Tag Archives: salmon

Baker Sockeye Issues Back On WDFW Commission Agenda

It turns out that my best idea for solving aggravating Baker sockeye harvest inequities would cost on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars — money WDFW doesn’t exactly have at the moment — and require round-the-clock monitoring so thieves don’t steal valuable parts.

In-river sonar that counts salmon, like what’s used on the Fraser and in Alaska, before they reach North Sound tribal nets in the Skagit and sport hooks there and up at Baker Lake could yield better data on relative run strength than the preseason prediction now used to set fisheries and hope the fish come in.

IT’S BEEN AWHILE SINCE ALEC SCHANTZ CAUGHT HIS SOCKEYE LIMIT AT BAKER LAKE, WHERE HE DID SO IN 2013 BUT NOT THIS PAST SEASON WHEN HE TROLLED AROUND FOR TWO DAYS WITH NARY A NIBBLE. HIS GRANDFATHER FRANK URABECK IS TRYING TO ENSURE THAT MORE OF THE SALMON ARE PLACED INTO THE RESERVOIR. (FRANK URABECK)

Forecasts the past few years have been as much as 33 percent too high, leading to a 19,000-plus-fish disparity between the fleets, and that’s been rubbing recreational anglers the wrong way since 2017.

This coming Saturday morning the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will again hear about the issue, and fishermen are being called on to attend the meeting in Bellingham.

“Whenever the actual run is less than the preseason forecast the tribes wind up with more sockeye,” said angler advocate Frank Urabeck, who was rallying anglers on The Outdoor Line radio show on Seattle’s 710 ESPN last weekend.

Currently, the best way to tell how well the run is tracking versus the prediction made the previous winter is how many are showing up at the Baker River trap, minus tribal and plunkers’ catches. The time it takes the fish to swim to the trap limits the effectiveness of inseason actions. And when fewer show up than expected, it means less are put into Baker Lake, where the primary sport fishery is.

So one of the ideas Uraback is pitching is to use a run forecast buffer, like what is done with spring Chinook on the Columbia River. Thirty percent is chopped off the best guess of biologists to set fisheries before the halfway point of the run is reached as a check against overharvesting a weaker than expected return.

He also suggests “following year payback” — adjusting harvests the next season to even out overages the previous one.

That’s similar to how Puget Sound crabbing is managed and why this past summer saw an early closure in Area 10. There, last year’s Dungeness quota was 40,000 pounds, but sport crabbers harvested more than 46,000 pounds, and so through “buyback provisions” in negotiated state-tribal agreements, that dropped this year’s allowable take to 33,212 pounds.

Urabeck, a retired Army Corps engineer, also suggests managers use their “professional judgment” inseason to adjust the forecast.

“We again are asking that the Commission direct (WDFW) to give Baker sockeye harvest equity a high priority for the 2020 season, engaging the three Skagit Basin tribes on behalf of sport fishing license holders in a transparent manner that allows the public to track the discussions,” he said.

The sockeye fishery, particularly in the lake, has become more important in recent years with low returns to the Brewster Pool on the other side of the North Cascades and the decline of Lake Washington.

Sportfishing occurs off the banks of the lower Skagit between Mount Vernon and Gilligan Creek, and in Baker Lake, while three tribes net from the forks of the Skagit up to Mount Vernon, and from Gilligan Creek up to the Baker River, and the Swinomish in the salt to their preseason share.

Most of the nontribal catch occurs in the lake — 10,080 in 2015, according to one set of WDFW catch stats, versus 800 in the river.

With Urabeck and others pushing, Washington’s fish commission has been tracking the issue since at least October 2017, and last fall there was a workshop at WDFW’s Mill Creek office. On Saturday commissioners will be updated on the 2019 season and how harvest inequity issues are being addressed by state staff.

“The department absolutely thinks this is a worthwhile endeavor to find a solution that the state and tribes can live with,” say Aaron Dufault, a WDFW anadromous resources policy analyst in Olympia.

Even as it was off by a third this year, a new forecasting tool he and the biologists came up with and which uses environmental factors in the North Pacific is tracking better than the old model, which called for a return of nearly 60,000 sockeye in 2019.

Only 22,440 actually hit the mouth of the Skagit.

Yet Dufault acknowledges that the new model’s overprediction means there is “a little bit more room for improvement.”

