice growth with most being 12 – 14″.
Ferry County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Ellen Lake 27 28 17 1.7 1 14 inch Rainbow Water was very high and cold, but the weather was nice today. Overall, angler turnout was low. Slow fishing day for most anglers on this lake.
Grant County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Blue 63 204 2 3.27 3.24 16 inch Rainbow Anglers were met with sunny, but partly cloudy skies, warm temperatures (high of 70F), and calm winds (<10mph). Quality trout fishing returned to Blue Lake in 2017 after an abysmal 2016. Several boat and shoreline anglers caught their limit of trout early in the morning, within an hour, and before WDFW creel surveyers showed up to interview them. Most trout were 11-13″ with a few at 14-16″. There are plenty of trout left to catch through the spring.
Deep Lake 67 165 71 3.52 2.46 15 inch Rainbow 1 derby fish caught
Park 79 245 34 3.53 3.1 16 inch Rainbow Anglers were met with sunny, but partly cloudy skies, warm temperatures (high of 70F), and calm winds (<10mph). Quality trout fishing returned to Park Lake in 2017 after an abysmal 2016. Several boat and shoreline anglers caught their limit of trout early in the morning, within an hour, and before WDFW creel surveyers showed up to interview them. Most trout were 11-13″ with a few at 14-16″. There are plenty of trout left to catch through the spring.
Perch 12 25 30 4.58 2.08 17 inch Rainbow Anglers were met with sunny, but partly cloudy skies, warm temepratures (high of 70F), and calm winds (<10mph). Mostly 11-12″ trout.
Vic Meyers 14 26 1.86 1.86 15 inch Rainbow Anglers were met with sunny, but partly cloudy skies, warm temepratures (high of 70F), and calm winds (<10mph). Mostly 11-12″ trout. No tagged derby trout checked in creel survey.
Warden 32 86 34 3.75 2.69 12 inch Rainbow Anglers were met with sunny, but partly cloudy skies, warm temepratures (high of 70F), and calm winds (<10mph). Catch rates were high, but smaller than normal trout sizes kept some anglers from harvesting them. Most trout were 10-11 inches. No carryovers recorded in creel survey.
Grays Harbor County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Bowers Lake – Vance # 1 32 58 20 2.44 1.81 25 inch Rainbow Kids derby: winer was 7 lbs 9oz. Lots of anglers early, 97 on this lake.
Duck Lake 3 1 0.33 0.33 12 inch Rainbow Windy and rainy on this year-round lake.
Failor Lake 50 121 36 3.14 2.42 26 inch Rainbow The weather conditions were damp but there were shivering smiles.
Ines Lake – Vance # 2 26 37 24 2.35 1.42 24 inch Rainbow Rainy weather
Lake Aberdeen 107 195 121 2.95 1.82 26 inch Rainbow Kibs Derby: lots of happy kids in spite of the rain.
Lake Sylvia 13 29 16 3.46 2.23 14 inch Rainbow Rainy, a few Cutthroat were caught but mostly Rainbow.
Island County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Deer 20 47 188 11.75 2.35 Lots of jumbos, but lower than normal effort – weather?
King County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Cottage 83 190 82 3.28 2.29 18 inch Rainbow Several jumbos caught.
Geneva 43 137 86 5.19 3.19 16 inch Rainbow Lots of big fish, happy anglers and successful eagles and ospreys. A good day for everyone.
Langlois 66 184 168 5.33 2.79 20 inch Rainbow 1 derby fish caught. The weather was calm.
Margaret 24 89 14 4.29 3.71 13 inch Rainbow 1 derby fish caught.
North 74 244 91 4.53 3.3 16 inch Rainbows Nice weather this morning.
Pine 20 45 2.25 2.25 18 inch Rainbow The trout seemed to be in shallow water.
Shady 12 37 12 4.08 3.08 16 inch Rainbow The anglers were happy.
Steel 8 32 4 4 13 inch Rainbow Very busy and happy fishers.
Walker 15 49 8 3.8 3.27 14 inch Rainbow The wind died down by 9 and weather cooperated for the rest of morning.
Wilderness 40 70 28 2.45 1.75 17 inch Rainbow The morning winds died down into a warm, calm morning on the lake.
