Tag Archives: fishing

55 Washington Lakes Being Stocked For Fall Fishing

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

With thousands of rainbow trout destined for Washington lakes before November, anglers should have plenty of places to enjoy great fishing this fall and through the holiday season.

XANDER YARNOLD AND HIS GRANDPA JIM GILBERTSON TEAM UP TO LAND A NICE-SIZED RAINBOW TROUT AT LELAND LAKE NEAR QUILCENE YESTERDAY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will stock at least 55 Washington lakes with catchable-size trout this fall. Additionally, the department stocks millions of smaller trout each spring, many of which will have grown to catchable size.

“Fall is the time to reel in a nice-sized trout, and our crews are working hard to build on a Northwest tradition of fishing through the seasons,” said Steve Caromile, WDFW’s warmwater fish program manager. “Most of the stocked trout are 13 to 15 inches long, with a few larger ones in the mix.”

Some of the lakes recently stocked include Island Lake in Kitsap County; Island, Lost, Nahwatzel, and Spencer lakes in Mason County; Lake Sylvia in Grays Harbor County; and Gibbs, Teal and Leland lakes in Jefferson County.

Dozens of additional lakes will be stocked throughout the state in October and November providing fishing opportunities into the new year.

The complete list of lakes to be stocked, and the department’s recently updated stocking plan, are available for viewing at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/fall-into-fishing/.

The fall fish plants are in response to anglers’ requests to increase fall and winter trout fishing opportunities, said Caromile.

The effort also includes stocking lakes across the state for the Nov. 23 Black Friday opener, which offers anglers the opportunity to skip the shopping malls, get outside and enjoy fishing on the day after Thanksgiving.

For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, accessible from http://wdfw.wa.gov, or see the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.

XANDER YARNOLD SHOWS OFF HIS LELAND LAKE CATCH, A PAIR OF FRESHLY STOCKED, POWERBAIT-BITING ‘BOWS TO 17 INCHES LONG. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

To participate, anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2019.

Licenses can be purchased by telephone at 1-866-246-9453, at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, or at hundreds of license vendors across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.

FISHING WAS ACTUALLY SCHOOLWORK FOR XANDER, A BIOLOGY LESSON. HE READS WHILE PATIENTLY WAITING FOR MORE FISH TO BITE AT LELAND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Southwest Washington Fishing Report (10-16-18)

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.

IN THIS IMAGE DREDGED OUT OF OUR WAY, WAY, WAAAAAY BACK FILE, FALL SALMON ANGLERS FISH THE COWLITZ ABOVE AND BELOW THE MOUTH OF THE TOUTLE FOR COHO DURING THE 2008 SEASON. (CHRIS SPENCER)

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – No anglers sampled.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 59 bank rods kept 9 coho jacks and released 11 coho jacks.  26 boats/57 rods kept 8 coho, 12 coho jacks and released 2 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 4 coho and 2 coho jacks.

Above the I-5 Br:  68 bank rods kept 1 coho, 3 coho jacks, 5 steelhead and released 36 chinook, 1 chinook jack and 2 coho jacks. 8 boats/18 rods kept 3 coho, 12 coho jacks, 1 steelhead and released 2 chinook.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,225 coho adults, 2,584 coho jacks, 256 fall Chinook adults, 49 fall Chinook jacks, 210 cutthroat trout and 49 summer-run steelhead adults during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 92 coho adults and 197 coho jacks into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 101 coho adults and 232 coho jacks at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 300 coho adults, 1,176 coho jacks, 38 fall Chinook adults, 17 fall Chinook jacks and 15 cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released 467 coho adults, 890 coho jacks and three cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,560 cubic feet per second on Monday, Oct. 15. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 53.2 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead.  2 boats/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Lewis River – 105 bank anglers kept 1 chinook jack, 7 coho, 5 coho jacks and released 2 chinook, 2 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 3 coho jacks and 2 steelhead.  22 boats/55 rods kept 1 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 3 coho, 20 coho jacks and released 1 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 2 coho jacks and 1 steelhead.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Drano Lake – 3 bank anglers kept 1 chinook. 36 boats/84 rods kept 33 chinook, 35 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 2 coho jacks and released 24 chinook, 11 chinook jacks and 1 coho.

