Tag Archives: wdfw

Tips Sought About Moose Poached, Wasted Near Lake Wenatchee

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE LAW ENFORCEMENT

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police are investigating the poaching of an adult moose near Meadow Creek, in the Lake Wenatchee area of Chelan County. Only a small number of Moose exist near Lake Wenatchee and there is no established hunting season for them.  The carcass was found in a clearing not more than 50 yards from the road. Only the head and some portions of meat were taken leaving the rest to waste.

(WDFW)

Officers are examining evidence recovered from the scene and reviewing security footage from roads in the vicinity.  They are asking anyone with information to call the WDFW Wenatchee District Office at 509-662-0452 and ask to speak with Officer Tucker. Those who provide information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward or bonus points for special permit hunting opportunities.

(WDFW8

Killing a moose out of season carries a maximum penalty of $5000 and up to one year in jail, or both.  It also carries an additional criminal wildlife penalty of $4000.

(WDFW)

 

 

Long-term $$$ Plan Subject Of New WDFW Advisory Group’s First Meeting

Representatives from Washington fishing and hunting organizations are part of a newly launching advisory group that will assist WDFW in coming up with a long-term revenue plan and other tasks.

An edict from the state legislature coming out of this year’s marathon session, it’s billed as the agency’s “first comprehensive management, operations, and financial review in more than 10 years.”

Some names on the 20-member Budget and Policy Advisory Group you may recognize include:

Ron Garner, Puget Sound Anglers
Andy Marks, Coastal Conservation Association
David Cloe, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council
Wayne Marian, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Rachel Voss, Mule Deer Foundation
Mark Pidgeon, Hunters Heritage Council
Butch Smith, Ilwaco Charter Association

According to a press release, they and others from the timber and farming industries, as well as a number of conservation groups and others are being tasked to:

* Develop a long-term plan to balance projected expenses and revenues by providing prioritized options for spending reductions and revenue increases.

· Identify and implement management improvements and operating efficiencies.

· Conduct a “zero-based budget review” to accompany the department’s proposed 2019-21 operating budget.

“Rapid population growth and recent state and federal budget trends pose major challenges for fish and wildlife management,” WDFW Policy Director Nate Pamplin said in the release. “The advisory committee will provide valuable perspectives and recommendations about the role the department plays in conservation and the outdoor economy.”

It’s fallout from this past legislative session in which WDFW requested the first major fee increase in six years, but lawmakers led by Senate Republicans gave the agency a one-time $10.1 million budget bump instead.

The advisory group’s first meeting working on the long-term revenue plan is Dec. 4 at South Puget Sound Community College in Lacey. It is open to the public.

For more, go here.

Hatchery Steelhead Retention Opening For A-runs In Lower Snake

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

Hatchery steelhead retention to open in lower Snake River

Action: Opens lower Snake River to retention of hatchery steelhead measuring under 28 inches in length.

SNAKE RIVER ANGLERS BELOW CLARKSTON WILL BE ABLE TO RETAIN HATCHERY STEELHEAD AS OF SATURDAY, NOV. 18, BUT ONLY THOSE LESS THAN 28 INCHES. SOPHIA WITHROW CAUGHT THIS ONE IN 2012 OFF WAWAWAI. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Location:

  • Snake River from the mouth of the river (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Washington/Idaho state line, at Clarkston Wash.: Daily limit of 2 hatchery steelhead; release all steelhead 28 inches or greater in length.

Areas already open to steelhead retention:

  • Snake River from the Idaho/Washington state line (at Clarkston, Wash.) upstream to the Couse Creek Boat Ramp: Daily limit of 2 hatchery steelhead; release all steelhead 28 inches or greater in length.
  • Snake River from Couse Creek Boat Ramp upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line: Daily limit of 2 hatchery steelhead; no size restrictions.

Dates:   Nov. 18, 2017, until further notice.

Species affected:  Steelhead.

Reason for action: Lagging steelhead returns during the summer of 2017 led fisheries managers to initially close or reduce daily limits for steelhead fisheries to protect both A-run steelhead (fish smaller than 28 inches) and B-run steelhead (those 28 inches and larger) destined for the Columbia and Snake river basins. However, A-run steelhead, both wild and hatchery-origin adults, have returned in adequate numbers to allow opening portions of the Snake River to steelhead retention, including the lower portion of the river.

