Tag Archives: northwest sportfishing industry association

NSIA Reports A Successful 20th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

On Friday, August 16th, nearly 200 sportfishermen from all over the region came out for the Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge to try their luck hauling in one of the large Chinook and coho migrating up the mighty Columbia. With a total of 89 fish weighed in by 5pm this was a very successful year for the derby; the competition was stiff! NSIA has hosted this derby for 20 years, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support sport fishermen and the sport fishing industry. This Astoria fundraiser is the biggest of the five events hosted by NSIA.

(NSIA)

The Buoy 10 derby is made possible each year by the incredible support of the sportfishing industry, both through sponsorships and the product donations that allow us to offer some of the top brands on the market as prizes and auction items. This year’s silent auction items, door prizes and raffle offerings included products from Berkley, Brad’s Killer Fish Gear, Engel Coolers, Gamakatsu, Grundens, Lamiglas, Okuma, ProCure, Shimano, Smokehouse Products, Tempress and Yakima Bait to name just a few of the many companies who supported Buoy 10 with product donations.

The 2019 Big Fish Prize of $1000 went to Jim Johnson of Team Austin’s Northwest Adventures. The team captain, Austin Moser, got Jim on the winning fish that weighed in at 21.80 gilled and gutted pounds. NSIA’s longtime sponsor, North River Boats donated funds for the Big Fish winner. Other winners include:

2nd Place Big Fish: Jason Erickson with a close runner-up at 21.40 pounds.

3rd Place Big Fish: Cameron Black hard on their heels with a Chinook at 21.15 pounds.

4th Place Big Fish: Tanner Morton pulled in a 20.60-pound Chinook.

5th Place Big Fish: Joe Depweg was just a hair behind with a good-size fish at 20.45.

G Loomis, Lamiglas, and Berkley Air rods, paired respectively with Shimano, Abu Garcia Ambassadeur and Penn Warfare reels along with Maxima line packages were won by the following teams:

1st Place Team – Cameron Black’s Gone Catchin’ Team with an average weight of 17.88.

2nd Place Team – Blair Johnson’s Team Double Trouble had an average weight of 17.82.

3rd Place Team – Josh Hughes Team with an average weight of 14.68

The $1,100 Mystery Fish Prize, sponsored by WeldCraft/Duckworth, was available to any angler that weighed in a fish. Dan Lawrentz was the 2019 lucky winner.

The Columbia’s Buoy 10 area is the largest salmon fishery in the lower 48 states. NSIA is proud to be fighting every day for the health of this magnificent river as well as every other watershed in the Pacific Northwest, and the critical ocean habitat they flow into. Events like this year’s Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge allow NSIA to be steadfast in its mission of preserving, restoring and enhancing Northwest sportfisheries and the businesses that depend on them.

NSIA Executive Director, Liz Hamilton says of the tournament, “The Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge has not only been the most exciting salmon fishing tournament on the lower Columbia for almost 20 years, but it is also our most important fundraiser. All funds will go toward protecting and restoring healthy river systems, defending hatcheries and the millions of smolts they release each year as well as working to increase angler access to fisheries across the Northwest.”

NSIA would also like to thank the Buoy 10 derby sponsors for making this event a success. Their support allows NSIA to have a strong voice in local, state, and federal governments, advocating for policies that keep the sportfishing industry thriving in the Northwest. Please remember these companies and brands when you’re gearing up for your next trip: Berkley, Brad’s Killer Fish Gear, Engel Coolers, Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor, Frank Amato Publications/STS Magazine, Freshwater News, G. Loomis, Grundens, Luhr Jensen/Rapala, Master Marine, Maxima, North River Boats, Northwest Sportmans Magazine, Okuma, Pautzke/Atlas Mike’s, PENN, Raymarine, Shimano, Tom & Jerry’s Boat Center, and Weldcraft/ Duckworth.

NSIA also wishes to thank the many volunteers and companies that donated their products and services. And once again, Cody Herman of Day One Outdoor Adventures kept the evening’s festivities lively as Master of Ceremonies.

NSIA will host the next Buoy 10 derby in August 2020. We hope you can join us for what is always a fun and fantastic event!

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Heart Of Derby Season Arrives In The Northwest

Move over summer, it’s derby season in the Northwest!

With two big events last weekend and a bunch more in the coming days and weeks, now through late September represents a great time to get on the water to try and catch a cash-winning trophy, win fishing gear, not to mention maybe score a boat package worth a whopping $75,000.

MEMBERS OF THE MEANWHILE CHARTERS TEAM HOLD AN OVERSIZED $6,000 CHECK AFTER WINNING THE OREGON TUNA CLASSIC’S DEEP CANYON CHALLENGE LAST WEEKEND. (MELISSA GRACE)

Indeed, after a four-month break, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series has roared back into town with recent stops in Bellingham and Coeur d’Alene and it hits Brewster and Tacoma this coming weekend.

Holding the annual Brewster Salmon Derby was a close call again, with Washington managers only last week greenlighting Chinook fishing to begin Aug. 1 on part of the Brewster Pool, thanks to enough fish expected back to support an opener.

