Tag Archives: ODFW

Oregon Fishing Report Highlights (1-23-20)

THE FOLLOWING IS FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE RECREATION REPORT FOR JAN. 23, 2020

Highlights from this week’s Recreation Report:

Hunters have just one week to report their 2019 hunts

Hunters have until Jan. 31 to report their 2019 hunts. If you purchased a tag, reporting is mandatory even if you didn’t hunt or harvest an animal.

Ways to report your hunt.

BUZZ RAMSEY SHOWS OFF A HATCHERY WINTER STEELHEAD CAUGHT ON ONE OF OREGON’S NORTH COAST RIVERS LAST WEEKEND. HE REPORTED LANDING 16 FISH OVER TWO AND A HALF DAYS OF FISHING, MOSTLY WILD STEELHEAD BUT THREE OTHER FIN-CLIPPED FISH TOO. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

Last week for Zone 1 duck hunters

Zone 1 duck season ends on Jan. 26. Waterfowl success has been picking up thanks to recent stormy conditions. Given the current forecast, the last week of the season could be good.

Register your new hunter for a hunter education class/course

Hunters 17 years old and younger need to complete a hunter education course and field day before they hunt this fall. Traditional classes and field days are available now, and online courses can be taken anytime. Taking care of hunter education now will be one less thing to worry about as hunting season approaches.

Best bets for fishing

  • Steelhead fishing has been hot on the Chetco. Current conditions have been favoring anglers plunking from the bank.
  • Anglers have been catching steelhead on the lower Rogue using a variety of techniques, but plunking is the current favorite.
  • Anglers have been landing winter steelhead in the Galice area of the middle Rogue. With rain in the forecast, except steelhead numbers to increase.
  • Trout have been biting in the Holy Water, the stretch of the upper Rogue between the hatchery and the Lost Creek Lake spillway.
  • Bank anglers are catching some nice trout from the bank at Ochoco Reservoir, which also will get 100 brood trout this week.
  • The Crooked River continues to offer good opportunities for trout and whitefish up to 16 inches.
  • It’s getting to be prime time for winter steelhead on the Sandy and Clackamas rivers. Keep an eye on water levels and be ready to hit the waters as they begin to drop.
  • Ice conditions, and fishing, have been good on Chickahominy Reservoir.
  • Steelhead fishing on the Grande Ronde can be quite good in January and February, when flows cooperate. Look for uncrowded conditions and lots of open water.

North Oregon Coast Beaches Reopening For Digging Razor Clams

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

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce the opening of razor clam harvesting on the north Oregon coast.

NORTHER OREGON BEACHES ARE REOPENING FOR DIGGING RAZOR CLAMS . (ODFW)

Recreational and commercial razor clam harvesting is now open from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head (south of Seaside). Recent samples taken from the area indicate the marine biotoxin domoic acid has dropped below the closure limit. 

Recreational and commercial razor clam harvesting remains closed from Tillamook Head to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid toxin. 

Bay clams, crab and mussel harvesting are open along the entire Oregon coastline.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage.

Estimated 2,000 Northeast Oregon Whitetails Died From EHD: ODFW

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

Tests conducted by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife veterinarians confirmed that Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is responsible for the die-off of an estimated 2,000 white-tailed deer in eastern Oregon.

(ODFW)

The EHD outbreak impacted white-tailed deer on the western face of the Blue Mountains from Milton-Freewater to the Pilot Rock area. EHD losses are not uncommon in Oregon and is not expected to have long-term effects on the deer population size. Mule deer in the area were not documented to be affected by the EHD outbreak.

Wildlife biologists first learned about the white-tailed deer die-off in late fall when landowners began reporting dead deer. ODFW collected tissue samples for testing and lab results later confirmed EHD as the cause of death. Surveys in December showed fewer white-tailed deer leading to an estimated potential loss of 2,000 deer from the disease.

ODFW is still determining if deer tags for the fall 2020 seasons need to be reduced or hunts cancelled in the units affected (Walla Walla, Mt Emily, Ukiah). Hunters will be informed of any changes by April 15 so they will have time to change their controlled hunt application choices before the May 15 deadline.