Allowing retention of fish measuring less than 28 inches in length will give anglers the opportunity to harvest excess hatchery A-run steelhead, while still providing protection to the remaining B-run steelhead within this reach. WDFW will continue to monitor the steelhead run over the coming months, and either curtail the harvest of steelhead if needed, or provide more harvest opportunity if possible. Anglers fishing in this area should continue to check emergency rules for any updates.

Other Information: Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River.  Anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of their daily bag limit. Anglers should be sure to identify their catch because unmarked chinook salmon, coho salmon and steelhead are also in the Snake River during this fishery.

Anglers are reminded to check the 2017/2018 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits, safety closures, and a definition of a hatchery steelhead.  Anglers should continue to check emergency regulations for new and changing seasons.

 

Another Ferry Co. Wolf Depredation, Another CBD Lawsuit

Usually Washington’s wolf world cools off as winter approaches. Not this fall.

WDFW this afternoon is reporting a second depredation in northern Ferry County this month just as an out-of-state environmental group has filed a second lawsuit against the agency this autumn.

As the kids like to say these days, let’s unpack these one at a time.

THE LATEST DEPREDATION — a dead calf — was discovered Nov. 8, six days after another calf was reported injured nearby.

Both attacks occurred on a local livestock producer’s fenced private land though in different locations.

NORTHEAST WASHINGTON HAS SEEN MORE DEPREDATIONS THIS FALL THAN PAST AUTUMNS.  (WDFW)

The dead calf was found as a cattle herd was being moved, and was tarped to preserve evidence.

The next day, WDFW determined it to be a confirmed depredation, based on bite marks, signs of struggle, wolf tracks and the injured calf.

The two depredations follow on the heels of another rancher catching a wolf in the act of attacking their stock in late October and killing it, which is legal in this part of Washington.

That wolf was killed less than 3 miles from where the dead calf was found, according to state wolf managers.

Even with two confirmed attacks in less than 30 days, it’s unclear what pack may be to blame should state gunners be authorized for lethal removals. Reporting on the injured calf earlier this month, WDFW said that attack occurred outside known ranges.

“The producer checks on the cattle multiple times every day during feedings,” the agency noted in today’s update. “The producer has also used range riders periodically this year and last year. The producer removes sick or injured cattle from the area. The producer also received locations of nearby collared wolves via WDFW’s Sensitive Wildlife Data Sharing Agreement.”

In October, there was a confirmed depredation in Stevens County by the Smackout Pack. In previous years, livestock attacks have mostly occurred in June, July, August and September.

AS FOR THAT LAWSUIT, it was filed by the Center For Biological Diversity in Thurston County Superior Court against WDFW over public records.

The Arizona-based organization is trying to get ahold of details on the June caught-in-the-act shooting of a wolf by a Stevens County ranchhand, as well as information on the removal of much of the Profanity Peak Pack of northern Ferry County in 2016 for a series of depredations.

“The public has every right to know how and why wolves are being killed in Washington,” CBD’s Amaroq Weiss said in a press release. “Wolves are still in a fragile state in Washington. It’s frustrating that state wildlife officials won’t come clean with the full details on these lethal operations.”

It’s the outfit’s second lawsuit in two months, following on one in late September trying to stop lethal removals, and it “disappointed” instate wolf advocates.

“While this group spends money on lawyers and undermines Washington’s collaborative wolf policy process, Conservation Northwest funds range riders and on-the-ground field staff working to protect both wolves and livestock,” said spokesman Chase Gunnell. “Balanced coexistence, not courtroom wrangling, is the best path for long-term wolf recovery. We firmly believe that sitting down with other wildlife stakeholders to create common-ground policies and win-win solutions is far more effective than divisive lawsuits.”

While both organizations are listed as members of Pacific Wolf Coalition, CNW has a seat on WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group while CBD does not. The former is typically more in tune with on-the-ground realities in Washington’s wolf world than the latter, which attempts to paint the population as “fragile,” even as numbers increase year over year as more arrive from Canada, elsewhere in the Lower 48 and instate packs multiply and split.