Organizers say that registration is open through midnight, Wednesday, July 31. The competition runs Aug. 2-4.

To learn more, go to brewstersalmonderby.com or call (509) 945-5823.

This Saturday, Aug. 2, is also the South King County Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby.  Now in its 18th year, it offers a $3,500 top prize and it usually takes a Chinook approaching or just over the 20-pound mark to win it.

While Marine Areas 10, 11 and 13 are all fair game, it can be hard to beat the waters just off derby headquarters, Point Defiance Marina. Last year saw spoons dominate over hoochies.

For more, see pugetsoundanglers.net.

WHETHER YOU’RE FISHING A DERBY ON PUGET SOUND, AT BUOY 10 OR ALONG OREGON’S SOUTH COAST IN LATE SUMMER, YOU’LL LIKELY NEED A CHINOOK AS BIG AS PAUL WHITSON’S 2018 SOUTH KING COUNTY PUGET SOUND ANGLERS DERBY WINNER TO PLACE IN THE MONEY. HIS 19.45-POUND CHINOOK WAS WORTH $3,500. (PUGET SOUND ANGLERS)

The marina is also home to the 24th Annual Gig Harbor Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby the following Saturday, Aug. 10, which features a $2,500 grand prize and raffle for a Lowrance fishfinder.

Open waters are Areas 11 and 13. Last year’s winner was a 15.63-pound king.

For more, see gigharborpsa.org.

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association’s 20th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge, with a top prize of $1,000 for largest fish, is Friday, Aug. 16, and includes a day’s worth of angling for Chinook and coho as the meat of this year’s million-plus salmon run comes across the bar.

There’s a captain’s meeting the evening before, and after the fishing comes a barbecue, silent auction, raffle and more at derby headquarters, the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, a short 5 miles from the East Mooring Basin ramp.

“No one leaves empty-handed from an NSIA derby,” organizers boast. “Stick around for the fantastic door prize giveaway at the end of the evening!”

For more, see nsiafishing.org.

The next day, Aug. 17, is the 2nd Annual Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament, the motto for which is “Leave the boys behind, this one’s for the ladies.”

Last year’s inaugural edition was won by Kelsey Van Dyke, who scored $4,000, which is the top prize again this year.

For more, see lipsticksalmonslayer.com.

This past weekend saw the 2019 Oregon Tuna Classic kick off in Ilwaco with the Deep Canyon Challenge, won by Team Meanwhile Charters, and the series now in its 15th year, culminates in Aug. 23-24 down the coast a ways in Garibaldi.

It raises money for and donates caught tuna to food banks, with both avenues having helped deliver more than 1 million pounds to the needy since 2005.

“The tournaments also bring much needed economic benefit to the communities visited by the armada of fishermen, volunteers and spectators,” OTC organizers add on their website. “Local businesses in Ilwaco and Garibaldi continue to see the benefits while also donating their time and services to the events. Garibaldi City Manager John O’Leary speculates the Oregon Tuna Classic might rival the annual Garibaldi Days in generating business.”

For more, see oregontunaclassic.org.

As active as August is, September’s no slouch either, as two Oregon Labor Day weekend shindigs wrap up and a pair of big silver derbies take place.

After a two-year hiatus, the Slam’n Salmon Derby returns to Brookings for the long holiday weekend at the end of summer. It features a grand prize of up to $5,000 for the largest king caught on the ocean during the three-day event.

Check out wcadventure.com for details.

Also held that weekend on Oregon’s South Coast, the 26th Annual Fall Salmon Derby out of Winchester Bay on the lower Umpqua River. It’s sponsored by the Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.

Contact Rick Rockholt at (541) 613-0589 or umpqua.rock@charter.net.

And hard on their heels comes the Puget Sound Anglers Sno-King Chapter Edmonds Coho Derby, while its cousin just to the north, the Everett Coho Derby and its Northwest Salmon Derby Series boat giveaway, falls on the third weekend in September.

This year’s grand raffle prize is a Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop with Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horse motors, EZ-loader galvanized trailer and more, a package worth $75,000. Entering any derby series event automatically puts your name in the running for the boat.

For more info on both events, see edmondscohoderby.com and everettcohoderby.com.

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WDFW License Bills Moving Again As End Of Regular Legislative Session Nears

After hibernating for the past two months, WDFW’s fee bills have woken up and are moving again, but what will emerges from the den that is the Washington legislature remains to be seen.

Both the House and Senate versions include the 15 percent increase to fishing and hunting licenses and extend the Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsement, but also contain sharp differences that will need to be reconciled before the end of the session.

“This is pretty intense, from zero bills moving to two bills moving,” said Raquel Crosier, WDFW’s legislative liaison, this morning.

The upper chamber’s bill would sunset the angling fee hike after six years, extends the endorsement two years instead of four like the House, and would not allow the Fish and Wildlife Commission to impose surcharges to keep up with rising costs.

That’s different from the Senate’s Operating Budget proposal, released earlier this month without any fee increase or the endorsement and which leaned on General Fund instead.