EHD is a seasonal disease that can occur during the late summer and fall months. It is different than Adenovirus hemorrhagic disease (AHD) which can occur year-round. EHD is transmitted by biting midges known as “no-see-ums” or gnats. These breed and live in small pools of warm, stagnant water; even in pools as small as a hoof print filled with water.

As deer gather at these water sources, they may become exposed to infected biting midges. However, freezing temperatures can kill off insects that transmit the disease.

EHD is known to have existed since the 1890s and is found in most of the United States with the exception of the extreme Northeast and the Southwest.

Meat from animals affected by EHD is still consumable and the disease is not transmittable to humans. However, experts recommend thoroughly cooking any meat taken from animals harvested from an infected area.

 

More 2020 Columbia Salmon Forecasts, Outlooks Posted; Sockeye A Brighter Spot

Columbia salmon managers are rolling out more 2020 forecasts and sockeye might be a bright spot next year.

Nearly a quarter million sockeye are expected to return to the big river, with just under 202,000 of those headed for the relatively cool Brewster Pool before departing up the Okanogan/Okanagan.

TYLER FLETCHER SHOWS OFF A PAIR OF SOCKEYE CAUGHT AT WELLS DAM DURING 2014’S FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

While forecasters are still dialing in their sockeye prognostication skills, it would be a significant uptick over 2019’s return of 63,222 against a forecast of 94,400. It would also be the eighth largest run since 1980, though still only a third of 2014’s record year.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye anglers could also see a significant bump from this year’s actual return of just 7,900; the prediction calls for 39,400.

As for all-important Columbia spring Chinook, the 2020 forecasts leave as much to be desired as last week’s news of very low predictions for the Cowlitz, Kalama, Wind, Drano, etc.

Managers expect 81,700 upper Columbia and Snake springers, which is about 10,000 more than actually returned in 2019 but also 17,600 less than were forecast.

Along with the annual 30 percent buffer to protect against overforecasting, this spring’s mainstem fishery was constrained by very low returns to the Cowlitz and Lewis, which led to a closure of the Columbia below Warrior Rock to protect springers headed to those two tributaries. Returns to both are again expected to be low.

The Willamette spring Chinook forecast is for 40,800, up a bit from this year’s forecast which didn’t pan out, with only 27,292 back.

The overall forecast of 135,800 springers to the mouth of the Columbia is the fewest back to 1999.

The Columbia summer Chinook forecast is slightly better than last year, with 38,300 expected, roughly 2,000 more than were forecast in 2019 but which also led to no opportunities to target them until later in the season and only in the upper river above Wenatchee.

Anglers are increasingly skeptical of the forecasts, but managers continue to point to very poor ocean conditions as having a strong influence on numbers of returning salmon.  The Blob is back in the North Pacific, maybe not as strong as 2014 and 2015, but still likely impacting prey and marine habitat of kings, sockeye, coho and other stocks.

Managers also put out preliminary word on fall Chinook and coho expectations, and how 2019 shaped up:

2019 Preliminary Returns
• Adult fall Chinook return was predicted to be 349,600 fish.
• Preliminary return is slightly above the forecast.
• Bright jack return appears to be improved over 2018. Tule jack return appears to be slightly improved over 2018.

2020 Outlook
• Bright stocks should be similar to the 2019 preliminary return.
• Tule stocks should be similar to the 2019 preliminary return.
• Ocean conditions between 2015 and 2019 were among the worst observed during the last 21 years and are likely continuing to have a strong influence on the fall Chinook return in 2020.

Columbia River Coho
• 2019 preliminary return is about 30% of the preseason forecast of 611,300.
• Coho jack return to the Columbia River is less than 50% of the recent three-year average.

Tule Chinook power ocean seasons, upriver brights the inriver fisheries. In the Columbia’s Hanford Reach, 30,678 angler trips yielded a catch of 11,820 adult kings, an improvement of more then 3,100 fish over 2018, according to biologist Paul Hoffarth.

The release of the 2020 forecasts and outlooks mark the start of determining how many, if any, fish are available for harvest in the ocean and rivers and setting seasons at North of Falcon later in winter.

SW OR Wild Steelhead Retention Back In Front Of ODFW Commission; Decision In Jan.

THE FOLLOWING IS APRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Commission will consider a petition to prohibit the retention of wild winter steelhead on all rivers in the SW Zone next month at its Jan. 17 meeting in Salem.

