Tag Archives: ODFW

Decade After Dam Destroyed, Sandy’s Salmon, Steelhead ‘Rebounding’ – ODFW

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

Ten years ago a new era of salmon and steelhead recovery quite literally started out with a bang when Marmot Dam was removed from the Sandy River.

Marmot Dam used to block the Sandy River at this bend. Removal of the dam, completed last year, restored the free-flowing nature of the river upstream to its headwaters near the glaciers on Mount Hood. (ODFW)

More than a ton of high-grade explosives were detonated, taking off the face of the 47-foot high concrete dam.

At the time, it was the largest dam breach ever attempted. Portland General Electric, owner of the dam, figured it would be more cost-effective to remove the structure than upgrade it to meet new federal relicensing standards.

Scenes from ODFW’s 2008 “salmon rodeo” on the Sandy: Fish biologists Dannette Faucera and Todd Alsbury point out Chinook redds to their crew while surveying the Salmon River.

In July 2007, in a highly publicized event, PGE blew the concrete face off its dam on the Sandy River. For the next three months, large backhoes with pneumatic hammers pulverized, drilled, pulled apart and hauled off the remaining pieces of the dam. On Oct. 19, a rainstorm swept away the backfill that had accumulated behind the dam, making the Sandy totally free-flowing again, from its headwaters on Mt. Hood to its confluence with the Columbia River in Troutdale 56 miles away.

Biologists, conservationists, anglers, and others hailed the removal of Marmot Dam as a victory for imperiled native runs of Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead. The hope was that fish would benefit from better flows, better water quality and unrestricted access to prime spawning grounds in the uppermost reaches of the river.

DFW staff members unfurl a tangle net before drifting it through a deep hole in the Sandy River. A swimmer, wearing a dry suit, took one end of the net to the other side of the river and swam down and back across the stream in an arc, creating an action in the net that some compared to closing a purse. (ODFW)

So has 10 years of a free-flowing Sandy River been good for fish?

The answer is an unqualified ‘yes’, according to Todd Alsbury, ODFW district fish biologist for the Sandy, and one of the partners in the removal of Marmot Dam.

Fish biologists Todd Alsbury (right), Ben Walczak (center), and Danette Faucera (left), wearing wet and dry suits, wade the icy Salmon River, a tributary of the Sandy, in an attempt to push salmon downstream where they can be collected in a seine net. (ODFW)

Now, for the past three years, when other runs of salmon and steelhead around the region have been down, the Sandy has been seeing increasingly strong returns; in some cases, double what they were a decade ago before Marmot Dam was removed.

“While not solely due to dam removal, returns of wild spring Chinook, winter steelhead, and coho have increased significantly as compared to their abundance before the dam was removed,” said Alsbury, who noted that in the 10 years since Marmot Dam was removed ODFW has observed the largest returns for all three species in the 40 years.

ODFW staff members work together to pull in a net full of fish. Through trial and error they developed a coordinated approach that was very effective at landing Chinook. (ODFW)

For example, the number of wild spring Chinook increased from an average of 809 before dam removal to 2,086 afterwards. Similarly, coho increased from 784 returning fish before dam removal to 1,959 afterward, and wild winter steelhead increased from 898 to 2,757.

To really gauge how successful removal has been, though, it helps to look at how the fish were doing prior to removal of the dam.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery technicians Rob Dietrichs (right) and Dave VanAmburgh (center) remove a chinook salmon from a tangle net while Dannette Faucera, assistant district fish biologist, prepares to scoop the fish up for transport aboard an ATV, then a tank truck to an ODFW hatchery in Clackamas. (ODFW)

Wild spring Chinook were nearly extirpated in the 1950s and ’60s by dam operations, habitat losses, and other human impacts. During this period, fishery managers tried to rebuild the population with hatchery Chinook, which were intercepted in a trap at Marmot Dam and trucked to Sandy Fish Hatchery, where the next generation of fish was spawned and reared.

However, fisheries management changed dramatically in 1998 when the fish were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This triggered discussions about ways to recover the fish, including by taking out Marmot Dam and reducing releases of hatchery fish so there would be fewer of them to compete with the ESA-listed wild fish. These discussions also led to one of the first integrated brood programs whereby wild spring Chinook were reared at the hatchery, and later cross-bred with hatchery Chinook to create a fish closely resembling the native fish, instead of looking outside the basin for replacement stock with different genetics.

