Tag Archives: 2017

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.

IDFG: Big Runoff Will Give Reservoirs Big Fishing Boost

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Reservoirs are filling across southern Idaho, and fisheries managers are looking forward to the benefits that big water brings.

“When we have these great water years, we have so much more habitat,” said Dave Teuscher, fisheries manager for the Southeast Region. “And the amount of forage is just incredible.”

Teuscher said he wishes he could stock about 3 or 4 million more trout in reservoirs so he could take advantage of all the water. He explained that in years with a lean snowpack, reservoirs are often drained to minimum pool during summer. Depending on the reservoir, that can mean as little as 10-percent of the pool remains to sustain fish.

RAINBOW TROUT ARE GIVEN A GOOD HEAVE INTO A SOUTHWEST IDAHO LAKE. FISH AND GAME OFFICIALS BELIEVE THAT THIS WINTER’S BIG SNOWS WILL HELP REFUEL FISHERIES IN RESERVOIRS HIT BY DROUGHT AND LOW LEVELS. (ROGER PHILLIPS, IDFG)

There’s a bottleneck for the reservoir’s fish population because the fish are condensed into tight space until the following spring, and also subject to stress from warm water, low oxygen and predation.

But when reservoirs fill, and in some cases spill over, prime spring conditions with abundant cool water and plentiful forage last longer. Reservoirs may end the summer with up to four times their normal pools of water, which gives fish more space to live, grow and avoid predators. Those conditions produce more and larger trout, and the benefits often last several years, even if drier conditions resume.

“The difference is off the charts,” he said. “It’s night and day.”

Joe Kozfkay and Doug Megargle, fish managers for the Southwest and Magic Valley regions, are taking the opportunity to restock waters that were drained so low in recent years they could no longer sustain fish, and in some cases, completely dried.

They will immediately start restocking trout. Kozfkay said there will be plenty available considering high-flowing rivers are unsuitable for stocking trout. Managers will reallocate hatchery trout scheduled for stream stocking to reservoirs, lakes and ponds until rivers recede, which could be mid summer.

Kozfkay also plans to restock some reservoirs with bass and bluegill, including Blacks Creek Reservoir, Paddock Reservoir and Indian Creek Reservoir, as well as several ponds in the Treasure Valley area.

Magic Valley manager Megargle said Little Camas Reservoir, Mormon Reservoir and Thorn Creek Reservoirs will get trout this year.

Managers have a large, but not unlimited, supply of rainbow trout available in hatcheries. They can provide immediate fishing opportunity by stocking standard 10-to-12 inch “catchables,” or their larger hatchery cousins, known as “jumbos,” which take longer and are more expensive to produce, but get caught at a higher rate by anglers than smaller fish.

Managers can also stock inexpensive “fingerling” trout that are about 3 to 6 inches, but will quickly grow and provide fishing for anglers. In full reservoirs brimming with food, those fish can grow up to an inch a month.

Restocking warmwater fish, such as bass, bluegill, crappie and perch, is different than stocking trout. Because these fish are not typically available from Fish and Game’s hatcheries, they have to be transplanted from other waters.

“It’s rather labor intensive,” Kozfkay said.

WHILE IDAHO FISH AND GAME DOESN’T REAR SPINYRAYS AT HATCHERIES LIKE IT DOES TROUT, SEED STOCK FROM ONE LAKE CAN BE USED TO BUILD NUMBERS IN ANOTHER. (ROGER PHILLIPS, IDFG)

Managers also don’t restock warmwater fish to provide immediate fishing opportunity. The goal is for transplanted adult fish to spawn and produce a larger population. With a little help from nature, that can happen in a few years because warmwater fish are prolific, and refilled reservoirs are usually very productive.

“The fish populations can blow up in a hurry, and that’s exciting,” Kozfkay said.

The timing can be tricky because managers want the new crop of fish transplanted before the fish spawn in the spring.

“You have a short window of time from when they move into the shallows and can be captured, but before they spawn,” he said.

While big water years are good for growing trout and restarting warmwater fish and panfish populations, no one’s crystal ball is clear enough to know how much water there will be in the future.

A few lean snowpacks and/or hot, dry summers could put some reservoirs back in the same predicament. Managers have to balance that reality with the time and money required to restock reservoirs with fish.

“It’s a gamble,” Kozfkay said. “But the optimist in me is excited to do it.”

Call For Vols: Hands Needed For Upcoming Alsea River Cleanup

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

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Alsea Sportsman’s Association will join forces with other conservation-minded individuals Sunday, April 23 to clean up the Alsea River.

The day-long clean-up is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the U.S. Forest Service’s Blackberry Campground (day use area), located approximately 19 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. ODFW is seeking volunteers to assist with the clean-up both by boat and from shore.