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)

Today during the open forum portion of their meeting, they heard from more than 30 members of the public testifying for and against a proposal to adopt a temporary rule to immediately prohibit the retention of wild winter steelhead for the 2020 season. The Commission expressed appreciation for information provided by those who testified, and re-affirmed that they will formally consider the petition as an agenda item next month.

The Commission adopted Oregon’s Conservation Plan for Lampreys today. Interest in lamprey conservation has increased dramatically over the last two decades as concern has grown over their status. The Plan covers four of the state’s native species of lampreys: Pacific Lamprey, Western River Lamprey, Western Brook Lamprey, and Pacific Brook Lamprey and identifies limiting factors, management strategies and research needed to conserve these species.

The Commission also adopted 2020 fishing regulations for groundfish (e.g. rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, greenling). State harvest guidelines are very similar to last year. There will be a 5-fish daily bag limit and a new sub-bag daily limit of 1 copper, quillback or China rockfish (in response to the harvest guideline for these species being met early in 2019 and ending retention in late August). Fishing will be limited to shoreward of the 40-fathom line from June through August, and allowed at all depths from September through May. Commercial nearshore fishery landing limits will also be similar to 2019. In the commercial Black Rockfish Management Areas, daily limits will increase from 300 to 500 pounds in January-February and November-December.

The Commission also:

  • Amended roadkill salvage rules to allow deer and elk dispatched by wildlife law enforcement personnel after being roadstruck to be salvaged by people besides just the driver.
  • Made corrections to minor errors in the big game controlled hunt tables and boundary descriptions from the October Commission meeting to accurately reflect the newly published 2020 Regulations.
  • Formally approved the amended trapping regulations to prohibit the use of snares suspended in trees in the Siskiyou and Siuslaw National Forests and prohibit trapping in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Areas, per previous Commission decision.
  • Approved funding for several Restoration and Enhancement projects to increase fishing opportunities or improve public access and approve some housekeeping updates for rules managing the program.

In response to a judgement related to the Commission’s June 2018 decision to not uplist the marbled murrelet from threatened to endangered, Commissioners voted (4 to 1) to direct ODFW staff to initiate rulemaking to reconsider the uplisting and the status of this seabird. More information about this rulemaking process, including meeting dates, will be announced next year.

The Commission’s next meeting is Jan. 17 in Salem.

Southern Oregon Rains Prompt Reopening Of Chetco, 3 Other Rivers

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

Beginning December 7, low flow angling closures are lifted on the Sixes, Elk, Chetco, and Winchuck rivers.

JEFF HUTTON OF COSTA RICA HOLDS A CHETCO RIVER CHINOOK CAUGHT WITH GUIDE ANDY MARTIN OF WILD RIVERS FISHING. THE FISH HIT A T50 FLATFISH WITH A SARDINE WRAP FISHED WITH A WRIGHT & MCGILL STORMY SKIES SALMON ROD. (WILD RIVERS FISHING)

River conditions improved after recent storms, allowing fall chinook to migrate throughout the mainstems of these rivers after one of the driest Novembers on record in the South Coast.

Closure boundaries were suggested by anglers who attended public meetings this past spring and who overwhelmingly supported low flow closures in October and November knowing those would be lifted once water levels rose.

A USGS MAP SHOWS RIVER FLOWS ACROSS OREGON MUCH LOWER THAN USUAL, THOUGH STORMS IMPROVED CONDITIONS ON THE SOUTH COAST, ALLOWING FOR THE CANCELLATION OF LOW-FLOW CLOSURES. (USGS)

Gold Beach District Fish Biologist Steve Mazur said current temporary zone harvest limit reductions for wild chinook have not been removed. The Pistol River and Hunter and Floras creeks remain closed.

“Even though we are lifting these low water closures, current zone regulations, some adopted through the Rogue Fall Chinook Conservation planning process, are in place to protect fall chinook spawning areas,” Mazur said.

The temporary fall chinook bag limit reductions remain in effect through December 31, 2019.  Anglers should carefully check the SW Zone regulations: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southwest-zone

ODFW Forming New Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee, Taking Applications

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

ODFW seeks applicants for membership on the Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee.

