Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wildlife managers treat dead calf
as 'probable' case of wolf predation

OLYMPIA - State and federal wildlife managers have determined that wolves likely caused injuries that resulted in the death of a calf on a Methow Valley ranch May 18 and that the landowner would qualify for compensation.

The landowner would be the first in the state to qualify for compensation under criteria established by the state's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan adopted late last year.

Steve Pozzanghera, a regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said it was not possible to say for certain that wolves caused the injuries that resulted in the death of the calf, although evidence at the scene supports that conclusion.

"The calf was mostly consumed by the time the department was called in," Pozzanghera said. "But photos of the carcass taken earlier by the rancher as well as tracks located in the area were definitely consistent with wolves."

Pozzanghera also noted that the 3,000-acre ranch near Carlton is in an area traditionally used by the Lookout wolf pack, and that remote, motion-triggered cameras had photographed two wolves on nearby National Forest land in recent weeks.

The Lookout pack is one of five wolf packs confirmed by WDFW in the state. The department is currently working to confirm other wolf packs.

Officials from WDFW met May 22 with those from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA's Wildlife Services Program to examine the evidence and develop a response to the loss of the calf. All three agencies are involved, because wolves in the western two-thirds of the state are protected as an endangered species under both state and federal law.

The primary goal of the state's new wolf management plan is to protect gray wolves as they reestablish themselves in Washington, but it also includes provisions to compensate ranchers who lose livestock to wolf predation, Pozzanghera said.

Under the new management plan, ranchers can be compensated up to $1,500 per cow for wolf predation classified as "probable." The plan also allows ranchers to be paid up to twice that amount for lost livestock that are "confirmed" to have been killed by wolves on ranches over 100 acres.

In all cases, Pozzanghera urges ranchers who believe they have lost livestock to predation to contact WDFW immediately at 1-877- 933-9847.

"The sooner we can investigate the situation, the better our chances are of determining whether the incident is a wolf kill and whether compensation is warranted," he said. "We also ask that landowners protect the site from disturbances and keep scavengers away by covering the carcass with a tarp."

WDFW currently has $80,000 available to help livestock operators prevent conflicts with wolves and compensate ranchers who lose livestock to predation by wolves. Of that funding, $50,000 was provided by the state Legislature, $15,000 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and $15,000 from the non-profit organization Defenders of Wildlife.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Parts of Yakima River to Open for Spring Chinook

Two sections of Yakima River to open for
hatchery spring chinook fishing

OLYMPIA - Two sections of the Yakima River will open this week to fishing for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon, under regulations adopted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Starting Wednesday, May 16, the lower Yakima River will open to fishing for hatchery spring chinook from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser.

On Saturday, May 19, the salmon fishery will expand to the upper Yakima River from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the railroad bridge below Roza Dam.

John Easterbrooks, regional WDFW fish program manager, said the lower river is expected to remain open through June 30, while fishing in the upper section will likely continue through July 31.

"The springers are running late this year, but they're finally moving into the Yakima River," said Easterbrooks, noting that fishery managers are predicting a return of approximately 5,000 adult hatchery chinook to the Yakima River.

Anglers will have a daily limit of two adipose-fin-clipped hatchery chinook. All wild salmon, identifiable by an intact adipose fin, must be released unharmed and must not be removed from the water prior to release. The same is true for all steelhead, as noted in the fishing rule on WDFW's website ( ).

To participate in the fishery, anglers must possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement (CRSSE), along with a valid fishing license. Anglers also have the option of purchasing a "two-pole endorsement" to fish with two poles during the fishery.

Revenues from the CRSSE will be used to fund monitoring and law enforcement for the fishery, and to expand the lower river fishery up to Prosser this year.

Endorsement revenues will also fund a hooking-mortality study for spring chinook salmon this year below Roza Dam, where a WDFW research team plans to radio-tag 150 wild fish that have been hooked, played and released.