GOT SUNDAY, APRIL 23, FREE AND LIVE WITHIN A DRIVE OF THE ALSEA? VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED FOR A CLEANUP OF THE RIVER’S BANKS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“We need volunteers to work from the river and others to work from the road, picking up trash along the Alsea River corridor and at popular boat ramps and bank access sites along the river,” said Christine Clapp, ODFW biologist in Newport. This event is also sponsored by SOLVE and Dahl Disposal Service.

Free Northwest Forest day passes will be provided to volunteers, and a shuttle service will also be available. Both drift boats and motor boats are welcome.  There will be coffee and donuts in the morning and a barbeque hosted by the Alsea Sportsman’s Association in the afternoon.

“This is a great and fun way for people to show their support for clean and healthy rivers” said Clapp. The clean-up will focus on the river downstream from Campbell Park, as river flows allow.

Washington Game Commission Sets 2017 Hunts, Reducing Some Elk, Deer Permits

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2017-18 hunting season rules and approved land transactions during a public meeting today in Spokane.

The commission, a nine member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), adopted hunting rules that are mostly similar to the past two years.

WASHINGTON ELK HUNTERS WILL SEE FEWER ANTLERLESS PERMITS IN THE SOUTH CASCADES FOLLOWING A TOUGH WINTER. RYAN FORTIER, 15, OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY BAGGED THIS COW IN THE BETHEL UNIT LAST FALL. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

Some of the significant rule changes adopted will reduce hunter harvest of deer and elk in several areas of the state – especially in eastern Washington – where harsh winter conditions took a toll on those populations. Those changes include:

  • A reduction in modern firearm special permits for antlerless elk in the Yakima, Colockum, and Mount St. Helens herds.
  • A reduction in white-tailed deer hunts in northeast Washington for senior hunters.
  • Switching some northeast game management units late archery deer hunts from “any white-tailed deer” to “any white-tailed buck.”
  • A reduction in antlerless special permit opportunity for mule deer in Chelan and Okanogan counties.

Other hunting rule changes increase the daily limit for white-fronted geese and white geese in response to the growing abundance of those species, and restore points to hunters who draw permits for damage hunts administered by a hunt coordinator but are not called to participate.

The 2017-18 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet with all the rule details will be available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ and at WDFW offices and hunting license vendors across the state later this month. Special big game hunting permit application deadline is May 24.

The 2017-18 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons pamphlet will be available later this spring.

The commission also approved four land transactions, including:

  • The acquisition of 150 acres of wetland habitat adjacent to WDFW’s Reardan Audubon Lake Wildlife Area in Lincoln County for waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife.
  • The acquisition of 215 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat along the Teanaway River in Kittitas County, connecting existing conservation lands and the Department of Natural Resources’ Teanaway Community Forest.
  • The acquisition of nearly 1,565 acres in the Central Cascade Range in Kittitas County as part of the Heart of the Cascades project to protect habitat for steelhead, elk and other wildlife.
  • The transfer of a four-acre parcel on the Pend Oreille River to Pend Oreille County for public recreation access.

The commission was also briefed by WDFW staff on operation and maintenance of wildlife areas and water access sites and livestock grazing on WDFW lands.

The commission continues its public meeting tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 15, with staff briefings on WDFW website replacement, outreach and marketing, and the enforcement program. The meeting convenes at 8:30 a.m. at the Red Lion River Inn in Spokane, 700 N. Division Street.

A complete agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

May 4 Start For Washington’s Halibut Season; Quota Up By 23,652 Pounds

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

Anglers fishing for halibut will notice a change this year with consistent halibut seasons across all Puget Sound and ocean areas, except marine waters near the mouth the Columbia River.

The scheduled season dates are May 4, 6, 11, 21 and 25, and June 1 and 4, provided there is sufficient quota to accommodate all these fishing days. These dates apply to halibut fishing in Puget Sound marine areas 5-10 and in ocean marine areas 2-4.

TERRY WIEST SHOWS OFF A HALIBUT CAUGHT DURING A PAST OPENER WHILE FISHING 600 FEET OF WATER WITH BLACK LABEL HERRING AND A SALMON “STRIP TEASE.” (TERRY WIEST/STEELHEADUNIVERSITY.COM)

Halibut fishing in Marine Area 1 also gets under way May 4, but will be open four days per week (Thursday through Sunday) until the quota has been met.

State halibut seasons are established by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), using catch quotas adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission for coastal fisheries from California to Alaska.

Heather Reed, WDFW coastal policy coordinator, noted that this year’s quota for recreational halibut fisheries in Washington state is 243,667 pounds – an increase of about 23,652 pounds from 2016.

“We expect that the effort to align halibut season dates, together with a higher quota for the state’s recreational fisheries, will result in a longer season than what anglers have experienced in past years,” Reed said.

Halibut fishing has become an increasingly popular sport in Washington, making it difficult to predict how quickly anglers will reach the harvest limit for any given area, Reed said. The new season structure will help to ensure the state does not exceed federal quotas, with periodic catch assessments in each fishing area, she said.