He cautions that while ideas like Urabeck’s would impact tribal harvests and represent hurdles that would need to be overcome, WDFW is working with the Swinomish, Sauk-Suiattles and Upper Skagits to get an agreed-to harvest sharing dataset in place for 2020, as well as improve communications between the parties.

Because sockeye are seldom pursued much less caught in saltwater like Chinook, coho and pinks, it’s one of few fisheries where recreational anglers fish behind the tribal guys.

Since 2010, the tribes have harvested 134,035 Baker sockeye, sport anglers 113,074, according to Dufault’s commission presentation.

We caught more in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, years when more fish came back than were forecast; they caught more in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, years the prediction was too high, the presentation shows.

The disparity since 2017 is 37,864 to 18,782, according to the presentation.

An uptick in marine survival could turn things around quickly, Dufault notes.

He says there are payback provisions in an overarching Puget Sound salmon management document, but that they’re not a silver bullet either as they haven’t been used in “a couple decades.”

Still, it’s an option and one that could have an impact but would have to be agreed to too via the North of Falcon salmon-season-setting process.

But what if everybody had a better, more accurate gauge of run strength, aka in-river sonar?

Dufault calls it “a really cool tool,” and says it could solve a lot of the issues around the inequity.

He adds that the units also cost on the order of a couple hundred thousand dollars — tens of thousands of dollars if rented — and they require pretty specialized operators to perform real-time analysis, another cost.

He says that on the larger Fraser in Southwest British Columbia, five or six people are needed for daily number crunching, and someone has to be onsite 24-7 to guard the valuable equipment used to scan the river.

Needless to say, with WDFW’s current budget issues, the agency has other stated priorities in its whopping $26 million supplemental request to lawmakers. And sonar would need to have tribal buy-in.

Meanwhile, Urabeck is pessimistic about next year’s sockeye run and Puget Sound salmon fisheries, adding importance to Baker Lake, which he speculates “may be one of the few places salmon anglers can troll in 2020.”

“Many sport fishing license holders are giving serious thought to leaving this sport. We must have a reason to continue which only fishing opportunity can provide,” he says.

As it stands, WDFW does report that hatchery fry production in the Baker is increasing, with north of 9 million released in 2019, up from 6 million just four years ago and 2.5 million in 2009.

With sockeye clearly going to be around in the Skagit system for the foreseeable future and representing an important fishery for the state and three North Sound tribes, it behooves the parties to come to an equitable solution.

Saturday’s Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting comes to order at 8 a.m., with sockeye on the docket at 9 a.m. Public comment will be taken after Dufault’s presentation.

The meeting is in the Chuckanut Room at the Holiday Inn, 4260 Mitchell Way, across from the airport.

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

Yuasa Looks Back At 2019 Salmon Seasons, Towards 2020’s

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

The holiday “to do” list has pretty much taken priority over getting out on the water, but if you’re like me that also means it’s time to reassess salmon fisheries in 2019 and start thinking about what lies ahead in 2020.

I had a chance to chat with Mark Baltzell, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Puget Sound salmon manager, and Wendy Beeghly, the head WDFW coastal salmon manager, who provided insight about the future and a somewhat forgetful past.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

“I believe the best way to describe Puget Sound salmon fisheries overall in 2019 is a mixed bag,” said Baltzell. “We had some unexpected good salmon fishing and returns while others were as poor as the preseason forecasts had predicted.”

“Summer chinook fisheries were for the most part better than we expected despite the reduced seasons,” Baltzell said. “Early on we saw some really good chinook fishing in May and June in southern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 13 south of the Narrows Bridge).”

It wasn’t uncommon for Area 13 anglers during those months to hook into a limit of early summer hatchery kings, 10 to 18 pounds with a few larger, off Point Fosdick and Fox Island’s east side at Gibson Point, Fox Point in Hale Passage, northwest corner at the Sand Spit, Toy Point and Concrete Dock “Fox Island Fishing Pier.”
In the past few years, central Puget Sound (Area 10) starting in June has become a hot bed for resident coho – 2- to 4-pounds – and this past summer was no exception to the norm. On certain days you’d find hundreds of boats from Jefferson Head to Kingston and in the shipping lane.

“We had a coho fishery in Area 10 from June through August that was really good and has turned into a successful early summer salmon fishery,” Baltzell said.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

The Tulalip Bubble Terminal Fishery within Area 8-2 opened in June and was another location that proved to be fairly decent for early summer kings in the 10- to 15-pound range.

