Tag Archives: cutthroat trout

Lake Sammamish ‘Warm Water Test Fishery’ Netting Raises Questions

Lee Getzewich had heard that there was some gillnetting going on on Lake Sammamish, a water he’s fished for more than 25 years, and it gave him some pause.

But believing it to be just a “study,” the Issaquah resident decided to hit it earlier this month anyway.

A MUCKLESHOOT NET BOAT SITS MOORED TO A DOCK AT THE LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARK BOAT RAMP. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“What we love about it is that it is such a diverse and quality fishery,” Getzewich says of the 4,900-acre King County lake. “We regularly target warmwater species such as bass, crappie, and perch, but we also enjoy the great cutthroat trout fishing, particularly during colder weather.”

When fresh fish is on their menu, yellowbellies and sometimes specks are the target, but that midspring weekday morning, he and his neighbor planned to catch and release cutts and smallies.

“This time of year, when the trout are keying in on the smolts, we regularly catch 20 to 30 cutts in a day, some going over 25 inches,” Getzewich states. “Twenty-seven inches is the biggest I can recall.”

The plan was to cast into the pods of coho just released from the state salmon hatchery in hopes of catching cutthroat preying on the young fish, but after launching at Lake Sammamish State Park’s southeast corner boat ramp they saw nets being deployed off the mouth of Issaquah Creek.

AN ANGLER FISHES OFF THE MOUTH OF ISSAQUAH CREEK, PROBABLY FOR CUTTHROAT TROUT OR SMALLMOUTH BASS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Motoring over to learn more they began talking to the two-person crew. Getzewich says they were shown totes with the previous night’s catch.

“He held up and showed us a sucker fish about 1 pound, but I could see several smallmouth bass and what looked like small crappie in the bin,” Getzewich recalls.

The crew told them that the fish were all being kept so their stomach contents could be studied, and that they were just doing what they’d been told to by biologists.

Getzewich and his neighbor left and fished elsewhere on Sammamish. The day was slow, and they only caught a few small perch and saw some small bass in the shallows at the lake’s north end, where the slough forms.

Afterwards, though, he talked to a buddy with a fisheries degree about what he’d seen and now he isn’t so sure it can be considered a study.

“What I really want to know is, Why is this permitted? Who said this was OK? Why aren’t the people being kept in the loop about this? Where is our DFW?” asks Getzewich. “There is going to be a serious revolution amongst sportsmen if it keeps going.”

A FISHERMAN WATCHES HIS LINE FOR BITES AT LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARIK. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

ON A MISTY MAY FRIDAY MORNING I decided to go check out things on Sammamish for myself.

With my luck I figured that if any nets were in the water, they would be halfway down the lake, well out of my smartphone camera’s range, so I grabbed my big Nikon and a telephoto lens and headed for the state park.

I parked at Sunset Beach, near a long row of upturned picnic tables, then wandered out on the trail to the mouth of Issaquah Creek, where a wading angler stood in water midthigh high about 30 yards offshore, casting and retrieving a lure.

With his tackle box back on dry land, he kept a wary eye on what I was up to as I peered into the murk for buoys marking strings of nets, but the only ones to be seen were the floats delineating the swimming area. Over on the other end of the string, an angler sat fishing the edge of the lily pads.

Turning around I went back and struck up a conversation with a plunker set up next to a long since fallen cottonwood. He said he was fishing for cutthroat and as we talked some salmon smolts began breaking the surface of the little bay he was on.

He told me that earlier in the day he’d seen a couple larger fish swim by together, but wasn’t quite sure whether they were trout, bass or something else. More and more of the young fish started jumping and as I zoomed in, there were a couple big swirls among the pod.

The angler didn’t really have anything to say about the netting and seemed more focused on trying to catch the fish making those swirls, so as the mist turned to a light sprinkle I left him to it and drove over to the boat ramp.

BUOYS MARK THE EDGE OF THE SWIMMING AREA AT LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARK’S SUNSET BEACH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME SINCE I’VE USED this launch, though back when my dad lived in North Bend we’d put in his aluminum boat and fish it somewhat often.

I remember catching a really, really nice trout one time while we were anchored up just to the right of all the ramps. We ate that one as well as some bass we caught another time.

The last time I was on Sammamish was maybe 15 years or so ago with fellow F&H News staffer Jamie Parks. We hit the other southern corner that early spring day to fish for largemouth then zipped north to smallie waters, and on this morning three bassers were launching two boats.

Moored at the end of the leftmost dock was a net boat.

As he readied his craft, I asked the lone angler if he’d heard about the netting and after initially drawing a blank, he recalled fellow anglers mentioning some being dragged through the water.

The other two gents putting in were far more in tune with what’s been going on and they were not exactly happy about it.

As he swiped through pics on his phone of beautiful — and big — bronzebacks, Chris Senyohl, who operates a fly fishing guide service called Intrepid Anglers, told me that the nets had wiped out one of his best smallmouth spots.

His buddy said I’d just missed the net crew and that he’d seen them lift two largemouth out of their boat.

He said they’d been on the water every day during the work week, which is when he said he prefers to fish Sammamish.

