Tag Archives: NSIA

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.

Oregon Fish Commission To Decide On SW Wild Steelhead Retention Ban Proposal

A few years back I was shocked when a major player in the Northwest fishing world told me that wild steelhead should be open for harvest.

In a region where nates are venerated, where reverence for intact adipose fins is strong, and where some returns are troubled, it felt like sacrilege.

But the angler was also speaking to waters where wild runs are strong enough to sustain limited take.

WHETHER OR NOT TO CONTINUE THE LIMITED HARVEST OF WILD WINTER STEELHEAD ON EIGHT SOUTHERN OREGON RIVERS AND TWO CREEKS IS UP FOR A DECISION BY THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION. CARSON AND MATT BREESE CAUGHT THIS HOOK-BENDING 39.5-INCHER EARLY IN THE 2016 SEASON. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

That appears to be the case on 10 Southern Oregon streams, where ODFW allows fishermen to keep one winter-run a day and three to five a season, but some anglers are petitioning the Fish and Wildlife Commission to end that practice.

“… Taking a precautionary approach to ensure wild steelhead thrive into the future, well before populations collapse, is needed,” write Harvey Young, Jim Dunlevy, Dustin Russell, Mark Gasich and Josh Terry.

They say releasing wild fish for others to catch increases opportunities and participation, that large steelhead anglers are more likely to keep are important contributors to the gene pool, the fishery is important to maintaining the local economy and the move would simplify the regulations.

Pointing to what they consider decreased monitoring as well as large-scale environmental disruptions in recent years — the blob, Chetco Bar Fire — they write, ” … It is in the best interest of the agency, anglers, local businesses, and Oregonians to limit the impacts to sensitive fish populations in the case of uncertainty and help ensure that the Southwest Zone wild steelhead populations sustain robust recreational fisheries now and in the future.”

A number of anglers, many from California, also support it.

Not everyone agrees, however.

A board member of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association says it’s a”self-serving draconian push by a handful of people seemingly dead set on running the average Joe off our river.”

That’s what Grants Pass native and tackle seller Dave Strahan wrote and NSIA shared on Facebook earlier today.

In addition to a number of counties, cities, a tourist board and 500 individuals signing onto a counter proposal to continue wild harvest, Wild Rivers Fishing owner-operator Andy Martin (who, full disclosure, occasionally advertises in this magazine) opposes the petition.

“I admire and respect petitioner Harvey Young and his desire to protect winter steelhead on the Chetco and other Oregon rivers, but feel a change to the fishing regulations is unwarranted and has no scientific basis,” Martin wrote to the commission. “ODFW staff has not made any finding that wild winter steelhead in Southwestern Oregon are in need of increased harvest restrictions to maintain sustainable populations.”

For their part, state biologists say, “All indications show that there is not a conservation concern.”

In recommending the petition be denied, they say that spawning ground and juvenile fish numbers suggest a stable steelhead population, and that numbers are only limited by habitat issues.

Concerns about wild steelhead can be addressed in an upcoming conservation plan for several fish species, ODFW says.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will make the final call when it meets later this week in Bandon.

Time To Sign Up For Mid-August’s Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge

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

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association invites anglers from all over the Pacific Northwest to join them for a day of friendly competitive fishing at the Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge in Astoria, OR on August 16 & 17th, 2018. Registration is still open with a cost per angler at $110. Runs have picked up significantly in the last couple weeks, with people catching their quota shortly after hitting the water! We have high expectations that this is indicative of good things to come this August.

FORMER NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN AD SALES MANAGER BRIAN LULL SHOWS OFF A FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT ON A HERRING AND FISH FLASH WHILE FISHING NSIA’S 2012 SALMON CHALLENGE. (BRIAN LULL)

Participants can join NSIA on August 16th at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds for the pre-tournament Team Reception from 5 – 7pm. The Reception is an opportunity to review the rules and participate in a Tule ID training. The derby takes place on August 17th, with weigh-in between 3-5pm and a delicious awards dinner at 6pm.

(NSIA)

Lucky anglers will compete for thousands in cash and gear prizes, including a $1000 cash prize for Biggest Fish donated by North River Boats, as well as a $1100 Mystery Fish Prize donated by Weldcraft/Duckworth.

