Tag Archives: trout

WA Fish Commission Tightens Mining Rules On Stream Stretch Now Hosting Coho, Steelhead

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

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has changed the work times for mineral prospecting in and around the Sultan and Similkameen rivers to avoid periods when incubating eggs and young fish are present.

WITH THE 2016 REMOVAL OF A SLUICEWAY 9.7 MILES UP THE SULTAN RIVER, COHO AND WINTER STEELHEAD WERE ABLE TO ACCESS THE SULTAN RIVER IN THE GORGE BELOW SPADA LAKE (RIGHT CENTER), LEADING TO TIGHTER CONTROL OF MINERAL PROSPECTING RULES IN THE STREAM. (USGS NATIONAL MAP AERIAL IMAGERY)

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approved the changes on Friday, April 20. The commission also authorized the department to remove 1 to 1.5 million board feet of timber from the 4-0 Wildlife Area in the Blue Mountains of Asotin County to improve wildlife habitat, restore forest health, and reduce the risk of severe wildfires.

Until recently, a section of the Sultan River in Snohomish County was open to mineral prospecting using a variety of equipment, including suction dredges, sluices, and high bankers, for more than seven months each year.

That changed in 2016, when a fish-passage project at the City of Everett diversion dam opened an additional 6.3 miles of the river to spawning salmon and steelhead, said Randi Thurston, WDFW habitat protection manager.

“Last year, the department adopted an emergency rule that prohibited the use of certain types of prospecting equipment in that area, except during August,” Thurston said. “This year, the commission adopted that new work window as a permanent rule.”

The new rule applies to the use of mineral prospecting equipment in the water, Thurston said.

In a separate action, the commission agreed to expand the work window for mineral prospecting on the Similkameen River to include the month of June from Enloe Dam to Palmer Creek in Okanogan County. That decision was based on a new study by WDFW that found no evidence of incubating trout or whitefish eggs there in June, Thurston said.

“Prospectors urged us to conduct the study, and they were right about the results,” she said.

Under the new rule, the work window for prospecting on the Similkameen River from Enloe Dam to Palmer Creek will extend from June 1 through Oct. 31.

For more information about mineral prospecting in Washington, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/mining/.

State wildlife managers plan to conduct the 4-0 forest restoration project this summer, but work may not be completed until the summer of 2019. Logging operations will be limited by fire restrictions and during periods of high recreational use, including deer and elk hunting seasons, said WDFW forest manager Richard Tveten.

STATE WILDLIFE MANAGERS PLAN TO THIN PORTIONS OF THE 4-O WILDLIFE AREA IN SOUTHWEST ASOTIN COUNTY TO RESTORE IT TO A MORE NATURAL OPEN PONDEROSA FOREST. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

In addition to the commercial logging operation, WDFW will also thin small trees from approximately 250 acres on the 4-0 property, he said. Project managers plan to burn logging debris in slash piles and will notify the public if they decide plan to conduct prescribed burns.

Lower Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (4-9-18)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WERE TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Washington lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary – April 2-7

Including fish released, anglers averaged just over ½ adult spring Chinook per boat.  Fishing  continued to be slow from the bank.

Effort was pretty high with 926 salmonid boats and 314 bank anglers counted during the Tues. April 3 flight.

THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER PRODUCED THIS SPRING CHINOOK FOR BUZZ RAMSEY LAST FRIDAY MORNING. THE FISH BIT A 4.5 MAG LIP AND WAS NETTED BY RON HILLER. TERRY OTTO SNAPPED THE PIC. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Washington Columbia River tributary sport sampling summaries – April 2-8

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream:  42 bank rods kept 3 steelhead and released 1 cutthroat.  3 boat anglers kept one adult spring Chinook.  Above the I-5 Br:  129 bank rods kept 12 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.  99 boat rods kept 34 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

Most of the steelhead were sampled at the Trout Hatchery while most of the salmon were checked at the salmon hatchery.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 228 winter-run steelhead and two spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 13 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released one winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Tacoma Power released 20 winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,370 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 9. Water visibility is nine feet and the water temperature is 44.1 degrees F.