The lower chamber’s bill, which like the House Operating Budget proposal had the hike and endorsement, would limit the commission’s fee-raising authority to only cover costs lawmakers add to WDFW’s gig and no more than 3 percent in any one year.

Though the Senate version presents something of a fiscal cliff in 2025, the fee increase would produce $14.3 million every two years, the endorsement $3 million.

As for WDFW’s big hopes for a big General Fund infusion to pay for its myriad missions, improve its product and dig out of a $31 million shortfall, any new money it receives will likely be allocated for orcas instead, and that is putting the onus squarely on passing a license increase.

The sudden activity on the fee bills after February’s twin hearings comes with the scheduled Sunday, April 28 end of the session and follows a House Appropriations Committee public hearing yesterday afternoon and an executive session in the Senate’s Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee this morning.

During the House hearing on HB 1708, representatives from the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Northwest Marine Trade Association and Coastal Conservation Association along with some anglers — all still smarting from the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Columbia fishery reforms vote early last month, some at louder volumes than others — voiced opposition to the fee bill though generally said they wanted a fully funded WDFW.

NMTA’s George Harris was among those trying to “thread that needle,” saying he couldn’t support the increase because he didn’t believe the agency had followed through on the reforms or mark-selective fisheries.

SPEAKING IN OPPOSITION TO THE FEE BILL DURING THE HOUSE HEARING ON MONDAY APRIL 22 WERE JASON ZITTEL OF ZITTEL’S MARINA NEAR OLYMPIA WHO SAID THE BURDEN OF FUNDING WDFW COULDN’T CONTINUE TO BE PUSHED ONTO LICENSE HOLDERS WHEN THE PROBLEMS ARE STATEWIDE … (TVW)

… AND CARL BURKE, REPRESENTING NMTA AND NSIA, WHO SAID THAT WHILE ANGLERS PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT FUNDING TO WDFW, “THAT DOESN’T SEEM TO MATTER.” (TVW)

Speaking in favor of full funding, however, was Ron Garner, statewide president of Puget Sound Anglers, member of the WDFW budget advisory group that did a deep dive into the agency’s finances and part of the governor’s orca task force.

“This is not enough money for the agency, and one of the problems is, if we do take this $30 million hit or don’t get the $30 million, what hatcheries are going to get cut next?” Garner said.

WDFW has identified five that could be and which together produce 2.6 million salmon, steelhead and trout.

He said where other state agencies had recovered from General Fund cuts due to the Great Recession, WDFW hadn’t.

“To keep them healthy and the outdoors healthy, we really need to fund it,” Garner said.

RON GARNER OF PUGET SOUND ANGLERS VOICED SUPPORT FOR A FULLY FUNDED WDFW DURING THE HEARING … (TVW)

… AND TOM ECHOLS OF THE HUNTERS HERITAGE COUNCIL SAID IT WAS THE FIRST TIME IN HIS SEVEN YEARS WITH THE UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION THAT IT WAS SUPPORTING A FEE BILL, SPECIFICALLY THE HUNTING SIDE, SAYING THEY BELIEVED IT WAS “TIME TO SUPPORT THE DEPARTMENT’S DIRECTION.” (TVW)

Both committees ultimately gave their versions do-pass recommendations after adopting several amendments, which overall mainly dealt with fallout from the Columbia vote.

The House bill now tells the citizen panel to work with Oregon’s to recover salmon and steelhead in the watershed and WDFW to “work to maximize hatchery production throughout the Columbia River, reduce less selective gear types in the mainstem of the Columbia River and improve the effectiveness of off-channel commercial fishing areas.”

“I support fully funding WDFW so that we can restore hatchery production and restore our fisheries,” said prime sponsor Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen) this morning.

And in his natural resources committee earlier today, Chair Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) substantially altered the Senate fee bill, SB 5692, to address those Columbia issues.

An effect statement says his amendments:

  • Specifies Columbia River fishery reforms including improving the selectivity of recreational and commercial fisheries, prioritizing main stem recreational fisheries, and transitioning gill net fisheries to enhanced off-channel areas.
  • Restricts main stem gill net fisheries, effective July 1, 2019, to not exceed six days per year for salmon and steelhead below the Bonneville dam.
  • Directs the DFW to establish an observer program to monitor at least 10 % of the nontribal gill net salmon and steelhead catch on the Columbia River.
  • Directs the DFW to fund activities that maintain or enhance current recreational and fishing activities with fees from recreational fishing and hunting, and expires the requirement on July 1, 2025.
  • Authorizes the DFW to approve trial fisheries for the use of alternative gear for the mark-selective harvest of hatchery-reared salmon and to establish permit fees by rule for alternative gear fisheries.
  • Authorizes the use of pound nets to harvest salmon on the Columbia River and sets the license fee at $380 per year for a resident and $765 for a nonresident

Without getting too wonky and in the weeds, the differences between the House and Senate fee bills must be concurred on, passed by the legislature and signed by the governor before any hike goes into effect. It would be the first since 2011.

WDFW’s Crosier forecasted some “tough conversations in the coming five days” as lawmakers will have to come to an agreement on outstanding policy issues including the Columbia, hatcheries, predators and more, and how to fund her agency.