AN ANGLER FIGHTS A SALMON DURING A PAST AUGUST’S BUOY 10 SALMON CHALLENGE. (BRIAN LULL)

As always, NSIA will be promoting catch and release of Lower Columbia River Wild Chinook, known as Tule Chinook, to increase survivability of the threatened stock. NSIA will not weigh wild Tules during this tournament. All ODFW and WDFW rules and regulations apply.

(NSIA)

Proceeds from the event go to support NSIA’s work preserving, restoring and enhancing sportfisheries and the businesses dependent on them. To register contact NSIA at 503.631.8859 or email events@nsiafishing.org.

Lower Columbia Springer Anglers Get Another Day Of Fishing

Spring Chinook anglers can chase their quarry again this Saturday, April 14, on the Columbia below Bonneville Dam.

State salmon managers made the decision to reopen the fishery yesterday afternoon after a very long conference call. Official rule-change notices haven’t been posted at this point, but here’s where to find ODFW’s and WDFW’s.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

They had initially proposed two days, the second being Wednesday, April 18, but there was quite a bit of pushback from upstream recreational and tribal fishing interests as well as from a higher-up at WDFW, according to Bill Monroe reporting in The Oregonian.

A fact sheet that came out before the meeting said that through April 7, anglers had accounted for 3,680 of the 7,157 available upriver mortalities, leaving 51 percent of the catch allocation at the 30 percent buffered runsize still available.

The forecast calls for 166,700 springers bound for tribs beyond Bonneville.

But this year’s return is coming in very sluggishly, with the tally breaking the triple-digit mark 20 days later than the 10-year average and the overall count of 125 through April 11 still the lowest on record for this same point of the run.

The Columbia has been running “slightly lower, colder, and clearer than recent 5-year averages for the first half of April,” managers reported.

Still, those are highly fishable conditions — at least if you’re not a plunker. Boaters have accounted for most of the catch.

“Given an available balance on the pre-season, buffered allocation of upriver spring Chinook(3,477 fish balance), there is potential for additional angling opportunity,” the fact sheet stated.

WDFW honchos have essentially been reacting to last year when a slow-developing run led to early closures in Eastern Washington.

It’s unclear how the rest of the 2018 springer run will proceed, but two things are for certain:

“Enjoy Saturday fishing, and in the meantime we will work hard to have a hearing to review the impacts as soon as is reasonable after the one day reopener,” read an email blast from the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association out last night.

 

Angling For A Good Cause: Sign Up For 26th NSIA Spring Fishing Classic

By the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

As the springers roll up the Columbia it is good to remember the hard work, advocacy and litigation it has taken to ensure anglers have access to these fish.

JIM MARTIN AND JOHN SHLIMENKO SHOW OFF A NICE SPRING CHINOOK. (NSIA)

For instance, many salmon and sportfishing advocacy groups have weighed in on the long-running case before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon to protect and restore beleaguered Columbia River salmon stocks.

Last April, Judge Simon rewarded those efforts by ordering that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work with state, federal and tribal biologists to develop a joint plan to provide more voluntary spill to provide better protections for outmigrating juvenile spring Chinook salmon, steelhead and sockeye.

The increased spill will be timed earlier in April, to help outmigrating spring Chinook smolts and should result in better returns in years to come.

“Sending water over the tops of dams for fish works,” says Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. “In 2006, NSIA and our allies secured an injunction in Judge Redden’s court to increase the use of spill to protect out-migrating juvenile fall Chinook. Within eight years — two generations of fall Chinook — we saw sharply increased runs of fall Chinook. We are confident spill will have a similar positive result for spring Chinook in the Columbia.”

Spill does not increase river flows, it only changes the route the water — and the fish — take past the dams.

According to Buzz Ramsey of Yakima Bait, it’s the change in how the water gets past the dams – by spill or through the turbines – that is important for salmon.

“Salmon do not swim down to the sea,” said Ramsey. “Instead, the fish point their nose into the current and let the flow push them downstream. The fish go where the water goes.”

He explains that if the water only passes through the turbines, that is where all the fish will end up and each dam will take its toll.

The Columbia River spring Chinook fishery is extremely popular and is a huge driver of fishing license sales for the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. NSIA hosts a popular annual fishing derby in the river called the Spring Fishing Classic.