When July rolled around the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Areas 5 and 6) opened for hatchery kings and was off and on for much of the summer.

The San Juan Islands (Area 7) had a brief hatchery king fishery from July 1-31, which saw plenty of fishing pressure and a much higher than expected success rate.

Preliminary WDFW data during the July Area 7 fishery showed 5,310 boats with 11,739 anglers kept 3,019 hatchery kings (10 wild fish were illegally retained) along with 451 hatchery and 982 wild chinook released. The best fishing period occurred from July 1-14. WDFW test fishing showed the Area 7 legal-size chinook mark rate was 84.6 percent and overall mark rate was 78.6.

The summer hatchery king fishery in northern and central Puget Sound (Areas 9 and 10), started off poorly from July 25-28 due to extreme low tides. Once the tidal fluctuation improved as more dates were tacked onto the fishery catch rates picked up rapidly.
During an 11-day fishing period from July 25 to Aug. 4, the success rate in Area 9 was a 0.23 fish per rod average with a total of 7,779 boats with 17,147 anglers keeping 3,446 hatchery chinook (six unmarked were illegally retained) and released 1,124 hatchery and 756 wild chinook plus 697 coho kept and 747 released. WDFW test fishing showed the legal-size chinook mark rate was around 88.0 percent.

The Area 10 hatchery chinook fishery was open daily July 25 through Aug. 16 and a total of 7,606 boats with 15,900 anglers kept 3,200 hatchery chinook (17 wild were illegally retained) and released 994 hatchery and 1,579 wild chinook plus 2,013 coho kept and 463 released. WDFW test fishing showed the legal-size chinook mark rate was around 50.0 percent.

Summer hatchery chinook action in south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) stumbled out of the gates when it opened July 1 and was peppered with a few glory moments until it closed Aug. 25 for chinook retention. In Area 11, an estimated 12,264 boats with 22,818 anglers from July 1-Aug. 25 retained 212 chinook and released 164 hatchery and 465 wild chinook.

“We saw a lot more legal-size chinook in Puget Sound than the FRAM (Fishery Regulation Assessment Model) had predicted and more legal hatchery fish around than we had seen in past years,” Baltzell said.

In general, the wild chinook stock assessment seemed to be somewhat better in some parts of Puget Sound. Places like the Tumwater Falls Hatchery in deep South Sound even had a few nice 20-pound females return.

Heading into late summer, the Puget Sound pink returns were off the charts good here and there while other pink runs were downright dismal. Salmon anglers chasing pinks managed to find some excellent fishing from mid-August through September.

“In some places it seemed like we had twice the abundance of pinks and others didn’t get as many as we had thought,” Baltzell said. “The Puyallup did really good and a decent number of pinks pass(ed) over the Buckley fish trap and was up into the historical day numbers. But, the Skagit and Stillaguamish weren’t so good for pinks and it was the same for coho too.”

“At this point were going to be OK in places like the Snohomish for coho,” Baltzell said. “Both the tribes and state did all the things necessary to help ensure we’d exceed our hatchery coho broodstock (goals), and that did eventually happen.”

Other locations like the Green River met coho broodstock goals although that didn’t occur until late last month. In Hood Canal, the Quilcene early coho return came back less than half the preseason expectation and the size of jack coho was much smaller.”

“There was a size issue throughout the Puget Sound area and the lower returns had us taking a precautionary move to a one coho daily limit,” Baltzell said. “It was the right move in retrospect and helped us move more coho into the rivers.”

The mid- and southern-Puget Sound and Hood Canal chum forecast of 642,740 doesn’t appear to be materializing and at this point WDFW downgraded the run to almost half the preseason expectation.

“It is really hard for us as fishery managers to pinpoint the cause for all of it,” Baltzell said. “We can point the finger to marine survival and conditions in the ocean like the warm blob that sat off the coast up to Alaska for a while. We also know the Canadian sockeye runs tanked this year and saw it in our own like Lake Washington that virtually got nothing back.”

The ocean salmon fisheries from Neah Bay south to Ilwaco between June 22 through Sept. 30 encountered a mixed bag of success.

“Fishing was pretty much what I expected it to be,” Beeghly said. “The chinook fishery was slow except up north off Neah Bay where it was pretty good this past summer. The majority of chinook we see in ocean fisheries are headed for the Columbia River and their forecasts were down so the poor fishing came as no surprise.”
Close to a million coho were forecasted to flood the Columbia River this past summer and that too was a downer.