“WDFW can’t comment at this point, since neither we nor our attorneys have had the opportunity to review the complaint,” said agency spokesman Bruce Botka.

Baker, Skokomish Sockeye Issues Raised With Washington Fish Commission

Sockeye issues are boiling to a head in Western Washington.

Sportfishing representatives went to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in late October to ask for a more equitable share of one river’s salmon.

And they expressed opposition to the use of eggs from those fish so a tribe elsewhere can try and jumpstart a run but in the meanwhile are blocking recreational fishermen from accessing state hatchery-raised Chinook and coho.

A SIGN POSTED ALONG THE SKOKOMISH RIVER BY THE SKOKOMISH TRIBE WARNS ANGLERS AWAY FROM THE BANKS AS 2016’S RETURN OF CHINOOK TO THE STATE HATCHERY FILLED THE RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“This egg transfer program needs to be put on hold until the sportfishing harvest inequities for the Baker Lake sockeye run is addressed and the sport salmon fishery is reestablished on the Skokomish River,” Al Senyohl of the Steelhead Trout Club of Washington told the commission in late October. “What’s missing here in the whole equation is opportunity — opportunity for us to get our fair share on the Skagit River and opportunity for us to fish on the Skokomish River.”

Ultimately, Senyohl and others are trying to use whatever leverage they can to get more state focus on reopening the Skokomish, which was closed in 2016 and this year, and where some 35,000-plus surplus Chinook have returned to WDFW’s George Adams Hatchery this fall.

Fishing advocate Frank Urabeck reports that with the Skokomish Tribe having harvested 55,000 Chinook this year, he figures that if the river had been open, anglers might have caught as many as 15,000.

The Baker sockeye eggs come from several hundred fish captured at Puget Sound Energy’s Baker River trap and are part of a broader, longterm enrichment of salmon runs in southern Hood Canal as Tacoma Power updates their dams there.

But anglers are leery that they will ever be able to access those fish following on the Skokomish’s use of a federal solicitor’s opinion to take over the entire width of the river.

“Why are we rewarding a neighbor who is behaving badly? Why?” asked Norm Reinhart of the Kitsap Poggie Club. “I understand that the (sockeye) may not belong to WDFW, but we most certainly are supporting that transfer with our science and our staff. Why are we doing that?”

(For the state’s position, go here.)

It has angler advocates looking around for options.

“We’re going to have to play hardball again,” Ron Garner, state president of Puget Sound Anglers, told the commission.

Back up on the Skagit River, as sockeye runs have increased to the Baker in recent years, North Sound tribes and recreational anglers have benefited, but in two of the past four summers, there’s been a sharp harvest inequity in favor of the former fishermen.

That’s due to returns that have come in lower than preseason forecasts. While tribes fish to that forecast, it can mean far fewer sockeye are hauled up to Baker Lake, a prime sportfishing opportunity.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff outlined several possible ways to address that for the commission.

One idea is to use a Columbia River spring Chinook-like 30 percent run buffer before an inseason run update, but the agency appears hesitant to do that because of perceived tribal pushback because of potentially not being able to harvest their share.

Staffers appear to prefer improving run modeling and increasing the sport fishing area on the Skagit River to better balance the harvest.

But Urabeck wanted the commission to get involved.

“Given the complexity, seriousness of the situation, and inability so far for the Department to adequately address the harvest imbalance issues, we ask that the commission have your Fish Committee work with us and the department to achieve the cooperation of the affected Skagit Basin tribes to secure harvest fairness and equity,” Urabeck asked commissioners. “It might be appropriate to have the Fish Committee also take a look at the implementation plan for the transfer of Baker sockeye eyed eggs to the Skokomish Tribe’s Salt-water Park Sockeye Hatchery. We ask that you also could encourage (WDFW) Director (Jim) Unsworth and Governor (Jay) Inslee to renew their efforts with the Skokomish Tribe to allow Skokomish River sport salmon fishing to resume in 2018.”

Members of the Fish Committee include Vice Chair Larry Carpenter, Bob Kehoe, Dave Graybill and Kim Thorburn.