HUNGRY PREDATORS GATHER AT THE SOUTH END OF LAKE SAMMAMISH IN SPRING TO SNARF DOWN JUST-RELEASED SALMON SMOLTS LIKE THESE COHO THAT SPILLED OUT OF THE BELLY OF A TROUT CAUGHT BY FAUSTINO RINCON. (FAUSTINO RINCON)

SLIGHTLY DAMP I CALLED IT A MORNING, drove past BMC West, where I worked for awhile after college loading lumber, fighting with customers over bent boards and drawing cartoons at the back gate, and headed in to my office.

I started working on this story on May 9, the day that the Muckleshoot Tribe sent out a notice showing they were intensifying their test fishery for warmwater species on Lake Sammamish and, coincidentally, the day that Lee Getzewich and his neighbor had fished there.

The notice showed that the effort could be expanded from two boats to three, with the maximum number of 3.75- to 6-inch-mesh gillnets tripling, from eight to up to 24.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that happened, but the regulation restated that the nets could be fished from 6 a.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Friday, by which time they’re to be removed for the weekend.

I left a voice mail on the Muckleshoot Fisheries department’s phone not long afterwards, but it hadn’t been returned as of Tuesday morning, May 28, so to figure out what’s going on, you have to zoom in on a couple different documents.

Probably the most important source of information is inside the LOAF — the 2019-20 List of Agreed Fisheries that was concurred to and signed on April 22 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission coming out of the annual North of Falcon season-setting process.

The LOAF essentially lays out all of Western Washington’s salmon fisheries in salt- and freshwaters negotiated between the state and 20-plus tribes, and in the back are a number of appendixes.

Pages 83 to 85 detail what is termed the “2019-2020 Warm Water Test Fishery” to collect data whether a directed fishery on spinyrays in the Lake Washington watershed could be “commercially viable” while also avoiding impacts on Endangered Species Act-listed salmon and steelhead.

“Using large mesh gillnets will eliminate impacts on age-0 Chinook and any potential steelhead smolts migrating out to sea,” the project description states.

The Muckleshoots also state they want to “instrument” walleye they catch with acoustic receivers to see how much their range overlaps with outmigrating coho smolts to target those areas in the future.

Another document, the tribe’s 2016 watersheds report, adds context: “A recent tribal study found that fewer than 10% of coho smolts released from the Issaquah Hatchery survived their freshwater migration to Puget Sound. The Lake Washington basin’s miles of docks, bulkheads, rip-rap, warm water, and the many native and exotic fish predators favored by those degraded conditions are likely at fault.”

Their announcement that they were increasing netting efforts roughly coincided with this month’s release of millions of coho as well as Chinook smolts — the fish I saw jumping in the mist.

SALMON SMOLTS LEAP OUT OF THE LAKE, PERHAPS JUST HAPPY TO HAVE BEEN RELEASED FROM THE NEARBY ISSAQUAH HATCHERY OR MAYBE ATTEMPTING TO FLEE PREDATORY FISH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

THIS IS THE THIRD YEAR THE MUCKLESHOOT test fishery has been going on — it initially included Lake Washington — and it follows 2015’s unexpected discovery of more than a dozen walleye, including an egg-dripping 13-pound hen and six males close by her.

To paraphrase a retired state fisheries manager, whomever recently put walleye (and then northern pike) in the system was no friend of fellow anglers who’ve chased warmwater species for decades, but the Muckleshoots are more blunt; they use the word “criminal” to describe the act.

Besides its many native stocks, crappie have been in the watershed the longest, in Lake Washington since at least 1890, followed by largemouth in 1918, and smallmouth there and in Sammamish since sometime in the 1960s, perhaps earlier.

Lake Washington is ranked as one of the top 100 bass lakes in the entire country by Bassmaster magazine, and is 16th best in the Western U.S.

Local clubs regularly hit it and according to WDFW tournament fishing records, the average bass landed there during the last 10 years weighed 2.22 pounds; the average on Sammamish was 2.31 pounds.

As popular as they’ve become, the times they are a’changing. The plight of the orcas and their primary food has put a target on the fins of spinyrays.

Earlier this month Gov. Jay Inslee signed Second Substitute House Bill 1579 which primarily — and finally — gives WDFW some actual teeth to protect shoreline habitat for Chinook and their forage fish.

It also contains a clause that the Fish and Wildlife Commission must now “liberalize bag limits for bass, walleye, and channel catfish in all anadromous waters of the state in order to reduce the predation risk to salmon smolts.”

The latter idea came out of the governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force’s recommendations last year and it echoes current regulations on the Columbia.

Limits were dropped on the three species in the big river system several years ago following pushing from federal fishery overseers.

How WDFW and the commission interpret “liberalize” and “anadromous” has yet to be determined (no limits? using SalmonScape?), but the bill goes into effect July 1 and will surely include Lakes Sammamish and Washington.

I’m no biologist, but my bet is that bass really don’t have much to fear from sport pursuit because of current support, Northwest anglers’ general preference for other fish on the table and conservation practices, and health advisories.

In other words, it’s a feel-good measure, though with more and more efforts throughout our region to supress or kill off nonnatives like lake trout, northern pike — even rainbow trout — this also feels like it could be a potential inflection point.

LAKE SAMMAMISH STRETCHES FOR 7 MILES FROM ITS NORTH END AT REDMOND TO ITS SOUTH AT ISSAQUAH, WHERE A SALMON HATCHERY RAISES AND RELEASES COHO AND CHINOOK FOR STATE AND TRIBAL FISHERIES. BUT THE SMOLTS MUST FIRST TRANSIT A LAKE FULL OF HUNGRY FISH. (JELSON25, WIKIMEDIA, CC 3.0)

ONE GROUP THAT ESSENTIALLY SUPPORTS the netting on Lake Sammamish is FISH, the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, a nonprofit that leads tours at WDFW’s most-visited production facility and does a lot of youth education with third- and fourth-grade students.