East Fork Lewis from mouth to top boat ramp at Lewisville Park and Washougal River from mouth to Mt. Norway Bridge – Open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Monday April 16. Through the first Friday in June, selective gear rules are in effect; no bait may be used.

Kalama River – 23 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead.  7 boat anglers had no catch.   Now closed to retention of steelhead through May 15.

North Fork Lewis River – 24 bank anglers had no catch.

Wind River – 1 boat angler had no catch.

Drano Lake – 5 boat anglers had no catch.

Wed. April 11 is the first of the scheduled Wednesday closures that run through June. Effective April 16 through June 30, bank fishing only west of a line projected from the easternmost pillar of the Hwy. 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore.

Klickitat River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.  Open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only through May.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 4,020 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake.  They are part of the 72,000 fish expected to be planted between April and August.

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (1-16-18)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ORIGINATED WDFW AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream:  5 bank rods had no catch.  Upstream from the I-5 Br:  19 bank and 1 boat rods had no catch.

WITH HER STEELHEAD RIVER RUNNING HIGH, PAULA CORCORAN WENT WITH A SPIN-N-GLO TAPED WITH HYPER-VIS AND FISHED CLOSE TO THE BANK, CATCHING THIS NICE WINTER-RUN. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Early hatchery steelhead returns to date

Kind of a mixed bag from the same time last year.

River                      2018                       2017

Grays                    0                              30
Elochoman          581                         36
Kalama                 246                         190
Lewis                     251                         1,084
Washougal          193                         128

Note:  Cowlitz is late stock.

Elochoman River – From Shane McEneny, WDFW Fish Hatchery Specialist 4 – This year’s return is coming back from a plant of only 65k smolts but is the first year since before 2009 that the fish were reared with predator netting and fencing. Numbers of returning adults have been phenomenal as we are close to 600 trapped for the season with anticipations of reaching 1,000.  We are surplussing and recycling adults which we haven’t done for years and the fishing pressure has been enormous with a lot of happy fisherman.  Next winter’s return will come back from a plant of almost double the smolts.

Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam – No effort was observed for steelhead.

Sturgeon

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – Boat anglers are catching some legals.  The Dalles Pool was the best with a legal kept per about every 3 rods.

Bass and Walleye

Bonneville Pool – No effort was observed for either specie.

The Dalles Pool – Bank and boat anglers are doing well for walleye.  No effort was observed for bass.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size to 10 pound rainbows and surplus adult winter steelhead released into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish perPound
Hatchery
Notes

* CARLISLE LK (LEWI)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=CARLISLE%20LK%20(LEWI)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 08, 2018
Rainbow
100
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* HORSESHOE LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=HORSESHOE%20LK%20(COWL)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 09, 2018
Rainbow
115
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 04, 2018
Rainbow
2,400
2.34
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* ICE HOUSE LK (SKAM)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=ICE%20HOUSE%20LK%20(SKAM)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 05, 2018
Rainbow
1,450
2.4
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* KRESS LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS%20LK%20(COWL)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>

Jan 09, 2018
Steelhead
8
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

Jan 08, 2018
Steelhead
44
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

Jan 05, 2018
Steelhead
26
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

Jan 04, 2018
Rainbow
2,000
2.34
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 04, 2018
Steelhead
30
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

Jan 03, 2018
Steelhead
22
0.1
KALAMA FALLS HATCHERY
Adult Winters

* LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LK%20SACAJAWEA%20(COWL)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC

Jan 10, 2018
Rainbow
30
0.1
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Jan 10, 2018
Rainbow
66
0.2
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* SPEARFISH LK (KLIC)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=SPEARFISH%20LK%20(KLIC)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Jan 03, 2018
Rainbow
2,080
2.08
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

WDFW Gets 933 Comments On Freshwater Reg Simplification Ideas

Simplifying Washington’s fishing pamphlet might not be so simple.

When state fishery managers asked for feedback on their first round of proposals — making lake and river regulations more uniform and easier to understand — they snagged a ton of comments, 933 to be exact.

Everybody had an opinion. Many were for the tweaks, many others were against them.

(Who knows how many comments the agency will get when they tackle salmon and saltwater rules in the coming years.)

It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t deal.