Klickitat County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Horsethief 6 35 2 6.17 5.83 Not many anglers checked and fishing was slow.
Rowland 52 151 110 5.02 2.9 Excellent quality fish. Shore fishing was slow but boat anglers did well.
Spearfish 4 8 2 2 Not many anglers checked and fishing was slow.
Lewis County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Carlisle 65 48 76 1.91 0.74 Inclement weather –
Ft. Borst Park Pond 60 85 15 1.67 1.42 One Derby fish caught but fishing was generally slow and weather was poor.
Mineral 130 317 290 4.67 2.44 Busy, and anglers were happy in spite of the poor weather.
Plummer 13 22 1.69 1.69 Inclement weather – shore anglers were not catching fish.
Lincoln County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Fishtrap 20 24 2 1.3 1.2 22 inch Rainbow Great weather and lots of people having fun.
Mason County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Aldrich 18 72 2 4.11 4.00 Lots of kids fishing with their parents. Parking lot full, people left to fish other lakes.
Benson 21 52 15 3.19 2.48 18 inch Rainbow Some larger 16-18 inch fish checked. Happy fishers. The rain made a lot of people leave but many came back out when weather improved..
Clara 14 64 2 4.71 4.57 27 inch Rainbow 3 broodstock Rainbow caught and a 10 inch cutthroat from fall fingerling plants
Devervaux 27 73 26 3.67 2.70 26 inch Rainbow Most people were happy with the fishing. There were many limits. Weather turned bad after midday and most people stopped fishing
Haven 15 41 85 8.40 2.73 13 inch Rainbow Happy fishers until heavy rain sent many people home. Some anglers showed up later, when the weather got better. Heard of one derby tagged fish but not sampled.
Howell 9 30 6 4.00 3.33 17 inch Rainbow Fishers happy with catches. Mild morning, but rainy weather after midmorning made a lot of people stop fishing and leave lake.
Limerick 17 32 5 2.18 1.88 5 lb Rainbow derby fish 3 Rainbow checked in the 3-lb range. Weather was mild and fair until midmorning, then heavy rain squalls and wind made most people stop fishing
Maggie 7 18 2 2.86 2.57 16 inch Rainbow Mild morning, fair fishing until rain and wind pushed most anglers off lake. Most boaters and shore anglers quit. A few started fishing again when weather improved towards noon.
Phillips
Robbins 19 84 3 4.58 4.42 13 inch Rainbow Parking lot full all morning, overflow heading to other nearby lakes lakes.
Tiger 48 145 67 4.42 3.02 17 inch Rainbow Mild morning, fair fishing until rain and wind pushed most anglers off lake, most boaters and shore anglers quit. A few started fishing again when weather improved towards noon.
Wildberry 2 10 5.00 5.00 Mild morning, fair fishing until rain and wind pushed most anglers off lake, most boaters and shore anglers quit. A few started fishing again when weather improved towards noon.
Wood 3 5 1.67 1.67 Mild morning, slow fishing. Rain and wind pushed some anglers off the lake.
Wooten 51 140 151 5.71 2.75 Fishing was pretty good in the morning. It rained midday and made a lot of anglers leave the lake. Weather got better towards noon.
Okanogan County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Conconully Lake 40 86 13 2.5 2.15 15 inch Rainbow Everyone was staying warm and having a good time.
Long 4 8 8 4 4 12 inch Rainbow
Pearrygin 75 66 7 0.97 0.88 14 inch Rainbow Weather was chilly.
Round 17 68 15 4.88 4 13 inch Rainbow
Pacific County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Black Lake 34 43 38 2.38 1.26 25 inch Rainbow Derby winner was 7 lbs 1 oz. Rain chased anglers away after the derby ended.
Cases Pond 13 21 20 3.15 1.62 24 inch Rainbow Derby winner was 6 lbs. Smaller fish weren’t biting, only big fish caught.