Anglers should check the WDFW website for the latest information on openings before heading out, she said.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and two-fish possession limit in the field, and no minimum size restriction. Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card.

As in past years, Puget Sound marine areas 11, 12 and 13 will remain closed to halibut fishing.

In Marine areas 5 and 6, lingcod and Pacific cod can be retained in waters deeper than 120 feet on days when the recreational halibut fishery is open.

Additional changes in halibut-fishing rules that take effect for specific waters this year include:

  • Marine Area 1: Anglers will be allowed to keep a lingcod when halibut are on board during the all-depth fishery, but only when fishing north of the Washington-Oregon border during the month of May. The nearshore area in Marine Area 1 will open three days per week (Monday through Wednesday) beginning May 8 until the nearshore quota is taken. Bottomfish can be retained when halibut are onboard in the nearshore area.
  • Marine Area 2 (Westport): Beginning the Saturday after the all-depth fishery closes, the nearshore fishery will open seven days per week until the quota is taken.

Marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line: Bottomfish fishing will be restricted to the area shoreward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) beginning May 1 through Labor Day. Lingcod, sablefish, and Pacific cod can be retained seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) on days open to recreational halibut fishing.

Anglers should check the WDFW website for complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/halibut/.

 

Critical Central Washington Fish, Wildlife Projects Left Out Of House Budget

Funding for six projects protecting critical critter and fish habitat in Central Washington has been cut from a state budget proposal, and sportsmen should take note.

Though top-ranked during reviews, the acquisitions in Douglas, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat Counties were left out of the House Capital Budget, an approach that goes against the grain of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Affected projects include — from the top — Grand Coulee Ranch, Wenatchee River floodplain, South Fork Manastash, Cowiche, Simcoe Mountains and Klickitat Canyon.

A WASHINGTON RECREATION AND CONSERVATION OFFICE IMAGE SHOWS PART OF THE PROPOSED SIMCOE MOUNTAIN PROJECT, FUNDING FOR WHICH WAS LEFT OUT OF A STATE HOUSE CAPITAL BUDGET PROPOSAL DESPITE IT BEING HIGHLY RANKED. (RCO)

All would benefit hunters and the deer, elk and upland game birds we chase, as well as other fish and wildlife and recreationalists.

The projects are all included in the state Senate’s version, so the best hope for sportsmen is that during budget reconciliation talks between the chambers, the House comes around.

Danica Johnson with Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition said the House Capital budget “unfairly targeted” the six as well as and nine other water access, riparian, natural area and park acquisitions, even though “(m)any of these were top-ranked projects that should have received funding under the allocation formula.”

The development follows a bipartisan update of WWRP’s formulas last year meant in part to address concerns over large-scale land buys in Eastern Washington.

Projects are ranked by the state Recreation and Conservation Office under objective criteria and assigned one of several categories, including critical habitat, riparian, natural area, local parks, state parks and others.

Theoretically, lawmakers are supposed to go with the highest-scoring projects, and on the Senate side, they did.

But under critical habitat, the final purchase of 7,250 acres padding WDFW’s Big Bend Wildlife Area — the former Grand Coulee Ranch it has been buying in recent years — 6,700 acres in the Simcoes, 3,200 acres in both the Klickitat Canyon and Cowiche Watershed and 1,600 acres along the South Fork of Manastash Creek were left out of the House budget.

So was a 37-acre riparian buy in the floodplain of the Wenatchee River, potentially putting it at risk of being developed into a subdivision.

Funding for Capital Budget acquisitions comes through the sale of state bonds, not from the General Fund or license dollars. Often they’re matched with private or federal funds to complete deals.

One notable project that was left out of both chambers’ proposals was purchase of land for a boat launch on the middle Wynoochee, the 7400 Line access. Its ranking is apparently very low, though you and I would disagree.

And in Wednesday’s Kitsap Sun, Dave Shorett reports that the long-suffering bid to build a ramp on WDFW land on Lake Tahuyah still can’t “make the cut” for development funding, despite potential high value for Bremerton-area anglers.

As you might imagine, politics were involved in cutting the Central Washington projects. Recent years have seen a lot of pushback in the 509 about state land buys, so it’s not a coincidence that these six particular acquisition projects were sidelined.

That’s unfortunate, because this fantastic part of the Evergreen State represents some of the best land left for wildlife and wildland-based recreation in the state.

This past harsh winter highlights the need for winter range. The tough salmon seasons Pugetropolis was just handed are, in part, a result of compromised habitat reducing productivity and thus constraining opportunity. And the loss of more and more land across Washington to trespass fees highlights the critical and growing need we all have for access.

I hope that the House and Senate come together to fund these six projects, as well as follow the guidelines for allocating state funds, as was agreed to last year.

AW
NWS