Members of ODFW fish staff put a chinook salmon into an aluminum box filled with water from the Sandy River. The boxes were strapped to ATVs, which carried the fish about three-fourths of a mile through the woods to a pickups equipped with tanks designed to keep them in good shape during the 20-mile ride to the hatchery. (ODFW)

When Marmot Dam was removed, ODFW biologists lost a fish trap that gave them the ability to catch and separate wild fish. The fish needed to be separated so the wild ones could go on upstream to spawn while the hatchery fish were captured and taken to the hatchery to spawn. For the first two years after dam removal, ODFW staff netted brood stock out of the river using large seine nets pulled by swimmers in full wetsuits. Later on, biologists installed weirs, or portable traps, in the river for this purpose.

To continue providing a recreational fishery, Alsbury and his staff developed an acclimation site to rear and release juvenile fish at a location that is suitable for returning adult fish. They now collect adult fish using temporary weirs near the release location to capture returning adults. Afterwards, the weir can be removed from the river.

“Our goal is to first protect native runs of native salmon and steelhead while at the same time providing a robust recreational fishery,” said Alsbury. “Thanks to a lot of hard work on the part of many dedicated individuals and a lot of collaboration we are starting to see some impressive results.”

“Habitat is the key,” Alsbury added, noting that the Sandy is one of the few rivers where fish habitat is now being added faster than it is being degraded or lost, and that salmon are now showing up to spawn in habitat that didn’t exist before.

2 October Keeper Sturgeon Days On Part Of Lower Columbia OKed

EDITOR’S NOTE, 2:25 P.M., 10-11-17: Updated to reflect decision on fishery

This afternoon, Columbia sturgeon managers approved opening much of the lower river for two days of keeper fishing later this month.

The Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife will open retention Saturday, Oct. 21, and Thursday, Oct. 26, from Bonneville down to the Wauna powerlines.

STURGEON ANGLERS MAY SEE TWO RETENTION DAYS IN LATE OCTOBER ON THE COLUMBIA BETWEEN BONNEVILLE AND WAUNA IF A PROPOSAL COMES TO PASS. DENNIS JAMES CAUGHT THIS ONE NEAR I-5 SEVERAL SEASONS BACK WHILE FISHING WITH FRIEND RODNEY STALLARD. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Daily limit is one 44- to 50-inch-fork-length white sturgeon.

“Although predicting the results of a sturgeon retention fishery in this area is confounded by multiple issues (lack of recent fishery data, higher abundance of legal-sized fish, a modified size slot, and unknown effort), staff views the … fishery proposal as a reasonable approach for re-opening this fishery,” a joint ODFW-WDFW fact sheet out for today’s decision states.

In a subsequent press release, ODFW noted it’s the first keeper sturgeon fishery in these waters since 2013. The Columbia below the dam was closed for retention from 2014 through 2016 due to a dip in the population.

There’s an estimated “legal abundance” of about 165,000 sturgeon below the dam this year, enough to provide 6,235 for harvest, including 1,245 above Wauna.

As for the other 4,990, 1,245 were reserved for the commercial fleet and 3,235 or 108 percent of the guideline for the area were caught during June’s sport fishery in the estuary below Wauna.

Just under 750 are also available in the lower Willamette, and Oregon managers say they looked at how to hold a retention fishery there.

But keeping it within the quota would “require multiple constraints such as a noon closure,” a restriction on the boat fishing area, opening it when the Columbia was also open and an even skinnier slot limit, they say, so they’re not recommending a fishery.

 

All-ages Archery Tourney Coming Up At New Junction City Bow Park Oct. 28

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

ODFW will host the state’s first S3DA Triple Crown archery competition on Saturday, Oct. 28 at from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at its new Junction City Archery Park, 94230 Hwy 99N.

YOUNG ARCHERS TAKE AIM. ODFW IS HOSTING OREGON’S FIRST SCHOLASTIC 3-D ARCHERY TOURNAMENT LATER THIS MONTH, AND REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW. (ODFW)

The competition is open to all ages and the cost is $10. Participants need to bring their own equipment (no broadheads or crossbows) and will shoot in three different formats: indoor target, outdoor target and 3D. Register on the event page archeryevents.com (https://www.archeryevents.com/event.cfm?id=6603 ) Mandatory check-in for all participants will be at 9 a.m. and shooting will begin at 10 a.m.

“This will be a fun competition opportunity for families and friends, and a chance to experience a piece of Scholastic 3-D Archery (S3DA), a new youth program in Oregon that provides intermediate archery opportunities,” says Miranda Huerta, ODFW Archery Education Coordinator. “Whether you’re a hunter or target shooter, beginner or advanced, we hope you’ll come out and set some records at this inaugural shoot!”