But the organization has also been moving into the realm of advocacy lately, said Larry Franks, its vice president and longtime salmon and steelhead angler.

“We’ve tried to identify things that benefit fish,” he said.

Franks, who retired from Boeing and also has a fisheries degree from the University of Washington, said that despite 2.5 million Chinook being released from the hatchery, last year saw a return of just 1,800 adults, or .07 percent survival.

Part of that is the productivity, or lack thereof, of the North Pacific, as well as harvest by all fleets, but primarily low smolt survival, just 8 to 10 percent from Issaquah to Shilshole Bay, outside the Lake Washington Ship Canal, he said.

“The deck is stacked against them. Our goal is to have better returns,” Franks said.

One problem, he said, is the increasingly narrow band of Lake Sammamish that salmon must swim through between too-warm surface waters and its anoxic depths.

The other is the predators that sit and wait in the zone for the smolts to swim through, then chow down.

Franks believes that the number of warmwater species in the lake and their populations have grown, and that that is impacting salmon outmigration and thus returns that are “dropping precipitously.”

“We’re of the position these are cause and effect, not correlation,” he said.

He acknowledges the growth of the state bass fishery and that smallmouth and largemouth anglers are every bit as dedicated as he is to chasing salmon. He believes that WDFW doesn’t want to piss off spinyray anglers either and is afraid to act — at least without more hard scientific data.

“It comes down to a choice: If you want to retain bass fishing, it’s going to be hopeless, in Larry’s opinion, to save Chinook,” Franks said.

A state staffer close to the situation didn’t want to be quoted for this story, but if official WDFW comments during its recently held Walleye Week on Facebook are any indication, they will be managing salmon and steelhead waters for salmon and steelhead first, and spinyrays where it makes the most sense.

(WDFW is also in the third year of a Lake Washington Ship Canal study to determine abundance and diets of smolt-eating fish there.)

Another option might be trucking Issaquah Hatchery’s smolts and Franks said experiments are ongoing. But anecdotally, it didn’t produce bigger returns last year, though more results are expected this year and next.

That leaves removing the predators, like the Muckleshoots are doing.

“We’re supportive of efforts that would increase the Chinook return,” said Franks.

ISSAQUAH CREEK ENTERS LAKE SAMMAMISH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

AS FOR HOW MANY FISH ARE BEING GILLNETTED in Sammamish, the LOAF — that marine area by river by lake rundown of agreed-to fishing state and tribal seasons and constraints — contains a short statement that caught my eye.

It says that with “the potential for interaction with the public,” the Muckleshoots propose providing monthly reports on their test fishery, including gear used, where it was fished and for how long, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So I asked NOAA for that information, and a week and a half later a federal spokesperson provided me with summaries of catches in March and April for what are known as Zones 7 and 8, the northern and southern halves of the lake.

According to the figures, nearly 2,850 fish were caught and removed from the system during those two months, roughly 60 percent of which were native species, 40 percent nonnatives.

Just over 53.5 percent of the overall catch (1,525) was comprised of largescale suckers, a native fish, followed by introduced smallmouth bass (577) at 20 percent and fellow transplant black crappie (258) at 9 percent.

Other species caught include:

Northern pikeminnow (146), 5 percent, native
Brown bullhead (126), 4 percent, nonnative
Cutthroat trout (85), 3 percent, native
Largemouth bass (78), 3 percent, nonnative
Peamouth chub (24), 1 percent, native
Common carp (11), .4 percent, nonnative
Yellow perch (10), .3 percent, nonnative
Hatchery-origin Chinook (3), .1 percent, native
Mountain whitefish (3), .1 percent, native
Hatchery-origin coho (1), .03 percent, native
Rock bass (1), .03 percent, nonnative
Walleye (1), .03 percent, nonnative

No rainbow trout or natural-origin Chinook were caught, NOAA’s catch breakout shows.

Kokanee, which are at low levels in the lake but also a pelagic, or open-water, fish were not listed in the catch tally.

Under the terms of the test fishery, if three wild steelhead are netted, the effort will be shut down immediately. In the LOAF, the Muckleshoots state that there is a “very low to zero” chance of any turning up, and if one did, they suggest it would probably be a Green River stray.

Gillnetting is set to run through June 15, and I am interested to see what turns up in the catch during the final seven weeks of the program, what with the release of all those coho and Chinook smolts into the system — will the catch percentages change?

The test fishery is also scheduled to resume next January through April.

FEDERAL FISHERY OVERSEERS PROVIDED THIS TABLE SHOWING HOW MANY NATIVE AND NONNATIVE FISH WERE CAUGHT DURING WEEKLY GILLNETTING ON THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN HALVES OF LAKE SAMMAMISH. LARGESCALE SUCKERS DOMINATE THE CATCH, BUT SMALLMOUTH BASS COMPRISE A QUARTER TOO. (NOAA)

SOMETHING LARRY FRANKS SAID STUCK WITH me after our talk:

“It’s a thorny problem.”

Understatement of the century.