Pend Oreille County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Diamond Lake 27 35 2 1.37 1.3 22 inch Rainbow Very high water. Slow fishing compared to most opening days. Weather was nice.
Pierce County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Bay Lake 15 50 8 3.87 3.33
Carney Lake 14 11 33 3.14 0.79
Clear Lake 89 156 120 3.1 1.75 18 inch Rainbow
Crescent Lake 48 151 6 3.27 3.15
Jackson Lake 8 9 14 2.88 1.13
Ohop Lake 23 15 2 0.74 0.65
Rapjohn Lake 32 85 37 3.81 2.66 16 inch Rainbow
Silver Lake 42 81 17 2.33 1.93 22 inch Rainbow 22 inch derby fish caught.
Tanwax Lake 27 76 5 3 2.81 17 inch Rainbow
Skagit County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Erie 31 85 15 3.23 2.74 17 inch Rainbow
Heart 48 91 89 3.75 1.9 23 inch Rainbow
McMurray 71 201 28 3.23 2.83 16 inch Rainbow
Sixteen 25 87 21 4.32 3.48 14 inch Rainbow
Snohomish County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Armstrong 36 26 6 0.89 0.72 21 inch Rainbow The fishing was slow.
Bosworth 28 107 154 9.32 3.82 15 inch Rainbow 2 derby fish caught.
Crabapple 11 17 1.55 1.55 17 inch Rainbow
Echo (Maltby) 10 58 47 10.5 5.8 12 inch Rainbow
Howard 30 92 88 6 3.07 18 inch Cutthroat A good mix jumbos and catchables were caught.
Ki 46 135 39 3.78 2.93 15 inch Rainbow
Martha (AM) 34 87 2 2.62 2.56 17 inch Rainbow 1 derby fish was caught.
Riley 34 72 24 2.82 2.12 15 inch Rainbow
Serene 14 26 54 5.71 1.86 14 inch Rainbow A first-time angler caught their first fish. The weather was nice.
Storm 29 61 88 5.14 2.1 17 inch Rainbow
Wagner 21 19 57 3.62 0.9 14 inch Rainbow The wind died down around 9. The were good size.
Spokane County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Badger 16 41 42 5.2 2.6 11 inch Rainbow & Cutthroat Many happy anglers. Mix of Rainbow, Cutthroat and Kokanee
Clear 24 11 8 0.8 0.3 20 inch Rainbow Mostly Rainbows but some Brown Trout were also caught. Most fish were >15 inches.
Fish 32 47 45 2.9 1.4 15 inch Brook Trout Fishing was red-hot 8-10 am but tailed off after 10. All anglers were satisfied. This lake is popular for catch/release.
West Medical 93 61 22 0.9 0.7 22 inch Rainbow High proportion of large rainbows in the creel. Anglers were happy to get out and enjoy the weather
Williams 35 97 40 3.9 2.8 21 inch Rainbow Lots of happy anglers out enjoying the great weather.
Stevens County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Cedar Lake 4 20 6 6.5 5 14 inch Rainbow Anglers limited in 2-4 hours. Weather was nice, but water is still cold.
Mudgett Lake 13 40 4 3.38 3.07 16 inch Rainbow Nice weather. Water temperature was low. Most of the catch made up of catchables with a few carryovers.
Rocky 8 16 4 2.5 2 17 inch Rainbow Fishing was fairly slow this year. Fish ranged between 9-17 inches.
Starvation Lake 25 46 3 1.96 1.84 14 inch Rainbow Fishing was slower than usual. Water was cold and high. Fish looked healthy and fat.
Waitts Lake 13 9 6 1.15 0.69 20 inch Brown Trout Parking lot/boat launch was flooded, dissuading a lot of anglers from launching boats. Very low turnout compared to usual.
Thurston County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Clear Lake 62 239 24 4.24 3.85 24 inch Rainbow Two derby fish caught.
Deep Lake 30 41 19 2 1.37 Two derby fish caught.
Hicks Lake 45 77 33 2.44 1.71 22 inch Rainbow
McIntosh Lake 21 56 52 5.14 2.67
Pattison Lake 29 40 9 1.69 1.38 16 inch Rainbow
Summit Lake 72 212 135 4.82 2.94 Big average size and numerous fish that were 18 inches.
Ward Lake 23 32 26 2.52 1.39
Whatcom County
Lake Name # Anglers
Checked
Total #
Fish Kept
Total #
Fish
Released
Avg. # Fish
Caught per
Angler
Avg. # Fish
Kept per
Angler
Largest Fish
(Species/TL)
Highlights
Cain 32 107 76 5.72 3.34 21 inch Rainbow
Padden 44 122 30 3.45 2.77 13 inch Rainbow
Silver 108 379 37 3.85 3.51 21 inch Rainbow It was a good day to be fishing.
Toad 43 101 102 4.72 2.35 12 inch Rainbow