Participants of all ages are welcome, though they should have some prior archery experience. The competition age categories are under 7, 8-11, 12-14, 15-18 and 19 and older.

The competition comes as ODFW grows its archery program and venues. Earlier this year, two new archery ranges opened (one in Hillsboro, another in Junction City) and an elevated shooting platform was added to the EE Wilson range near Corvallis.

ODFW has also expanded the reach of its NASP (National Archery in Schools) program. NASP is an introductory-level archery program for students new to archery in grades 4-12 that takes place during the regularly-scheduled school day. ODFW trains teachers to safely lead the program in schools and loans equipment kits with bows, arrows, targets and safety equipment.

“We’re always looking for new schools to join the program,” says Huerta. “Archery is a fun sport that students of all ages and ability levels can take part in.”

For more information about these archery programs, visit the program website or contact Miranda Huerta at 503-947-6076, Miranda.N.Huerta@state.or.us

To find out about other outdoor skills events where you can learn to hunt, fish and safely shoot a bow or firearm, visit ODFW’s Workshop and Events page at https://myodfw.com/workshops-and-events

Oregon Fish-Wildlife Commission To Talk Cougar Plan, License Fees

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

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Oct. 13 at the Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 Main St in Prineville beginning at 8 a.m.

The meeting will follow this agenda, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/17/10_oct/index.asp, and be livestreamed online via ODFW’s @MyODFW account on Periscope and Twitter.

THE OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION MEETING FRIDAY, OCT. 13, WILL BE LIVE STREAMED. (PERISCOPE)

The Commission will be asked to adopt an updated Oregon Cougar Management Plan. The Plan was last revised in 2006. The draft updated Plan incorporates new scientific literature and Oregon-specific research about cougars, including a genetics and habitat analysis, but does not propose major management changes. The updated Plan continues to stress coexistence with Oregon’s more than 6,400 cougars.

The Commission will also be asked to adopt new fees for recreational and other licenses that will take effect Jan. 1, 2018. These fees were already approved by the Oregon State Legislature when it passed ODFW’s 2015-17 budget. Typically, ODFW raises fees once every six years but during this six-year cycle, fee increases are staggered with a more modest fee increase every two years. The first stage occurred for 2016 licenses. Beginning with 2018 licenses, the cost of an annual hunting license will increase by $1.50 to $33.50, an annual fishing license will increase by $3 to $41 and a Combination License will increase by $4 to $69. The cost of juvenile licenses will stay the same as part of efforts to make hunting and fishing affordable for young people and their families. To see the full Recreational Fee License Schedule visit ODFW’s budget page.

Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW’s Director’s office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

On Thursday, Oct. 12 the Commission will tour the Prineville area with stops at Bowman Dam on the Crooked River to discuss fish management and at Opal Springs to discuss fish passage. Some parts of the tour during are not open to the public as they are at privately-owned facilities. For more information see the tour itinerary.

6 Weeks Of Peace, But ODFW Targets Harl Butte Wolves After 2 More Calf Attacks

Oregon wildlife managers have authorized lethally removing up to four more Harl Butte wolves after two more calf depredations in recent days.

The Wallowa County pack has already been reduced by four following a series of attacks on cattle and the initial failure of nonlethal techniques to stop them.

AN ODFW MAP SHOWS THE AREA OF NORTHEAST OREGON WHERE THE HARL BUTTE PACK RESIDES. (ODFW)

Roblyn Brown, ODFW’s acting wolf coordinator noted that there had been a six-week period without trouble following the removal of four wolves in August, but that ended with a confirmed kill of a calf on Sept. 29 and a confirmed injury to a calf on Oct. 1.

“As wildlife managers, we are responsible for balancing the conservation of wolves on the landscape with our obligation to manage wolves so that damage to livestock is limited. We need to take further action with this pack,” Brown said in a press release.

Along with ODFW staffers, members of a local grazers association have been granted a temporary permit to kill wolves in public and private pastures where their cattle are located.

The agency believes there are nine Harl Butte wolves; any may be killed.

In other Oregon wolf news, a period of quiet with the Meacham Pack has led to the expiration of lethal controls there.

In Washington, WDFW continues to evaluate the Sherman Pack response to a removal and says no depredations have been reported since Aug. 28.

