Tag Archives: bass

6 Options For Liberalizing Washington Bass, Spinyray Limits Identified

Will it be the bag limit behind Door No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6?

WDFW staffers will present the Fish and Wildlife Commission a half dozen options for liberalizing bass, walleye and channel catfish retention in select waters across Washington later this month.

A STRINGER OF SMALLMOUTH DRAPE THE PROW OF A DRIFT BOAT ON OREGON’S UMPQUA RIVER. (VIA TROY RODAKOWSKI)

They range from the complete elimination of size and daily limits on 146 lakes to expanded bags but with standard slot size protections for spawners on a set of just 14 lakes which have Chinook runs in their headwaters.

The citizen panel is scheduled to make a final call the morning of Saturday, Dec. 14, at its meeting in Bellingham. Public comment will be taken.

They’re acting on a bill passed by the state legislature earlier this year.

While primarily strengthening habitat protections for Chinook, Substitute House Bill 1579 also requires the commission to liberalize limits on the three nonnative but popular warmwater species “in all anadromous waters of the state in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.”

It was among a set of measures aimed at helping out endangered southern resident killer whales, which mostly feed on Chinook though also coho, chums and steelhead at select times of the year.

But bass anglers rebelled against WDFW’s initial proposal that would have eliminated rather than liberalized limits on 106 waters in Puget Sound, 18 in coastal watersheds, 12 in Southwest Washington and another dozen on the Eastside.

“We’re hoping today we can kinda come to some kind of consensus, maybe not to just destroy but can we surgically do something?” Phil Martin, president of the Mt. St. Helens Bassmasters, asked the commission in mid-October. “We’re conservative fishermen, we don’t want to destroy the fishery for anything, whether it be salmon, carp, bass, panfish. That’s what we do, but there’s got to be a better alternative than just genocide on the bass, walleye and catfish populations.”

And with commissioners pushing back as well, state fishery managers developed a matrix of six options, which differ based on how many waters they would affect and the extent of the liberalization.

Option A1 would be the full elimination of limits on all 146 lakes, while A2 would expand the daily bag on them for largemouth from five to 10 (none between 12 and 17 inches and only one over 17 inches); on smallmouth from 10 to 15 (only one over 14 inches); on channel catfish from five to 10; and on walleye from eight to 16 (only one over 22 inches).

A WDFW MAP SHOWS 146 LAKES THAT WOULD BE AFFECTED UNDER OPTION A. (WDFW)

For Option B, the list of lakes was whittled to 77 after subtracting out those that didn’t have bass, walleye and/or channel catfish, or public access, but still said to have salmon spawning in their headwaters.

Option B1 would eliminate limits on all 77, while B2 would expand the limits as described in A2.

And for Option C, the list was narrowed down to 14 lakes which adult Chinook and their fry swim through, have bass, walleye and/or channel catfish, and have public access.

Those waters include popular bass lakes such as Washington, Union, Sammamish, Osoyoos, Vancouver, Ohop and Kapowsin, smaller ones such as Cottage, and overlooked lakes such as Scanewa, Cushman, Mayfield and Wynoochee.

Under C1, they would see limits eliminated, while C2 would follow A2 and B2.

In their briefing packets, WDFW staffers only recommend Option B, leaving it up to commissioners whether to choose the wholesale elimination of all limits on the 77 lakes or expanded bags instead.

That alternative would mesh with the legislature’s intent to protect “salmon smolts.” The lakes and their feeder streams largely represent habitat for coho, which are important to orca diets in the inland sea in late summer.

But it’s also questionable how productive some of those waters are compared to larger river systems and hatcheries, as well as how recently salmon have actually used them.

Some like Lakes Sammamish, Union and Washington are a critical conduit between the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, which annually raises millions of Chinook and coho fry, and the saltwater.

While that King County watershed’s Chinook were not federally identified as important for southern residents, Scanewa and the Cowlitz River, where springers are being reintroduced in the upper end, has been.

At any rate, the rule change would primarily affect bass, as channel cats are limited to few lakes and on the Westside they are typically too cold for reproduction, and fortunately few walleye have been illegally brought over the Cascade crest.

Even as largemouth and smallmouth aren’t as coveted on the table in Northwest and also have consumption advisories out for women and children due to mercury, the episode has served as a warning for bass anglers that they “need to have a voice in Olympia,” in the words of Joel Nania of the Inland Northwest Bass Club.