With fishery managers acknowledging that their regs “are complex and can be difficult to follow” — it’s been stated by more than one angler they need an attorney by their side to interpret things — the review represents an effort to make them more user-friendly, which I think we can all appreciate, even if it also flies in the face of what anglers also want: rules tailored to their specific fishery or style of fishing.

With this go-around, just four subjects accounted for more than half of all the comments, with eliminating special limits on panfish at select lakes receiving a griddle-sized 29.1 percent, mostly against.

According to a presentation prepared for a public hearing before the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting next week, 247 of 272 who expressed opinions on the idea were opposed.

Many said that reservoirs such as Banks, Potholes and Moses should be excluded and that species like crappie and bluegill would be wiped out and other fish species would also lose out on dinner, according to the WDFW summary.

“Numerous eastern Washington resorts, sport fishing clubs, local guides, and warmwater anglers have expressed concerns over eliminating bag limits on major waters,” the agency stated.

A proposal to allow chumming on all waters also saw strong opposition, with 59 shooting holes in the chum bucket while 31 filled it up.

“This is a bad idea and will lead to unnecessary overfishing and collateral damage to other species,” one cogent argument went, according to the agency.

On the flip side, others said, “I am in favor of being able to chum, and don’t think it has any negative impact on the water quality,” and “I believe it increases opportunity for anglers, especially when pursuing stocked trout.”

Another proposal that saw strong negative response was scrapping the requirement that trout caught with bait but released be counted towards the daily limit of five.

Forty-six bonked the idea, arguing, “Bait should not be considered acceptable for catch-and-release situations,” while 23 want it added to their stringer, saying it “Would allow more flexibility and opportunity for anglers” and “This rule was always unenforceable anyway.”

But the tape measure had to come out for several subjects with much closer splits among commenters:

Removing duplicate landowner rules had nine comments for (“If these restrictions are not set by the department then they should not be listed in the pamphlet”) and nine comments against (“The rules set by the landowners or managing authorities may not be readily available or easily known”).

Different daily and size limits for steelhead and trout had 21 comments for (“Separating steelhead from trout should make reading and understanding the fishing regulations much easier” and 19 comments against (“Allowing retention of ‘trout’ in waters containing steelhead would pose another unnecessary risk to steelhead populations).

Standardized seasons and regs for stillwaters had 30 comments for (“Fewer rules, and the fewer exceptions, avoids confusing anglers”) and 26 comments against (“Why not simply reduce to a year-round season in some fisheries and a March 1st (or last Saturday in April) through November 30th season?”).

As for standardized regs for rivers and creeks, it had support from 27 (“Simple is better, when exploring a new water having to remember a whole new set of rules is a burden”) but opposition from 35 (“The current approach of having waters closed unless listed as open is the best approach. Puts a number of species of conservation concern at risk”), especially bass and walleye clubs worried about dropping daily and size limits.

However, there were some proposals nearly everybody could admire, such as:

Standardizing whitefish season to Dec. 1-last day in Feb. (18-1);
Standardizing language for juvenile waters to allow seniors and disabled anglers (15-1);
Consistent terminology for possession limits (26-5);
Eliminating daily and size limits on brook trout (30-6);
Retention of incidentally caught hatchery steelhead (23-5);
Ending mandatory hatchery steelhead retention (34-10);
And opening game fish season in rivers, streams and beaver ponds from the start of Memorial Day Weekend through Halloween (25-9).

After the Dec. 9 public hearing in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building on the grounds of the state capital complex, the Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to make final decisions at its Jan. 18-20 meetings in Vancouver, with any changes they make coming out in the new pamphlet that goes into effect July 1, 2018.

Next up in WDFW’s rule simplification drive will be salmon, followed by shellfish and saltwater species in 2019.

Chance To See, Comment On How WDFW Fishing Reg Simplification Proposals Affect Your Waters

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

State fishery managers are inviting the public to comment on proposals to simplify recreational fishing rules for Washington rivers, streams and lakes.

Proposals are based upon general policies for freshwater species – including trout, steelhead, bass, walleye, panfish, sturgeon, and shad – that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) put forth for public review in September.