“I’m feeling optimistic,” she said. “I think this is the closest we’ve gotten. There’s motivation (by legislators) to get something passed, and fees will be a big part of it.”

And without getting too high up on my stump, the end package will also need to show hunters and anglers that there is a better future ahead from the negative malaise currently gripping the state’s sportsmen as more than a century and a half of habitat loss, hatchery production reductions, increasing ESA listings and fishery restrictions, social media, and, simply put, other legislative priorities have come home to roost, most obviously in the plight of starving southern resident killer whales that might also symbolize today’s opportunities.

In Passing Out Of Committee, Washington Nontribal Gillnet Phaseout Bill Reduced To Columbia

UPDATED, 3:17 P.M., FEB. 22, 2019 WITH A NEW PARAGRAPH FIVE WITH DETAILS ON THE SENATORS’ VOTE

Washington lawmakers reduced the scope of a bill phasing nontribal gillnets out of state waters, limiting it to the Columbia in passing it out of committee this afternoon just ahead of a crucial cutoff.

An amendment from prime sponsor Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline) also shortened the timeframe for implementing SB 5617‘s ban from 2023 to 2021 and trimmed the buyout phases from three to one.

A SCREEN SHOT FROM TVW SHOWS STATE SENATORS DURING TODAY’S COMMITTEE VOTES ON A BILL THAT WOULD PHASE OUT NONTRIBAL GILLNETTING IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER. (TVW)


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Pointing to the volume of public comment both for and against the original bill during a hearing before the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee, Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) applauded her fellow senator for tweaking it and said it matched the policy WDFW already has in place for the big river.

Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) agreed, saying it was essentially codifying those rules, and called for a vote on Salomon’s amendment and then for a do-pass recommendation, both of which passed on a voice vote with only one nay heard on the TVW broadcast.

Legislative staff did not return a call inquiring about the vote tally, but subsequent to this story being published it has been posted on the legislature’s webpage that four recommended it pass (Sens. Van De Wege, Salomon, Rolfes and Judy Warnick), two against (Sens. John McCoy and Shelly Short) and one without recommendation (Sen. Jim Honeyford).

This was the last scheduled meeting for the committee before tomorrow’s first legislative cutoff deadline of the session, so it was do or die for the bill.

“This has a long way to go, and we have to stay focused and keep working all the way to the end of session,” said Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, who had been rallying support for it in recent days.

She was also among the 47 who signed in on the bill one way or the other at that hearing earlier this month, and says that even though it was amended, it still “fulfills a critical component of the Columbia River harvest reforms by calling for an end to mainstem nontreaty gillnetting and providing for a buyout.”

State fishery managers in Washington and Oregon had agreed to reform fisheries on the shared river, but that has been thrown into doubt in recent years, with the southern state backing away and some elements not being as effective as expected. A recent letter from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown seems to indicate she is still supportive of the changes championed by former Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Others who spoke up in favor before the committee on Feb. 12 included George Harris of the Northwest Marine Trade Association, who said that conserving and protecting salmon for starving killer whales was important, as well as representatives from Brad’s Killer Fishing Gear, Clark-Skamania Flyfishers, Coastal Conservation Association and Zittel’s Marina near Olympia, among others.

But there was also considerable pushback from gillnetters, seafood processors and several tribal nations too.

Otis Hunsinger, a commercial fisherman, detailed how he tried to move his operations from the Columbia to Puget Sound to get away from the issues there but they were now following him.

“You think we’re not going to fight. We’re going to fight,” added John Hunsinger of Astoria, who argued it would take away jobs.

According to a fact sheet from NSIA, the only nontribal gillnet fishery on the Columbia focuses on fall Chinook and occurs above the Lewis River to avoid impacts on ESA-listed lower river tules.

In pointing to the bill’s 27 cosponsors — more than half the members of the state Senate — Hamilton said she was grateful “for their recognition that nontreaty gillnets are a problem for wild salmon and steelhead, for orca and for the economy, especially when there are alternatives.”

As amended, SB 5617 also directs WDFW to:

  • “Establish a selective gear incentive program that seeks to avoid harvest of non-target species”;
  • And “develop a fee for permits issued for the taking of salmon under the trial or experimental fishery permits.”

Hamilton said that she appreciated the committee’s work on the bill, as most introduced in the legislature don’t receive a hearing let alone pass out of their crucial first committee.

(Tomorrow, time permitting, the Olympia Outsider™ plans to provide an update on how things stand, including a recently introduced bill that would require WDFW to review the status of wolves in Washington and determine whether a change was warranted at the statewide and regional levels.)

“Finally, we thank all of the NSIA members who took the time to phone and write the committee emphasizing the importance of this bill for their employees, and thank our allies at Northwest Marine Trade Association, the Coastal Conservation Association, The Associations of Northwest Steelheaders, and the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association for doing the same. It takes a village, and NSIA businesses are thankful for these partnerships,” she said.

To become law, the bill must first pass its next Senate committee, the full chamber, the House and be signed into law by the governor.

