Tag Archives: wdfw

Twin Harbors Opening Tomorrow For Start Of 5-day Razor Clam dig

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

State shellfish managers have given the OK for a five-day razor clam dig at Twin Harbors starting April 5, and have tentatively scheduled the beach to open again later this month.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening after marine toxin tests showed clams at Twin Harbors are safe to eat.

RAZOR CLAMMING WAS THE SUBJECT OF AN ARTICLE BY BRIAN ROBERTSON IN THE APRIL 2016 ISSUE OF NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN MAGAZINE. (BRIAN ROBERTSON)

Razor clam diggers should be aware that the first four days of the dig are on evening tides, whereas the last day’s dig is on a morning tide, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

“We know diggers are looking forward to returning to Twin Harbors and we are happy to announce these new opportunities,” Ayres said.

The first four days of digging are approved on the following dates and evening low tides:

  • April 5, Wednesday, 3:06 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Twin Harbors
  • April 6, Thursday, 4:08 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • April 7, Friday, 5:01 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • April 8, Saturday, 5:46 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors

The fifth day of digging will be conducted on morning tides, as will other digs through the end of the season:

  • April 9, Sunday, 6:25 a.m.; 0.5 feet; Twin Harbors

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

State shellfish managers also added Twin Harbors to a tentatively scheduled dig in mid-April that includes openings at Copalis and Mocrocks. The planned opening depends on the results of marine toxin tests, which generally take place about a week before the dig is scheduled.

The proposed razor clam digs, along with morning low tides and beaches, are listed below

  • April 12, Wednesday, 8:08 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors
  • April 13, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 14, Friday, 9:18 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 15, Saturday, 9:55 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 16, Sunday, 10:36 a.m., 0.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Long Beach remains closed to digging, Ayres noted. However, the beach could open soon if the next round of toxin testing shows the clams there are safe to eat.

During all upcoming digs, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand on the southern section of Twin Harbors beach and at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula. The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.”

To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.

More details on how to avoid disturbing nesting birds can be found on the WDFW’s webs

Lower Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (4-3-17)

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

Salmon/Steelhead

BONUS FACTOID

The 14 adult spring Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam through March 29 is the 4th lowest since at least 1938.  The fewest are the 2 fish counted through March 29, 1949.

BUZZ RAMSEY REPORTS THAT LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER GUIDE BRANDON GLASS HAS LANDED THREE HATCHERY SPRING CHINOOK IN THE LAST TWO DAYS BY USING A HERRING 30 INCHES BEHIND A DOUBLE FISH FLASH SET-UP. (BRANDON GLASS VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Cowlitz River – 138 bank anglers kept 3 adult spring Chinook and 10 steelhead.  86 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook, 34 steelhead and released 2 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 206 winter-run steelhead adults and 11 spring Chinook adults in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 37 winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek and released eight spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Last week, Tacoma employees released 22 winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and three spring Chinook adults were released at Franklin Bridge in Packwood.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,600 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 3. Water visibility is four feet and water temperature is 43.5 F.

Wind River – No effort.

Drano Lake – 2 boat anglers had no catch.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Fishing is slowly improving with 3 of the 245 anglers sampled (including 72 boats) catching and keeping a spring Chinook.  Two fish were lower river and 1 upriver stock based on VSI.

In comparison, during the first 3 days of April 2016 we sampled 2,228 salmonid anglers (including 759 boats) with 469 adult spring Chinook!

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem – We did not sample any sturgeon anglers last week.

Walleye

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – 1 boat angler had no catch.

John Day Pool – Boat anglers are catching some walleye

Bass

John Day Pool – A couple boat anglers released a handful of bass.

Washington Looks At Quicker Wolf Removals To Save More Livestock, Wolves

Washington wolf managers could move faster to head off depredations, saving more cattle, sheep and other stock as well as wolves, under new policies recommended by an advisory group.

Instead of waiting for four confirmed depredations before taking lethal action, WDFW could move if three occur in a 30-day rolling window, including one probable, if the agency adopts the policy.

“When conflict happens, we could act earlier to reduce the number of deaths to wolves and livestock,” says Donny Martorello.

At least one of the three would still need to be a confirmed kill, while the other could be an injury.

The current protocol requires four confirmed depredations in a calendar year, along with prevention measures.

The new policy came out of the Wolf Advisory Group, made up of livestock producers, hunters, wolf advocates and others. It does require ranchers to be meeting expectations to use at least two deterrence measures tailored to their operation.

Indeed, the overarching goal in Washington remains to recover wolves while working with cattlemen and shepherds to prevent conflicts in the first place.

Martorello says it’s about “doing our best to influence wolf behavior before conflict.”

For packs that may get in trouble and are hazed away before meeting the standards for “acute” conflict but then attack stock months later, WAG also recommended a “chronic” category with a 10-month rolling window and threshold of four depredations, one of which can be a probable, along with proactive prevention measures, to trigger the possibility of lethal removals.

Martorello said there had been “a lot of energy and synergy” between the many stakeholders in crafting the new guidelines, giving everyone involved a “sense of ownership.”

He says that wide involvement is important to the agency, and that he’s been pleased to work with everyone.

It all may give sportsmen cause to roll their eyes, but it appears to be working. Lowering thresholds for removals demonstrates a trust throughout Washington’s wolf world. While you and I would likely consider a probable depredation in the middle of a string of confirmed attacks to be a confirmed, it’s good to see wolf advocates appear to agree. The more people on board, the lower the tensions around an animal that generates a lot of angst.

WDFW also plans to change how it communicates its wolf activities to the public. Mostly, the agency puts out news when conflicts are ramping up, giving the public a head’s up about what’s going on, but Martorello says they’d like to put out monthly reports on the nonlethal things they’re doing.

And when situations are building to a head, he’d like to provide more of a narrative about the events than a few words in a field in a PDF.

For more details, see the Capital Press story.

Elwha Fishing Closure Extended To June 2019

THE FOLLOWING IS A JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AND LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM TRIBE

The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Olympic National Park, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have agreed that it is necessary to extend the fishing closure in the Elwha River for another two years, from March 1, 2017 to June 1, 2019. The fishing closure applies to all recreational and commercial fishing in the Elwha River and its tributaries. A fishing moratorium in these waters has been in place since 2011 to protect depleted native salmonid populations, including four federally listed fish species which are needed to re-colonize habitats between and upstream of the two former dam sites. Mountain lakes in the Elwha basin within Olympic National Park and Lake Sutherland will remain open to sport fishing from the fourth Saturday in April to October 31.

A FLYRODDER TRIES HIS LUCK ON THE ELWHA, IN 2011, THE YEAR A FISHING MORATORIUM WENT INTO EFFECT ON THE NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA RIVER IN ANTICIPATION OF THE REMOVAL OF TWO OLD DAMS. THAT CLOSURE HAS SINCE BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH 2019. (OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK)

As part of the Elwha Ecosystem Restoration project, Elwha Dam removal was completed in April, 2012 and Glines Canyon Dam was removed in August, 2014. Additional rock demolition occurred in Glines Canyon in summer, 2016 to improve upstream anadromous fish passage. Fisheries biologists recently confirmed upstream passage of adult Chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, winter and summer steelhead and bull trout past the former Glines Canyon Dam site. Those species, as well as pink salmon, chum salmon, and Pacific lamprey have now been documented upstream of the former Elwha Dam site.

The restoration of salmonid spawning and rearing in habitats upstream of the former Glines Canyon Dam is paramount to successful restoration. These early re-colonizers play an important role in establishing spawning and juvenile rearing in habitats of the upper watershed. To date, low numbers of Chinook salmon, summer steelhead, and bull trout have been observed as high upstream as the Hayes River confluence.

The Elwha project partners are annually evaluating spawner abundance, extent of distribution, and juvenile production throughout the system using a variety of tools including sonar, redd surveys, radio telemetry, snorkel surveys, smolt trapping, and environmental DNA. Recreational and commercial fishing will resume when there is broad distribution of spawning adults in newly accessible habitats above the former dam sites, when spawning occurs at a rate that allows for population growth and diversity, and when there is adequate escapement and a harvestable surplus. The salmon and steelhead populations are expanding into newly opened habitats, but are not yet approaching the recovery objectives.

Monitoring ecosystem recovery in the Elwha is a cooperative effort among Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Olympic National Park, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For updated fishing regulations on waters within Olympic National Park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/fishing.htm or contact Fisheries Biologists at 360-565-3081 or 360-565-3075.

For waters outside the park, please visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ or contact WDFW’s Fish Program at 360-902-2838

FDR Pike Numbers Up As State-Tribal Removal Efforts Intensify

Ten times more “nightmare fish” — northern pike — than last March were caught earlier this month on Lake Roosevelt, including a 20-pound hen carrying eggs that made up roughly a tenth of its body weight.

The unwanted invasive species is the target of stepped-up gillnetting by the Colville and Spokane Tribes, and removal by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staffers, who say that this year through March 28, 338 have been taken out of the large reservoir at the head of the Columbia River in Washington.

COLVILLE TRIBES MEMBER ROBERT THOMAS HOLDS UP THE 20-POUND FEMALE NORTHERN PIKE GILLNETTED EARLIER THIS MONTH OUT OF LAKE ROOSEVELT. (BRYAN JONES, COLVILLE TRIBES)

The worry is that, just as pike got loose out of the Pend Oreille River system into Roosevelt, they’ll get out of FDR and into the salmonid-rich Columbia below Lake Rufus Woods.

Managers are increasing their efforts to head them off as they inexorably move that way.

“To date, northern pike appear to be distributed primarily in the Kettle Falls area  — near the mouths of the Colville and Kettle Rivers, Singers Bay, Evans — but juveniles were caught further south, near Bradbury launch, for the first time recently,” says Bill Baker, a WDFW fisheries biologist based in Colville.

He says that 2016 saw recruitment of a “measurable year-class,” along with “confirmed successful spawning” in the Kettle and probably Lake Roosevelt too.

A NORTHWEST POWER AND CONSERVATION COUNCIL IMAGE SHOWS MULTIPLE YEAR-CLASSES OF NORTHERN PIKE GILLNETTED OUT OF THE COLVILLE RIVER EARLIER THIS MONTH, “EVIDENCE THE POPULATION IS GROWING,” ACCORDING TO A BLOG POST FROM THE REGIONAL GROUP. (COLVILLE TRIBES)

“Many of the northern pike caught thus far this year are from that year class, around 16 to 17 inches on average. However, there are some large adults present, as well,” Baker says.

According to a mid-March Northwest Power and Conservation Council blog by spokesman John Harrison and headlined simply “Nightmare Fish,” the gonads on that hefty hen weighed 2.2 pounds and were “stuffed” with eggs.

WDFW began looking for concentrations of pike in February for the tribes to net this month. Gillnetting now gets ahead of the May-June spawn.

Baker says that this year’s netting effort is larger than 2016’s, so it’s hard to compare overall removal numbers from year to year, but he feels the catch rate is up, probably because of more pike in the lake but also a better understanding of where they like to hang out.

“Last year’s efforts informed where and when to net this year,” he says.

Bycatch has been “low,” he says, with walleye and redband rainbows comprising 8 and 5 percent of the overall haul.

Those fish are released alive as much as possible, and that’s being helped by cold water temperatures, he says.

If there’s good news, it’s that removal efforts in the Pend Oreille River reservoirs by the Kalispel Tribe appear to have pinched off those waters as a source of pike for FDR through entrainment during high-runoff years, such as 2011, when they first came to widespread attention after an angler caught one near Kettle Falls.

But unfortunately, the Canadian Columbia now has established pike schools, and “in-reservoir recruitment appears to now be the major driver for population expansion within Lake Roosevelt,” says Baker.

Northerns likely originally came down the Pend Oreille from the Clark Fork and Northwest Montana, where they were illegally introduced over the continental divide by bucket biologists.

State, tribal and Columbia system overseers are all on board with getting rid of as many pike as possible.

“We need to stop pike from moving downstream now,” Colville Tribes principal biologist Holly McLellan told Harrison, who also quoted Guy Norman, a former WDFW regional director and now member of the power council, as saying, “This is something that could have significant ecological effects on the lake, and on fisheries both in the lake and downriver. We need to get on top of it.”

Not only will putting a halt to northern’s southerly advance down the Columbia system help prevent damage to FDR’s stellar trout, kokanee, walleye and bass fisheries and ESA-listed salmon and steelhead populations below Rufus (the tribes also want to reintroduce stocks above Grand Coulee) but also provide fewer pike for jackasses to illegally move around, like the one that turned up in Lake Washington earlier this winter.

Baker says that gillnetting and monitoring will continue through spring.