“We previously provided an overview of how we want to simplify fishing regulations for freshwater species,” said Craig Burley, who heads WDFW’s fish management division. “Now we’re telling anglers how the proposed changes apply to their favorite stream, river or lake.”

For instance, WDFW has proposed assigning most lakes, ponds and reservoirs to one of six standard seasons rather than setting a custom season for each water body. Also, the department has proposed allowing separate daily limits for trout and steelhead rather than one combined limit.

Anglers can now check the documents posted online to see how those and other rules would apply to specific freshwater areas, Burley said.

The proposed rules, listed by geographical area, are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. Comments will be accepted through Nov. 30. For a hard copy of the proposed rules, please call 360-902-2700.

The public will also have the opportunity to comment on the proposals during the Dec. 8-9 meeting of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. in Olympia. The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to take action on the proposals during its January 2018 meeting.

“We know our regulations are complex and can be difficult to follow,” Burley said. “This is the first step toward making fishing rules easier to understand.”

Burley said this is the first phase of a three-year effort to simplify sportfishing regulations throughout the state. Fishery managers are scheduled to work on salmon fishing rules during 2018. They will address shellfishing regulations and rules for other saltwater fisheries in 2019.

E

 

Southern Washington Fishing Report (9-26-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED WITH WDFW, INCLUDING PAUL HOFFARTH, AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY HYMER

FACTOID:  The McNary Dam Chinook count through September 20 is 65,314 so the U.S. v. Oregon management goal of 60,000 has been met for the 24th consecutive year.

A WESTERN OREGON SALMON ANGLER SHOWS OFF A COHO CAUGHT WHILE UPSTREAM TROLLING IN THE COLUMBIA WITH A BENGAL TIGER PATTERN FAT WIGGLER OFF THE MOUTH OF THE DESCHUTES RIVER. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Bridge downstream:  24 bank rods kept 1 adult Chinook and released 1 jack and 1 adult coho.  8 boats/19 rods kept 1 adult Chinook and released 2 jack and 3 adult Chinook, 1 adult coho, and 1 steelhead.  From the I-5 Bridge upstream:  18 bank rods kept 2 jack and 1 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead and released 4 adult Chinook, 1 jack coho, and 3 cutts.  No boats were sampled.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 587 fall Chinook adults, 24 fall Chinook jacks, 17 summer-run steelhead, 20 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 565 coho adults, 84 coho jacks, and 18 cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 16 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 76 coho adults, nine coho jacks and nine cutthroat trout into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and they released three spring Chinook adults, 59 coho adults and and seven coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

Tacoma Power released 369 fall Chinook adults, 11 fall Chinook jacks, 305 coho adults, 46 coho jacks and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,580 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, September 25. Water visibility is 14 feet and water temperature is 55.4 degrees F. River

Drano Lake – No report on angling success.

Effective October 1, anglers may fish for SALMON and STEELHEAD with two poles with a Two-Pole Endorsement and each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON and STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. Barbed hooks will be allowed October 1 through December 31. The lake will be closed to all fishing from 6 pm Tuesdays to 6 pm Wednesdays in October

Yakima River Fall Salmon Fishery Update Sept 1-17:

A total of 909 adult chinook and 211 jacks have moved upstream of the Prosser Diversion since August 1. Fall Chinook counts into the Yakima River have been slow and steady over the past two weeks at ~25 adult Chinook per day. WDFW staff interviewed 195 anglers this past week with 11 salmon observed in the harvest (38 hours per fish).  There were an estimated 906 angler trips for salmon in the lower Yakima River this past week with a total of 1,758 angler trips for the season. An estimated 82 adult Chinook have been harvested this season. Fishing should continue to improve over the next few weeks of the season.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Buoy 10 – Some hatchery coho are being caught.

Effective October 1, the salmonid daily limit increases to 6 fish of which 2 may be adult salmon or one adult salmon and one hatchery steelhead. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches. Any Chinook, adipose fin clipped or not, may be retained. Release all salmon other than Chinook and hatchery coho.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Lewis downstream – Light effort and catch during the current no Chinook retention through the end of this month.

Effective October 1, up to two adult Chinook, fin clipped or not, may be retained.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Lewis River upstream to Bonneville Dam – Chinook catches were very good, especially earlier last week.  Effort in this area is fairly heavy.