He joined Martin and several others at the state capital in mid-October to talk to the commission about limits.

BASS CLUB PRESIDENT PHIL MARTIN SPEAKS TO THE WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION IN OCTOBER. (TVW)

During written public comment, there were 500 comments in favor of liberalized limits, 190 against.

SHB 1579 follows on previous prodding by federal fishery overseers to do more in the Columbia system to protect outmigrating smolts preyed on by the three spinyrayed species. WDFW several years ago waived daily and size limits on the big river and its tribs.

The primary factors impacting reduced Chinook and salmon abundance are massive, long-term, all-encompassing habitat destruction from the tops of our mountains to the depths of Puget Sound, and declining ocean productivity.

Whether the commission chooses to liberalize limits on 14, 77 or 146 lakes, it has a tough needle to thread between lawmakers, pro-orca public sentiment and a portion of its constituents.

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-14-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 1 bank angler had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 1 boat/4 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 31 bank rods kept 25 steelhead. 27 boats/73 rods kept 37 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

NATE SCANLON BEAMS WITH PRIDE AT HIS MOM LARA AND HER ESTIMATED 30-POUND UPRIVER BRIGHT, CAUGHT IN THE BUOY 10 FISHERY ON AUG. 7 JUST ABOVE THE ASTORIA-MEGLER BRIDGE. THEY WERE FISHING WITH GUIDE JOEL HENLEY AND TROLLING A GREEN-LABEL CUTPLUG BEHIND A CUSTOMIZED FISH FLASH AND 14 OUNCES OF WEIGHT TO KEEP THE SETUP “HUGGING THE BOTTOM.” (ANVILOUTDOORS.COM)

Tacoma Power employees recovered 121 summer-run steelhead adults, 68 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 62 spring Chinook mini-jacks, and two Cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River located near Randle and they released six spring Chinook adults and two Cutthroat trout at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

To date, Tacoma Power employees have recycled 606 summer-run steelhead to the lower Cowlitz River.

Kalama River – 23 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 26 bank anglers kept 3 steelhead and released 1 Chinook jack. 3 boats/8 rods released 4 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 5 boats/7 rods kept 1 Chinook jack and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – No anglers sampled.

Trout:

Merrill Lake – Fishing has been good for rainbow and cutthroat, some browns are being caught.

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond Date Species Number Fish/lb Hatchery

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) August 6, 2019 Rainbow 2,680 1.34 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 28, 2019 Rainbow 2,648 1.32 EELLS SPRINGS

MAYFIELD RES (LEWIS) July 24, 2019 Rainbow 2,786 1.39 EELLS SPRINGS

GOOSE LK (SKAM) July 18, 2019 Rainbow 1,644 2.30 GOLDENDALE

Warmwater:

Lacamas Lake – Bass and yellow perch fishing has been excellent.

Rowland Lake – Anglers have been catching some bluegill and pumpkinseed.

Swofford Pond – Bass and channel catfish fishing has been excellent.

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam). http://www.pikeminnow.org/

Buoy 10 

Date Number
of Boats
Number
of Anglers
Chinook
Kept
Coho
Kept
Comments
1-Aug 35 85 3 3 Opener
2-Aug 40 100 7 7  
3-Aug 192 505 45 34  
4-Aug 128 338 35 22  
5-Aug 73 180 47 30  
6-Aug 86 212 85 45  
7-Aug 0 0 0 0 Not Sampled
8-Aug 114 287 129 82  
9-Aug 35 97 31 27  
10-Aug 264 756 217 143  
11-Aug 334 997 82 66  

 

Lower Columbia Mainstem Sport Aug. 5-11

Salmon and steelhead:

Bonneville bank: 14 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal bank: 4 anglers with 1 Chinook jack kept
I-5 area bank: No report
Vancouver bank: 23 anglers with nothing
Woodland bank: 50 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Kalama bank: 42 anglers with nothing
Cowlitz bank: No report
Longview bank: 52 anglers with nothing
Cathlamet bank: 5 anglers with nothing
Private boats/bank: 3 anglers with nothing