“The coho fishing wasn’t quite as good as I had expected, but we saw some decent fishing at Ilwaco and Westport,” Beeghly said. “The Columbia coho forecast didn’t come back like we originally thought but better than the past three or so years. The hatchery coho mark rate was lower than anticipated.”

Coast wide only 51.1 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 159,600 was achieved, and 41.4 percent of the chinook quota of 26,250 was caught.

Areas north of Leadbetter Point saw a coho mark rate of somewhere under 50 percent and Ilwaco where data was still being crunched might come out to be a little higher than that.

Once the fish arrived in the Lower Columbia at Buoy 10 it appeared the catch of hatchery coho fell well short of expectations with a lot of wild fish released although some glory moments occurred early on.

Coastal and Columbia River chinook forecasts should come to light around the Christmas holidays. The Pacific Fishery Management Council preseason meeting will occur in mid-February. That is just ahead of when Oregon Production Index coho forecasts will be released.

As Baltzell rubbed the crystal ball looking into 2020 it still remains pretty foggy at this point but general expectations aren’t rosy.

“It would be fair for me to say that I wouldn’t expect anything much better in 2020 than what we saw in 2019,” Baltzell said. “We have no forecast information at this point but I wouldn’t expect a rosier outlook as far as chinook goes for next year.”

State, federal and tribal fishery managers in 2020 will be faced with a lot of same wild chinook stock issues as in recent past years like mid-Hood Canal and Stillaguamish. Add on top of that killer whale orca issues as well as the pending Puget Sound Chinook Harvest Management Plan that has been looming a dark cloud for the past three years with no end in sight just yet.

“If I had to gauge things out my gut reaction is we’ll likely have to take a more cautionary approach again next year,” Baltzell said.

The WDFW general salmon forecast public meeting will occur Feb. 28 at the DSHS Office Building 2 Auditorium, 1115 Washington Street S.E. in Olympia. The first North of Falcon meeting is March 16 at the Lacey Community Center and the second meeting is March 30 at the Lynnwood Embassy Suites. Final seasons will determined April 5-11 at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, WA.

Final summer ocean salmon sport fishing catch data

Ilwaco (including Oregon) – 44,297 anglers from June 22 to September 30 caught 4,018 chinook (56% of the area guideline of 7,150) and 53,377 coho (67% of the area sub-quota of 79,800).

Westport – 23,465 anglers from June 22 to September 30 caught 2,336 chinook (18% of the area guideline of 12,700) and 20,221 coho (34% of the area sub-quota of 59,050), plus 700 pinks.

La Push – 2,076 from June 22 to September 30 caught 449 chinook (41% of the area guideline of 1,100) and 1,752 coho (43% of the area sub-quota of 4,050), plus 206 pinks. Late-season fishery October 1-13 saw 240 anglers with 164 chinook (64% over the fishery guideline) and 16 coho (16% of the fishery quota).

Neah Bay – 10,116 anglers from June 22 to September 30 caught 3,895 chinook (75% of the area guideline of 5,200) and 6,223 coho (37% of the area sub-quota of 16,600), plus 869 pinks. Chinook retention closed July 14.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Dungeness crab fishery reopens in Areas 8-2 and 8-1

The east side of Whidbey Island (Marine Catch Areas 8-1 and 8-2) has reopened daily for Dungeness crab fishing through Dec. 31. WDFW says crab abundance remains good indicating that the quota could be increased in-season. Crab pots must be set or pulled from a vessel and is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset.

Dungeness crab fishing is also open daily through Dec. 31 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Areas 4B, 5 and 6); San Juan Islands (Area 7); and northern Puget Sound (Area 9 except waters north of the Hood Canal bridge to a line connecting Olele Point and Foulweather Bluff).

NW Fishing Derby Series hits refresh button in 2020

After 17 wonderful years since the derby series began in 2004, we’ve decided it’s time for a change and rebranded it to the “Northwest Fishing Derby Series.”

Our hope is that anglers will like the direction as we diversify the fish species our events target while boosting the number of derbies to 20 in 2020 up from 14 events in 2019.