No creel sampling numbers are currently available.

McNary Reservoir Steelhead/Salmon Fishery: Aug 1 – September 24:

Angler effort continues to increase in this fishery.  There were an estimated 645 angler trips for salmon and steelhead in the McNary to Snake River portion of the Columbia River this past week.  WDFW staff interviewed 85 anglers from 42 boats and 105 bank anglers fishing for steelhead/salmon.  Staff sampled five steelhead and three Chinook.

There have been 1,473 angler trips for steelhead/salmon in the McNary area through September 24 with a harvest of 13 steelhead, 4 adult and 3 jack Chinook. An additional 2 wild steelhead have been released. Angler effort and harvest remains well below last season.

This area of the Columbia River will close to fishing for steelhead in October and November. The area will remain open for salmon.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Hanford Reach Sport Fishery Update

WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 667 boats (1,729 anglers) and 95 bank anglers (Ringold access area) and sampled 458 adult Chinook and 58 jacks.  Based on the information collected, an estimated 1,616 adult Chinook and 203 jacks were harvested this past week from 6,016 angler trips.  Anglers averaged 1.3 Chinook per boat, 22 hours per fish.

Through September 24, 1,923 adult fall Chinook and 203 Chinook jacks have been harvested in the Hanford Reach from 10,887 angler trips.

A Hanford Reach in-season adult fall Chinook update was completed on September 23 that estimates a natural origin return of 46,042. This would allow a harvest of roughly 10,000 adults and still meet escapement goals for the Reach.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Trout

Recent trout plants into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

COUNCIL LK (SKAM)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=COUNCIL+LK+%28SKAM%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Skamania County – Region 5
Sep 18, 2017
Rainbow
1,000
1.1
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Mineral Lake – No report on angling success. September 30 is the last day to fish there for the year.

ODFW Stocking Wallowa High Lakes, Studying Which Size Trout Works Best

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

Thousands of juvenile trout were airlifted to the Wallowa Mountains last week by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to supplement the fish populations of lakes within the 361,000-acre Eagle Cap Wilderness in Northeast Oregon.

JUVENILE TROUT FALL TOWARD HOBO LAKE IN THE EAGLE CAP WILDERNESS DURING A HELICOPTER FISH-STOCKING OPERATION MONDAY. (KYLE BRATCHER, ODFW)

The Eagle Cap Wilderness has some of Oregon’s most beautiful mountain lakes, including the state’s highest lake, Legore Lake, perched above the Wallowa Valley at an altitude of 8,950 feet. More than 40 lakes in the Eagle Cap are above 7,000 feet.

“The extreme conditions involved in maintaining healthy fish populations in a landscape above 7,000 feet has its own challenges,” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise, adding, “but anglers have consistently told us that fishing is one of the recreational experiences they expect when they go to the wilderness.”

ODFW stocks Eagle Cap Wilderness lakes by helicopter every two years. The stocking program is paid for with federal Sportfish Restoration Program dollars, which is funded by a 10 percent excise tax on the sale of fishing equipment. In this way, ODFW seeds off-the-beaten-track lakes with rainbow trout that will hopefully grow to become the eight inchers that anglers can legally retain.

WITH MORE THAN 40 LAKES OVER 7,000 FEET UP, THE WALLOWAS PUT THE HIGH IN HIGH LAKES FISHING. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The challenges juvenile trout face in the high mountains are considerable. First there is the long fall from the aerial stocking device (ASD) or “shuttle” underneath the helicopter to the cold waters of the high lake. In some of those lakes, the rainbows may encounter eastern brook trout, which were stocked in the high lakes decades ago and are a voracious predator. Freezing cold water is another factor in the high lakes that can take a toll on fish.

One way to improve survival rates is to start with larger fish. Fish biologists have long known larger fish are better able to withstand the forces of nature than smaller fish. However, larger fish also take up more space, which means fewer of them will fit into the two-gallon containers on the helicopter shuttle that ODFW uses to transport fish to the high lakes.