Bonneville boat: No report
Camas/Washougal boat: 14 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 7 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 23 anglers with 1 Chinook kept
Woodland boat: 24 anglers with 4 Chinook kept and 1 Chinook released
Kalama boat: 25 anglers with 2 Chinook kept
Cowlitz boat: 24 anglers with 5 Chinook kept and 10 steelhead released
Longview boat: 41 with 1 Chinook kept
Cathlamet boat: No report
Private boats/bank: 11 anglers with 1 Chinook kept and 1 jack released

Sturgeon:

Kalama boat: 2 anglers with 7 sublegals and 1 oversize released
Longview bank: 1 angler with nothing
Longview boat: 3 anglers with 1 sublegal, 2 legals and 1 oversize released

Walleye:

Camas/Washougal boat: 8 anglers with 2 kept and 2 released

Get a Free NewsLetter Here

Basser’s Huge Catches, Tourney Results, Techniques Questioned In Massively Detailed Article

This week more than a few West Coast and national fishing reporters and editors are probably going through their archives and shaking their heads in disbelief.

SDFISH.COM, A WEBSITE THAT TRACKS SAN DIEGO SALT- AND FRESHWATER ANGLING, BROKE THE ALLEGATIONS OF CHEATING BY MIKE LONG, ONCE ONE OF THE MOST WIDELY KNOWN LARGEMOUTH FISHERMEN. (SDFISH.COM)

In the wake of a devastating onetwo punch posted Monday evening on SDFish.com about the validity of San Diego-area basser Mike Long’s lake record catches and tournament wins and earnings, and how he may have pulled it all off, last night I dug through boxes and boxes of old issues from my Fishing & Hunting News days in search of California editions.

My memories from the early 2000s are increasingly hazy, but Long’s name is one I remember, and sure enough it popped up in four of 12 issues of rodent-poop-peppered copies of the mag I found on the shelves of my shed.

One of them, the May 23, 2002, issue listed him as the best bass fisherman in all of California.

A PAGE FROM THE MAY 23, 2002 EDITION OF CALIFORNIA FISHING & HUNTING NEWS SHOWS MIKE LONG AS THAT YEAR’S TOP-RANKED CALIFORNIA BASS ANGLER.

It was part of an annual Top 40 roundup put together by a longtime close observer of the Golden State’s bassing world, and in naming Long to the top spot that year it specifically called out his catch of an 18-pound, 2-ounce Lake Poway largemouth in February.

The honor followed on Long’s two straight $25,000-plus paydays winning the Big Bass Record Club’s annual largest largemouth contest, which blasted him onto the scene, and his entry into San Diego tournament fishing.

But according to SDFish.com editor Kellen Ellis’s nearly 19,000-plus-word story, after Long marked down catching that Poway fish on the lake’s logbook, he claimed his photos of it didn’t turn out, and when pressed by a local outdoor reporter to send him one, used an image of himself holding a 16.25-pounder that his tourney partner had actually caught there.

Then, three years later, he used the same image to claim he’d caught another of his half-dozen lake record fish at a nearby reservoir — “the most preposterous, absurd, and fraudulent of them all,” Ellis claims.

Long would later admit to having used the pic of his buddy’s fish for the Poway lake record — but not the other.

Across the space of nine webpages, interviews with multiple sources including tournament partners, lake managers and someone Long allegedly stalked after they saw two bass in a fish tank in Long’s garage next to his boat, as well as video Ellis surreptitiously shot in April of Long apparently snagging spawning bass in the side and side of the mouth, Ellis essentially makes the case that Long’s achievements over the years were the same — “preposterous, absurd, and fraudulent.”

While Ellis says that in the early 2000s Long could count on him as one of his supporters to swat away controversies over catches — “I sincerely regret that,” he states — he says that since ending their relationship in early 2010, he has been working on the piece for most of the decade.

Though the internet has already drawn and quartered Long — images of a treble hook baited with a twist-tail worm above a drop-shot weight are being called the Long rig — the subject himself has apparently yet to comment on the issue.

Nowhere in Ellis’s exhaustive work does it mention that Long had any remarks on the allegations about to be leveled by the owner-editor-administrator of SDFish.com.

Long appears to have gone into hiding rather than refute them.

His Facebook and Instagram pages are currently down; his blog reads that it “is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.”

When Long speaks, I’ll report on his comments.

Meanwhile, it left the author of a national semiweekly bass fishing email in shock yesterday.