WDFW Fee Hike Bills Get Support During Public Hearings, But Concerns Raised Too

Washington lawmakers heard arguments for and not-quite-fully-against on a pair of bills that would increase fishing and hunting license fees by 15 percent during public hearings held late this week.

While nobody spoke out directly in opposition to HB 1708 or SB 5692, a representative for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and Northwest Marine Trade Association said the organizations were concerned about them.

“If I leave you with one message today, it is this is not about the money,” said Carl Burke. “We’ve always been willing to pay to play. However, we should not continually — consumptive users — be asked to provide more monies for less opportunity. It’s just that simple.”

He also said the industries needed predictable seasons and more effective inseason management to make decisions on how much inventory they should carry on their shelves and boat lots.

Poor ocean conditions in recent years have made managing salmon and steelhead fisheries very complex for WDFW.

NSIA AND NMTA LOBBYIST CARL BURKE SPEAKS BEFORE SENATORS DURING A PUBLIC HEARING ON A BILL THAT WOULD INCREASE FISHING AND HUNTING LICENSE FEES. (TVW)

And Burke spoke to policies being worked on by the Fish and Wildlife Commission and WDFW that he said put recovery of ESA-listed Columbia salmon runs at risk, a reference to fishery reforms that are now being reconsidered and which has directly led to another bill in the state legislature, SB 5617, which would phase out nontribal gillnets.

He said that lawmakers would be getting a letter more fully outlining NSIA’s and NMTA’s issues and promised to work collaboratively on the bills.


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“We want a well-funded department. We also want a department that is responsive to the public and the needs of the resource. I hope you will look within the budget and fee increase process to make the focus on improving recreational fishing opportunities,” Burke stated.

Scott Sigmon of the Coastal Conservation Association said his organization was officially signed in as “other,” and that CCA’s potential support was linked to increased hatchery production, tying recreational angling fees to recreational fisheries, better fisheries management, and banning nontribal gillnets in salmon waters.

But most of the testimony yesterday afternoon and this morning before the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks and House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committees, respectively, was in full support of the bills.

Tom Echols, representing the Hunters Heritage Council, said WDFW “deserves support of this bill since they haven’t had an increase since 2011.”

Since then, the agency’s budget has seen a growing “structural” deficit in which funding hasn’t kept up with all the things piled onto its plate.

Along with provisions benefiting youths and new sportsmen and -women, the bills include new licensing packages, including a Washington Sportsperson option, “which I will be buying,” said Echols.

It combines Hunt Washington (deer, elk, bear, cougar, small game, migratory bird permit and authorization, plus two turkey tags) and Fish Washington (combo fishing plus two-pole, Dungeness and Columbia endorsements) and would run $245.20, plus dealer fees.

The two options otherwise would run $172.64 and $72.56, pre fee.

While all individual licenses would go up in cost by 15 percent, thanks to Fish and Wildlife Commission concerns, anglers would only end up paying a maximum of $7 more, hunters $15 more.

A LEGISLATIVE ANALYSIS SHOWS HOW MUCH MORE INDIVIDUAL WDFW FISHING AND HUNTING LICENSES WOULD COST UNDER THE FEE INCREASE BILL. (WASHINGTON LEGISLATURE)

HHC’s support marks a reversal from 2017 when they were a “no” on that year’s fee hike proposal.

On the fishing side, Jonathan Sawin, skipper of the Cormorant and representing both the Westport and Ilwaco charter boat associations, said he supported the bills as written “so we can continue to have great fisheries on Washington waters.”

Bob Kratzer, vice president of the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association and Forks-area salmon and steelhead guide, said that WDFW is “hamstrung” by budget issues when it comes to hatchery production and enforcement of fish and wildlife laws.

He said that he routinely goes to meetings and hears agency staffers say they don’t have enough money for this or that.

“It’s about time we gave them more money so they can afford it,” he said.

“It’s a new day, we have a new director, I’m willing to give that guy a shot,” said Kratzer.

MEMBERS OF THE CHOUSE RURAL DEVELOPMENT, AGRICULTURE, & NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE LISTEN AS REP. JOEL KRETZ ASKS A QUESTION DURING A HEARING ON A BILL THAT WOULD INCREASE FISHING AND HUNTING LICENSE FEES. (TVW)

When Jim Unsworth’s 2017’s fee increase bid went down in flames, legislators gave WDFW a $10 million General Fund bump but also “homework,” in new Director Kelly Susewind’s words, to review its management practices, perform a zero-based budget analysis and come up with a long-term funding plan.

Out off that came the Budget and Policy Advisory Group, and last week 13 member organizations sent lawmakers a letter urging them to boost WDFW’s budget sharply, with three-quarters of that coming from the General Fund and one-quarter from the proposed license increases.

“To succeed, the Department requires at least $60 million above its present funding (not including expected orca recovery needs), half to fix the shortfall created by the state legislature in the last biennium, and half to invest in the future by helping correct inequities and the damage caused by a decade of underfunding,” the letter stated.

Signees included critical fishing and hunting organizations such as Puget Sound Anglers, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council, Mule Deer Foundation and Ilwaco Charterboat Association, plus nine other conservation, fishing and environmental groups.