 

Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (9-27-17)

THE FOLLOWING IS ODFW’S WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT FOR THE COLUMBIA ZONE

SALMON, STEELHEAD AND SHAD

On Saturday’s (9/23) flight, 976 salmonid boats and 22 Oregon bank anglers were counted from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam; and 59 Oregon boats counted at Buoy 10. Anglers fishing in the John Day Pool averaged 0.13 Chinook caught per boat, while anglers fishing in The Dalles Pool averaged 1.87 Chinook and 0.02 coho caught per boat. Anglers fishing in the Bonneville Pool averaged 1.21 Chinook, 0.07 coho and 0.01 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 1.49 Chinook and 0.12 coho caught per boat. In Troutdale, boat anglers averaged 0.14 Chinook and 0.14 coho caught per boat, while anglers fishing in the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.40 Chinook and 0.09 coho caught per boat. In the estuary, boat anglers averaged 0.98 coho and 0.02 Chinook caught per boat. Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.05 Chinook caught per angler, while anglers fishing in the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.04 coho caught per angler.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed one Chinook adult kept for 21 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed 64 Chinook adults, four Chinook jacks, and four coho adults kept, plus one coho adult released for 43 boats (144 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed five Chinook adults, one Chinook jack, and four coho adults kept, plus one Chinook jack and one coho adult released for 37 boats (79 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed one coho adult kept for 23 bank anglers.

Portland to Tongue Point Boats: Weekend checking showed 42 Chinook adults, six Chinook jacks, and three coho adults kept, plus 10 Chinook adults, one Chinook jack and eight coho adults released for 129 boats (307 anglers).

Estuary Boats (Above Tongue Point): No report.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): Weekend checking showed 17 coho kept, plus 32 coho and one Chinook released for 50 boats (135 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed 93 Chinook adults, 14 Chinook jacks, five coho adults, one coho jack and one steelhead kept, plus five Chinook adults, and one coho jack released for 81 boats (205 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for two bank anglers; and 99 Chinook adults, 20 Chinook jacks, and one coho adult kept, plus one coho jack released for 53 boats (163 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for three bank anglers; and one Chinook adult kept for eight boats (11 anglers).

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed 31 legal and one oversize sturgeon released for two boats (seven anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed five oversize sturgeon released for two bank anglers.

John Day Pool: Closed for retention. Weekly checking showed six sublegal, one legal, and four oversize sturgeon released for two boats (eight anglers).

WALLEYE

Gorge: No report.

Troutdale: No report.

Portland to Tongue Point: No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed 49 walleye kept, plus four walleye released for six boats (12 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed three walleye kept for two boats (three anglers).

Some Bottomfish Ops Reopening Outside ODFW’s 40-Fathom Line

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

Recreational fishing for bottomfish for some species will reopen Oct. 1 outside the 40 fathom line for anglers with “long-leader” gear.

Several species of rockfish found outside of 40 fathoms are abundant and catches are well under quota, including yellowtail and canary rockfish. Long-leader gear has proven effective at catching these plentiful rockfish that are found off the bottom, such as yellowtail (“greenies”), widow (“brownies”), and canary rockfish, among others.

AN ODFW IMAGE ILLUSTRATES WHAT THE AGENCY IS CALLING “LONGLEADER GEAR.” (ODFW)

“Earlier this month, we had to close groundfish early when the quotas for black rockfish and several other species were reached after a very busy summer bottomfishing season,” said Maggie Sommer, Fisheries Management Section Leader for ODFW. “We understand this has been difficult for coastal communities, visitors wanting to fish, and the businesses that depend on them.”

“By opening outside 40 fathoms, where black rockfish and other nearshore rockfish are rarely caught, and requiring the long-leader gear, we can provide some additional opportunity while still protecting black rockfish and other species and keeping this fishery sustainable,” continued Sommer.

Long-leader gear was first developed and tested in Oregon waters to avoid yelloweye rockfish. The gear requires a minimum of 30’ of distance in the line between the terminal weight and the lowest hook, as well as a non-compressible float above the hook. The unusually long leader and the float work together to ensure that the gear fishes well above the bottom. A diagram and specifications for the gear are available at ODFW offices or at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/index.asp.

In addition to re-opening for certain bottomfish species fished with longleader gear, ODFW continues to allow flatfish fishing at all-depths.  While fishing for flatfish is not new (and has a 25-fish bag limit), the opportunity to do so at all-depths was only recently allowed. While both long-leader and flatfish fishing are great opportunities to get out on the ocean, anglers will have to choose one or the other per trip, as it will not be legal to retain both flatfish and other bottomfish on the same trip.  This will ensure that fishing on the bottom occurs only in soft-bottom habitat preferred by flatfish, keeping anglers away from rocks and further avoiding bycatch of rockfish and other groundfish species.