“Personally hope it’s somehow all NOT true so we don’t have to be suspicious about big-fish catches, but the stuff SDFish/Kellen put out there is pretty disturbing…and I bet required a whale-load of effort. Speaking as a former-life investigative-type reporter, my 2c is it’s obviously not just something he threw together,” Kumar wrote in his BassBlaster.

At least one sponsor, Airrus Rods, has pulled up stakes with Long and will donate their remaining stock of his signature-line rods to a kids angling academy.

And one of Long’s big-catch chroniclers, former San Diego Union-Tribune outdoor reporter Ed Zieralski tweeted out, “If this is true, and based on the video and story no reason for it not to be, this big bass asshole brought down his best friend and defrauded an entire bass fishing community.”

Mike Long long ago disappeared from those Top 40 California basser roundups that initially ran in F&H News and after it folded in mid-2008, continued in other publications.

He slipped from No. 1 in both 2001 and 2002, to 2nd in 2003, 3rd in 2004, 7th in 2005, and by 2009, was 17th.

In spring 2010 Long’s local tournament career came to a sudden halt as the directors of three different series told him he couldn’t participate without taking a lie detector test to address allegations of cheating.

By that time Long had already collected a reported $150,000 in tourney winnings over the years, somehow finishing first more than twice as often while fishing by himself than with a partner (former ones say he was actually a poor angler), and events were drawing fewer and fewer boaters because competitors believed the fix was in, according to Ellis.

Before sending out 2010’s top 40 list, its author, George Kramer, made a cryptic post entitled “Tips on spotting the ‘bass cheater.'”

Long didn’t make it that year.

Since then he’s popped up here and there this decade as an article source on fishing for big bass, as well as taken to the aforementioned social media channels.

It’s all yet another reminder to the supposed gatekeepers like myself and other outdoor editors and reporters that there are people out there who are seeking fame and money — Long has been on a reported 45 magazine covers, and was featured by minnows and heavyweights (Outdoor Life, Bassmasters) alike — but who may not be all they’re claiming to be, or be completely above board.

We may have fallen for the allure of big fish and the big readership those catches promise, but we can learn from this and do better for our fellow legitimate fishermen.

Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools, SW WA Fishing Report (4-10-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Preliminary Washington lower Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary

April 1-7, 2019

Bonneville bank anglers: 239; kept adult Chinook: 19
I-5 area bank anglers: 1; kept adult Chinook: 0
Vancouver area bank anglers: 61; kept adult Chinook: 1

Bonneville boat anglers: 13; kept adult Chinook: 2
Camas area boat anglers: 50; kept adult Chinook: 3
I-5 area boat anglers: 141; kept adult Chinook: 17
Vancouver boat anglers: 1138; kept adult Chinook: 123

A COLUMBIA RIVER ANGLER SIZES UP HIS SPRING CHINOOK DURING 2016’S RUN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 516 salmonid boats and 118 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Sundays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 14 bank anglers kept 1 legal sturgeon and released 5 sublegal sturgeon. 9 boats/23 rods kept 14 legal sturgeon, released 77 sublegal and 2 oversize sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.John Day Pool- 8 bank anglers kept 1 legal sturgeon.  2 boats/4 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/5 rods kept 5 walleye.

John Day Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch. 7 boats/13 rods kept 2 and released 10 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/6 rods kept 2 bass and released 71 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 37 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  58 bank rods kept 13 steelhead.  38 boats/110 rods kept 42 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 272 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and four cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 40 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 17 winter-run steelhead adults and two cutthroat trout adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Tacoma Power also tagged and recycled 109 winter-run steelhead adults to the lower river.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,970 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 8. Water visibility is 9 feet and the water temperature is 45.7 F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 14 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 3 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 3 boats/5 rods had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  No report of angler success.