Klickitat River – 80 bank anglers kept 43 chinook and 12 chinook jacks, 3 coho and released 2 chinook and 1 coho jack.

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.

 

More Details On Controversial Skagit Coho Limit Increase

A state fisheries biologist is defending his coho limit increase on the Skagit earlier this week, a decision that was strongly panned by some in the angling community.

When an inseason update showed 90,000 of the fall salmon would return to the big North Sound river, up from 73,000 predicted last winter, Brett Barkdull was able to double the bag from two to four.

BRAD JOHNSON CAUGHT THIS SKAGIT RIVER COHO A COUPLE SEASONS BACK ON A LOCALLY MADE SPINNER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

That’s the “normal” limit on these waters when runs are up, a good sign for fish and fisheries.

The change effectively means that fishermen can now keep as many as four hatchery coho, though the limit on wild fish still remains two.

But coming so relatively late in the run, anglers believe that most of the clipped coho are already well upstream on the way to Marblemount Hatchery, so to some it felt like too little, too late — a token offering that will push everyone into the few holes above Rockport for riper fish

Barkdull maintains that the coho are still in “great shape” in the Skagit, though a little darker in the Cascade.

Looking at last year’s escapement report, just 218 had entered the facility as of this week, with the count jumping to 2,200 by the end of October and 5,561 by Thanksgiving. Hatchery managers ended up surplussing 4,869 of those.

Run timing does vary year to year, but so far this fall 1,260 coho have made it to Marblemount, and Barkdull expects a lot more.

“We do not need 15,000 at the hatchery. Huge waste. People should go catch them,” he says.

Fifteen thousand is his own back-of-the-donut-napkin estimate based on downstream test catches.

For Barkdull, who was surprised by outcry, it is a damned-whatever-you-do proposition. He says he is pushed to increase hatchery limits, but when he can do so through inseason testing and management agreements, he gets second guessed.

“Can’t win.”

Yet for others it all felt like just a way for the tribes to get more netting days in, on wild fish.

Barkdull says it wasn’t a trade with the Swinomish and Sauk-Suiattles.

“We are simply following the comprehensive coho management agreement we signed with the tribes. The four, no more than two wilds, is our ‘normal’ limit on the Skagit, so that’s what we went to when coho numbers were updated to the normal range,” he says.

That “normal” limit was in effect during the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons, per the printed regs.

While coho fishing that third year had to be closed when it became clear the fish weren’t coming back, in 2016, when a season wasn’t even in the pamphlet, WDFW was able to open the Skagit via e-reg when joint tribal-state testing found they were abundant enough to allow harvest at the normal level.

That was the year that inseason management was under a white-hot spotlight, with anglers rallying to get WDFW to open rivers via the tool.

On the one hand, it is great that people like us are watching out for salmon runs, as The Blob and its hangover have dealt serious harm to multiple year-classes of fish.

We learned a lesson: If ever there was a time for caution, recent years have shown the importance of banking spawners, and I don’t mean hauling them ashore.

But on the other, the banks that are our rivers are different than financial institutions, as the fishy kind are limited by how much spawning gravel there is to deposit on.

On the Skagit system, there is room for 40,000 adult coho, given habitat capacity and typical egg and fry survival rates, Barkdull says.

His best guess is that 55,000 will try to spawn this fall.

“Plenty,” he says.

Even as anglers like you and I want as many fish back as possible and will limit our trips and take-home to that end, “Realistically, we don’t need 70,000 on the spawning grounds,” Barkdull says.

He says the maximum sustained yield set for the Skagit is 25,000.

Registration Open For Steelhead 101 Workshop In Troutdale

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

Register by Oct. 25 for a Steelhead 101 fishing workshop Nov. 3 and 10 at Glen Otto Community Park (1106 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale).