“It’s important that we avoid any more bycatch of yelloweye rockfish and other species whose annual quotas have already been met,” said Sommer.

The daily bag limit for the long-leader fishery remains 7 marine fish (see page 81 of the 2017 Sportfishing Regulations), no more than 4 of which may be blue, deacon, China, copper, or quillback rockfishes in aggregate. (Blues and deacons are less likely to be caught outside 40 fathoms, but are still sometimes encountered there with long-leader gear. Anglers are asked to avoid them as much as possible for the remainder of the year.) Retention of black rockfish (aka “black sea bass”), cabezon, and lingcod (except by spear) is not allowed at any depth for the remainder of 2017, in addition to the longstanding prohibition on yelloweye rockfish. Descending devices must be used when releasing all rockfish caught in waters deeper than 30 fathoms.

The 40 fathom regulatory line generally closely follows the 40 fathom (240 foot) depth contour and varies from within about two miles of shore to almost 10 miles of shore. It is defined by waypoints, which can be found on ODFW’s Sport Groundfish webpage at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/regulations/sport_fishing/waypoints.asp.

Find regulation updates on the Marine Zone Regulation Update page.

Oregon’s Best Beaches For Razor Clams Opening Sunday After 1-plus-year Closure

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

Razor clamming on Clatsop County beaches will reopen on Sunday, Oct. 1 after a 16-month closure.

Razor clamming in this area has been closed since July 2016 due to high levels of biotoxins found in the clams and an annual closure to protect newly set young clams that runs from July 15-Sept. 30 each year. While other parts of the state’s coast have been open to razor clamming, Clatsop County beaches are the most popular spot and account for 90 percent of Oregon’s harvest.

AFTER BEING CLOSED FOR HARVEST FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, CLATSOP COUNTY BEACHES ARE REOPENING THIS COMING SUNDAY FOR DIGGING RAZOR CLAMS. (ODFW)

Oregon Dept. of Agriculture tests shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, to determine if razor clams and other shellfish are safe to eat. Results from ODA’s two most recent tests (on Sept. 22 and Sept. 8) show clams are safe.

The last time Clatsop County’s season was open in summer 2016, razor clammers experienced a record year, with most reaching their daily bag limit of 15 in a short time. Clammers will find different conditions when they return on Oct. 1 as ODFW’s annual survey found significantly lower abundance of razor clams since surveys began in 2004.

“In 2016, abundance peaked and surveys estimated 16 million razor clams in the 18-mile stretch between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head,” says Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish Project Leader. “This year, the estimate is just 3 million clams in that area.”

“These low numbers are troubling, as they mean Clatsop beaches haven’t seen a significant recruitment event for two years,” continued Hunter.  “But this recruitment issue is not isolated to just Clatsop beaches. It’s being seen on the entire Oregon coast and for Washington beaches, too.”

Razor clam populations are very cyclical and the population appears to be in a low abundance period, following a very high abundance period in 2015-16. However, current clams are larger, averaging about 4 ½ inches, with only a few clams smaller than 4-inches found. Surveys showed clams distributed sporadically along the entire stretch of the beach.

“While razor clam numbers are lower this year, clams are quite large,” Hunter said. “To be successful, clammers should be diligent, choose the best low tides and actively ‘pound’ to get razors to show.”

AN ODFW CHART ILLUSTRATES RAZOR CLAM ABUNDANCE BETWEEN THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA AND SEASIDE. (ODFW)

As always, the bag limit for razor clams is the first 15 dug, with no sorting or releasing allowed.

ODA tests for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, and closes seasons with ODFW when toxins reach an unsafe level. Clammers should always call the shellfish hotline (800-448-2474) or check the ODA website before harvesting clams.

 

The Story Behind That Huge Lingcod Speared Off Oregon Sunday

Imagine you’re holding your breath 40 feet down off Oregon’s chilly Central Coast and the ginormous lingcod — one with a toothsome smile as big as your head — that you’ve just shot with your speargun pulls you backwards.

Into its cave.

That’s the situation Josh Humbert found himself in last Saturday.

