Tag Archives: willapa bay

‘I Was Fishing Like An ____. You Got Me’–Nemah Salmon Snagger

Washington game wardens report catching a family of blatant salmon snaggers on a Willapa Bay tributary recently.

They allege that two parents and an uncle were teaching a pair of youngsters aged 11 and 13 how to fish the wrong way, and they had half a dozen salmon on the bank of the tiny North Nemah River when Officer Todd Dielman found them on a late evening patrol.

“They were all fishing with a barbed hook tied about 8 inches above a lead weight. No bait or lure could be found on any rod,” WDFW Law Enforcement stated on its Facebook page today.

None of the six salmon had been recorded on a card, the agency alleges, and some family members were still fishing after retaining what would have been their daily limit.

Had they been doing it legally.

“I was fishing like an a**hole. You got me,” one told Dielman.

The North Nemah sees runs of hatchery and natural-origin Chinook this time of year, as well as some coho and chum later in fall. Daily limit is two adult salmon (up to six jacks), release unclipped Chinook.

WDFW reports the three adults were cited for various violations while the salmon were seized and donated.

“Numerous” snaggers were encountered during the patrol, wardens say.

WA Fish Commission OKs Willapa Crabbing Change, Talks Columbia Salmon Policy

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

Sport crabbers will be able to set their pots in Willapa Bay in the fall two weeks earlier than in the past after the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the change at a meeting Monday.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), agreed to allow recreational crabbers to set pots in Willapa Bay on Nov. 15, two weeks earlier than usual. WDFW staff proposed the change to provide more opportunity for recreational crabbers and to reduce gear conflicts with commercial crabbers. 

During the special, half-day meeting in Olympia, commissioners also reviewed the outcomes of a 5-year-old policy that significantly changed salmon fisheries on the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy, approved by the commission in 2013, is designed to promote orderly fisheries, wild salmon and steelhead conservation, and economic stability in the state’s fishing industry. Strategies for achieving those goals includes allocating more salmon to sport fisheries, promoting the use of alternative fishing gear in commercial fisheries and increasing the production/releases of salmon in off-channel areas.

Commissioners took public comment on the salmon policy and heard panel discussions that included representatives from conservation organizations as well as commercial and recreational fishing groups.

The commission’s review of the Columbia River policy will continue next month during a meeting in Vancouver with Oregon commissioners. More information on that meeting will be available online in the coming weeks at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

WDFW Closes More Sections Of Willapa Tribs, But Reopens Bay For Coho

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Salmon fishing to close in Willapa Bay tributaries 

Action: Sections of Willapa Bay tributaries will remain closed for salmon fishing until further notice.

WILLAPA BAY TRIBUTARIES LIKE THE NASELLE, WHERE THIS COHO WAS CAUGHT, ARE BEING CLOSED DUE TO A LOW CHINOOK RUN, BUT NOW THAT FALL STOCKS HAVE CLEARED THE SALTWATER STATE MANAGERS HAVE REOPENED MARINE AREA 2-1. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective dates: Oct. 1 until further notice

Species affected:  Salmon.

Location: North Nemah River from Nemah Hatchery barrier dam to N700 Rd.; Willapa River from Fork Creek to Hwy. 6 Bridge; Fork Creek from Forks Creek Hatchery rack upstream 500’ at fishing boundary sign; North River from Hwy. 105 Bridge to Fall River; and Smith Creek from mouth to Hwy. 101 Bridge.

Reason for action: These sections of Willapa Bay tributaries were scheduled to open Oct. 1 for salmon fishing. WDFW previously closed the lower stretches of these tributaries to protect returning fall chinook.

Fall chinook are returning to tributaries of Willapa Bay in significantly lower numbers than preseason predictions in all fisheries. Closing the salmon fisheries will increase the number of hatchery fish available to make egg take goals at this time.

Additional information:  Managers will continue to assess Chinook returns and re-open if warranted. 

The following sections of Willapa Bay tributaries remain closed to salmon fishing until further notice:

Bear River from mouth to Lime Quarry Road; Naselle River from mouth to Naselle Hatchery attraction channel; Middle Nemah River from mouth to Middle Nemah A-Line; North Nemah River from HWY 101 to bridge on Nemah Valley Road; South Nemah River, from mouth upstream; Willapa River from mouth to Fork Creek; and South Fork Willapa River from mouth to Pehl Rd. bridge.

Salmon fishing to re-open in Marine 2-1 and the Willapa Bay Control Zone 

Action: Marine area 2-1 (Willapa Bay) and the Willapa Bay Control Zone to re-open for coho and chum salmon fishing. The daily limit is six salmon, up to two adult salmon may be retained. Release chinook.

Effective dates: Sept. 27 until further notice

Species affected:  Salmon.

Location: Marine Area 2-1, Willapa Bay Control Zone.

Reason for action: Fall chinook returns to tributaries of Willapa Bay have been significantly lower than preseason predictions and hatchery returns are lower than needed to make egg take at this time. Historic run-timing and stock composition data suggests minimal fall chinook encounters are likely to occur in marine area fisheries.

Additional information: Anglers must stop fishing for salmon after the adult portion of the daily limit is retained.

Managers will continue to assess chinook returns and species composition of marine area fisheries in order to determine if additional actions are warranted.

WDFW Holding Jan. 23 Workshop On Willapa Sport, Comm Fishing Priorities

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

State fishery managers will hold a public workshop Jan. 23 in Raymond to solicit public comments on priorities for upcoming sport and commercial salmon-fishing seasons in Willapa Bay.