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)           April 1, 2019 Rainbow 2,000           2.53 GOLDENDALE

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (4-3-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Preliminary Washington lower Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary

March 25-31, 2019

Bonneville bank anglers: 146; kept adult Chinook: 7
I-5 area bank anglers: 1; kept adult Chinook: 0
Vancouver area bank anglers: 65; kept adult Chinook: 0

Bonneville boat anglers: 2; kept adult Chinook: 0
Camas area boat anglers: 9; kept adult Chinook: 0
I-5 area boat anglers: 8; kept adult Chinook: 2
Vancouver boat anglers: 375; kept adult Chinook: 55

SPRING CHINOOK CATCHES ARE PICKING UP IN THE INTERSTATE STRETCH OF THE LOWER COLUMBIA. LAST WEEK’S KEPT CATCH OF 55 WAS SIX TIMES LARGER THAN THE PREVIOUS MARCH WEEK’S NINE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report March 25-31, 2019

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 434 salmonid boats and 70 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 16 bank anglers kept 2 legal sturgeon and released 9 sublegal sturgeon.  10 boats/27 rods kept 7 legal sturgeon, released 86 sublegal and 1 oversize sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 62 bank anglers kept 9 legal sturgeon, released 44 sublegal and 15 oversize sturgeon.  11 boats/23 rods kept 8 legal sturgeon, released 1 legal, 40 sublegal and 1 oversize sturgeon.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/8 rods released 12 walleye.

John Day Pool- 44 boats/111 rods kept 172 walleye and released 12 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 5 boat/7 rods released 16 bass.

John Day Pool- 4 boats/7 rods kept 13 bass and released 12 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 21 bank rods kept 5 steelhead and released 5 Chinook jacks.

Above the I-5 Br:  8 bank rods kept 9 steelhead.  24 boats/81 rods kept 44 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 196 winter-run steelhead adults and three spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 36 winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 23 winter-run steelhead adults and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,080 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 1. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 45.7 F.

Kalama River – 19 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  7 boats/16 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)          April 1, 2019 Rainbow 2,000            2.5 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Lacamas (CLARK)                    April 1, 2019 Rainbow 4,300            1.8 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery

In March, an estimated 337 angler trips harvested 148 hatchery steelhead and released 3 wild (unclipped) steelhead. Anglers averaged 6.2 hours per steelhead. The fishery will remain open to “bank angling only” at the Ringold Springs Access area through April 15. Daily limit is two steelhead and only Ringold Springs steelhead can be harvested. Steelhead released from Ringold Springs Hatchery are adipose and right ventral fin clipped.

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Sport Fishery Summary

Why A Relatively Unknown Washington Lake May Produce The State’s Biggest Tourney Bass

If a WDFW staffer’s analysis of a decade’s worth of bass tournament catches spiked your interest in hitting Lake Osoyoos, we have a few more details to add about it and other hot spots.

That data posted to Facebook earlier this week showed that out of 18 waters across Washington, the fattest average fish was caught at this relatively overlooked border-straddling Okanogan River lake, 3.34 pounds — more than half a pound heavier than the next closest entry on the list.

A BASS ANGLER WORKS THE EASTERN SHORE OF LAKE OSOYOOS JUST BELOW THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER IN THIS CROPPED IMAGE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY’S SHORELINE PHOTO VIEWER. (DOE)

“I suspect they are large in there because conditions are perfect and they have been left alone for the most part,” says Dr. Daniel Garrett, a state warmwater fisheries biologist now stationed in Spokane who crunched the numbers from 14 contests held there.

“I’m sure they would eat a sockeye smolt,” he adds, “but I’d be shocked if crawfish wasn’t driving their growth there for most of the year, as in other systems.”

No need to tell that to two Washington anglers who fished a tournament on the British Columbia side of the 5,729-acre lake last April.

They brought a monster smallmouth aboard that might have gone 9-plus pounds had it not been “pooping crayfish all over the deck,” according to an article on Bassfan.com.

ANOTHER BASS BOAT WORKS OSOYOOS — WHICH MEANS “NARROWING OF THE WATERS” IN THE OKANAGAN LANGUAGE — ALONG ITS WESTERN SHORE IN THIS CROPPED IMAGE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY’S SHORELINE PHOTO VIEWER. (DOE)

It stated that the duo’s two-day, 64-plus-pound catch might also have been a record for the entire nation of Canada, though their final margin of victory — 39 pounds, 15 ounces — also suggests that they might have been fishing the spot on the spot on the spot.

The website reports they were dragging 4-inch Yamamoto Hula Grubs in cinnamon-purple flake and green pumpkin on 1/2-ounce football-head jigs around rocks next to weeds.

“This will put B.C. bass fishing on the map,” angler Shane Hoelzle told BassFan, which observed that otherwise, “largely because it’s a long drive from any large population center, and because anglers have kept quiet, Osoyoos remains largely unpressured.”