As a salmon angler, like many other Northwest sportsmen these days I’m howling that something, anything needs to be done about predators — be they sea lions, harbor seals, Caspian terns, cormorants or piscivorous fish — to get more smolts out and more adult fish back.

That means there’s no way I can support killing pikeminnows in the Columbia, northern pike everywhere in our region, birds at the mouth of the river, and pinnipeds at Bonneville and Willamette Falls without also giving the thumbs up to removing smolt-eating fish in Lake Sammamish.

At the same time, my inner spinyray angler is revolted by what feels like a targeted attack on a fish I like — I literally nearly went bankrupt trying to write a story inspired by catching a huge smallmouth on the Grande Ronde — one that’s widespread across the Northwest and is a great entry-level fish that’s easy to catch.

I’m all for hatcheries, but, holy sh*t, here’s a species that doesn’t require the world’s largest fish production infrastructure to perpetuate in perpetuity, plus they’re ready-made for climate change.

Yet as a Washington native, tell me why our fisheries have to be exactly like what you can already find in Michigan, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Quebec, Tennessee, Iowa, New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, Ontario, Missouri, the Dakotas, New England, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana? We’re not the Old Northwest, this is the Pacific Northwest, home of silver fish, not green ones, and proud of it.

Then again, I’ve also read my King of Fish: The Thousand Year Run of Salmon — with all the problems that our kings, silvers and steelies face, you tell me that smallies and their Midwestern and Southern cousins aren’t what’s going to come out of the other end of things here as the sole survivors.

The utter mess we have made of this region obliges us to do our best to fix it.

At what cost, pray tell?

So as you can tell, I’ve got mostly mixed feelings here.

I do, however, have a problem with the illegal release of walleye in Lakes Sammamish and Washington, and northern pike in the latter. Doing so was among the most asinine, destructive and disrespectful things perpetrated on the watershed since the Great Glacier smothered it. I’ll tar and feather the a@$hole bucket biologist(s) myself.

The comanagers aren’t talking, but I’ll tell you what, I wouldn’t doubt for a second that those crimes were among the tipping points that set their test fisheries in motion. And now everybody but the guilty are paying.

A BLUE HERON WAITS FOR PREY TO SWIM BY. MANY THINGS PREY ON LAKE SAMMAMISH’S SALMON. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

I’M DOUBTFUL THERE WILL BE A “COMMERCIALLY VIABLE” fishery for bass in Lake Sammamish or elsewhere in the system some day, but I could be wrong.

I just hope that the netting shows whether targeted removals of smolt predators at select times and places is worthwhile for increasing salmon survival and expanding harvest seasons — while also preserving native and nonnative fish and fisheries that aren’t going away any time soon.

I’m willing to put a nickel down that while introduced exotics like the bass do have an impact, it’s mostly limited to the two months or so that the young coho and Chinook are transiting the system, and that like over on Lake Washington with sockeye smolts, cutthroat and northern pikeminnow are the actual primary predators.

Again, I could be wrong, but I’d love to learn what is in the stomachs of the thousands of fish the Muckleshoots pull out of the lake this spring. I’d hate to see this all go to waste.

THE SOUTH END OF LAKE SAMMAMISH FROM POO POO POINT, THE TAKE-OFF SPOT FOR HANG GLIDERS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

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.)


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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.

SW WA Fishing Report (Thanksgiving Eve 2018)

THE FOLLOWING WDFW FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 11 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Skamokawa Creek – No anglers sampled.

Elochoman River – 10 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead and 1 coho jack.

Abernathy Creek – No anglers sampled.

Mill Creek – No anglers sampled.

Germany Creek – No anglers sampled.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 29 bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:  8 bank rods released 2 Chinook adults and 2 coho jacks.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 457 coho adults, 727 coho jacks, 142 cutthroat trout, eight fall Chinook adults, three fall Chinook jacks and eight summer-run steelhead adults during six days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 26 coho adults and 45 coho jacks into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 54 coho adults, 77 coho jacks and one cutthroat trout at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 84 coho adults, 285 coho jacks, two fall Chinook adults, two fall Chinook jacks and nine cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released 119 coho adults, 275 coho jacks and five cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,540 cubic feet per second on Monday, Nov. 19. Water visibility is 12 feet and the water temperature is 51.4 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 35 bank anglers released 3 Chinook adults.

Lewis River – 5 bank rods had no catch.  1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 4 bank anglers released 1 coho adult.

Salmon Creek – No anglers sampled.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat River – 11 bank anglers kept 1 coho adult and released 1 Chinook adult and 1 coho adult.

 

SW WA Fishing Report (10-24-18)

THE FOLLOWING WDFW FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Mainstem from the mouth upstream to McNary Dam

  • From the Buoy 10 line upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco:
    • Closed to angling for and retention of salmon and steelhead.

WELL UPSTREAM OF THE COLUMBIA, BILL STANLEY AND FRIENDS HAVE BEEN FINDING A FEW NICE-SIZED HATCHERY B-RUN STEELHEAD WHILE FISHING ALONG THE SNAKE RIVER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – No anglers sampled.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 62 bank rods kept 15 coho jacks and released 1 chinook jack and 4 coho jacks.  9 boats/46 rods kept 6 coho, 27 coho jacks and released 1 chinook, 6 chinook jacks, and 2 coho jacks.