A JOINT ODFW-STEELHEADERS WORKSHOP INCLUDES CLASSROOM AND ON-THE-WATER INSTRUCTION FOR HOW TO CATCH WINTER-RUNS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The event is co-hosted by ODFW and the Sandy River Chapter, Association of NW Steelheaders. Register online at https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/license (call Jason at 503-947-6025 if you need help registering). 

The workshop is for beginning anglers to learn the essential elements of steelhead fishing. On Nov. 3, the workshop runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and covers selecting the right gear, essential knots, fishing ethics and tips and techniques. Nov. 10’s workshop will be an on-the-water session from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The cost is $52 for adults, $22 for youth (minimum age 10). Lunch, equipment and a year-long membership to the Association of NW Steelheaders is included in the price.

ODFW and partners host a variety of workshops teaching people how to hunt, fish, crab and clam. See the Workshops and Events page for more, https://myodfw.com/workshops-and-events

5 Coos Bay-area Lakes To Be Stocked With Nice-sized ‘Bows

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

Anglers looking for large rainbow trout should head to Coos Bay area lakes soon. Next week, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking five lakes with 14 to 16-inch rainbow trout for great fall fishing.

FALL FINDS NORTHWESTERNERS FOLLOWING SALMON RUNS AND HEADING TO HUNTING CAMP, BUT ONE WESTERN OREGON FAMILY MAKES ITS WAY TO COOS COUNTY FOR TROUT FISHING. (ODFW)

Upper Empire Lake is getting 3,200 trout. Lower Empire will not be stocked due to low water, warm temperatures and weeds. Instead, Butterfield Lake, accessed through Riley Ranch County Park will now receive 1,400 rainbows. Butterfield anglers might also hook into a warmouth, an unusual fish that looks like a crappie with a bass head.

Saunders Lake will receive 1,300 trout. This lake is about five miles north of North Bend and is an easily accessed, pleasant place to take the family fishing. Three miles south of Bandon, Bradley Lake is getting 1,600 trout and Powers Pond will receive 1,300.

This is ODFW’s final trout stocking of the year for Coos County and gives anglers a “last chance” opportunity before winter hits and the weather is not conducive to trout fishing. The rainbow trout harvest limit in most lakes is five fish per day, two daily limits in possession.

Check myodfw.com for fishing tips and the latest Recreation Report.

2018-19 Winter Steelhead Season Smolt Release Figures Out

The latest smolt release data for Western Washington rivers shows three you might want to put on your radar this coming winter season.

IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START THINKING ABOUT WINTER STEELHEAD SEASON, AND THE LATEST SMOLT RELEASE DATA FROM WDFW BEGINS TO PAINT A PICTURE ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE COMING MONTHS. ONE THING YOU CAN COUNT ON IS THAT HUNTER SHELTON WILL BEAT A PATH TO THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA FOR A SHOT AT CHROME-BRIGHT BEAUTS LIKE THIS PAIR FROM LAST NOVEMBER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

They doubled on the Elochoman and Naselle in 2017 for return this season, and were up sharply on the Quinault system as well, according to state figures.

Now, whether the fishing’s twice as good as last year on them is anyone’s guess, as ocean conditions play a strong role in returns, but they will be ones to watch for reports in the coming months.

On the Lower Columbia trib, releases jumped from 66,000 in 2016 – a year-class that produced a “phenomenal” return that allowed managers to recycle and even surplus fish – to 139,000 last year.

According to a WDFW hatchery tech’s report, last season’s fish were the first smolts at the Elochoman’s Beaver Creek facility protected from predation by netting and fencing since 2009.

A bit further west on Highway 4, the Naselle jumped from 37,000 to 73,000, bringing it back up to where it’s been in recent years, outside of 2015 when Puget Sound smolts were let loose here due to a court settlement.