The lake is also on WDFW’s map, per se, and the agency says it offers “good fishing” from May through September, but ironically doesn’t list smallies in its rundown of “species you might catch” there.

At this writing, those spot-hoarding state zipperlippers only list perch, rainbows, kokanee, Chinook and sockeye as available.

But in Garrett’s analysis, Osoyoos actually had one of the highest percentages of smallmouth in its tourney catch, around 95 percent, topped only by the Mid-Columbia River’s Wallula Pool at roughly 97 percent.

Bronzebacks also comprised more than 70 percent of the bag at Lakes Washington, Sammamish, Banks and Long (Spokane), according to his analysis.

(WDFW)

But largemouth dominated at two other waters, Box Canyon and Potholes Reservoirs, a reflection of the preponderance of habitat for bucketmouths at the Central and Northeast Washington impoundments, he says.

“Box Canyon, for example, has a ton of slough habitat for largemouth,” Garrett says.

Those off-channel waters and drowned tributary mouths of the Pend Oreille River also unfortunately provided prime places for northern pike illegally introduced from Idaho’s Couer d’Alene drainage to establish themselves before WDFW and the Kalispel Tribe began an aggressive suppression program. While that effort appears to be working, walleye are now turning up in increasing numbers.

Garrett hopes to drill further down into the WDFW tournament data, including catches by month and season, but notes that out of the 146,124 bass caught and recorded at events held between 2008 and 2018, at least 112,213 were smallmouth and 33,503 were largemouth.

“They don’t add up to the 146,124 fish because there are a few missing data points because anglers didn’t report their smallmouth and largemouth. Not very many, though,” he notes.

(WDFW)

WDFW’s permit to hold an event requires organizers to report how many fish of each species were caught, their total weight, the biggest and smallest fish, and how many were released alive.

It turns out that this data may also provide key and unique insights into Washington’s bass populations.

Asked on Facebook if the end of size and bag limits on the Columbia in 2013 and 2016 had had any effect, WDFW stated, “Average weights of bass weighed in tournaments have not changed significantly in the Columbia River Pools. The average since 2016 is slightly higher than the 10-year average.”

As for getting on Lake Osoyoos this spring and summer, there are two boat ramps on the Washington side of the lake, including at Osoyoos Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park at its south end and Deep Bay Park on its west side just off Highway 97.

Do be aware that the lake belongs to two countries and boaters on it are watched more closely than on your local neighborhood lake, if this 2013 Wenatchee World story picked up by the Associated Press is any indication.

But over the coming months you might just spot one of WDFW’s warmwater bios doing a little field research here.

“I need to take a trip to see this lake,” says Garrett.

Me too!

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-27-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

March 27, 2019

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports

Fishery Reports:

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 128 salmonid boats and 52 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch.  14 boats/39 rods kept 9 legal sturgeon, released 5 legal sturgeon and 107 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 52 bank anglers kept 2 legal sturgeon, released 5 sublegal and 6 oversize sturgeon.  8 boats/10 rods released 1 sublegal sturgeon.

DAVE ANDERSON SHOWS OFF A NICE MID-COLUMBIA WALLEYE CAUGHT ON A GUIDED TRIP LAST WEEKEND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 17 boats/32 rods kept 14 walleye and released 6 walleye.

John Day Pool- 47 boats/96 rods kept 93 walleye and released 28 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 1 boat/2 rods released 1 bass.

John Day Pool- 5 boats/10 rods kept 1 bass and released 17 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 64 bank rods kept 8 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  34 bank rods kept 20 steelhead and released 2 steelhead.  61 boats/181 rods kept 101 steelhead and released 10 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 91 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and one spring Chinook adult during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released 21 winter-run steelhead adults and one winter-run steelhead jack into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Randle.

Tacoma Power released four winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/3 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 17 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Wind River – 1boat/2 rods had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Horseshoe (COWL)                Mar 19, 2019 Rainbow 2,900           2.9 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-20-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

 

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 129 salmonid boats and 15 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

SPRINGER BOATS ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Sturgeon

Bonneville Pool- 8 bank anglers released 2 sublegal sturgeon.  6 boats/17 rods kept 3 legal sturgeon and released 26 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 15 bank anglers released 1 sublegal sturgeon.  7 boats/13 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 6 boats/12 rods kept 9 walleye.