This year ODFW’s Enterprise office began testing three sizes of rainbow trout to see which one may fare better with the presence of brook trout in Oregon’s highest lakes. The control group, raised to a target size of 2.5 inches, is similar to what ODFW has released into the high lakes in the past and most commonly used for aerial stocking in other locations. This year two larger sizes: 3- and 4-inch rainbows – were also tested to see if there is any improvement in survival rates as the result of using larger trout. This part of the study will be completed in three to four years.

“Our study was initiated to see if we could increase rainbow survival in our lakes enough by raising a larger fish to overcome predation and competition by naturally producing brook trout,” said Kyle Bratcher, ODFW assistant district fish biologist in Enterprise.

One of the concerns was that larger fish might suffer more severe injuries when they hit the water after a 70-foot free fall because their bodies have more surface area to injure. Finding little or no documented evidence of this, the biologists simulated an air stocking event by dropping these different groups from varying heights into a small reservoir in advance.

Preliminary results indicate that all three size groups have high post-drop survival rates, according to Bratcher, who noted that samples were sent to ODFW’s fish lab in La Grande where they will be assessed for bruising, injuries and other signs of trauma.

In addition, ODFW crews will sample survey the stocked lakes two years from now, with captured fish identified as to species, length, weight, and other criteria that will lead to estimates of population abundance, growth, and condition.

Columbia, Gorge Pools, SW WA Fishing Report (7-12-17)

THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL ORIGINATED FROM JIMMY WATTS, ODFW, PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW, AND JOE HYMER, PSMFC, AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY HYMER

SALMON, STEELHEAD AND SHAD

On Saturday’s (7/8) flight, 271 salmonid boats and 90 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Bonneville Dam.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed six adult Chinook kept and three adult Chinook released for 39 salmon anglers; and 250 shad kept for 43 shad anglers.

COLUMBIA RIVER FISHERY MONITORS CONTINUE TO REPORT GOOD ANGLING FOR WALLEYE THIS YEAR. LEXI HAN HOOKED THIS ONE IN JUNE NEAR TRI-CITIES. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed five adult Chinook kept and three adult Chinook released for seven salmon boats (18 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed one adult Chinook kept plus three adult Chinook and one steelhead released for 27 salmon boats (57 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed three adult Chinook, one Chinook jack and four summer steelhead kept plus one adult Chinook released for 72 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed two adult Chinook kept and four adult Chinook released for 29 boats (64 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Astoria-Megler Bridge to Wauna Power lines): Weekly checking showed no catch for three anglers.

Estuary Boats (Astoria-Megler Bridge to Wauna Power lines):  Weekend checking showed no catch for two salmon boats (five anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Weekly checking showed one adult Chinook kept plus one adult Chinook released for seven bank anglers.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed one adult Chinook kept for six bank anglers; and no catch for two boats (four anglers).

John Day Pool: No report.

STURGEON

Gorge boats: Catch and release only. No report.

Portland to Wauna Power lines: Catch and release only. No report.

Estuary Boats (Buoy 10 to Wauna Power lines): Catch and release only. Weekend checking showed 16 sublegal and 31 oversize sturgeon released for four boats (11 anglers).

Bonneville Pool: Catch and release only. No report.

The Dalles Pool: Catch and release only. Weekly checking showed one sublegal sturgeon released for one bank angler.

John Day Pool: Catch and release only. Weekly checking showed eight sublegal and one legal sturgeon released for five boats (20 anglers).

WALLEYE

Troutdale boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for two boats (three anglers).

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed three walleye kept and 50 walleye kept for three boats (13 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 421 walleye kept and 223 walleye released for 68 boats (152 anglers).

………………………………………………………

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – I-5 Bridge downstream:  2 boat and 25 bank rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Bridge:  142 boat rods kept 4 adult spring Chinook, 37 steelhead, and 1 cutthroat and released 26 cutthroats.  155 bank rods kept 26 adult spring Chinook and 10 steelhead and released 4 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook, 1 steelhead, and 1 cutthroat.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – During the first nine days of July we sampled 1,081 salmonid anglers (including 183 boats) with 72 adult and 4 jack summer Chinook, 82 steelhead, and 1 sockeye.  26 (36%) of the adult summer Chinook were kept (remember, adult Chinook had to be released through July 6). 52 (63%) of the steelhead and the lone sockeye were kept.