(They also asked for $12.9 million for fish and wildlife conservation and $4.2 million for habitat improvements, “the most underfunded components of the Department’s work,” to be included in WDFW’s operating budget.)

Others testifying in front of lawmakers on Thursday and Friday in favor of the fee bills included Bill Clarke of Trout Unlimited, who was a BPAG member and said it had been interesting to dig into WDFW’s finances.

“Many things have recovered since 2009 — price of housing, the stock market, Seahawks football, Husky football, etc. What’s not recovered is the department’s budget. Their general fund support is not recovered. They’ve had a modest increase, and that’s about it,” Clarke said.

TU also supported the 2017 proposal.

Also appearing before the legislative committees to voice their support were Jen Syrowitz of the Washington Wildlife Federation, Lucas Hart of the Northwest Straits Commission and Aaron Peterson of the Regional Fisheries Coalition.

The bills would also allow the Fish and Wildlife Commission to make small increases to license fees to account for inflation starting two years from now, and Clarke noted that with other state oversight boards already having such authority it made sense for WDFW’s to as well.

Still, Randy Leduc, an avid Centralia angler and CCA member, did express concern that that role would move from the legislature’s bailiwick to the commission.

The House version of the bill was dropped by Rep. Brian Blake, an Aberdeen Democrat.

I’m happy to sponsor the bill and bring it forward. I think there’s been a rigorous process going through the agency’s budget,” Blake said in speaking in support of it.

Still, you could hear the worry from his fellow South Coast representative, Jim Walsh, an Aberdeen Republican.

Walsh asked, would he hear complaints afterwards from his constituents about the fee hike if he supported it?

WDFW’s Susewind could only say that yes, he would, as we sportsmen are just generally against higher prices, but that the agency is responsive to concerns about paying more for less.

“We hear that loud and clear. We’re committed to working on it, continue working on it. Frankly, in order to provide sustainable or hopefully improving opportunities, we really need an adequately funded agency to do that and so that’s what we will put a lot of this money towards is trying to provide that,” Susewind said. “But there will always be people who don’t support a fee. I would be foolish to say otherwise.”

The fee increase bills have a long, long, long way to go before they go into effect. They must be approved and reconciled by representatives and senators and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. If they are, the hikes and license package options would go become effective 90 days after this legislative session ends, scheduled for April 28 but later is always possible if recent years are any indication.

Editor’s notes: To read the actual fee hike bills, go here and here. For what the hell it all means in plainer English, nonpartisan legislative analysis of the bills are available here and here. And to view the TVW broadcasts of both committees’ public hearings on the bills, go here and here.

Nontribal Gill Net Phaseout Bill Introduced In Washington Legislature

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association is applauding a bill introduced today in Washington’s Senate that would phase out nontribal gill nets in state waters by 2023.

A PUGET SOUND ADULT CHINOOK SALMON SWIMS THROUGH THE BALLARD LOCKS. (NMFS)

Liz Hamilton, the organization’s executive director, called SB 5617 “a powerful affirmation of the Columbia River harvest reforms passed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2012” and said it would expand those to include Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and Puget Sound.

Most of the Columbia reforms — moving the nontribal commercial fleet to off-channel areas in the lower river; testing new net gear; and reallocating recreational spring, summer and fall Chinook catches — were being gradually implemented per an agreed-to plan between the states.

But Oregon interests have been balking since 2017, and funding the buyout of gillnetters has “languished” all along.

However, the struggles of the region’s starving southern resident killer whales and recent election in a Seattle suburb of a pro-fishing senator, ousting a longtime pro-commercial one, appear to have put fresh wind in the effort’s sails.

“At a time when Washington’s two most iconic creatures, orca and salmon, are at critically low levels, this bill represents an important part of the solution,” said Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), the bill’s prime sponsor, in a press release. “Without legislation and funding, (the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) was unable to implement this part of the plan, creating uncertainty about the reforms. SB 5617 removes any doubt about our state’s commitment to the conservation and economic benefits envisioned in the reforms.”

His bill would buy out and permanently retire gillnetting licenses but nontribal commercial fishermen could still use “mark selective harvest techniques that are capable of the unharmed release of wild and endangered salmon while selectively harvesting hatchery-reared salmon.”

It was cosponsored by a whopping 24 senators — nearly half of the upper chamber’s entire roster — with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle getting on board, 17 Democrats, seven Republicans.

Its route through the legislature would take it through the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee, which is chaired by one of the sponsors, Sen. Kevin Van De Wege. The House side might be more of a challenge, however.

Still, Hamilton said NSIA was grateful to see the Columbia reforms rolling forward again.

“The lack of funding for implementation has created needless uncertainty, taking focus away from other important work our industry and region must accomplish for salmon and orca,” she said. “Governor Inslee has outlined a bold and ambitious recovery plan for orca, and Columbia River salmon are an essential food source.”

A state-federal analysis last year found that fall Chinook from Lower Columbia tribs such as the Cowlitz, Lewis and Kalama, upriver brights from the Mid- and Upper Columbia and Snake, and springers from both the lower river and Idaho were among four of the 10 most important feedstocks for southern resident killer whales.