The Dalles Pool- No anglers sampled.

John Day Pool- 63 boats/152 rods kept 75 walleye and released 68 walleye.

Bass:

John Day Pool- 1 boat/2 rod kept 1 bass and released 1 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Elochoman River – 6 bank anglers released 2 steelhead.

Germany Creek – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 42 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  38 bank rods released 3 steelhead.  48 boats/156 rods kept 26 steelhead and released 8 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 20 winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released two winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

Kalama River – 29 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  4 boats/11 rods kept 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Lewis River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 11 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)         Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 3,001           2.3 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

SWOFFORD PD (LEWI)           Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 2,750           2.8 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

SWOFFORD PD (LEWI)           Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 3,000           3.0 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

HORSE THIEF LK (KLIC)           Mar 11, 2019 Rainbow 31                0.1 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-13-19)

THE FOLLOWING WDFW FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN

The first spring Chinook was counted at Bonneville Dam March 11, 2019.

2019 2018 10-yr Avg
Dam Date Adult Jack   Adult Jack   Adult Jack
BON 3/11/19 1 0 3 0 24 0

 

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 55 salmonid boats and 28 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

WINTER STEELHEADING ON THE COWLITZ RIVER IS PICKING UP AS THE LATE-TIMED STOCK BEGINS TO ARRIVE IN BETTER NUMBERS. JASON BROOKS TOOK THIS PIC AT BLUE CREEK SEVERAL RUNS AGO. (JASON BROOKS)

Lower Columbia Washington only creel checks:

  • Sec 3 (I-5 area) bank – 5 salmonid bank anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 3 boat – 5 boats/14 salmonid anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 4 (Vancouver) bank – 22 salmonid anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 4 boat – 31 boats/ 65 salmonid anglers had no catch.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 7 bank anglers had no catch.  5 boats/14 rods kept 3 legal sturgeon and released 51 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 15 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/6 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/6 rods kept 20 walleye.

The Dalles Pool- No anglers sampled.

John Day Pool- 11 boats/23 rods kept 26 walleye and released 3 walleye.

Bass:

John Day Pool- 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Elochoman River – 2 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  1 boat/3 rods released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 60 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.  4 boats/5 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:  17 bank rods released 3 steelhead.  31 boats/106 rods kept 22 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered two winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

All of the fish collected last week were held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,160 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 11. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 41 F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 32 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 5 bank anglers had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Salmon Creek – 9 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

LEWIS CO PRK PD-s (LEWI)    Mar 07, 2019 Rainbow 2,000           2.5 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

KlineLine PD (CLAR)                Mar 05, 2019 Rainbow 1,500          2.3 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Lacamas LK (CLAR)                  Mar 04, 2019 Rainbow 4,000          1.9 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

50 Walleye Worth $1,000 Each Waiting To Be Caught In IDFG Lake Pend Oreille Study

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

If the great taste of a walleye fillet isn’t enough, anglers will now have added incentive to catch and keep walleye in Lake Pend Oreille and connected Idaho waters. Starting March 1, an experimental program launched by Idaho Fish and Game and Avista will offer a chance at cash rewards for anglers harvesting walleye.

IDAHO FISHERY MANAGERS SAY NONNATIVE INVASIVE WALLEYE WILL BE SWIMMING IN LAKE PEND OREILLE “FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE” BUT THEY ARE ALSO TESTING WHETHER ANGLERS CAN HELP KEEP THEIRS POPULATIONS IN CHECK THROUGH A STUDY THAT INVOLVES SPECIALLY TAGGED FISH WORTH $1,000. (MATT CORSI, IDFG)

Fifty walleye in Lake Pend Oreille, the Clark Fork River and the Pend Oreille River have been injected in the snout with a tiny, internal tag. These tags are invisible to anglers, but turning in heads from legally caught walleye offers anglers a chance at two types of cash rewards. Anglers will receive $1,000 for a head that is turned in from a tagged walleye. Additionally, every walleye head turned in enters anglers in the monthly drawing for ten cash prizes of $100 each.