This year’s event will be held Saturday, April 7, and is cohosted by Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor and supported by many top names in the sportfishing industry, including Willie Boats, Scotty, Berkley and Stevens Marine.

Participation offers anglers a chance to have fun and engage in a little friendly competition, while supporting advocacy work for better fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.

A brand-new 17-foot Willie drift boat, trailer and seats will be raffled off, while $500 will also go to whomever weighs in the largest fish. Team prizes are also awarded.

Tickets are $255 for a team of three, $425 for a team of four and $510 for a team of six.

To register for the derby, call NSIA at (503) 631-8859 or go to nsiafishing.org, where you can also learn more about the organization and its efforts to help the fish and sportfishing.

$50,000 Raised For Sportfishing Advocacy At 18th Buoy 10 Challenge

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

Anglers from all over the Northwest came together Friday, August 18th, to compete for the most and biggest salmon at the Buoy 10 on the Columbia River, the biggest salmon fishery in the lower 48 states.  They were competing in the Northwest’s most popular derby –NSIA’s Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge. This was the 18th year of the derby and it was quite a success! The Challenge raised close to $50,000 to support NSIA’s mission of preserving, restoring and enhancing Northwest sportfisheries and the businesses that depend on them.

The first place team of RJ Bennett, Cody Clark, Adam Sturdevant and Dave Lewis. (NSIA)

Close to 200 anglers took to the waters off Buoy 10 on Friday. The chinook and coho were definitely biting, with participants weighing in more than 70 fish. Among some stiff competition, the Bob’s Sporting Goods team, captained by RJ Bennett, won First Place Team prize, with an average team weight of 17.75 pounds, winning a prize package that featured G. Loomis trolling rods and Shimano Tekota reels. Tanner Morton’s team captured Second Place Team prize, with 14.99 lb. average weight. The Second Place prize package included Tica Rods and reels for each team member. The Third Place Team was tight on their heels with a 14.39 lb. average per person weight for Jason Berg’s Team North American Hunting Competition, winning Berkley Buzz Ramsey rods and Penn Warfare reels.

Troy Bloom and his nephew Joey McGraw hoist Joey’s first B10 salmon catch – you can tell he’s really proud! (NSIA)

This year the Biggest Fish winner was Tanner Morton, who brought in a 20.90 pound chinook. He was awarded a $1000 check from the Big Fish sponsor, North River Boats. 2017 also saw the introduction of a new award – a $1000 Mystery Fish prize, sponsored by Weldcraft/Duckworth. Any weighed-in fish was eligible to win the prize, (1/72 odds!) which went to Deborh LeBer of the North American Hunting Competition team.

Greg and Don show off a nice Chinook that helped Team Northwest Sportsman make a strong showing at NSIA’s Buoy 10 challenge.

Even though anglers enjoyed such a great day on the water, the excitement was far from over as tournament anglers then got a shot at the more than $10,000 worth of auction items and door prizes. No one left empty-handed

NSIA Executive Director, Liz Hamilton says of the tournament, “The Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge is not only the most exciting fishing tournament on the lower Columbia this summer, but it is also our most important fundraiser. Monies raised will go towards 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 their 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 stocking up for your next trip: Atlas Mike’s, Berkley, BS Fish Tales/Brad’s Lures, Cabela’s, Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoors, Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine, Fred Meyer, Freshwater News, G. Loomis, Grundens, Lowrance, Luhr Jensen, Maxima, North River Boats, NW Sportmans Magazine, Okuma, Penn, Raymarine, Shimano, Steven’s Marine, Tica, Weldcraft/ Duckworth. We hope to see you on the waters at next year’s Buoy 10 derby!

NSIA’s ‘Fore The Fish’ Fundraiser Coming To Olympia June 29

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

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, in cooperation with Sportco/Outdoor Emporium, and Cabela’s, is pleased to present the 7th Annual Golf Tournament ‘Fore the Fish!’.  This year’s event will take place on Thursday, June 29th at the beautiful Olympia Country & Golf Club, in Olympia, WA.  The tournament will be a best ball scramble format, making golf easier for even the occasional golfer.