“We applaud Sen. Salomon and his 23 cosponsors for their leadership on this issue,” said Hamilton.

She was echoed by local representatives of the Coastal Conservation Association.

“The use of gill nets in state salmon fisheries has been controversial for decades and now is the time to remove them state-wide, before it is simply too late,” said iconic rodmaker and regional CCA founder Gary Loomis in a press release. “We applaud the senators who have signed onto the bill and urge all of our elected officials in the state of Washington to seize this moment to ensure our iconic salmon fisheries have the best opportunity to survive for future generations.”

Fundraiser For Fish, Angling-friendly State Senate Candidate Coming Up

A fundraiser for a Washington state senate candidate backed by members of the recreational angling community will be held early next week.

Jesse Salomon is running for the 32nd District seat against incumbent Maralyn Chase, and he will be on hand Tuesday evening at an area fishing tackle and boat shop.

Both candidates are Democrats and the challenger actually received 168 more votes than Chase during last month’s primary, 14,477 to 14,309. The Republican candidate, James Wood, failed to qualify for the November general election under the state’s top-two system with 9,104 votes.

According to the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, which is putting out word about the meet-and-greet, Salomon is a “champion of sports fishing and an avid sports fisher.” His website says he “cares deeply about salmon’s importance as a local icon, a sport fishing resource and an essential part the Native American way of life.”

Chase has represented the district, which includes Shoreline, and parts of northwest Seattle, Edmonds and Lynnwood, since 2002 both in the House of Representatives and Senate, but has been standoffish towards sport angling interests, though she did twice cosponsor a bill urging Congress to provide NMFS funding to finish habitat genetic management plans that would benefit Puget Sound recreational as well as commercial and treaty fishers.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. at Three Rivers Marine, which is located in 24300 Woodinville-Snohomish Road.

To RSVP for the event, call NSIA at (503) 631-8859.

Contributions are up to attendees, but if you can’t attend, checks made out to Elect Jesse Saloman can be mailed to Carl Burke, 4041 Legacy Drive NE, Olympia, WA 98516.

Buoy 10 Serves Up Plenty Of Chinook, Derby Winner

Editor’s note: The following blog was written and submitted by Dave Anderson

by Dave Anderson

We all have a handful of fishing trips in our lives that will be etched in our memories forever and this past weekend proved to be one of those trips.

KRISTINA AND DAVE ANDERSON SHOW OFF ONE OF SEVERAL CHINOOK CAUGHT AT BUOY 10, THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA RIVER, THIS PAST WEEKEND. (DAVE ANDERSON)

I first started fishing Buoy 10 with my wife and family 10 years ago and since then I have met a lot of really good people and had the pleasure to fish and become friends with a lot of people in the fishing community.

This year was the second time I was invited to fish the NSIA Buoy 10 Challenge with Team Raymarine. Fishing with Dave Lee of Three Rivers Marine is always a blast, so I was really looking forward to the trip. Dave knows the Columbia River very well and he makes sure we are all well prepared while fishing aboard his Alumaweld, which is equipped with the top-of-the-line Raymarine electronics, G.Loomis rods and Shimano reels.

DAVE ANDERSON AND HIS NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION BUOY 10 CHALLENGE-WINNING CHINOOK. (DAVE ANDERSON)

We had non-stop action all day as we moved from spot to spot chasing fish during each part of the tide. I ended up catching a toad Chinook (one of my biggest of all time) during the morning bite.

I was chatting with one of my buddies on the phone when I heard my friends point out on the Raymarine Axiom, “Look at that fish coming up!” Immediately line started peeling and I threw down my phone, grabbed the rod and had one of the best fights with a Chinook that I’ve had in years.

(DAVE ANDERSON)

High fives, hooting and hollering could be heard up and down the river when we got the Chinook netted and in the boat. It ended up being just shy of 29 pounds.

The rest of the day was spent catching five other Chinook, which we added to our total boat bag limit. As the day came to an end we dressed our fish and took them to the weigh-in just 15 minutes shy of the cut-off time.

TEAM RAYMARINE POSES WITH THEIR CATCH OF CHINOOK. (DAVE ANDERSON)

After weighing in, we learned that Team Raymarine was in first place and the fish I caught ended up securing the biggest fish pot. The camaraderie and fun we all had was priceless and best of all we decided to donate all of our winnings back to the NSIA for everything that they do for us. I had such a great time participating in the event and I can’t wait for next year!

The next day was my wife Kristina’s birthday and we ended up fishing with our friend Tyler. We got to the ramp at 4:45 am to launch the boat and putted around the marina in Hammond waiting for the sun to rise. Once it got to be daylight we ran upriver and started trolling down.

KRISTINA ANDERSON WITH A CHINOOK. (DAVE ANDERSON)

It did not take long before we had our first Chinook burying the rod and peeling line. And soon we had a couple great fish in the box.

As the tide started to turn and the wind kicked up we ended up switching from lead droppers to Delta Divers. We also switched from anchovies to whole herring which proved to be a great change and we were able to finish out our limits in under an hour right next to Buoy 22!