Above the I-5 Br:  60 bank rods released 27 chinook and 1 coho jack. 21 boats/30 rods kept 7 coho jacks, 2 steelhead and released 21 chinook, 1 chinook jack and 2 coho.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,093 coho adults, 2,210 coho jacks, 162 fall Chinook adults, 34 fall Chinook jacks, 107 cutthroat trout and 19 summer-run steelhead adults during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 141 coho adults and 165 coho jacks into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 191 coho adults and 425 coho jacks at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 353 coho adults, 1026 coho jacks, 28 fall Chinook adults, 13 fall Chinook jacks and four cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released 283 coho adults, 597 coho jacks and one cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,540 cubic feet per second on Monday, Oct. 22. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 53.6 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 16 bank anglers kept 1 coho.  1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 106 bank anglers kept 5 chinook, 9 coho jacks and released 5 chinook, 1 chinook jack and 1 coho jack.  19 boats/37 rods kept 1 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 3 coho, 9 coho jacks, 1 steelhead and released 3 chinook and 5 coho jacks.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Drano Lake – 2 bank anglers had no catch. 3 boats/7 rods kept 1 coho.

Klickitat River – 80 bank anglers kept 24 chinook, 7 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 1 steelhead and released 2 chinook and 1 steelhead.  2 boats/3 rods kept 2 coho.

Fishing Rule Changes:

  • Grays River:  effective October 6, 2018 until further notice, from the mouth upstream to the mouth of the South Fork:  release all Coho.
  • West Fork Grays River:  effective October 6, 2018 until further notice, from the mouth upstream:  release all Coho.
  • Cowlitz River:  Until further notice closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the Barrier Dam including all lower Cowlitz tributaries, except the Toutle River.  Until further notice, the closed waters section below the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Barrier Dam is 400’, at the posted markers.
  • Washougal River, including Camas Slough:  Until further notice closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the bridge at Salmon Falls.
  • Toutle River:  effective October 6, 2018 until further notice, from the mouth upstream to the forks:  release all Chinook.
  • North Fork Toutle River:  effective October 6, 2018 until further notice, from the mouth upstream to the posted markers below the fish collection facility:  release all Chinook.
  • Wind River:  from the mouth to 400’ below Shepherd Falls, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.
  • Drano Lake: Effective Oct. 17, 2018 until further notice. Closed to all fishing in the waters downstream of markers on a point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Highway 14 Bridge.
  • White Salmon River:  from the mouth to the county road bridge below the former location of the powerhouse, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead

STURGEON

From the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries – Until further notice, white sturgeon open for catch and release fishing only. Fishing for sturgeon at night is closed.

SW WA Fishing Report (9-26-18)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

September 26, 2018

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Mainstem from the mouth upstream to McNary Dam

  • From the Buoy 10 line upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco:  
    • Closed to angling for and retention of salmon and steelhead.

TONY HASLIP SHOWS OFF HIS BIGGEST CHINOOK YET, CAUGHT RECENTLY ON A WESTERN WASHINGTON RIVER WHILE FISHING EGGS UNDER A FLOAT. FRIEND CHRIS CLEARMAN TOOK THE PIC AND SENT IT IN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 2 anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 127 bank rods kept 2 chinook, 2 coho jacks and released 3 chinook and 5 coho jacks.  55 boats/141 rods kept 8 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 69 coho jacks and released 32 chinook, 39 chinook jacks, 9 coho, 25 coho jacks and 1 cutthroat. 

Above the I-5 Br:  48 bank rods kept 1 chinook, 2 steelhead, 1 cutthroat and released 3 chinook. 4 boats/9 rods kept 4 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 390 coho adults, 568 coho jacks, 226 fall Chinook adults, 51 fall Chinook jacks, 38 cutthroat trout, 30 summer-run steelhead adults, 19 spring Chinook adults, and one spring Chinook jack during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 47 coho adults, 59 coho jacks, five spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack and one cutthroat trout into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 67 coho adults, 122 coho jacks and 12 spring Chinook adults at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 186 coho adults, 377 coho jacks, 110 fall Chinook adults, 40 fall Chinook jacks, and three cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,510 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Sept. 24. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 54.3 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 27 bank anglers released 1 chinook and 1 steelhead. 

Lewis River – 112 bank anglers kept 1 chinook, 3 steelhead, 3 coho, 3 coho jacks and released 1 chinook, 1 coho and 3 coho jacks.  20 boats/49 rods kept 6 chinook, 1 chinook jack, 1 coho, 14 coho jacks and released 15 chinook, 20 chinook jacks and 4 coho jacks.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Drano Lake – 38 bank anglers kept 2 chinook, 1 chinook jack and released 2 steelhead.   66 boats/182 rods kept 59 chinook, 36 jacks, 8 coho and 2 coho jacks and released 3 chinook jacks, 8 steelhead and 1 coho.

Klickitat River – 27 bank anglers kept 4 chinook and 4 chinook jacks.