At least two expressed interest in taking some of the issues up. Carpenter noted that without other fishing opportunities on the Skagit in recent years, sockeye’s all that anybody — tribal and recreational alike — have really had.

Next Thursday, November 16, Tacoma Power is hosting a public meeting on Skokomish River salmon restoration. It will be held at the Cushman Fire Hall (240 North Standstill Drive) and begins at 6 p.m

WDFW Reports Ferry Co. Rancher Shot, Killed Wolf Attacking Livestock; Confirms Calf Injured Nearby By Wolf

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW WOLF UPDATE

On October 27, 2017, a livestock producer saw one wolf in the act of attacking their livestock on private grazing lands in Northern Ferry County. The producer shot and killed the wolf, and reported the incident to WDFW. WDFW Enforcement investigated the producer’s action and found it to be consistent with state regulations. In areas of Washington where wolves are not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, WAC 220-440-080 states the owner of domestic animals (or an immediate family member, agent, or employee) may kill one gray wolf without a permit issued by the WDFW director if the wolf is attacking their domestic animals. The incident occurred outside any known pack territories and the wolf killed was an unmarked adult female.

A WASHINGTON WOLF TAKES A LOOK AROUND. (WDFW)

On November 2, 2017 WDFW was contacted by a different livestock producer in Ferry County about an injured calf that was discovered less than three miles from where the unmarked female wolf was killed under caught-in-the-act authority. A WDFW contracted range rider heard that there was a possible injured calf a day prior, but the calf could not be located at that time. Once the calf was found, it was taken to a holding pen for the investigation. The Ferry County Sheriff and WDFW management staff were notified of the pending depredation investigation as per the Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol. A Ferry County Officer was also in attendance for the depredation investigation.

The calf had injuries to both rear flanks and on both rear legs between the pin and hocks. Injuries on the rear flanks included bite lacerations and puncture wounds. Hemorrhaging was noted near bite lacerations in all four locations. After the wound was cleaned and dead tissue was removed, significant hemorrhaging was noted inside the wound, specifically around the wound margins. After a field examination of the injuries to the calf, it was determined to be a Confirmed Wolf Depredation. The determination was based on evidence and recent wolf activity in the area. Repeated reports from the producer and WDFW contracted range rider included recent wolf howls, tracks, scat, and cattle grouping behavior in the pasture where the injured calf was located. Information on the use of deterrence measures will be provided in our

8-1, 8-2, 9 ‘Temporarily’ Closing For Blackmouth

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM WDFW

Action: Marine areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9 closed to salmon fishing, excluding year-round piers.

Effective Date:  Nov. 13, 2017, until further notice.

AREA 9 INCLUDES GOOD BLACKMOUTH WATERS SUCH AS MIDCHANNEL BANK AND POSSESSION BAR. (WDFW)

affected: Salmon.

Location:  Marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gamble), and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) within Puget Sound, excluding year-round piers.

Reason for action: Before the salmon fishing season started, WDFW and tribal co-managers agreed to a limited number of chinook encounters – retaining or releasing fish – anglers are allowed in each of these marine areas. Test fishery data indicates that anglers will quickly meet or exceed the guideline for encounters because of the abundant number of juvenile chinook, which anglers can’t retain.

WDFW is closing the salmon season temporarily and will re-open when there are fewer juvenile salmon and more legal-sized salmon available for harvest.

Other information:  WDFW biologists will continue to monitor these fisheries and coordinate with the Puget Sound Sportfishing Advisory Group to determine the most appropriate time to re-open to maximize the fishing opportunity. 

Edmonds Public Fishing Pier is unaffected by this rule change and specific regulations can be found in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphle

2 Men Facing Possible Party Hunting, Overlimits Charges After Allegedly Killing 4 Cow Elk

Nearly a year to the day after the unresolved Ellensburg elk massacre, two men are suspected of killing at least four cows here after spraying gunfire “recklessly” into a herd of wapiti.

Hunters reported the duo’s alleged actions east of town on Thursday, Nov. 2, and Capt. Bob Weaver in Yakima says that without their tips, the case might not have been made.