(DAVE ANDERSON)

All in all it was a fantastic weekend on the Columbia River. This is by far one of my favorite fisheries we have in the Pacific Northwest. I’m already looking forward to celebrating my wife’s birthday and participating in the Buoy 10 Challenge in 2019!

Tight lines!

Anglers Urged To Contact US Senators In Support Of Salmon-Sea Lion Bill

Northwest anglers are being urged to contact their U.S. senators to support a bill that would give salmon managers more leverage to deal with problematic pinnipeds.

A SEA LION WITH A SALMONID BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS. PREDATION BY THE MARINE MAMMALS ON ESA-LISTED WINTER STEELHEAD HERE HAS A 90 PERCENT CHANCE OF LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF AT LEAST ONE RUN, ODFW ESTIMATED LAST YEAR. (ODFW)

The Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, S 3119, is expected to go before the Senate’s Commerce Committee this Wednesday.

With sea lions chewing up ESA-listed Chinook and steelhead, as well as other stocks, in the Columbia and its tribs, the bill would tweak the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow state and tribal to remove as many as an additional 100 a year.

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association’s Liz Hamilton is urging people to call their two senators to “ask them to support the bill, and let them know that failure is not an option here. And be sure to thank them!”

The exact same bill, HR 2083, passed the U.S. House late last month with yes votes from every single Idaho, Oregon and Washington representative.

The Senate version is cosponsored by Idaho’s James Risch (R) and Washington’s Maria Cantwell (D) and was introduced in mid-June.

“Pacific salmon are central to our culture, our livelihoods, and our economy in the Pacific Northwest,” Cantwell said. “Taxpayers throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon have made significant investments in Pacific salmon restoration, and we must continue to support science-based management methods to ensure future generations have access to wild Pacific Northwest salmon.”

Cantwell’s office can be reached at (202) 224-3441.

Washington’s other U.S. Senator, Patty Murray, can be reached at  (202) 224-2621.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden can be reached at (202) 224-5244 while Senator Jeff Merkley can be reached at (202) 224-3753.

Since 2008, Northwest states have had the authority to move sea lions preying on salmon and steelhead below Bonneville Dam, including to euthanize the worst offenders.

Both bills in Congress would expand that down to the I-205 bridge over the Columbia and in any of its tribs with ESA-listed stocks.

And it would allow for NOAA to not only issue one-year permits to the states but also to a number of tribes including the Nez Perce, Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama and Cowlitz, as well as the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Last year, a CRITFC employee died on the way to perform sea lion counts after the boat he was on capsized due to strong winds.

It’s notable that both the House’s and Senate’s sea lion bills have received bipartisan support from the Northwest’s federal lawmakers.

“I want to thank my colleague Senator Risch for working with me on this bipartisan, science-based solution that will help protect salmon for future generations,” said Cantwell, who is a Democrat of the Idaho Republican.

Registration Open For NSIA’s Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament, June 28

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, in cooperation with Sportco/Outdoor Emporium, is pleased to present the 8th Annual ‘Fore the Fish! Golf Tournament’.  This year’s event will take place on Thursday, June 28th at the beautiful Olympia Country & Golf Club, in Olympia, WA.  The tournament will be a best ball scramble format, making it a fun round for even the occasional golfer.

PARTICIPANTS IN THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION’S “FORE THE FISH” GOLF TOURNAMENT PREPARE TO HEAD FOR THE LINKS AS PART OF THE ANNUAL FUNDRAISERS. (NSIA)

Proceeds from the NSIA Golf Tournament help support NSIA’s work to ensure healthy fisheries and a vibrant Sportfishing industry in the Pacific Northwest. Proceeds from events has enabled NSIA to be successful in opening new fisheries, growing existing fisheries, and representing the voice of the Sportfishing industry in government.

NSIA TERMS THE EVENT A WIN FOR EVERYONE, AND SAYS MONEY RAISED GOES TOWARD “OPENING NEW FISHERIES, GROWING EXISTING FISHERIES, AND REPRESENTING THE
VOICE OF THE SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY IN GOVERNMENT.” (NSIA)

Registration is now open with a cost of $125 per participant or $500 per foursome.  The event includes a putting contest prior to tee off and a variety of hole-in-one prizes on four different par-three holes. There will be a post-tournament barbecue where team prizes are awarded along with a live auction, silent auction and bucket raffles.  Registration opens at 10:00 am, the shotgun start is at 12:00 noon. Registration can be completed on the NSIA website at www. nsiafishing.org or by calling the NSIA office at 503-631-8859.

GABE MILLER OF SPORTCO AND OUTDOOR EMPORIUM, A COSPONSOR OF “FORE THE FISH,” HANDS OUT PRIZES AFTERWARDS. (NSIA)

Sponsorship and donation opportunities are still available. Support of this tournament is an excellent way to gain brand recognition with more than a hundred golfers and sportfishermen. Game sponsors have the option to staff their hole, gaining the opportunity to interact with the golfers with contests and activities centered around sponsor products and services.  For more information on sponsorship or donation opportunities – or to register a team – contact Heather Reese at events@nsiafishing.org or 503-631-8859.