And Harrison reports that crews will target the shallows this fall to remove and assess juvenile populations, while eDNA testing stations downstream will tell tribal and state monitors if pike are closing in on Grand Coulee Dam or getting into the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project.

Columbia Springer Season Extended Through April 10

Spring Chinook season on the Lower Columbia has been extended to April 10, and what happens after that depends on how managers play their hand.

While catches so far have been far below modeling, with all of 53 keepers through March 26, between the high, murky flows surging through Bonneville and downstream test catches, there is reason for hope.

“There are fish in the river; we just don’t know how to get to them,” says Joe Hymer, a supervising fisheries biologist in Vancouver.

Well, at least sport anglers. Boats using tangle nets to gauge the run size for long-term data bases found some.

Hymer reports that a fishery on the 26th near Cathlamet yielded 3.1 springers per drift, up from 1.7 on the 19th, and better than 2016’s peak of 2.7 on April 3.

The caveat to that is, it’s likely that low sport catches and pinniped predation probably helped make for an “abnormally high catch rate,” says Hymer.

“But we do know upper river fish are in the lower river,” he adds.

Today’s news comes out of a joint state hearing. The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association applauded Oregon’s and Washington managers decision to extend the fishery well ahead of the scheduled April 6 closure, which followed the organization’s request for an early announcement.

“The lack of fishing brought on by these river conditions has been particularly tough on the industry and we are deeply appreciative of how quickly ODFW and WDFW responded,” NSIA’s Liz Hamilton said in an email.

The extension also means the mainstem Columbia will be available for the organization’s important Spring Fishing Classic fundraiser on April 8.

Looking further down the road, Hymer says Oregon and Washington managers are looking at two options as the next week to 10 days play out.

If fishing conditions continue to be poor, it’s possible they’ll meet late next week and add days past April 10.

If it picks up, they could keep the river open through the 10th, close it and reassess the situation.

Before early to mid-May’s run-size update, the states are managing toward a cap of 6,905 above-Bonneville-bound springers, a figure which reflects a 30 percent buffer on a forecasted run of 160,400 to Eastern Washington, Northeast Oregon and Central Idaho tribs.

Of the 53 spring Chinook kept so far, 24 have been from the fishery-constraining upriver stocks, according to WDFW.

Hymer feels that this year’s run is being held back by extreme flows through Bonneville, as high as 460,000 cubic feet per second last Saturday. The dam count is all of 14 through March 26, tied for worst back through 1977, a review of records today showed.

But he thinks that once the fish start moving, they will move fast.

Portland guide Jack Glass posted on Facebook this afternoon that during high water during a season half a decade ago, he found success running two Fish Flashes. He’ll be giving a seminar tonight from 6-8 at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Southeast Portland of I-205.

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

Fishery managers extend spring Chinook season on lower Columbia

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The spring Chinook fishing season on the lower Columbia River has been extended through April 10 under rules adopted today by Oregon and Washington fishery managers. Managers cited poor fishing conditions and limited harvest to-date in making their decision to extend the season.

Under the rules adopted today, the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus bank angling only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline will remain open for spring Chinook through Monday, April 10. The closure area near the mouth of the Lewis River remains in effect.

The daily bag limit is two adult salmonids per day, but only one may be a Chinook.  Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept; all sockeye must be released per permanent regulation. All other permanent regulations apply.  Anglers are reminded that under rules previously adopted, from March 16 through May 15 the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge and shad from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam only during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook.

Managers will be monitoring the fishery and plan to meet the week of April 10 to see if additional days can be added to the season.

 

New WA Fish-Hunt Licenses Required Starting Saturday; Same Price As Last Year

The bad news is, your Washington fishing and hunting licenses are just about to expire.

The good news is, the Legislature is still a long way from passing a fee increase — let alone a budget authorizing one — if they do at all.

So for the time being, you’ll pay the same prices as last year to hunt, fish, crab, etc., etc., etc., in the Evergreen State during the 2017-18 seasons — and you won’t have to buy salmon, steelhead, halibut and sturgeon catch cards either.

While Oregon’s and Idaho’s license years begin January 1, Washington’s kicks off April 1, just as spring Chinook fishing begins to pick up along the Lower Columbia and its tribs, a slate of trout openers hit the Basin, and turkey season kicks off across the state.

Peter Vernie, who heads up WDFW’s Licensing Division, says that 2016-17 license prices will be honored until the new state budget goes into effect.