And releases into Lake Quinault and Cook Creek climbed by 73,000 over 2016 and previous years, to 488,000. You’ll need a tribal guide to fish the system.

The one major blip is that Cowlitz stocking dropped by 161,000, but the number of late-returning smolts that went out is still nothing to shake your fish stick at – 437,000 from Blue Creek, 13 percent of all the winter-runs released in the state.

Elsewhere on the Westside, the number of young steelhead turned loose in most waters didn’t vary all that much from the prior year.

But for the record, they were up slightly on the Nooksack (+13,000), Salmon (+10,000), Wynoochee (+7,000) and Willapa (+7,000) and down somewhat on the North Fork Stillaguamish (-20,000), Bogachiel (-20,000), Satsop (-17,000) and Skookumchuck (-13,000).

Fish Commissions Urged Not To Rollback Columbia Salmon Reforms

Ahead of a five-year review and public comment on Columbia salmon and steelhead reforms, fishing advocates are sending out red alerts the tide might be turning in the lower river.

IN A NEW VIDEO, FORMER OREGON GOVERNOR JOHN KITZHABER, SEEN HERE IN A SCREEN GRAB, URGES VIEWERS TO MAINTAIN THE COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON REFORMS. (GILLNETSKILL.COM)

“There’s absolutely no reason to change right now, it makes no sense,” says former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in one of several short videos posted this month on Keep Gillnets off the Columbia’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

He was instrumental in the 2012 compromise that prioritized developing new alternative nontribal commercial gear in the mainstem, moving netting to off-channel areas near the mouth, and increasing allocation for sportfishers, moves also aimed to help more wild salmon and steelhead — some of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act — get through to upstream spawning grounds.

The reforms have proven contentious, with a major disagreement early last year over ESA-listed Snake River fall Chinook impact allocations, with Washington wanting to move to the planned 80-20 nontribal sport-commercial split but Oregon sticking to 70-30.

In another video, Larry Cassidy, a longtime former Washington Game Commission member and respected conservationist, called the reforms a “smart move”, and said they’re working well and there’s “no reason” not to continue them.

The importance of Columbia Chinook was recently highlighted by a joint state-federal review that found springers, tules and upriver brights among key feedstocks for struggling southern resident killer whales.

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, which said in a weekly newsletter last Friday that it’s grateful for Kitzhaber’s continued interest in the issue, is urging its members to check out Gillnetskill.com and asking them to contact Oregon’s and Washington’s governors, Kate Brown and Jay Inslee.

The issue will be before the eight current Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners during a Monday, Oct. 15, meeting that begins at 8:30 a.m.

Members will get a staff briefing on the reforms and view a presentation that includes color-coded report cards for how well it’s played out in terms of management purposes; recreational, commercial and tribal fisheries; allocations; new gear; and the economic results.

“The report is simply a tool to help commissioners evaluate whether the policy has been a success,” Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant, said in an agency press release out earlier this week.

Afterwards there will be an hour-long panel discussion and a chance for public comment.

A meeting agenda says that WDFW staffers will also “seek guidance and next steps.”

Later in the meeting, commissioners will hold their annual get-together with Inslee, and in early November the citizen panel appointed by the governor will meet with its Oregon counterparts on the issue.

With Increased Forecast, Skagit Coho Limit Bumped Up

Editor’s note: Twenty-four hours after sending out the original e-reg for Skagit coho, WDFW issued another correcting two elements: the upper boundary of the affected area (the Cascade River Bridge instead of Rockport) and revised run estimate (73,000 instead of 63,000).

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

Skagit River coho salmon limit to increase

Action:  Increase the daily salmon limit to 4 fish, including up to 2 wild coho. Release chinook and chum.

BRAD JOHNSON CAUGHT THIS SKAGIT RIVER COHO A COUPLE SEASONS BACK ON A LOCALLY MADE SPINNER IN PEARL BUBBLE GUM. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Oct. 10, 2018.

Species affected: Coho salmon.

Location: Skagit River (Skagit County) from the mouth to the Cascade River Road (Marblemount Bridge).