  • Deep River:  Effective September 24, 2018 Deep River reopens to salmon and steelhead angling under permanent rules.
  • Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough: Effective September 24, 2018 Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough reopens to salmon and steelhead angling under permanent Oregon regulations.  
  • Cowlitz River:  Effective September 22, 2018 closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the Barrier Dam including all lower Cowlitz tributaries, except the Toutle River.  Until further notice, the closed waters section below the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Barrier Dam is 400’, at the posted markers.
  • Washougal River, including Camas Slough:  Effective September 22, 2018 closed for Chinook retention from the mouth to the bridge at Salmon Falls.
  • Wind River:  from the mouth to 400’ below Shepherd Falls, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.
  • Drano Lake:  closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.
  • White Salmon River:  from the mouth to the county road bridge below the former location of the powerhouse, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead

STURGEON

From the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries – Until further notice, white sturgeon open for catch and release fishing only. Fishing for sturgeon at night is closed.

 

Last Chance To Save Lake Washington Sockeye Fisheries?

Too few young sockeye are surviving as they rear in Lake Washington before going out to sea, and the runs — not to mention the famed salmon fisheries — could peter out in 20 years or so if nothing’s done.

SOCKEYE SMOLTS FACE AN INCREASING HOST OF PREDATORS IN LAKE WASHINGTON (THESE WERE PHOTOGRAPHED IN IDAHO), INCLUDING NATIVE SPECIES SUCH AS CUTTHROAT TROUT AND NORTHERN PIKEMINNOW, AND NONNATIVE ONES SUCH AS SMALLMOUTH, LARGEMOUTH AND ROCK BASS, YELLOW PERCH, AND NOW WALLEYE AND NORTHERN PIKE. (MIKE PETERSON, IDFG VIA NMFS, FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0)

That’s according to modeling put together by Dr. Neala Kendall, a WDFW research scientist, and shared for the first time publicly last night.

“Our analysis suggests that only small numbers of sockeye salmon will persist in Lake Washington under current conditions, much less provide future opportunities for tribal and recreational fisheries,” read one of her slides.

“Maintaining the run and restoring fisheries will be very challenging but not impossible,” it also said.

Kendall was presenting to 50 to 60 anglers and members of the Cedar River Council who’d gathered in a banquet room at Renton’s Maplewood Golf Course on an unusually warm evening for April.

The findings were grim news for the fishermen and state managers, as there are few salmon seasons as popular — or that provide the local economic jolt — as Lake Washington sockeye.

It’s been 12 years since the last one, held in 2006 after “insanely high” ocean survival for that year-class of fish brought home one out of every two smolts that left the lake.

RUB A DUB DUB! THREE MEN TROLL FOR SOCKEYE DURING THE 2006 LAKE WASHINGTON SEASON, WHICH YIELDED THE HIGHEST CATCH IN A DECADE BUT HAS ALSO BEEN THE ONLY FISHERY IN A DOZEN YEARS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Despite the promise and production of the new Seattle Public Utilities hatchery on the Cedar River, returns have only averaged 84,000 since then, with even the best of those years more than 200,000 fish shy of the mark to open the lake.

Aaron Bosworth, the state district fisheries biologist, was also on hand and said that smolt survival is now not only lower than it used to be but well below what it is to the north of the continent’s southernmost sockeye system, 2 to 4 percent versus 16 to 20 percent.

As for why that is, Bosworth said that University of Washington studies have ruled out forage and competition — there’s enough zooplankton in the lake to support the pelagic salmon as well as the huge biomass of longfin smelt.

A big and increasing problem is prespawn mortality on returning adults.

His data showed that between 1995 and 2013, from 45 to 85 percent of the sockeye that went through the locks turned up in the Cedar River. But since 2014 only 20 to 33 percent have. That may be function of warm waters in the ship canal making less-healthy fish more susceptible to disease. With the stock comprised of roughly 60 percent natural-origin fish, fewer spawners produce less eggs overall.

SOCKEYE MANAGERS SAY THAT THE PAST FOUR RETURNS OF SALMON THROUGH THE LAKE WASHINGTON SHIP CANAL (BACKGROUND) HAVE SEEN ABNORMALLY HIGH MORTALITY, WITH 67 TO 80 PERCENT OF THE FISH NOT SHOWING UP IN THE CEDAR RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Still, the “leading theory” now for why the runs aren’t better is predation by native cutthroat trout and northern pikeminnow, as well as nonnative species such as largemouth, smallmouth — Lake Washington was rated as the West’s eighth best for bass by Bassmaster as recently as 2016 — rock bass and perch.

The latter stocks might not eat as many smolts as the former, but they do exacerbate the problem, Bosworth said. With a warming climate, they’ll only do better too, it’s assumed.

Another invasive, walleye, are also now being found in the lake, and earlier this year a bass angler caught but unfortunately released a pike, the second known northern here in the past 15 months.

But sockeye snackers are also getting a helping hand from humanity.

Amy Windrope, who was WDFW’s director for the North Sound region before named acting deputy director for the agency, brought up a factor she’d heard a person in the audience mention: light pollution.

Essentially, between sunset and sunrise, all the bulbs we turn on to light the streets and highways, our sideyards, parking lots and more, create an overhead aura that has benefited the fish-eaters to the detriment of young sockeye as well as Chinook.

Kendall said that the effect has extended the time that salmon smolts are visible through the night, making them more vulnerable to predation and providing fewer hours for them to eat without risk.

Scott Stolnack, a King County watershed ecologist, said data showed that 20 years ago there was a definite period when cutthroat were not feeding, but for the past five years, their stomachs are now full at all hours.

“It’s always dusk for cutthroat,” he said.

Driving home afterwards as night fell on Seattle, that really hit home for me.