THE NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION SAYS THAT DIRECT BENEFITS OF FUNDRAISERS LIKE ITS GOLF TOURNAMENT ARE FISHERY OPENERS, INCREASED ANGLING OPPORTUNITIES AND A VOICE FOR THE INDUSTRY. (NSIA)

Proceeds from the NSIA Golf Tournament help support the important work NSIA is doing to ensure both healthy fisheries and a vibrant Sportfishing industry in the Pacific Northwest. As a direct result of contributions from events like this one, NSIA has been successful in opening new fisheries, growing existing fisheries, and representing the voice of the Sportfishing industry in government.

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 10:30 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.

(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 opportunities, contact Heather Reese at events@nsiafishing.org or 503-631-8859.

‘Long Past Time’ To Act On Sea Lion Predation In Columbia System, NSIA Tells Congress

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association is lending its support to a bipartisan sea lion management bill that had a hearing in Washington DC this week.

“It’s long past time for an amendment to the (Marine Mammal Protection Act) to prevent an outcome whereby the protection of one species precipitates the extinction of another,” wrote Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Portland-based organization in a letter to the Water, Power and Ocean Subcommittee of the House Natural Resource Committee.

A SEA LION PREPARES TO EAT A FISH BELOW WILLAMETTE FALLS IN THIS 2011 ODFW IMAGE. (ODFW)

Members were hearing about HR 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, introduced by Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R) with cosponsorship from Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader (D), among others.

The bill would in part provide four Columbia River tribes with the authority to remove problem California sea lions from more of the lower river, as well its tributaries.

Hamilton addressed pinniped predation in the Willamette in her letter, noting that the area below the falls is not unlike the fish death trap at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia.

“Unable to escape or go elsewhere, they are trapped like sitting ducks for the growing numbers of sea lions congregating below the falls in Oregon City. I fished in this area with my family for over 30 years and watched firsthand the arrival, then growth in numbers of marine mammals and the growing consumption of steelhead, salmon and sturgeon,” she wrote.

IN THIS SCREEN GRAB FROM A TWITTER VIDEO, REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER SHOWS A HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SUBCOMMITTEE PHOTOS OF SOME OF THE “OFFENDERS” PICKING OFF ESA-LISTED SALMON AND STEELHEAD AND OTHER COLUMBIA WATERSHED STOCKS. HERRERA BEUTLER INTRODUCED A BILL TO EXPAND MANAGEMENT OF CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS.  (TWITTER)

Hamilton says that they’re affecting the near-recovery of ESA-listed Willamette winter steelhead, and that a draft estimate of sea lion consumption rates on this season’s run is 25 percent, up from 2015 and 2016’s 15 percent.

“This 25 percent consumption rate is especially disturbing as the winter steelhead run has collapsed to one-tenth of the 10-year average, down to less than 1,000 fish,” she writes. “We fear the sea lions will consume this race of fish to extinction, much as they did to the steelhead in the mid 1990’s at Ballard Locks, near Seattle Washington, due to ineffective actions that occurred too late to prevent the catastrophe.”

Hamilton’s letter adds to testimony before the Water, Power and Ocean Subcommittee by Leland Bill, chairman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribe Fish Commission. He told members that “data shows a growing predation problem” but “that the current approach is not enough. I’m here to tell you that more needs to be done.”

In another letter of support, Coastal Conservation Association’s Oregon and Washington chapters called the situation “critical.”

“We simply must act before it’s too late,” wrote Chris Cone and Nello Picinich, executive directors of the two chapters.

Added Hamilton:

“Northwest sportfishing for salmon and steelhead is more than an economic engine and a cultural birthright, it is a funding source for conservation. License fees, collected primarily through NSIA retailers, fund much of the conservation mission at the fish and wild life agencies. In addition, our industry pays a federal excise tax on manufactured goods that is returned to the states through the Sport Fish Restoration fund. Even for those who do not fish, salmon are an ever-present icon — seen on our license plates, on buildings and artwork everywhere. For the Native American Tribes in the Northwest, salmon are a sacred part of their culture.”

She said that while industries such as forestry, agriculture and power production are regulated to minimize fish impacts, “the consumption of salmon and steelhead by marine mammals grows, nearly unchecked, at an alarming rate.”