New events are the Lake Stevens Kokanee Derby on May 23; For the Love of Cod Derbies in Coos Bay/Charleston areas and Brookings, Oregon March 21-22 and March 28-29 respectively; Father’s Day Big Bass Classic on Tenmile Lake at Lakeside, Oregon on June 21-22; and the Something Catchy Kokanee Derby at Lake Chelan on April 18-19.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

The highlight is a chance to enter and win a $75,000 fully loaded, grand-prize all-white KingFisher 2025 Escape HT boat powered with Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motors on an EZ Loader Trailer. One of our newest sponsors of the derby – Shoxs Seats (www.shoxs.com) – has provided a pair of top-of-the-line seats that are engineered for maximum comfort in the roughest of seas.

The good news is anglers who enter any of the 20 derbies don’t need to catch a fish to win this beautiful boat and motor package!

A huge “thank you” to our other 2020 sponsors who make this series such a success are Silver Horde and Gold Star Lures; Scotty Downriggers; Burnewiin Accessories; Raymarine Electronics; WhoDat Tower; Dual Electronics; Tom-n-Jerry’s Marine; Master Marine; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Outdoor Emporium and Sportco; Harbor Marine; Prism Graphics; Lamiglas Rods; 710 ESPN The Outdoor Line; Salmon & Steelhead Journal; and Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine.

First up are the Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2 (already 50 percent of tickets have been sold as of Nov. 13); Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15. A new website is currently being designed and will be launched sometime in mid-December but for now, go to http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

In the meantime, take a break from holiday shopping and hit up a lake or open saltwater areas for a feisty fish tugging on the end of your line.

I’ll see you on the water!

Coho Restrictions Hit Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Other SW WA Tribs

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Southwest Washington tributary coho fisheries modified 

Action:

  • Anglers limited to 1 adult coho on lower Cowlitz and lower Kalama Rivers.
  • Release all adult coho on the Lewis River, Cedar Creek (including all tributaries), and Washougal River.

NICOLE GREENWOOD CAUGHT THIS COWLITZ RIVER HATCHERY COHO IN MID-OCTOBER ON A MAG LIP. (VIA JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM, YAKIMA BAIT)

Effective date: Nov. 23, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019.

Species affected: Coho salmon.

Locations and salmon rules:

  • Cowlitz River, from the mouth to the posted markers 400 feet below the Barrier Dam:  Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 1 adult may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery coho.
  • Kalama River, from the mouth to 1,000 feet below the fishway at the upper salmon hatchery (i.e. Kalama Falls Hatchery):  Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 3 adults may be retained of which up to 1 may be an adult coho. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.
  • Lewis River, from the mouth to the overhead power lines below Merwin Dam:  12” min. size. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery jack coho.
  • Cedar Creek, from the mouth upstream, including all tributaries:  Min. size 12”. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery jack coho.
  • Washougal River, from the mouth to the bridge at Salmon Falls:  Min. size 12”.  Daily limit 6. Up to 1 adult Chinook may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook and hatchery jack coho.

Reason for action: Coho salmon returns to tributary hatcheries in the Lower Columbia Basin have been below levels needed to meet broodstock collection goals for some programs. These programs can utilize coho salmon collected at hatcheries located in the above tributaries when brood shortfalls occur. Modifying coho fisheries on these rivers will provide additional fish for these hatchery programs and help ensure future hatchery returns and fishing opportunities.

SW WA Fishing Report (11-19-19)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS FORWARDED BY BRYAN SPELLMAN, WDFW

Washington Tributary Fishing Report Nov 11-17, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:
Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 4 bank anglers had no catch

Elochoman River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 8 bank rods had no catch. 9 boats/21 rods kept 13 coho and released 1 Chinook.

Above the I-5 Br – 15 bank rods kept one coho and released two Chinook. 3 boats/7 rods released one Chinook and three coho.

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

Kalama River – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Lewis River – 15 bank anglers released three coho. 5 boats/12 rods released one Chinook and one coho.

Washougal River – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 31 bank anglers kept 10 Chinook, 12 coho and released three Chinook and one coho. 4 boats/14 rods kept one Chinook and 18 coho.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Salmon Limit Reduced From Hoh To Harbor Rivers

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE

Adult portion of salmon daily limits reduced in coastal freshwater systems from Hoh River south to Grays Harbor basin and Marine area 2-2

Action: Reduces the adult portion of salmon daily limit to no more than 1 adult fish.

LIMITS ON ADULT COHO AND OTHER LATE SALMON ARE DROPPING TO ONE A DAY ON A NUMBER OF WASHINGTON COAST SYSTEMS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Nov. 16, 2019, until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon.