WDFW WANTS TO HEAR FROM WILLAPA BAY SALMON FISHERMEN, BOTH RECS LIKE LAUREN SAELID, HERE WITH TWO 2015 KINGS, AND COMMERCIALS ABOUT UPCOMING FISHERIES THERE. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The workshop, sponsored by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. at the Raymond Elks Club on 326 Third St.

Annette Hoffmann, regional WDFW fish manager, said the department is currently seeking guidance on how to reconcile priorities for salmon-fishing opportunities established in the state’s Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy.

That policy, approved by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2015, gives recreational fisheries priority in the Willapa Bay chinook harvest, while designating commercial fisheries as the priority for coho fisheries in the bay.

To meet conservation objectives, WDFW requires both fisheries to release any wild chinook salmon they encounter and manages fishing seasons to hold mortality rates for those fish within a prescribed limit.

Hoffmann said the department has asked the commission to provide greater clarity on ways to achieve those priorities, and wants to involve participants in Willapa Bay’s recreational and commercial fisheries in the discussion.

“The commission makes the policy, but we also want to hear from those directly involved in these fisheries,” she said.

Hoffmann said state fishery managers will convey comments heard at the workshop to the commission during a public meeting scheduled Feb. 9-10 in Olympia. The department will then look to the commission to provide guidance in setting fishing seasons for Willapa Bay in 2018 and future years.

The Bioturbations Of Sand Shrimp: Not Just Bait, Important For Bays Too

Word of the day: bioturbating.

That’s what sand aka ghost shrimp and blue mud shrimp are doing in their little burrows in estuaries up and down the Northwest Coast 24/7/365.

Bioturbating the holy hell out of all that mud and silt and decaying plant matter and whatnot that collects on the tideflats, making it that much richer.

A RESEARCHER STANDS ON A TIDEFLAT PINHOLED WITH THE BURROWS OF SAND SHRIMP. AS MANY AS 600 CAN EXIST IN A SQUARE METER. (OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY)

All that free labor’s great for the health of the ecosystems our salmon and other critters depend on. By one estimate, burrowing shrimp filter as much as 80 percent of the water in bays.

And here you thought sand skrimps just existed to adorn a 2/0 hook with some eggs on the side!

A DIVER-AND-BAIT SET-UP RIGGED WITH A SPIN-N-GLO AND SAND SHRIMP. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

But it’s not so good if you’re an oyster in Nahcotta or Newport. All that mucking around kills the valuable shellfish, which are hugely important for coastal economies. The oysters can sink into veritable “quicksand,” quickly suffocate and die.

So in effect, the shrimp have become the northern pikeminnows of our rich bays, a native species that has to be controlled so other more financially and culturally desirable ones may thrive in the altered environments.

AS OYSTERS MATURE THEY MUST REMAIN ON THE SURFACE OF TIDEFLATS, BUT WHEN THEY SHARE SPACE WITH BURROWING SHRIMP, THEY CAN SUFFOCATE AND DIE BY SINKING INTO THE MUD. (USDA-ARS)

In Washington pesticides have been used to kill them off, but that’s caused a big stir in recent years. A state permit to use imidacloprid was issued in 2015 but then almost immediately withdrawn at the request of the oyster industry after public outcry.

A subsequently “reduced scope” application for a five-year permit to annually spray up to 500 acres of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor by hand and boat instead of helicopter is now out for public comment.

I have to admit that when I learned about the spraying, it really, really bugged me.

It wasn’t so much the self-righteous indignation of Seattle chefs, more like, should we be using that stuff in the environment, let alone to kill off key actors in it?

SAND SHRIMP. (THERESA HOGUE, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY)

On the flip side, in a Seattle Times video, you can hear the frustration voiced by a Washington State University extension agent tasked with helping oyster growers figure out a different solution.

“We beat our heads against the wall,” says Kim Patten, “and nobody has come up with any ideas. So at this point I have no idea, and I don’t think anybody else does.”

Someone might, however.

A recently posted blog by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center on these “estuarine engineers” details research into figuring out where they do well in the bay, in essence attempting to learn if it’s possible to reverse engineer things to benefit shrimp and farmers.

“If it’s an area where we would anticipate the population going down, having weak reproduction, or growing slowly—perhaps, for aquaculture, that would be a good location, because you’d minimize the interaction between the shrimp and the oysters,” Dr. Katelyn Bosley of the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, a stone’s throw or two from Yaquina Bay, told author Al Brown.

“Or conversely, you’ll identify areas where there are fast-growing shrimp because of the high-quality, high-food environment,” she added. “Clearly, by assessing the nutritional status of the environment and knowing that shrimp live there—maybe that’s not a good place to grow juvenile oysters at certain times.”

These are the kind of solutions we should be finding.

It’s also important because burrowing shrimp, particularly blue muds, are being wiped out by an invasive isopod carried here in ship ballast that turns them into zombies that can’t breed.

Usually stopping zombies from breeding is a good thing, but it’s unclear what happens if the shrimp disappear for good — it’s possible systems will become overloaded with nutrients and experience algae blooms, posits Bosley .

With how important the shrimp are — “a key part of their environments,” writes Brown — we should be looking for ways to keep them healthy instead — and bioturbating the bays.

PLASTER CASTS OF SAND SHRIMP AND BLUE MUD SHRIMP BURROWS. THEY CAN DIG AS MUCH AS A METER BELOW THE SURFACE! (USDA-ARS)