The incident came to light this afternoon after WDFW Fish and Wildlife Police posted about it on their Facebook page.

According to the story, Sgt. Carlo Pace and Officer Courtney Nasset were dispatched to a green dot area of the Quilomene Game Management Unit, with Nasset arriving first on the scene and detaining two men who had field-dressed two cows at that point.

However, witnesses said that more elk had been shot, and with help, Pace was able to find an additional two down in the vicinity.

As the sergeant interviewed the men, they allegedly “confessed to shooting into the herd recklessly with a semi-automatic rifle.”

(The rifle was initially mistakenly reported on Facebook as an automatic but was corrected later.)

“Although believed to not have maliciously shot more animals than they should have, they knew there were more and planned on leaving them to waste if officers had not intervene (sic),” wardens alleged.

More than a dozen spent shells were recovered at the scene and the rifle and another unidentified firearm was seized.

Nov. 2 was the second day of season for multiple special permit antlerless elk tags for modern firearms in that GMU, while true spike bull hunting was continuing as well.

“Several charges for exceeding the bag limit and party hunting will be filed,” WDFW Police reported.

Party hunting is shooting and killing big game so another person can put their tag on the animal, a no-no except in the case of disabled hunters who have a designated companion hunter.

Capt. Weaver said officers are still putting the case package together for Kittitas County prosecutors, but credited elk hunters who witnessed the carnage for tipping them off.

“Without their help, we wouldn’t have made this case. That’s what we’re most thankful for,” he said, pointing to the vast pool of law-abiding Washington hunters.

The venison was donated to a local mission, WDFW reported.

Yesterday also marked the one-year anniversary of another more unsavory incident near Ellensburg. Five cow elk were gunned down on Sunday morning, Nov. 6, “like somebody took a machine gun to the hillside,” a witness told us.

There’s been a reward of $9,000 on the table for information on that case, but it’s gone uncollected despite massive, widespread news coverage.

“Unfortunately, no, nothing’s ever developed on that case,” says Weaver.

Heck With Holiday Shopping — Try Trout Lake Hopping This Black Friday

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is offering anglers opportunities for tight lines rather than long lines on the day after Thanksgiving.

The “holiday specials” include thousands of large trout averaging 15 to 16 inches in length and weighing up to three pounds.

Klickitat County’s Rowland Lake is one of the waters where now-retired state fisheries biologist John Weinheimer (left) kicked off the Fish Friday campaign in November 2011, while fall releases at the Issaquah-area’s Beaver Lake stretch back to at least 2003. Weinheimer and Wade Ramsey caught these trout trolling 2.5 and 3.0 Mag Lip plugs and crawl-retrieving 3-inch PowerBait Trout Worms. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

The department is currently preparing to stock lakes in time for Black Friday, Nov. 24.

Additionally, the department stocks millions of smaller trout each spring, many of which will have grown to catchable size.

“This is a great reason to avoid the holiday shopping stress just a little longer and enjoy a fun day on the water with family and friends,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW inland fish program manager.

Some of the lakes scheduled to receive fish before Black Friday include:

Battle Ground Lake and Klineline Pond in Clark County
Kress Lake in Cowlitz County
Fort Borst Park Pond and South Lewis County Park Pond in Lewis County
American and Tanwax lakes in Pierce County
Rowland Lake in Klickitat County
Black, Long, and Offutt lakes in Thurston County
Elton Pond North in Yakima County

Many of those lakes will be closed to fishing the Monday before Thanksgiving Day until Thanksgiving Day to facilitate stocking efforts as noted in the fishing regulations: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

On the eastside, WDFW has been stocking lakes with fry plants in recent years, which should mean hefty fish in Hatch Lake in Stevens County; Fourth of July Lake in Lincoln and Adams counties; and Lake Roosevelt in Lincoln, Stevens and Ferry counties.

Some of these eastside lakes will open Nov. 24 and remain open through March 31, 2018 as noted in the fishing regulations: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department on Twitter or Facebook, accessible from http://wdfw.wa.gov, or see the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/

Anglers 15 years and older must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2018, to participate.

Licenses can be purchased by telephone at 1-866-246-9453, at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, or at hundreds of license vendors across the state.

For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/

 

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