Locations:

  • Marine Area 2-2 (Grays Harbor)
  • Black River (Grays Harbor/Thurston Co.), from mouth to bridge on 128th Ave. SW.
  • Chehalis River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 101 Bridge in Aberdeen) to the high bridge on Weyerhaeuser 1000 line.
  • Copalis River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to Carlisle Bridge.
  • Elk River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 105 Bridge) to the confluence of Middle Branch.
  • Hoh River (Jefferson Co.), from Olympic National Park boundary upstream to Morgans Crossing boat launch. 
  • Hoquiam River, including West Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 101 Bridge on Simpson Ave) to Dekay Rd. Bridge (West Fork).
  • Hoquiam River, East Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to confluence of Berryman Creek.
  • Johns River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 105 Bridge) to Ballon Creek.
  • Moclips River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to Quinault Indian Reservation boundary.
  • Newaukum River, including South Fork (Lewis Co.), from mouth to Leonard Rd. near Onalaska.
  • Quinault River, Upper (Clallam Co.), from mouth at upper end of Quinault Lake upstream to Olympic National Park boundary.
  • Salmon River (Jefferson Co.) outside Quinault Indian reservation and Olympic National Park.
  • Satsop River and East Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to bridge at Schafer State Park; and from 400′ below Bingham Creek Hatchery to the dam.
  • Skookumchuck River (Lewis/Thurston Co.), from mouth to 100 feet below outlet of TransAlta WDFW steelhead rearing pond located at the base of Skookumchuck Dam.
  • Wishkah River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to 200′ below the weir at the Wishkah Rearing Ponds; and from 150′ upstream to 150′ downstream of the Wishkah adult adult attraction channel/outfall structure (within the posted fishing boundary).
  • Wynoochee River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to WDFW White Bridge access site.

Reason for action: Coho returns to tributaries along the coast from Hoh River south to Grays Harbor appear to be significantly lower than preseason predictions. These conservation measures are being taken to ensure escapement goals are met.

Additional information: Once the adult portion of the salmon daily limit has been retained, anglers may not continue to fish for salmon.

Anglers should refer to the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other ongoing fishing opportunities available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

Refer to updated regulations in waters within the Olympic National Park online at http://www.windsox.us/VISITOR/ONPS_Fishing/Fishing_Regulations.html.

Willapa Bay, Tribs Closed To Salmon Fishing Starting Today

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Salmon fishing to close in Willapa Bay and its tributaries

Action: Closes salmon fishing

COLIN MEDVED SHOWS OFF A WILLAPA SYSTEM COHO CAUGHT IN A PREVIOUS SEASON. THE BAY AND ITS TRIBUTARIES ARE CLOSING AS OF NOV. 13 DUE TO “SIGNIFICANTLY” BELOW FORECAST RUNS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Nov. 13, 2019 until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon

Locations:

  • Marine Area 2-1 (Willapa Bay)
  • Bear River
  • Forks Creek
  • Naselle River
  • Nemah River Middle, North, and South
  • North River
  • Smith Creek
  • Willapa River
  • Willapa River South Fork

Reason for action: Coho returns to tributaries in the Willapa Bay watershed have been significantly lower than preseason predictions. These conservation measures are being taken to ensure escapement goals are met. Managers will continue to assess coho returns and re-open if warranted.

Additional information: For more information on other Willapa Bay fisheries, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.

The Ol’ Coho Fumblerooski Fails For 2 Hood Canal Anglers

There’s catching a second wind in the second half, but two anglers are having second thoughts about recently trying to catch a second limit of salmon.

The duo reportedly were observed at a Hood Canal boat access stashing eight coho — the daily limit — into their rig, and then heading back out onto the water for round two.

(WDFW)

Responding to the report, WDFW Officers Isaac Stutes and Jesse Ward watched as the two men netted and kept another pair of fish.

That was enough for the game wardens to contact the anglers, but then things got slippier than the football in last night’s turnover-ridden (but still glorious) Seahawks-49ers game.

“One of the men began fumbling around with the fish when they saw the officers,” WDFW Police stated on its Facebook page today. “The man dropped both fish in the water between the boat and the dock.”

Only problem, the water was so shallow that Ward could see both coho a mere 4 feet below the boat, according to WDFW.

At first the two men said they hadn’t caught any salmon besides the pair that were fumbled.

But given another chance to tell the truth, one responded, “You probably keep asking me because I’m such a bad liar,” according to WDFW.