Tri-cities Area Summer Chinook & Sockeye Fishery – WDFW staff interviewed 58 anglers from 30 boats this past week with a reported catch of 1 adult chinook and 24 sockeye.  For the week an estimated 12 adult summer chinook and 300 sockeye were harvested.  For the season there have been 2,144 angler trips for sockeye/summer chinook with 107 adult hatchery chinook, 23 chinook jacks, and 885 sockeye harvested. Area fisheries will continue to be open to fishing for hatchery summer chinook through August 15.

Paul A. Hoffarth
District 4 Fish Biologist
WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below the Marker 82 line – 50 sturgeon anglers (including 15 boats) were sampled with 37 legals released.

Shad

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – 188 anglers (including 2 boats) kept 601 shad and released 16 fish.

Walleye

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – 21 walleye anglers (10 boats) kept 6 walleye.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows and browns into SW WA waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per pound
Hatchery
Notes

CHAMBERS LK (LEWI)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=CHAMBERS+LK+%28LEWI%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Lewis County – Region 5
Jul 05, 2017
Brown Trout
1,000
2
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

MAYFIELD LK (26)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=MAYFIELD+LK+++%2826%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
County – Region 5
Jul 06, 2017
Rainbow
4,290
2.13
EELLS SPRINGS

Countdown To Trout Town: T-3 Days Till Washington Opener

Last night I made a quick pitstop at Fred Meyer to pick up my fishing license.

That’s because, well, I had to renew since it’s a new license year, but I’ve also got plans for Saturday morning and taking one of the Juniors out for trout.

THE 2012 TROUT OPENER WAS QUITE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR RIVER WALGAMOTT. HE LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF SHOUTING “FISH ON,” WHICH HE SHOUTED THROUGHOUT THE FIGHT WITH A CLEAR LAKE (PIERCE COUNTY) RAINBOW THAT DAY – “FISH ON FISH ON FISH ON FISH ON!” (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

April 22 is the fishiest day in Washington angling, the general lowland opener at a mess of lakes from the coast to the Cascades to Cheney.

RIVER ALSO LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF BOATS – ADAM BROOKS WONDERS WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THE WALGAMOTT KID. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW has been busy in recent weeks, stocking them plumb full of rainbows, including around 150,000 pound-on-average trout and 2.3 million catchables, along with millions that were stocked as fry last year and now have reached harvestable size.

RIVER LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF TEAMWORK. WHILE ADAM REELS IN ANOTHER, HE AND ADAM’S BROTHER RYAN READY THE NET. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“These are all high-quality fish that are significantly larger than our regular catchable trout, and those 3-pounders are outstanding fish,” says Steve Thiesfeld, who manages the Inland Fish Program, about several thousand triploids in the mix.

RYAN AND RIVER LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF BEING ON THE WATER, STARING INTO ITS MURKY DEPTHS AND WONDERING WHEN THE FISH WERE GONNA BITE – OR MAYBE EVEN COMPLETELY FORGETTING WHY THEY WERE ON THE LAKE THAT DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

To find out what’s gone into your lake, check out this year’s stocking plan. Don’t have a lake?!? May we introduce you to WDFW’s handy-dandy LakeFinder website?

ADAM, RIVER AND RYAN LEARNED ABOUT THE JOY OF A STOUT STRINGER – AND NOT TO TAKE THEMSELVES SO SERIOUSLY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The agency is also putting on its second statewide trout derby, with even more tagged fish and prizes — 1,000 rainbows bearing yellow tags, each with a number corresponding to $25,000 worth of prizes, including gear as well as year-long subscriptions to Northwest Sportsman magazine.

THE JOY OF FISHING ON THE OPENER WILL PUT A LITTLE SPRING IN ANYONE’S STEP. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Whether you’re fishing worms under a bobber from the bank, trolling spinners or small plugs from a boat, flailing a good ol’ Woolly Bugger from a pontoon or helping a youngster to catch their first, good luck, and thanks for taking part in the richest tradition in Washington fishing!