The Committee will provide recommendations to ODFW on balancing commercial and noncommercial take of bay clams, physical boundaries for commercial activities, and other rules related to bay clam harvest in Tillamook Bay. The Committee is mandated by Senate Bill 1025, passed earlier this year.

(ODFW)

People interested in serving can attend an informational meeting and get an application. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Forestry Tillamook District Office, 5005 3rd St., Tillamook

Applications can also be downloaded at  this link or requested in-person at ODFW’s Tillamook, Astoria or Newport offices. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2020.

The meeting will be hosted by staff from ODFW’s shellfish program. This program works to assess, monitor, and manage shellfish resources and their habitats to provide sustained ecological, commercial, social, and recreational benefits for present and future generations. For more information visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/

New Oregon Fish And Wildlife Commission Chair, Member Named

Becky Hyde, who has roots in contentious Southern Oregon fish, wildlife, landscape and water issues, has joined ODFW’s commission.

She replaces Micheal Finley of Medford, who has been on the citizen panel overseeing the state agency since 2011 and its chair since 2015.

And per Governor Kate Brown’s office this afternoon, Mary Wahl, who was appointed to the commission this spring and confirmed afterwards by the state Senate, is the new chair. She has been the commission’s vice chair.

Hyde, of Paisley near Summer Lake, is described as a “rancher by trade” with family operations in Lake and Klamath Counties. The Herald and News of Klamath Falls, which broke the news on her appointment, also reports she’s been “heavily involved” in sage grouse, Klamath Basin water and fish, and wolf management issues over the years.

“When we were nominated they took us around the state legislature to meet with state senators on both sides of the aisle, and almost every senator asked why I would want to be on this commission because it’s so contentious,” she told the paper for a story out today. “I said, ‘Have you been to the Klamath Basin any time in the last 20 years?’ ”

While Hyde admitted to needing to hit the books on Columbia River fishery issues, the Oregon Hunters Association welcomed her appointment.

“OHA staff talked to and met with Becky. We were impressed with her grasp of the issues the Commission is dealing with, and OHA looks forward to working with her,” said Al Elkins, the organization’s lobbyist.

With Hyde’s background working with Klamath Basin stakeholders, ODFW also said it was “excited” to have her join the commission.

“She is known for consistently advocating for compromise when tackling challenging problems. Her appointment is important as she brings a working lands conservation background to the commission. She displays a truly collaborative nature and has demonstrated a commitment to healthy landscapes and the strong work ethic found in Eastern Oregon,” agency administrator Shannon Hurn told the Herald and News.

Wahl, the new chair, also comes from a ranching family, one based on the coast, near Langlois.

With a masters in public administration from Harvard, she managed toxic cleanups for the state and watershed operations in Portland before retiring “to focus on conservation efforts on Oregon’s south coast,” according to her commission application. She is on the board of the Wild Rivers Land Trust.

The term of Finley, the previous chair, had been up as of June 30 of this year, but it had been extended and has now ended.

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission has seven members based on the state’s five Congressional districts, with at least one from east of the Cascades and one from west of the mountains.

Coded Wire Tagged Steelhead Caught In Umpqua Basin Could Be Worth $50

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

Anglers who catch a hatchery steelhead and return the snout to an ODFW collection barrel have a chance to win a $50 gift card if their fish is coded wire tagged. Monthly prize drawings run December through April 2020.

ODFW IS ASKING UMPQUA RIVER STEELHEADERS TO DROP OFF THE SNOUTS OF ANY HATCHERY WINTER-RUNS IN BARRELS AT BOAT LAUNCHES OR THE ROSEBURG OFFICE TO SCAN AS PART OF A STUDY. SCOTT HAUGEN CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE MAINSTEM A COUPLE YEARS AGO WHILE RUNNING A MAG LIP. (SCOTT HAUGEN VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

The contest is meant to encourage anglers to leave the snouts of harvested Umpqua Basin hatchery winter steelhead in collection barrels at popular boat ramps. Barrels are also in Roseburg at Sportsman’s Warehouse and the ODFW office on North Umpqua Highway. Bags and tags with date and location of harvest are in the barrels.

ODFW scans the snouts for coded wire tags in the second of a multi-year research project to improve winter steelhead fishing in the South Umpqua River. Fish were tagged earlier this year and released in four groups at acclimation sites in Canyonville.

STEP biologist Evan Leonetti wants to know which release timing is the most beneficial to anglers, particularly those fishing the South Umpqua River.

“Those tags tell us which release date and group gives a better return for anglers which is why it’s important to return snouts of harvested hatchery steelhead,” Leonetti said. “The potential to win a gift card is a bonus, and we hope to collect more snouts this year.”

Volunteers with a flexible schedule are needed to collect harvest information from winter steelhead anglers on the North and South Umpqua rivers. That information is used in conjunction with the coded wire tag data to better manage the hatchery fishery. Volunteers are also needed to check the collection barrels.

Volunteers must provide their own transportation and may be working alone or with a partner at boat ramps. The project runs the length of the winter steelhead season, ending about mid-April.

Anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in volunteering should call Leonetti at 541-464-2175 or email evan.leonetti@state.or.us

2020 ODFW Fish, Hunt Reg Books Out; Changes Detailed

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

The 2020 Sport Fishing and Big Game Hunting Regulations are now available in stores and ODFW offices and online at http://www.eregulations.com/

Changes from 2019 are listed in the What’s New section under the table of contents and are identified by yellow highlighted text throughout the regulations.

There are few major changes to the sport fishing regulations, but one is that in 2020, recreational crabbers will be required to mark all floating surface buoys with the owner’s full name or business name and at least one of the following: phone number, permanent address, ODFW Angler ID number, or a boat identification number, such as Oregon boat registration number. Find more information here.

As part of efforts to improve protections for mature spawning-size sturgeon, seasonal Columbia River no-fishing sanctuaries for these fish have been expanded and closure time extended.

Finally, anglers who purchase a two-rod validation will be able to use two rods in the Sandy River and Snake River below Brownlee Dam.

OREGON CRABBERS WILL NOW HAVE TO MARK THEIR BUOYS WITH THEIR NAME AND ANOTHER PIECE OF IDENTIFICATION. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Big game hunters face more significant changes, as improvements to the regulations come into effect for 2020. A multi-year effort has been underway to improve and simplify big game regulations to make them more consistent, simpler where possible, and in tune with current populations and issues.

This year more than ever, hunters who apply for controlled hunts need to carefully check their hunt number. Many controlled hunts have been consolidated into larger areas and/or have longer seasons and boundaries of many controlled hunts were expanded or made simpler. Maps for these hunts will be available on MyODFW.com in 2020.

Hunters should note that hunts that were formally called “centerfire” seasons or commonly referred to as “rifle” seasons, are now “Any Legal Weapon Seasons.” This change was made to make it more clear to hunters that they are not limited to only using a rifle for these hunts; it is legal for hunters to use any legal shotgun, bow, muzzleloader, or handgun. For example, most hunters with a Western Oregon Deer tag typically hunt with a rifle, but if they prefer they can use this tag to hunt the season with a bow instead of hunting the regular archery season.

New for 2020, hunters with access to private land in areas of chronic elk damage can choose the new General Season Antlerless Elk Damage tag as their elk hunt. This new hunt is meant to address chronic elk damage and address increasing private land elk populations.

Several elk seasons east of the Cascades will shift from general season to controlled hunts in 2020 to improve bull ratios and hunt quality. This means hunters will need to apply to hunt Rocky Mtn elk season in the Hood-White River-Maupin-Biggs-Columbia Basin units and in units on the eastern flank of the Cascades (formerly in Cascade elk general season).

Western Oregon general season buck deer hunters will be able to take a spike in the 2020 season as the new bag limit is “any buck with visible antler.” There are sufficient bucks in the population to support increased harvest and the change may also help the buck deer population by allowing hunters to remove deer in poorer condition and the bucks genetically inclined to remain spikes.

Finally, due to a printing error, the Biggs Maupin unit is colored as black and appears to be closed to hunting during general archery season. The unit is not closed and the online version has been corrected.

For more information on the changes to 2020 big game hunting regulations, visit https://myodfw.com/articles/whats-new-2020-changes-big-game-regulations

Editor’s note: This press release has been updated in the second to last paragraph after ODFW subsequently provided the correct unit that was inadvertently colored black in the hunting regs.