They eventually allegedly admitted to all 10 salmon they caught, which were seized, and now the county prosecutor will be referred charges.

NOAA Reports Latest Blob Shrinking Since Late August But Still One Of North Pacific’s Largest

THE FOLLOWING IS A NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE STORY

The vast marine heatwave that spread warm temperatures across the northeast Pacific Ocean late in the summer and fall of 2019 has declined in size and pulled back from the West Coast, possibly reducing its immediate impacts on coastal ecosystems.

N.O.A.A. REPORTS THAT THE LATEST BLOB, OR MARINE HEAT WAVE, THE GIANT POOL OF OCEAN WATER THAT IS ABOVE AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES, HAS SHRUNK SINCE LATE AUGUST, BUT STILL AMONG THE FIVE LARGEST ON RECORD. (NOAA)

It has declined to about half the size and intensity it displayed in August. However scientists caution that the heatwave designated MHW NEP19a remains two to three times the size of Alaska and still retains enormous amounts of heat in the upper layers of ocean. It remains one of the top four or five largest heatwaves on record in the North Pacific in the last 40 years.

“What we are seeing now is a smaller heatwave that is farther offshore, but there is still a very large span of the Pacific Ocean that is much warmer than usual,” said Andrew Leising, a research scientist at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) in La Jolla, California. Leising has developed criteria to detect and gauge the size and magnitude of marine heatwaves. “The question is, where does it go from here? That’s what we’re watching now.”

The edge of the heatwave is now about 1,500 kilometers (about 930 miles) from the West Coast, but still envelops much of the Gulf of Alaska. It no longer so closely resembles the enormous earlier marine heatwave known as “the Blob” that affected much of the West Coast through 2014 and 2015, causing reverberations through the food web.

Low salmon returns to many West Coast rivers in the last few years have been linked to the Blob, which reduced the availability of food when the salmon first entered the ocean as juveniles.

Both the Blob and the current heatwave were large and carried a great deal of heat. But this summer’s warming near the West Coast did not reach as deep into the ocean or last as long, said research scientist Michael Jacox of the SWFSC. “It will be very interesting to compare the two events and their impacts on marine life and fisheries given the different character and timeline,” he said.

Scientists will be watching for effects of the current heatwave on species such as salmon and albacore that are sensitive to ocean conditions, said Elliott Hazen of the SWFSC. “Is this going to be a similar ecological response to what we saw in 2014-2015, not much of a response given we are still recovering, or something quite different?” he asked.

Leising noted that as the Blob of 2014-2015 grew and evolved, it also experienced some weakening in 2013 before regaining strength and then expanding in size. That doesn’t mean the current heatwave will do the same. But it does underscore how much and how fast marine heatwaves can shift and change in response to climate and other factors.

“This marine heatwave is still with us in a big way,” he said. “While it’s not directly impacting the coast as much at this point, we still have a lot to learn about how these events grow and evolve.”

NOAA’s latest North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecasts through May 2020 predict a gradual weakening of the offshore warming. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s November 4 Diagnostic Discussion notes that tropical conditions this fall have been near normal, and this is projected through spring 2020.  If a tropical El Niño event develops this fall or winter instead, it would favor wind, weather, and ocean current patterns that could cause a return of the nearshore warming along the West Coast in winter or spring 2020.

SW WA Fishing Report (11-4-19)

THE FOLLOWING WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 6 bank anglers released six coho.

BARRY DUBNOW SHOWS OFF A NICE MIDFALL CHINOOK CAUGHT ON THE LEWIS RIVER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. HE WAS HOVER FISHING WITH GUIDE RON HOLT. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 35 bank rods kept one coho and released one coho. 7 boats/20 rods kept 24 coho and released one Chinook and four coho.

Above the I-5 Br – 17 bank rods kept two coho and released 18 Chinook and 1 coho.  1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Kalama River – 18 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/5 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 19 bank anglers kept two coho and one coho jack.  13 boats/44 rods kept five Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, 5 coho, 3 coho jacks and released one Chinook and four coho.

Wind River – 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 16 bank anglers kept seven coho and released two Chinook.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Lower Col mainstem sport Oct 28-31, 2019

Bonneville bank: 26 anglers with 7 coho kept and 6 Chinook released
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 3 anglers with nothing
Woodland boat: 1 angler with 1 coho kept
Kalama bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Longview bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 7 anglers with 3 coho kept