Countdown To Trout Town: T-3 Days Till Washington Opener

Last night I made a quick pitstop at Fred Meyer to pick up my fishing license.

That’s because, well, I had to renew since it’s a new license year, but I’ve also got plans for Saturday morning and taking one of the Juniors out for trout.

THE 2012 TROUT OPENER WAS QUITE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR RIVER WALGAMOTT. HE LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF SHOUTING “FISH ON,” WHICH HE SHOUTED THROUGHOUT THE FIGHT WITH A CLEAR LAKE (PIERCE COUNTY) RAINBOW THAT DAY – “FISH ON FISH ON FISH ON FISH ON!” (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

April 22 is the fishiest day in Washington angling, the general lowland opener at a mess of lakes from the coast to the Cascades to Cheney.

RIVER ALSO LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF BOATS – ADAM BROOKS WONDERS WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THE WALGAMOTT KID. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW has been busy in recent weeks, stocking them plumb full of rainbows, including around 150,000 pound-on-average trout and 2.3 million catchables, along with millions that were stocked as fry last year and now have reached harvestable size.

RIVER LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF TEAMWORK. WHILE ADAM REELS IN ANOTHER, HE AND ADAM’S BROTHER RYAN READY THE NET. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“These are all high-quality fish that are significantly larger than our regular catchable trout, and those 3-pounders are outstanding fish,” says Steve Thiesfeld, who manages the Inland Fish Program, about several thousand triploids in the mix.

RYAN AND RIVER LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF BEING ON THE WATER, STARING INTO ITS MURKY DEPTHS AND WONDERING WHEN THE FISH WERE GONNA BITE – OR MAYBE EVEN COMPLETELY FORGETTING WHY THEY WERE ON THE LAKE THAT DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

To find out what’s gone into your lake, check out this year’s stocking plan. Don’t have a lake?!? May we introduce you to WDFW’s handy-dandy LakeFinder website?

ADAM, RIVER AND RYAN LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF A STOUT STRINGER – AND NOT TO TAKE THEMSELVES SO SERIOUSLY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The agency is also putting on its second statewide trout derby, with even more tagged fish and prizes — 1,000 rainbows bearing yellow tags, each with a number corresponding to $25,000 worth of prizes, including gear as well as year-long subscriptions to Northwest Sportsman magazine.

THE JOY OF FISHING ON THE OPENER WILL PUT A LITTLE SPRING IN ANYONE’S STEP. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Whether you’re fishing worms under a bobber from the bank, trolling spinners or small plugs from a boat, flailing a good ol’ Woolly Bugger from a pontoon or helping a youngster to catch their first, good luck, and thanks for taking part in the richest tradition in Washington fishing!

WDFW Scrubs April 24-25 Clam Digs; Decision Next Week On April 26-May 1 Opener

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

State shellfish managers have canceled the first two days (April 24 and 25) of a tentatively planned eight-day razor clam dig due to rising marine toxin levels.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will announce next week whether the rest of the dig, now scheduled to begin April 26, will go forward as planned.

BAD MOJO FOR RAZOR CLAMMERS. (NOAA)

Recent tests have found toxin levels at all ocean beaches meet health standards, but the Washington Department of Health has asked for one more test to be sure, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

“In the last few days, we’ve seen increasing levels of the algae that can cause domoic acid in ocean water,” Ayres said. “We just want to make sure razor clams are safe to eat before giving the green light on this dig.”

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. The toxin has disrupted razor clam digs along Washington’s coast over the past two years.

More information about domoic acid can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_acid.html.

The department will announce the results of the upcoming toxin test early next week on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

The proposed dig, along with morning low tides and beaches, is listed below:

  • April 26, Wednesday, 7:09 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
  • April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
  • April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
  • April 29, Saturday, 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
  • April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
  • May 1, Monday, 11:20 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

5-day Springer Extension Yields 2,029 For BBQs; 4 More Days Coming

Editor’s note: Updated 3:40 p.m., April 18, 2017 at bottom

Catches surged during the recently concluded five-day extension of Columbia spring Chinook season.