SW WA, Columbia Fishing Report (4-18-17)

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ORIGINATED WITH WDFW AND WAS TRANSMITTED BY JOE HYMER, PSMFC

Salmon/Steelhead

FACTIOD – The 503 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through April 16 are the second lowest on record since at least 1939.  The record low are the 205 fish counted through April 16, 2006.

Cowlitz River – 8 bank anglers with 1 steelhead kept.  20 boat anglers with 3 adult Chinook kept.

ANGIE WILDER OF BEND PICKED UP THIS NICE SPRING CHINOOK WHILE FISHING ON ANCHOR IN 12 FEET OF WATER WITH AN M2 FLATFISH. SHE WAS OUT WITH GUIDE MIKE KELLEY. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 300 winter-run steelhead adults, five winter-run steelhead jacks, 347 spring Chinook adults, seven spring Chinook jacks and one summer-run steelhead adult in five daysof operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 84 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, 49 winter-run steelhead adults  and one steelhead jack into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek and 132 spring Chinook adults, one spring Chinook jack, one winter-run steelhead jack and ten winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Last week, Tacoma employees released 13 winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and released 81 spring Chinook adults at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 12,400 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 17. Water visibility is six feet and water temperature is 44.6 F

North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek (located downstream from Lewis River Salmon Hatchery) upstream to Merwin Dam – During the month of May, closed to all fishing.

Wind River – 1 lonely boat there last Saturday.  No report on catch.

Effective May 1 through June 30, from the mouth to the Hwy. 14 Bridge each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Beginning May 1, anti-snagging rule will be in effect from the Hwy. 14 Bridge upstream. When the anti-snagging rule is in effect, only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Wind River from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls upstream to boundary markers approximately 800 yards downstream from Carson National Fish Hatchery (except closed 400 feet below to 100 feet above the Coffer Dam) -From May 1 through June 30, the salmon and steelhead daily limit will be a total of 2 chinook or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Unmarked chinook may be retained in this section of the Wind. Night closure and anti-snagging rule will be in effect. Only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Drano Lake – 17 boat anglers had no catch.  2-3 boats observed there daily.

Effective May 1 through June 30, each angler aboard a vessel may deploy SALMON/STEELHEAD angling gear until the daily SALMON/STEELHEAD limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. In addition, anglers with a Two-Pole Endorsement may fish for salmon and steelhead with two poles during the same period.

Klickitat River – No effort observed.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam -From last Thurs.-Sun. we sampled 1,369 salmonid anglers (including 443 boats) with 246 adult, 1 jack spring Chinook and 6 steelhead.  227 (92%) of the adult spring Chinook were kept.  We sampled 206 (91%) of the adult spring Chinook kept.  Based on Visual Stock identification (VSI), 159 (77%) of the fish sampled were upriver stock.

2 (33%) of the steelhead were kept.

Effort is increasing with nearly 1,000 salmonid boats and 600 bank anglers counted during last Saturday’s flight.

A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 at 1 PM via teleconference to review harvest and stock status and consider the recreational spring Chinook fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Light effort and catch.

All fishing for sturgeon will be closed from May 1 through Aug. 31 in the sturgeon sanctuary from Bonneville Dam downstream 9 miles to a line crossing the Columbia River from navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore westerly to the boundary marker on the Washington shore upstream of Fir Point.

Bonneville Pool – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery. Angling for sturgeon will be prohibited from May 1 through July 31 between The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.

The Dalles Pool -No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery. Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles to the west end of the grain silo at Rufus Oregon

John Day Pool – No report on success during the current catch-and-release only fishery. Under permanent rules to protect spawning fish, closed to fishing for sturgeon from McNary Dam downstream 1.5 miles to Hwy. 82 (Hwy. 395) Bridge May 1 through July 31.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows and browns into SW waters.  No report on angling success.

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

Clark County – Region 5
Apr 10, 2017
Rainbow
2,500
1.85
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Apr 10, 2017
Brown Trout
2,500
1.75
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 12, 2017
Brown Trout
1,755
2.7
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LK+SACAJAWEA+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Apr 12, 2017
Brown Trout
1,755
2.7
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

TUNNEL LK (SKAM)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=TUNNEL+LK+%28SKAM%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Skamania County – Region 5
Apr 12, 2017
Rainbow
2,000
2.36
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY