Tag Archives: wdfw

$70 Million From Federal Fish, Wildlife Restoration Program Coming To Northwest DFWs

Northwest fish and wildlife managers will receive nearly $70 million for fish and wildlife this year, thanks to the annual disbursement of funds from two key federal programs.

Oregon is set to receive the most, $25,510,834, through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts which help restore game and sportfish through excise taxes on certain hunting, angling and boating purchases.

THE FIRST CHUNKS OF THE SINLAHEKIN WILDLIFE AREA, WASHINGTON’S OLDEST, WAS PURCHASED USING PITTMAN-ROBERTSON ACT FUNDING IN 1939.. (JUSTIN HAUG, WDFW)

Washington will see $22,232,988 and Idaho $21,904,604.

The figures were announced yesterday by Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior.

“Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation,” Zinke said in a press release. “The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

The feds use a formula based on how many fishing and hunting licenses that ODFW, WDFW, IDFG and other agencies sell, as well as land size to disburse the funding.

Texas received the most this year, at $54 million, following by Alaska at $51 million and California at $42 million. 

According to the Department of Interior, since Pittman-Robertson went into effect in 1938 and Dingell-Johnson in 1950, a grand total of $20.2 billion has been sent back to the states.

“In discussions with hunters/anglers, we often mention that their license fees, leveraged with PR and DJ, account for about one-third of WDFW’s operating budget – a significant contribution,” WDFW Policy Director Nate Pamplin told me for a blog I posted here earlier this year on how much of your license revenue actually goes back to the agency.

Zinke made the announcement in Wisconsin, which was also the backdrop of a Tuesday NPR story on declining numbers of hunters, a warning about the impending “demographic wall” as baby boomers age out of the sport and attempts to get other outdoor enthusiasts and the public to pay a fairer share.

A bill in Congress would help fund managing the increasing numbers of endangered species across the country. Introduced in the House of Representatives last December, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act picked up more than two dozen cosponsors from both sides of the aisle earlier this month.

For more on the acts, the umbrella Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the 29 key words written in 1937 and which that require your fishing and hunting license money to go straight to the DFWs and not state general fund coffers, see this handy-dandy presentation.

2018 Washington Trout Stocking Plan Out

How many fish are headed to your Washington lake this year?

WDFW’s just posted its 2018 statewide stocking plan, and it shows the agency will release 2.17 million catchables and 124,500 jumbos this year as well as let loose 12.9 million fingerlings and put-and-grow fish last year for harvest this spring and summer.

WHITE SALMON’S MIGUEL PEREZ AND CEDAR WILLEY LIMITED OUT AT PAMPA POND IN THE SOUTHWESTERN PALOUSE WHILE USING POWER-BAIT IN LATE APRIL OF LAST YEAR. LES LOGSDON OF NEARBY HOOD RIVER SNAPPED THE PIC. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Species include kokanee, rainbow, cutthroat, brown, brook and tiger trout, as well as triploid brookies.

All totaled, nearly 17 million trout and kokes have or will be stocked in just under 540 Evergreen State lakes, with fish headed for every county except Garfield, which according to my trusty Lakes of Washington, Volume II, Eastern Washington (second edition) had in 1973 all of 32.1 acres of lakeage.

As always, WDFW’s plan includes information on each lake’s size, fishing season, species and number of fish released, as well as which month they’ll be let loose, to give you an idea of relative density of stocking and when to hit it.

Hatchery tanker trucks will also be making the rounds ahead of the lowland lakes opener on the fourth Saturday in April, and according to the agency, anglers can again expect noticeably bigger trout than historically.

“Catchables were on average eight inches in length, but this year, they will be closer to 11 inches,” WDFW states.

And the statewide trout derby will also begin April 28. This year it features nearly $40,000 in prizes from 120 companies for those who catch any of the 1,000 specially tagged rainbows stocked in more than 100 lakes. That’s up from 2017 and well above the first derby back in 2016.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Statewide stocking plan

Weekly stocking stats

Fish Washington (info on lakes, regs, access)

Statewide fishing derby

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (3-19-18)

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

Washington lower Columbia tributaries sport sampling summaries for March 12-18

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream:  44 bank rods had no catch.  Above the I-5 Br:  38 bank rods kept 5 steelhead.  97 boat rods kept 23 steelhead and released 6 steelhead and 2 cutthroats.

BRUCE LYSTAD PULLED THIS PIG OF A WINTER STEELHEAD OUT OF THE COWLITZ RIVER LAST WEEK WHILE FISHING WITH FRIEND SHEA FISHER. IT REPORTEDLY WEIGHED 20.6 POUNDS SEVERAL HOURS LATER AND AFTER BLEEDING IT. (THEFISHERE.COM)lewislewi

Kalama River – 26 bank anglers released 3 steelhead.  11 boat anglers released 3 steelhead.

Mainstem Lewis River – 4 bank rods had no catch.  3 boat rods released 1 steelhead.

North Fork Lewis River – 7 bank rods had no catch.   2 boat rods had no catch.

Wind River – No report. Anglers are reminded Wind River from the Hwy. 14 Bridge upstream is closed to all fishing through March.

Trout

Recent plants of catchable size rainbows.  No report on angling success.
Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LK+SACAJAWEA+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Mar 13, 2018
Rainbow
3,083
2.5
GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement sampling summary – March 12-15

 

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On Saturday’s (3/17) flight, 523 salmonid boats and 226 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River estuary to Bonneville Dam.  In the Portland to St. Helens area, boat anglers averaged 0.08 adult spring Chinook caught per boat, while anglers fishing from Westport to Buoy 10 averaged 0.14 spring Chinook and 0.01 steelhead caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing the Portland to Westport area averaged 0.01 steelhead caught per angler.

Gorge Bank: No report.

Gorge Boats (below Beacon Rock): No report.

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for six boats (12 anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed one steelhead kept for 161 bank anglers.

Portland to St. Helens Boats: Weekend checking showed 10 adult spring Chinook kept, plus one adult spring Chinook released for 140 boats (357 anglers).

Goble to Beaver Boats: Weekend checking showed no catch for 19 boats (51 anglers).

Wauna Powerlines to Clatsop Spit Bank: Weekend checking showed no catch for four bank anglers.

Westport to Buoy 10 Boats: Weekend checking showed four adult spring Chinook kept, plus one adult spring Chinook released for 36 boats (92 anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): No report.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam):  Closed for retention. Weekend checking showed no catch for one bank angler.

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed for retention.  No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Closed for retention.  No report.

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: No report.

Lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summary March 12-18

Still Time For Prospective WA Spring Gobbler Gunners To Take Hunter Ed

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

With the spring turkey season set to begin April 15, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) urges prospective hunters to sign up now for hunter education courses to avoid missing out on any hunting opportunities in 2018.

KELTON FENRICH, THEN 13, BAGGED HIS FIRST TURKEY NEAR LAKE ROOSEVELT DURING 2016’S SPRING HUNT. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

“While other major hunting seasons don’t open until September, now is the time to enroll in hunter education to ensure you can participate in the exciting spring turkey seasons,” said David Whipple, hunter education division manager for WDFW. Spring turkey hunters enjoy a high success rate, with 52 percent of hunters harvesting a turkey statewide in 2016. In northeast Washington, that figure rose to 62 percent.

The turkey season is an excellent opportunity to introduce someone new to the hunting tradition, especially with a youth-only turkey hunt scheduled for April 7-8, Whipple said.

“Completing a hunter education course now will also help hunters who want to hunt this fall, since summer and fall courses fill quickly,” Whipple said.

All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license.

If you are unable to make it to a hunter education course before the spring turkey season ends on May 31, new hunters may qualify to participate in the hunter education deferral. For more information on the deferral, please see https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/he_deferral.html.

To find a course and learn about hunter education requirements, new hunters should visit the WDFW hunter education webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/huntered/classes/basic.php.

WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education requirement. The traditional classroom experience includes direct instruction from certified volunteer instructors, which can be important for younger students, Whipple said. The online course offers the same content, but on the student’s schedule. Those who take the online course are still required to complete an in-person field skills evaluation led by certified instructors, added Whipple.

Wolf Numbers Continue To Grow In Washington

UPDATED 6:20 P.M., MARCH 16, 2018 WITH QUOTES FROM THE HUNTERS HERITAGE COUNCIL AND CONSERVATION NORTHWEST

Stop me if you’ve read this before, but Washington’s wolf population grew again in 2017, making it nine straight years.

According to WDFW’s just-released year-end count, there is a minimum of 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs across the state, though all but 16 of those animals are in the federally delisted third of Washington.

A TRAIL CAMERA STATIONED IN THE SOUTHERN SECTION OF NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK CAPTURED AN IMAGE OF THIS WOLF LAST MAY. (NPS)

Those figures are all up over the previous count of 115, 20 and 10, and despite around a dozen lethal removals, tribal harvests, caught-in-the-act takes and illegal poachings last year.

WDFW’s wolf specialist Ben Maletzke stressed that the numbers are base figures and that they help to show longterm trends. Since 2008, when the Lookout Pack was confirmed, wolf numbers have increased an average of 31 percent each year, though last year was up only 6 percent.

Mark Pidgeon, president of the Hunters Heritage Council and member of WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group, said wolves are “firmly established” in Washington and it’s now time to start planning ahead.

“The Wolf Advisory Group’s single mission is to work on that post-delisting plan. More than ever, hunters, ranchers, and the conservation community have to come together for the common good. This post-delisting plan is where hunters have the most skin in the game. Before, it was protecting ranchers and agriculture. The post-delisting plan is where we need to make sure that hunting opportunities are protected.”

Among the new packs are Frosty Meadows on the eastern side of the Colville Reservation, Togo in northern Ferry County, Five Sisters between the Spokane Reservation and Spokane, Leadpoint in northern Stevens County and Grouse Flats in the southeastern Blue Mountains.

WDFW’S LATEST WOLF PACK MAP SHOWS YET MORE PACKS, ER, PACKED INTO NORTHEAST WASHINGTON, AS WELL AS A NEW ONE IN THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, BUT STILL NONE SOUTH OF I-90 IN THE CASCADES, A KEY AREA TO MEET STATE RECOVERY GOALS. (WDFW)

Though WDFW’s newest wolf map puts a green circle denoting a pack in eastern Skagit County, a presentation for the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s meeting tomorrow notes there is only one animal there. It also seems to indicate that suspicions there might be more wolves in the North Cascades couldn’t be confirmed.

Only one of the three packs in WDFW’s North Cascades zone successfully bred last year, the Teanaways.

To meet minimum recovery goals for state delisting, there have to four successful breeding pairs there as well as four in the Southern Cascades/Northwest Coast zone and Eastern Washington zones, plus three floating pairs for three straight years (the other formula is 18 in certain numbers for one year).

The eastern zone has 13 breeding packs alone, but there are none south of I-90, and despite intriguing reports from western Yakima and Kittitas, northern Skamania and eastern Lewis Counties, WDFW reports not finding any wolves here, though it’s entirely possible.

There’s been increasing pressure to move wolves out of the Northeast Washington, and a translocation bill jumped from the state House to the Senate and while it died there, lawmakers supplied WDFW with the funding to begin SEPA reviews towards that, with an update on that work due at the end of 2019.

As for other facts and figures from the commission presentation, 2017 saw six known dispersals of Washington wolves, animals that either moved elsewhere instate, up to British Columbia or — in the case of one — across northern Idaho into Montana, back into central Idaho, down to the edge of the Snake River Plain, up to Yellowstone and then off the map into Northwest Wyoming.

The state’s largest pack is the Carpenter, at 13 animals. WDFW captured 12 wolves in a dozen different packs last year, and monitored 22 in 15. Currently, 13 percent of Washington’s known wolves are collared.

In early 2017, WDFW launched a predator-prey study in key game-rich areas, the Methow, Colville and Pend Oreille River Valleys, collaring deer, elk and moose, and while expected to run through 2021, preliminary results aren’t very conclusive, as the cause of death for a half dozen muleys and wapitis wasn’t able to be determined.

Last year saw eight cattle depredations linked to four different packs, the Sherman/Profanities, Smackouts, Leadpoints and Togos. That represents the highest number of packs involved in livestock attacks, but also a dropoff in total depredations from 2016 levels.

To get ahead of conflicts, WDFW reports that the number of cost-share contracts and range riders afield last year was the highest yet, and triple 2015’s.

“As wolves have continued to recolonize wild areas of our state, Washington has engaged in a decision-making process rooted not in acrimony and moving goalposts, but in dialogue, a search for common-ground, and thoughtful collaboration so that we can have both healthy wolf packs and local communities that accept them,” said Mitch Friedman,  executive director of Conservation Northwest. “Tolerance for wolves in the rural areas where they reside is essential for long-term recovery. Forums including the state’s Wolf Advisory Group are leading to an increased understanding of wolf issues on all sides.”

As for managing  wolves, the agency spent $1.27 million between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 on deterrence ($543,575), population monitoring ($263,775), lethal removal ($135,094) and compensation ($57,752), among other costs.

Funding for all that work came from WDFW, state and federal monies and special license plate sales.

 

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (3-14-18)

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

Washington lower Columbia mainstem sport sampling summaries – March 5-11

Not hot but at least we sampled a couple fish.235 salmonid boats and 218 bank anglers were counted during last Saturday’s flight.

Lower Columbia River mainstem sport effort and catch update – March 1

FYI – during March 1-11, anglers on the lower Columbia made 4,943 trips and caught 24 adult spring Chinook (21 kept and 3 released) and 56 steelhead (12 kept and 44 released). Based on preliminary VSI sampling, upriver spring Chinook comprised 29% of the kept catch.

During February, anglers on the lower Columbia made 3,638 trips and caught 18 spring Chinook (kept) and 64 steelhead (released). Based on VSI sampling, all the February Chinook catch was lower river origin.

ODFW Columbia River Angling Report

Salmon, Steelhead and Shad

On Saturday’s (3/10) flight, 235 salmonid boats and 138 Oregon bank anglers were counted from the Columbia River estuary to Bonneville Dam.

Gorge Bank: Weekly checking showed no catch for two bank anglers.

Gorge Boats (below Beacon Rock):No report.

Troutdale Boats: Weekly checking showed no catch for one boat (two anglers).

Portland to Westport Bank: Weekend checking showed one steelhead kept for 170 bank anglers.

Portland to Westport Boats: Weekend checking showed four spring Chinook adults kept for 74 boats (194 anglers).

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

Estuary Boats (Buoy 10 to Wauna Powerlines): Weekend checking showed one steelhead released for three boats (six anglers).

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): No report.

STURGEON

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

Bonneville Pool (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

John Day Pool (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam): Closed for retention. No report.

WALLEYE

Bonneville Pool: No report.

The Dalles Pool: No report.

John Day Pool: No report.

Washington Columbia River tributaries sport sampling summaries for March 5-11 + a BONUS FACTOID

BONUS FACTOID

– More spring Chinook have returned to the Lewis River traps (10) and Willamette Falls (5) through March 11 than have been counted at Bonneville Dam (3).

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream: 58 bank rods kept 3 steelhead. 2 boat rods had no catch. Upstream from the I-5 Br: 45 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead. 103 boat rods kept 18 steelhead and released 3 steelhead and 2 cutthroat.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 14 winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released three winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. Tacoma Power also released one winter-run steelhead adult into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,080 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, March 12. Water visibility is nine feet and water temperature is 43.3 degrees F.

Kalama River- 26 bank rods released 1 steelhead. 3 boats/8 rods were sampled with no catch.

Lewis River – 22 bank rods had no catch.

Trout

Last week’s plants of catchable size rainbows. No report on angling success,

Lake/Pond
Date
Species
Number
Fish per Pound
Hatchery
Notes

LACAMAS LK (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LACAMAS+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Mar 05, 2018
Rainbow
4,125
1.6
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

BATTLE GROUND LK (CLAR)https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=BATTLE+GROUND+LK+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC
Clark County – Region 5
Mar 06, 2018
Rainbow
1,500
1.6
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KLINELINE PD (CLAR)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KLINELINE+PD+%28CLAR%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Clark County – Region 5
Mar 06, 2018
Rainbow
1,825
1.6
VANCOUVER HATCHERY

KRESS LK (COWL)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=KRESS+LK+%28COWL%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Cowlitz County – Region 5
Mar 08, 2018
Rainbow
2,880
2.4
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

LEWIS CO PRK PD-S (LEWI)<https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/search.php?searchby=LakeStocked&search=LEWIS+CO+PRK+PD-S+%28LEWI%29&orderby=LakeStocked%20ASC,%20StockDate%20DESC>
Lewis County – Region 5
Mar 08, 2018
Rainbow
1,840
2.3
MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

Ocean Salmon Options Out For Washington Coastal Fisheries

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

Salmon managers have developed options for ocean salmon fisheries that reflect concerns over poor projected returns of coho and chinook salmon this year.

Three alternatives for ocean salmon fisheries were approved Wednesday for public review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters 3 to 200 miles off the Pacific coast. A public hearing on the three alternatives is scheduled for March 26 in Westport. More details are available online at https://www.pcouncil.org/2017/12/51357/salmon-hearings/.

OCEAN SALMON MANAGERS SAY THAT OPTIONS FOR 2018 FISHERIES REFLECT CONCERN OVER LOW FORECASTED RETURNS OF WILD CHINOOK AND COHO. THIS 30-POUNDER WAS CAUGHT OFF WESTPORT IN JUNE 2014 ABOARD THE TEQUILA TOO ON A TRIP KELLY CORCORAN TOOK. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

The three options are designed to protect the low numbers of wild coho and chinook expected to return to the Columbia River and other Washington rivers this year while still providing some fishing opportunities, said Kyle Adicks, salmon fisheries policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We’ll use this range of options to work with stakeholders to develop a final fishing package for 2018 that meets our conservation objectives for wild salmon,” Adicks said. “We know that ocean salmon quotas for chinook will be the lowest in several years and that coho quotas will be limited again this year due to weak forecasted returns to several rivers.”

This year’s forecast of Columbia River fall chinook is down more than 50 percent from the 10-year average. About 112,500 hatchery chinook are expected to return to the lower Columbia River. Those fish, known as “tules” are the backbone of the recreational ocean chinook fishery.

Meanwhile, fishery managers expect 286,200 Columbia River hatchery coho to return to the Washington coast, down about 100,000 fish from last year’s forecast. Only 279,300 coho actually returned last year to the Columbia River, where some coho stocks are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Unfavorable environmental conditions, such as warm ocean water and flooding in rivers, have reduced the number of salmon returning to Washington’s waters, Adicks said.

The alternatives include the following quotas for recreational fisheries off the Washington coast:

  • Alternative 1: 32,500 chinook and 42,000 coho. Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) would open June 23, while Marine Area 2 (Westport) would open July 1. All four areas would be open daily through Sept. 3. This option would have a fishery scheduled from Sept. 29-Oct. 14 in the La Push late-season area.
  • Alternative 2: 27,500 chinook and 29,400 coho. Marine areas 1, 3 and 4 would be open daily June 30-Sept. 3, while Marine Area 2 would be open five days per week (Sunday throughThursdayJune 24-Sept. 3. This option would also have a fishery scheduled from Sept. 29-Oct. 14 in the La Push late-season area.
  • Alternative 3: 22,500 chinook and 16,800 coho. All four marine areas would be open July 1-Sept. 3. Marine Area 2 would be open Sundays through Thursdays while the other areas would be open daily. This option does not include a late fishery in the La Push area.

Each of the alternatives allows for varying levels of chinook and hatchery coho retention. Fisheries may close early if quotas have been met. For more details about the options, visit PFMC’s webpage at  https://www.pcouncil.org/blog/.

The first alternative most closely resembles ocean fisheries last summer, when PFMC adopted recreational ocean fishing quotas of 45,000 chinook and 42,000 coho salmon.

Chinook and coho quotas approved by the PFMC will be part of a comprehensive 2018 salmon-fishing package, which includes marine and freshwater fisheries throughout Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington’s coastal areas. State and tribal co-managers are currently developing those other fisheries.

State and tribal co-managers will complete the final 2018 salmon fisheries package in conjunction with PFMC during its April meeting in Portland, Ore.

Meanwhile, several public meetings are scheduled in March and April to discuss regional fisheries issues. The public can comment on the proposed ocean alternatives and provide their thoughts on other salmon fisheries through WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. A schedule of public meetings, as well as salmon run-size forecasts and more information about the salmon-season setting process can also be found on the webpage.

Inslee Directs State Agencies To Increase Salmon To Help Puget Sound Orcas

Harkening back to fishing in the San Juan Islands as a lad and hearing the booming breath of orcas in the fog, Washington Governor Jay Inslee today launched a new initiative to save the imperiled species.

He issued an executive order that in part calls for increased hatchery production of Chinook — the primary feedstock for southern resident killer whales.

A SCREENSHOT FROM TVW SHOWS WASHINGTON GOVERNOR JAY INSLEE SPEAKS BEFORE SIGNING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER ON ORCAS AND CHINOOK TODAY. (TVW)

But since it will take several years before those salmon make it to saltwater, he also asked the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to tweak this year’s recreational and commercial fisheries to make more available in key orca foraging areas and called on the region’s other salmon managers to help towards that goal.

It remains to be seen how 2018 seasons might be affected by the governor’s directive, signed at a tribal cultural center at Discovery Park moments ago, but in the short term, it could restrict salmon fishing in some parts of Puget Sound, though in the long term might boost it overall.

Inslee’s order also asks for more and sharper focus on habitat and fish passage work that directly benefits Chinook, as well as increased policing of waters where boaters and orcas cruise.

The just-passed state operating and last year’s Capital Budgets provide funding for the hatchery ($1.5 million) and enforcement ($548,000) pieces of that puzzle.

But the governor also gave WDFW a deadline of January 2019 to figure out the most important habitats for orcas and their prey, with an eye towards guiding the overall effort to bring orca numbers back up from their three-decade low of 76 and improve their health.

That could help fill in the blanks about which actions actually might be the most productive over the long haul.

Earlier this month, in a guidance letter to West Coast fishery managers, regional National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Barry Thom wrote that recent studies have linked killer whales’ low reproduction rates of late to “nutritional limitations.”

Part of Inslee’s executive order is for more focus on cleaning up Puget Sound contaminants, which get into the flesh of salmon as they feed on other fish and organisms and is passed up the food chain to long-lived killer whales.

Another strategy will be to do as much as can be under federal laws to manage the increasing bite that sea lions and harbor seals are taking out of Puget Sound orcas’ breakfast, lunch and dinner.

HUGH ALLEN SNAPPED THIS PIC IN FEBRUARY 2015 OF A HARBOR SEAL STEALING A RESIDENT CHINOOK OFF THE LINE OF A SAN JUAN ISLAND ANGLER’S LINE. (HUGH ALLEN)

A task force will make further recommendations.

Inslee said that the fate of orcas, Chinook and Washingtonians are intertwined, and said the order committed the state to actively recover killer whales.

Other speakers today included Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe who called the effort a “vital and important mission” that would take “some pain” and sacrifices to ensure its success.

During the signing ceremony, Inslee pointed outside and jokingly said that J-pod was swimming past at just that moment, then told a phalanx of agency directors and others to “Get to work.”

Colville Tribes Report Growing Wolf, Pack Numbers

More than 20 wolves as well as a new pack and possible other one are roaming the Colville Reservation in North-central and Northeast Washington, a fair jump over 2016’s minimum count.

According to the tribes’ Fish and Wildlife Department, a recent aerial count found eight wolves in the Strawberry Pack, seven in the Nc’icn Pack, six in the new Frosty Meadows Pack and five in the Whitestone Pack.

THE NEW FROSTY MEADOWS PACK LIKELY OCCURS ROUGHLY WHERE THE STRAWBERRY, NC’ICN AND WHITESTONE PACK BOUNDARIES CONVERGE, WITH THE POSSIBLE DISAUTEL PACK OCCURRING LIKELY TO THE SOUTHWEST OF STRAWBERRY. (WDFW)

All four were reported as breeding packs.

“There is a suspected Disautel Pack as well,” managers reported in the Facebook post last week.

Disautel is in the western half of the reservation, Frosty Meadows the east.

Separately, WDFW reported four wolves in the Beaver Creek Pack to the north of the western end of the reservation.

The figures will be included when WDFW’s Donny Martorello presents the 2017 year-end count for the entire state to the Fish and Wildlife Commission this weekend.

In last March’s update, there were a reported minimum of 14 wolves in the three known Colville Reservation packs, including seven in Strawberry, five in Nc’icn and two in Whitestone.

Tribal managers also reported that a wolf had been legally harvested from each of the Strawberry, Whitestone and Frosty Meadows Packs. They’d announced the hunt was closed in late February because the annual quota had been met.

The news rererererereconfirms that wolves are doing quite well in the state’s northeastern corner.

Of note, the recently passed state budget includes $183,000 to study moving wolves from this country to elsewhere in Washington, according to the Capital Press.

Translocation was the subject of a bill sponsored by area Rep. Joel Kretz. It passed the House, and though it stalled in the Senate, was carried into the final budget, the ag world outlet reported.

Cowlitz Springer Limit Dropping To 1 Adult To Ensure Eggtake Goals Met

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

Under the daily limit of 6 hatchery chinook, only 1 may be an adult fish in areas of the Cowlitz River and tributaries where salmon seasons are open and in Lake Scanewa.

IT’LL BE ONE ADULT AND DONE FOR COWLITZ RIVER HATCHERY SPRING CHINOOK THIS SEASON TO HELP ENSURE EGGTAKE GOALS ARE MET AND THE SEASON GOES AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. GEORGE SCHROEDER CAUGHT THIS ONE ON THE LOWER RIVER ON A HERRING BEHIND A JET DIVER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Species affected: Chinook salmon

Effective date: March 17, 2018, until further notice.

Locations: The Cowlitz River from the mouth to Forest Road 1270, the Cispus River, and Lake Scanewa.

Reason for action: Approximately 5,000 spring chinook salmon are expected to return to the Cowlitz River in 2018, about 70 percent below the five-year average. Projections indicate that reducing the daily adult limit to one adult chinook should allow for a full season of spring chinook fishing, while providing the number of hatchery fish necessary to produce future hatchery returns to the Cowlitz. This action should also allow for fish to be transported above Cowlitz Falls Dam for an upriver fishery, and for reintroduction purposes.

Other information: State fishery managers will closely monitor Cowlitz River spring chinook returns, and will consider increasing daily limits if in-season data and hatchery returns indicate the actual run size is large enough to support additional harvest. All other permanent rules remain in effect.

Fishing rules for other waters of the lower Columbia River Basin will remain as listed in the 2017-2018 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, unless otherwise announced. For updates, check for new emergency fishing rules at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.