As I crossed the bridge between Bellevue and Mercer Island, I looked to the south and saw a particularly bright bank of big lights by the lake. And zipping along Interstates 405, 90 and 5 while illuminated for vehicle safety from above, it was like me and the other cars were smolts, any staters in the shadows cutts.

The question of the night really boiled down to: Do we want to do something about this in hopes of having sockeye fisheries again, and if so, What is that path?

Kendall’s modeling suggests the best way would be increasing survival of the young salmon, and that lifting it to rates of 4 to 8 percent yields a good response.

DR. NEALA KENDALL EXPLAINS LAKE WASHINGTON SOCKEYE MODELING. A MODEL SUGGESTS THAT INCREASING SMOLT SURVIVAL WILL HELP REBUILD THE SALMON’S POPULATION OVER TIME. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

She did face questions from the audience about how confident she was in her work, which is based on current conditions continuing.

Tom Allyn, vice chair of the Cedar River Council, wanted to know how much increasing survival and other tweaks might cost.

When fellow panel member and sportfishing advocate Frank Urabeck called for a show of support for asking WDFW to crunch the numbers, most if not all fishermen raised their hands.

In other words, for our part we’re not ready to give up on the salmon.

“After having heard how difficult a challenge it will be to restore Lake Washington sockeye sport fisheries, the public attending the meeting last night overwhelmingly voted for us to continue to see if that can be done,” said Urabeck. “This means convincing the Department of Fish and Wildlife and other entities like the Muckleshoot Tribe, King County, City of Seattle, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, etc., to engage in a feasibility assessment of a sockeye recovery action plan. I hope that my colleagues on the Cedar River Council will work with me to this end.”

Even as the Muckleshoots plan another year of walleye studies in the lake and WDFW biologists will again sample for diet and abundance of spinyrays in the ship canal, when talk centered around whether there were any current plans to actively remove predators — there are not — one fisherman pointed out, “You have a room full of volunteers.”

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (4-17-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Washington lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary – Sat. April 14

From Bonneville Dam downstream to the top of Puget Is., nearly 1,200 salmonid boats and over 600 bank anglers were counted during last Saturday’s flight.

WASHINGTON SIDE CATCH STATS FOR BOAT ANGLERS ON THE APRIL 14 COLUMBIA RIVER SPRING CHINOOK REOPENER. (WDFW)

MASON WEINHEIMER STRUGGLES TO LIFT A 20-POUND HATCHERY SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT ON THE APRIL 14 REOPENER. HE WAS FISHING IN THE VANCOUVER AREA WITH HIS DAD, JOSH, WHO REPORTED PRETTY FAST ACTION “THAT WAS A GREAT DAY, STARTED AT 12:30 AND BACK ON THE TRAILER AT 3:30,” HE EMAILED. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Washington Columbia River tributaries and lakes sampling summaries – April 9-15

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream: 120 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead. 17 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. Above the I-5 Br: 146 bank rods kept 14 adult spring Chinook and 20 steelhead and released 2 steelhead. 199 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and 49 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Most of the spring Chinook were checked at the barrier dam; steelhead at the trout hatchery.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 775 winter-run steelhead, 39 spring Chinook adults and two jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 40 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 14 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into the Cispus River, near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Tacoma Power also released 33 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,340 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 16. Water visibility is 6 feet and the water temperature is 44.6 degrees F.
Kalama River – 33 bank anglers released 1 steelhead. 7 boat anglers had no catch.

Mainstem Lewis River – 15 bank rods released 1 adult spring Chinook. 1 boat angler had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 20 bank rods had no catch. 17 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and released 2 steelhead.

Wind River – 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Drano Lake – 4 boat anglers had no catch.

Klickitat River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows and cutthroats. No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

LACAMAS LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LACAMAS+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 09, 2018
Rainbow
6,000
2
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 10, 2018
Rainbow
2,000
2.5
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 11, 2018
Cutthroat
4,179
2.5
SKAMANIA HATCHERY

HORSESHOE LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=HORSESHOE+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 11, 2018
Rainbow
3,367
2.6
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 11, 2018
Rainbow
3,120
2.6
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

Tacoma Power released 1,600 rainbow trout into South Lewis County Park Pond.

Lower Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (3-26-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Washington lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam sport sampling summaries for March 19-25

Fishing for spring Chinook is improving for boat anglers from Vancouver downstream. Bank angling remains SLOW!

DAVID GRANT OF OREGON CITY CAUGHT THIS SPRING CHINOOK ON THE LOWER COLUMBIA THIS PAST SATURDAY WHILE FISHING WITH GUIDE BILL MONROE. THE FISH FELL FOR A HERRING TROLLED IN COMBINATION WITH A FISH FLASH. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

On Saturday March 24 there were 631 salmonid boats and 277 bank anglers counted during the flight. Last year during the same time there were just over 100 salmonid boats and 100 bank anglers counted. Of course, last year flows were nearly 460,000 cfs compared to the 212,600 cfs now.

Washington Columbia River tributaries sport sampling summaries for March 19-25

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream:  65 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.  4 boat rods kept 1 steelhead.  Above the I-5 Br:  35 bank rods kept 4 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead.  139 boat rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 43 steelhead and released 2 steelhead and 1 cutthroat.

Kalama River – 16 bank anglers released 3 steelhead.  7 boat angler kept 1 steelhead.