That’s slated for July 1, but also dependent on lawmakers agreeing on how to fund Washington’s government, and there are sharp differences between how the Republican Senate and Democratic House want to do that.

The two chambers of the legislature also have differing views on WDFW’s fee increase proposal, with the Senate not including it in their operating budget for the agency while the House has it.

Whether lawmakers can sort out their differences on the fee increase and overall state budget before a special session is required remains to be seen.

For now, you don’t have to worry about paying more to fish and hunt in Washington.

But you will need a new license to do both starting Saturday in the Evergreen State.

Editor’s note, March 29, 2017, 2:27 p.m.: An earlier version of this blog misspelled Mr. Vernie’s last name. Our apologies.

FDR’s Sanpoil Arm To Remain Closed Till June, WDFW Reminds

Editor’s note, March 30, 2017, 2:30 p.m.: WDFW emergency rule-change notice tacked on at bottom

WDFW is reminding anglers that due to changing regs, the Sanpoil Arm of Lake Roosevelt won’t open this Saturday.

The fishing pamphlet has the drowned mouth of the Ferry County river opening April 1, but with a Fish and Wildlife Commission decision last December, it’s been moved back to June 1 starting this season.

WITH LAKE ROOSEVELT’S TROUT FISHERY DRAWING INCREASING INTEREST, MANAGERS HAVE MOVED TO PROTECT THE RESERVOIR’S REDBAND RAINBOWS, INCLUDING CLOSING A LARGE BAY WHERE THE TROUT GATHER TO MAKE SPRING SPAWNING RUNS. THIS STRINGER OF RAINBOWS WAS PUT TOGETHER SEVERAL WINTERS AGO BY DYLAN AND GARRETT, GRANDSONS OF READER CHARLIE HISSOM. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

That may disappoint walleye fishermen, but it was part of a set of tweaks to the rules to protect native redband rainbows in the 150-mile-long Northeast Washington reservoir.

With increasing interest in FDR’s superb trout and kokanee fisheries, state and tribal managers were concerned that with redbands already accounted for one-fifth of the rainbow harvest, according to WDFW.

The Sanpoil River is one of the spawning grounds of the unique strain of inland rainbows.

Other changes adopted last December include releasing all trout without a clipped adipose fin from Grand Coulee Dam up to the Little Dalles powerlines, but an end to the maximum number of rainbows that can be over 20 inches.

The agency stocks three-quarters of a million fin-clipped trout to support the harvest fishery on the reservoir.

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

Updates fishing rules for Lake Roosevelt,

Spokane and Sanpoil arms

Action: Updates fishing regulations in the 2016-17 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane and Sanpoil Arms of the 150-mile reservoir to protect wild native redband rainbow trout.

The correct fishing regulations include:

  • Sanpoil Arm (listed as Sanpoil River in the pamphlet): The Sanpoil Arm opens to fishing June 1, instead of April 1.
  • Lake Roosevelt from Grand Coulee Dam to the Little Dalles power line crossing, Spokane Arm and Sanpoil Arm: Only hatchery-produced trout, marked with a clipped adipose fin, can be retained. The daily catch limit is still five trout, not including kokanee. But there is no longer a limit on how many of those fish can exceed 20 inches, as is currently indicated in the WDFW fishing rules pamphlet.
  • Little Dalles power line crossing to the Canadian border: The daily catch limit is now only two trout (marked hatchery or unmarked wild), with a minimum size of 18 inches.

For the complete rule changes, see “Corrections to the pamphlet,” posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01818/2016_fishing_regulation_errata.pdf.

Reason for action: The 2016-17 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet does not reflect fishing rule changes that took effect in December 2016. Those changes, approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, are intended to further protect redband rainbow trout at Lake Roosevelt, a Columbia River reservoir in northeast Washington. Redband trout are a subspecies of rainbow trout found in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Information Contact: Chris Donley, Regional Fish Program Manager, (509) 892-1001, ext. 307.

Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (3-29-17)

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

Lower Columbia mainstem sport update – March 26

Last week, anglers on the lower Columbia made 2,024 trips and caught 11 spring Chinook and 19 steelhead.  Through March 26, anglers have made 8,305 trips and caught 59 adult spring Chinook (53 kept and six released) and 52 steelhead (14 kept and 38 released).