HENRY BRIAN CHAMBERLAIN EMERGES FROM THE OREGON SURF WITH A 42-INCH-LONG LINGCOD HE SPEARED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE 2017 BOTTOMFISHING SEASON. (PHOTO BY JOSH HUMBERT, INSTAGRAM: @JOSHHUMBERT)

Humbert is among the Beaver State’s elite free-diving spearfishermen, as well as a photographer, and his images (@joshhumbert on Instagram) graced a July feature in Northwest Sportsman on the tight-knit community.

How that struggle between man and sea beast nearly 7 fathoms below the surface might have played out we’ll never know because as the lingcod thrashed, pulling Humbert towards its lair, the small barb or “flopper” on the pole spear he was using pulled through the ling’s cheek, and the fish was lost.

“If it had been a full-sized [barb] (about 2 inches), as well as being far enough away from the tip, it would have held for sure,” Humbert says.

But that is not the end of the story.

The next day, Sunday, the final day of Oregon’s bottomfish season, Humbert and friend Brian Chamberlain returned for another go at the ling.

With a slightly higher tide and 8 feet of visibility, they had to make numerous dives of up to a minute and a half as they searched for more than half an hour to find the ling and its cave.

“We were diving an offshore reef with no nearby land bearings to line up on, so just locating the cave was a small victory,” Humbert wrote on an Instagram post.

Eventually they rediscovered it and Chamberlain speared the ling on his first dive.

Chamberlain’s “fish of a lifetime” and “biggest lingcod any of us has ever seen,” as his friend said, taped out at 42 inches, which would put it around 31 pounds, according to one chart.

That’s definitely on the upper end for Oregon lings, which on rare occasions grow to as big as 4 feet. ODFW’s Eric Schindler says that of 63,564 randomly sampled by his crews since 2008, only 97 have been bigger, and he notes most anglers release those that big.

According to Maggie Sommer, the agency’s marine fishing manager, the state’s lingcod stocks are considered healthy and are being fished at nowhere close to concerning levels. She says the biomass is at 58 percent of “virgin,” or unexploited levels, and says that it could be fished down to 40 percent and still provide enough for sustainable fisheries and ecosystem functions.

“There are plenty of big, spawning females. That’s the reason there’s no upper size limit on lingcod,” Sommer says.

ODFW closed bottomfish season as of this Monday after quotas for black rockfish, yelloweye rockfish — which inhabit similar habitats and eat the same things as lings — and cabezon reached their quotas due to excellent fishing this year.

There is no quota on lingcod and they’re otherwise open year-round with a daily limit of two 22 inches or larger.

As for Humbert’s initial shot on the ling, a mere flesh wound.

“We saw the wound from the previous day on the fish and couldn’t believe how well it had closed up,” he noted.

Responding to comments on our initial Facebook post of the photo of Chamberlain and the ling, Humbert said he planned on eating “a big piece with friends this weekend.”

Bon appetit, you guys earned it!

20-question Quiz Helps Hunters ID, Learn Differences Between Wolves, Coyotes

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

ODFW has launched a new online Coyote and Gray Wolf ID Quiz to help people differentiate between wolves and coyotes. Find the quiz at http://bit.ly/2x56uoU or at the ODFW Wolves website, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/.

WOLF OR COYOTE? A NEW ODFW QUIZ SHOWS PHOTOS OF BOTH SPECIES AND IDENTIFIES KEY DIFFERENTIATING FEATURES. (ODFW)

The quiz uses actual photos of various wolves and coyotes of various ages to test user’s knowledge, and gives tips on how to tell wolves from coyotes. For example, coyotes have taller, pointed ears and a pointed face and muzzle while wolves have shorter rounder ears and a blocky face and muzzle.

“We encourage everyone who spends time in the outdoors to take this quiz, but especially hunters that pursue coyotes,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW acting wolf coordinator. “It is the responsibility of every hunter to know their target.” Wolf pups in particular can resemble coyotes in the fall.

Wolves are protected throughout the state of Oregon and there is no hunting season for wolves anywhere in the state. Intentionally hunting or accidentally “taking” a wolf is unlawful and can have serious legal consequences. In 2015, a hunter shot and was prosecuted for killing a collared gray wolf in Grant County that he misidentified as a coyote.

ODFW also relies on hunters, outdoor recreationalists, livestock producers and others to report wolf observations. These public wolf reports help wildlife biologists know where to focus wolf survey efforts. If you think you have seen a wolf, wolf sign or heard wolves howling please report it at www.odfw.com/Wolves/wolf_reporting_form.asp

“This quiz can help anyone better identify wolves in the field,” said Brown. “We really appreciate everyone taking the time to take the quiz.”