Mainstem Lewis River – 1 bank angler had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 19 bank anglers kept 1 adult spring Chinook.   1 boat angler had no catch.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish perPound
Hatchery
Notes

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Mar 19, 2018
Rainbow
2,000
2.4
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KLINELINE PD (CLARK<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Mar 19, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
2.4
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Status Quo Management For Priest Lake Fish, IDFG Decides

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

Fish and Game will continue managing Priest Lake as primarily a lake trout fishery while also protecting native cutthroat trout and bull trout in Upper Priest Lake.

Over the past several years, F&G fisheries managers have done extensive public outreach to see if a management change was warranted at Priest Lake, but found there was not clear public sentiment that favored it.

JAMIE CARR HOISTS A LARGE PRIEST LAKE MACKINAW. MANY LAKE TROUT IN THE NORTH IDAHO SEA ARE MUCH SMALLER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

“Simply put, fishing opportunity in the foreseeable future is likely to be about the same as it has been in recent years,” regional fish manager Andy Dux said. “Lake trout will continue to be abundant, kokanee will persist at low densities, but large in size. Cutthroat trout will also be present in moderate densities, and smallmouth bass will remain abundant.”

Fish and Game, with help from the Priest Lake Fishery Advisory Commitee, presented anglers and the public with three management choices: status quo, reducing lake trout populations to boost the kokanee fishery and other game fish species, or slightly reducing the lake trout population in an attempt to get a corresponding increase in other species.

Fish and Game did several surveys and multiple open houses to gauge public interest in changing management for the lake.

  • The random mail survey of anglers showed 52 percent did not want change vs. 48 percent who wanted change.
  • An email survey of anglers showed 45 percent did not want change and 55 percent did want change.

Resident anglers who frequently fish Priest Lake showed the most support for maintaining the existing fishery. Anglers who used to fish Priest Lake, but don’t now, were most likely to support change. In general, resident and nonresident anglers had similar opinions, and so did anglers from all the counties surveyed.

“We were clear from the start that unquestionable support for change was necessary in order for a drastic shift in management to be publicly accepted and successful,” Dux said.

Changing the management of the Priest Lake would require substantial time and resources from the department and patience from the public. Without a clear mandate for change, fisheries managers decided it was best to continue with the current management.

“We had tremendous participation from the public during this process, which gives us confidence that we understand public desires for the Priest Lake fishery,” Dux said. “The Priest Lake fishery is a public resource, so periodically it is important to ask the public how they want to see it managed. We learned there isn’t quite enough support to justify major change, but we didn’t have a good read on that until we asked the question.”

Priest Lake’s fisheries have steadily changed over time. The lake’s native sport fish are cutthroat trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish. Non-native lake trout and kokanee were introduced decades ago, and for many years, kokanee supported the lake’s most popular fishery.

Kokanee were also an important food source for bull trout and lake trout, which attained trophy sizes. That balance between predators and prey fish lasted into the 1970s, then fell apart. Mysis, a small freshwater shrimp, was introduced in the late-1960s to provide more food for kokanee. Unfortunately, young lake trout feed on shrimp until the fish switch their diet to kokanee.

Mysis allowed the lake trout population to grow at the expense of kokanee, which also happened to a lesser extent as lake trout preyed on, or outcompeted, cutthroat and bull trout.

Fish and Game has curbed lake trout population growth in Upper Priest Lake to relieve pressure on those native fish.

Fisheries managers have in the past attempted to boost kokanee numbers by stocking more, but those efforts were thwarted by lake trout predation. Millions of kokanee fry, as well as hundreds of thousands of juvenile cutthroat, were stocked without a noticeable increase in the populations of either species.

While fishing at Priest Lake is different than decades ago, it’s still an attractive place for anglers who enjoy catching lake trout.

“Plenty of fishing opportunities lie ahead for Priest Lake anglers,” Dux said. “Anglers looking for unique fishing opportunities in a scenic location will find them at Priest Lake.”

 

Southwest Washington Fishing Report (11-8-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM WDFW, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream: 30 bank rods kept 3 adult coho and released 3 fish. 2 boat anglers had no catch. Upstream from the I-5 Br: 77 bank rods kept 34 adult and 1 jack coho and released 11 adult Chinook and 26 adult coho. 6 boat rods kept 6 adult coho and released 6 fish.

COHO ARE PROVIDING THE SEASON’S BEST FISHING OPPORTUNITIES AT THE MOMENT IN WASHINGTON’S SOUTHWESTERN QUARTER. BARRY DUBNOW CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE HUMPTULIPS WHILE TWITCHING JIGS WITH GUIDE JARED CADY. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,989 coho adults, 333 coho jacks, 98 fall Chinook adults, two fall Chinook jacks, 43 cutthroat trout, and 16 summer-run steelhead during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 106 coho adults and 24 coho jacks into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and they released 217 coho adults, 34 coho jacks and one cutthroat trout at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 838 coho adults, 182 coho jacks, six fall Chinook adults, one fall Chinook jack and nine cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 579 coho adults, 76 coho jacks and two cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, November 6. Water visibility is four feet and water temperature is 51.1 degrees F.

Mainstem Lewis River – 12 bank and 3 boat rods had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 72 bank rods kept 1 adult coho and released 1 adult Chinook and 3 adult coho. 40 boat rods kept 4 adult Chinook and 1 jack and 24 adult coho and released 4 adult Chinook and 5 jack and 8 adult coho.