DESPITE POOR FISHING CONDITIONS, SCOTT DUNBAR CAUGHT THIS NICE SPRING CHINOOK OUT OF THE COLUMBIA LAST WEEK. HE WAS FISHING WITH GUIDE BRANDON GLASS. (BRANDON GLASS VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On Saturday’s (3/19) flight, 146 salmonid boats and 86 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River estuary to Bonneville Dam.  Catch rates remain low despite the increase in effort.

Gorge Bank: No report.

Gorge Boats: No report.

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for 18 boats (37 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for 38 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for 39 boats (85 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Clatsop Spit to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed no catch for two bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed no catch for 10 boats (17 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for five bank anglers.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam): Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed no catch for six bank anglers; and no catch for two boats (three anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Weekly checking showed three legal white sturgeon kept, plus 21 sublegal and one oversize sturgeon released for 37 bank anglers; and three sublegal and two oversize sturgeon released for seven boats (14 anglers).

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam):  Weekly checking showed no catch for 12 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus three sublegal and one oversize sturgeon released for three boats (11 anglers).

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam):  Weekly checking showed three legal white sturgeon kept, plus 11 sublegal sturgeon released for 25 bank anglers; and three legal white sturgeon kept, plus eight sublegal and six oversize sturgeon released for 10 boats (23 anglers).

WALLEYE

Troutdale:  No report.

Bonneville Pool:  Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (one angler).

The Dalles Pool:  Weekly checking showed no catch for one bank angler; and 222 walleye kept, plus 69 walleye released for 27 boats (66 anglers).

John Day Pool: Weekly checking showed 35 walleye kept, plus 66 walleye released for 41 boats (78 anglers).

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Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – 130 bank anglers kept 3 adult spring Chinook, 19 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.  115 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 41 steelhead.  Fish are being caught throughout the river with the trout hatchery area best for steelhead, especially for boat anglers.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 149 winter-run steelhead adults, two steelhead jacks and 13 spring Chinook adults and one cutthroat trout in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 18 winter-run steelhead adults and nine spring Chinook adults into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek.

Last week, Tacoma employees released ten winter-run steelhead adults, two steelhead jacks and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River located at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,600 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 27. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 42.8 F.

Drano Lake – 4 bank anglers released 4 sublegal sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Two lucky anglers out of the 352 sampled (including 88 boats) are eating fresh spring Chinook.  One fish was a lower river stock and the other upriver stock based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI).  Bank anglers released 2 steelhead.

Joint Staff recommends a Joint State hearing to discuss the lower Columbia mainstem sport fishery be scheduled for April 5, 2017.

Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam – Light effort and no catch.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Light effort.

Bonneville Pool – Until further notice, closed for retention.

The Dalles Pool – Closed for retention through the end of the year.

John Day Pool – Bank and boat anglers are catching some legals.  Boat anglers averaged a legal kept per every 8 rods last week.  Tomorrow (Wednesday March 30) is the last day sturgeon may be retained for the year.

Walleye and Bass

Bonneville Pool – No effort was observed for either specie.

The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged 1.7 walleye kept/released per rod.  No effort was observed for bass.

John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged just under 0.4 walleye per rod.  A couple bass were also caught.

Trout

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

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

* KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE%20PD%20(CLAR)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Mar 20, 2017
Rainbow
1,500
2.2
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

* LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LK%20SACAJAWEA%20(COWL)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Mar 20, 2017
Rainbow
3,083
2.4
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

* SWOFFORD PD (LEWI)<http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=SWOFFORD%20PD%20(LEWI)&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Mar 16, 2017
Rainbow
4,200
2.1
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

Hatchery Coho OKed For Retention On Sammamish

Anglers will be able to keep hatchery coho they catch in Lake Sammamish, smolts that apparently decided against going to sea in 2016.

WDFW put out an emergency rule-change notice early this afternoon allowing the retention of fin-clipped silvers under landlocked salmon rules.

 

That means they count towards your trout limit.

Minimum size is 12 inches, and the regulation stays in effect through May 31.

Kokanee and Chinook must be released.

According to biologist Aaron Bosworth, the residualized coho are believed to have been from last year’s release.

He says he’s not sure why they didn’t head for the ocean, but it’s happened in the past, he’s heard.

Cutting an e-reg allows anglers to legally remove them from the lake, Bosworth says.