There is no bag limit on walleye in the Pend Oreille system. For rules and entry details visit Fish and Game’s Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program website or any of the following fish head freezer locations:

McDonald’s Hudson Bay Resort, 17813 E Hudson Bay Rd, Bayview
Fish & Game Field Office, 16805 Limekiln Rd, Bayview
Garfield Bay Boat Launch, 61 W Garfield Bay Rd, Sagle
Glengary Boat Launch, Marina Rd, Sagle
Peck Landscape Supplies & Farm Store, 468215 Hwy 95, Sagle
North 40, 477181 N Hwy 95, Ponderay
Arnie’s Conoco, 32131 Hwy 200, Kootenai
Holiday Shores Resort and Cafe, 46624 Hwy 200, Hope
Hope Marine, 47392 Hwy 200, Hope
Bonner Park West, 500 Railroad Ave, Priest River
Fish & Game Regional Office, 2885 W Kathleen Ave, Coeur d’Alene (weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)


Concerned about closures in your area? Book the world’s best salmon and halibut fishing in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Canada. Click HERE to learn more.

Experimental approach focuses on fishing power

Walleye were essentially non-existent in Lake Pend Oreille ten years ago, but numbers have been rapidly increasing since 2014. The population likely originated from an illegal introduction of walleye into Noxon Reservoir in the early 1990’s. These fish moved downstream into Idaho via the Clark Fork River. Biologists now fear walleye may cause a decline in kokanee and other high-demand sportfish, such as rainbow trout, native bull trout and cutthroat trout, and bass.

Using information provided by this experimental program, biologists will evaluate how effective anglers can be at keeping walleye populations in check. The lottery will be paired with an experimental gill netting program to compare effectiveness of both approaches. Walleye harvested from gill nets will be donated to area food banks.

Producing over 35,000 eggs per pound of body weight, walleye can quickly reproduce and become a problem if not addressed early. They are also adapted to live in a variety of both lake and stream environments, making them very effective invaders.

Walleye have dramatically changed fish communities in the western United States. Canyon Ferry Reservoir in Montana provides a cautionary look at how walleye can eat themselves out of house and home. Illegally introduced in the 1980’s, walleye depleted the prey base in the reservoir, collapsing perch, rainbow trout, and white sucker populations over the next decade. Following the loss of prey, walleye condition and size dropped. Ultimately, angler satisfaction in the entire fishery declined due to walleye.

Lake Pend Oreille has long been known for its trophy rainbow trout and bull trout, having produced world records for both species. Along with being a popular sportfish, kokanee are the primary prey base for these trophy fisheries and therefore considered the backbone of the fishery. As history shows, a downturn in the kokanee population has reverberating effects across the Lake Pend Oreille food web.

Borrowing a page from lake trout management

Just over a decade ago, lake trout threatened to collapse the kokanee fishery in Lake Pend Oreille. Similar to walleye, lake trout are an introduced, top-level predator in the lake ecosystem. Since 2006, Fish and Game staff and the angling community, with support from Avista and Bonneville Power Administration, have worked to manage and suppress lake trout. Angler rewards and commercial netting were the tools used to reduce lake trout abundance.

The program is a success, as kokanee are now highly abundant and the trophy rainbow trout fishery is outstanding. A similar management approach may work to limit walleye population growth but biologists want to test this strategy before committing long-term.

LAKE PEND OREILLE’S KOKANEE POPULATION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY PROTECTED FROM INTRODUCED LAKE TROUT, BUT NOW FACE A THREAT FROM WALLEYE. (MATT CORSI, IDFG)

Despite being a popular sportfish that benefit fisheries elsewhere, walleye pose a significant risk to sustaining the existing Lake Pend Oreille fishery. Trout and kokanee are particularly vulnerable prey because these species have no spiny fins for protection. Based on stomach content analysis, walleye commonly feed on kokanee in the deeper parts of the lake and yellow perch in the shallower areas.

Given what is known about walleye, it is unlikely the species could be eliminated from Lake Pend Oreille entirely. Fish and Game researchers want to find effective ways to manage this new walleye population at a low enough density that does not jeopardize the existing fishery.

Walleye will be swimming in the lake into the foreseeable future. Fortunately, walleye fishing is fun and they make excellent table fare. The walleye lottery is aimed at adding to that experience with cash rewards while directly involving anglers in Lake Pend Oreille’s fishery management.

If you have questions please call the Panhandle Regional Office at (208)769-1414.