Reason for action: On Oct. 9, WDFW and co-managers revised the projection for returning Skagit River coho to 90,000 fish, up from 73,000. The increased run size allows Skagit River coho daily limits to be raised.

Additional information: The Skagit River from the mouth to 200 feet upstream of the Baker River remains closed to all fishing on Oct. 10 and 11. More information on that closure can be found online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2226.

All other rules remain unchanged. Please refer to https://wdfw.wa.gov for further information on seasons.

ICYMI: Angler Input Sought On 2019 Baker Sockeye Fishery At Oct. 20 Meeting

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will host a public workshop on Oct. 20 in Mill Creek to discuss Baker Lake sockeye salmon management.

WASHINGTON SOCKEYE SLAYERS SHOULD PLAN ON ATTENDING AN UPCOMING WORKSHOP ON THE 2019 SEASON BAKER LAKE, WHERE BRANDY MCPHEE CAUGHT THIS ONE A FEW YEARS AGO. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The public meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at WDFW’s Mill Creek office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd.

At the meeting, fishery managers from WDFW will briefly summarize this summer’s Baker Lake sockeye fishery and will be there to discuss and share ideas on how to improve the fishery moving into the future.

“We’re refining ideas in preparation for next year’s salmon season-setting process and want the public’s input on what we’ve developed so far,” said Edward Eleazer, regional fish program manager for WDFW.

State, tribal and federal fishery managers plan the Northwest’s recreational and commercial salmon fisheries each year during a series of meetings in March and April. The process, which includes input from representatives of the recreational and commercial fishing industries, is known as the North of Falcon process.

The Baker Lake sockeye fishery first opened in 2010 after a juvenile fish-collection facility was installed at upper Baker Dam and a hatchery was opened at the lake.

This year, 17,241 sockeye were trapped below the lower Baker Dam and 8,441 fish were transported to the lake. The remaining sockeye were used for spawning at the hatchery.

WDFW has more information about Baker Lake sockeye on its website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html.

Confessions Of An Aspiring Basser: My 4-year-old Has Caught More Than Me

Editor’s note: We’ve all been there, Jesse, it’s nothing to be ashamed about if the fish don’t bite. Don’t be like the editor who after another fruitless go at coho today almost posted on Facebook that he had left his vehicle unlocked with all his tackle inside and sure hoped nobody would steal it (the lures, rods, net, waders, boots, etc., etc., etc., not the car!). Stick with it, the bass will bite, bud! In the meanwhile, thanks for sharing your great story about your daughter’s catch!

By Jesse Hopkins

On Saturday, September 8th, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter fishing for the first time.

I recently had gotten into bass fishing and bought myself all the high-end product thinking that would help me catch fish. Little did I know that was not the case. In fact, I have yet to catch a bass.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)Con

My daughter Noel, who is currently 4 years old, asked if I could take her fishing with me the next time I go. Of course, I said enthusiastically, but I have yet to buy her a fishing pole. On the way to the local lake at the Oregon coast we stopped at a Fred Meyer so I could buy her a cheap trout fishing pole. They had a combo set on sale for $9.99. Score.

We got to the lake with her and my brother-in-law and started fishing. She kept casting but was very discouraged because it wouldn’t go far.

I told her, “Why don’t you just stand by the dock and keep flicking the pole lightly with the line and hook in the water?”

She was happy to do just that. Keep in mind all she had was a small trout hook with a plastic green worm on it.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

After 10 minutes or so and multiple lost lures from my poor casting ability she yelled, “I have something on!”

I looked over and couldn’t believe she was able to hold on to the rod. It was whipping around like she was fighting a monster. She reeled it in and was so proud. She had caught in our eyes, a trophy bass.

My 4-year-old daughter now has caught more bass than me.

After several photos with the fish we were able to place it back in the lake to be caught by another fisher. She was the happiest I have ever seen her and very proud of herself. Now she is counting the days until the next fishing trip.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)