An estimate from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Jimmy Watt’s says that from April 13 through the 17th, 2,264 of the early salmon were caught and 2,029 were kept across nearly 12,000 angler trips.

THOUGH THIS YEAR’S 4-YEAR-OLD SPRINGERS SEEM TO BE A BIT SMALLER THAN USUAL, NOT SO WITH THIS LIKELY 5-YEAR-OLD FISH HELD BY GUIDE ERIC LINDE. A CLIENT CAUGHT THE ESTIMATED 30-POUNDER ON A HERRING BEHIND A FISH FLASH. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

With 70 percent of those springers bound for tribs above Bonneville, that brings the upriver tally to 2,119 out of the 6,905 available before the runsize update.

Overall, 3,163 kings have been kept this season, a figure which includes fish that would have turned off into the Cowlitz, Kalama and Willamette.

Boaters have accounted for 2,616 of those, Oregon bankees 340 and Washington plunkers 146.

All except 61 were bonked in April.

Huge, cold flows appear to have slowed the run down.

“The 503 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through April 16 are the second lowest on record since at least 1939,” reported fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver this morning. “The record low are the 205 fish counted through April 16, 2006.”

Still, anglers have been catching fish, but in a different spot than usual.

Catch tallies show 589 carded in Zone 10, below Cathlamet, followed by 502 below the Lewis (beware the closure around the trib mouth), 424 from the Willamette to the Lewis, and 317 around the Puget Island reach.

Buzz Ramsey at Yakima Bait has been keeping a close eye on the fishery, forwarding his pics and those of guides catching kings on anchor with M2 Flatfish and trolling herring and Fish Flashes.

Fishing is closed for springers on the Columbia at the moment, but scheduled to reopen this coming Thursday through Sunday, April 20-23.

Managers had planned to hold a teleconference tomorrow afternoon at 1 to go over the fishery and run status, but subsequently cancelled it. They say they may hold one April 26 to review things.

WDFW Sets Snake Spring Chinook Season

THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE

Action/Species affected: Spring chinook salmon fishing to open on the Snake River.

Locations:

A) Below Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam.

B) Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility).

THE WALL, WHERE JEFF MAIN CAUGHT THIS 25-POUNDER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK, AND OTHER PARTS OF THE SNAKE RIVER WILL OPEN FOR SPRING CHINOOK LATER THIS MONTH. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

C) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Dates: Each area is open two days per week until further notice.

Area A (Below Ice Harbor Dam) opens Friday, April 28, and will be open only Friday and Saturday each week.

Areas B and C (Below Little Goose Dam and near Clarkston) open Sunday, April 30, and will be open only Sunday and Monday each week.

Daily limits: 6 hatchery chinook (adipose fin clipped), of which no more than one may be an adult chinook salmon. For all areas open to chinook salmon harvest, anglers must cease fishing for salmon when the hatchery adult limit has been retained for the day.

Reason for action: Based on the pre-season prediction for a relatively good return of spring chinook and angler input requesting an emphasis for a longer fishery season, Snake River fisheries in each of these zones are open for only two days per week (with only one weekend day included each week) with a daily bag limit of only one adult hatchery chinook.

The restrictions on the fishery help prolong the duration of the season, ensure sharing of fishing opportunities with upriver fishery zones, and enable managers to ensure that the fisheries comply with Endangered Species Act (ESA) restrictions and harvest allocations available for the Snake River.

Other Information: The minimum size of any retained chinook salmon is 12 inches. Jacks are less than 24 inches long.

The adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon that can be retained must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. All chinook salmon with the adipose fin intact, and all bull trout and steelhead, must be immediately released unharmed.

In addition, anglers fishing for all species, in the areas open for chinook salmon, during the days of the week the salmon fishery is open in that area, must use barbless hooks.

Only single point barbless hooks are allowed when fishing for sturgeon. A night closure is in effect for salmon and sturgeon. It will be unlawful to use any hook larger than 5/8 inch (point of hook to shank) when fishing for all species except sturgeon.

Anglers cannot remove any chinook salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily limit.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2016/2017 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures, closed waters, etc.

Information Contact: Jeremy Trump, District 3 Fish Biologist (509) 382-1005.