"Anglers who have hooked a spring chinook may be approached by a scientific technician as they reel in the fish," Easterbrooks said. "If it's a wild fish with an intact adipose fin, the technician will offer to assist in unhooking and releasing it after tagging it and recording information on the fish."

The technicians will also be fishing to catch fish for the study, and will release all fish they catch once they have been tagged. At the end of the spawning season, survival rates for all spring chinook that have been tagged and released will be compared against a control group of fish that have not been hooked by anglers.

"This study, conducted in conjunction with the Yakama Nation, will not only be useful in estimating hooking mortality rates on the Yakima River but also on other tributaries to the Columbia River," he said. "We would appreciate anglers' cooperation as we work to refine estimates that play a key role in managing area fisheries."

Easterbrooks is also asking for anglers' cooperation in helping to maintain access across Roza Dam to the popular fishing area downstream from the railroad bridge boundary. He asks that anglers observe some basic rules established by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the facility:

  • Passage across the dam is limited to walk-in access to the right (west) bank of the river. The public is prohibited from using the railroad bridge walkway to access the left (east) bank-fishing area. Anglers can access both sides of the river by walking under the bridge abutments to access the fishing area downstream.
  • Anglers are asked to park in the designated areas on the right side of the Roza Access Road, not on private property on the left side of the road.
  • Dumpsters have been placed at the parking area and next to the Roza adult fish trapping facility. Anglers are asked to carry a trash bag and deposit their trash - along with any they find along the trail - in those dumpsters.
  • Anglers are also asked to use the portable toilets provided at the access road parking area and on the west side of the dam.

"Public access across Roza Dam is a privilege, not a right," Easterbrooks said. "We're asking anglers to do everything they can to make sure that access point remains open for their use."

2012 Summer and Fall Salmon Seasons Set for Columbia River

May 15, 2012
CLACKAMAS, Ore. –Fishery managers have announced 2012 summer and fall salmon fishing seasons on the Columbia River.

The seasons are based on results of this year’s Pacific Fishery Management Councils (PFMC) process including a series of public meetings, referred to as North of Falcon, in which fishery managers from several jurisdictions convene to plan salmon fisheries on the Columbia River and parts of the ocean off the Oregon and Washington coasts.

This year’s projected return of summer chinook is expected to be 91,000 fish with the retention season currently scheduled to run from June 16 through July 1.

“There’s a chance the season may be extended once we get a good look at what the actual return is,” according to Steve Williams, ODFW deputy Fish Division administrator. “Until then, we’re planning a conservative fishery to stay within the available quota.”

Similar to last year, sockeye salmon retention will be allowed during part of the summer with retention scheduled to open May 16-July 1 downstream of the I-5 Bridge and June 16-July 1 above the I-5 Bridge.

The fall season begins Aug. 1, and includes the popular Buoy 10 fishery near Astoria and the fall “upriver bright” season in the main stem Columbia. The 2012 predicted run sizes and fishing season for chinook are similar to last year, though managers expect sport anglers will be allowed to retain chinook through Labor Day at Buoy 10. Managers are predicting coho returns will be down from last year but not enough to affect season length.

Summary of 2012 summer and fall salmon regulations for the Columbia River

  • Sockeye Salmon
    • Retention of sockeye allowed:
      • May 16 – June 15 ** from a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point upstream to the I-5 Bridge.
      • June 16 – July 1** from Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam
      • June 16 – July 31 from Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border.
      • All sockeye count as an adult salmonid in the daily limit.

  • Summer Chinook
    • Retention of adipose fin-clipped adult (longer than 24-inches) summer chinook allowed June 16 - July 1** from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam, and June 16-July 31 from Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border.
    • Retention of adipose fin-clipped jack (12 to 24-inches long) summer chinook allowed June 16 – July 31 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the OR/WA border.
    • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jacks.

Fall Salmon Seasons

  • Buoy 10

    • Retention of adult (longer than 16-inches) adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 - December 31.
    • Retention of adult (longer than 24-inches) chinook allowed during Aug. 1-Sept. 3** and Oct. 1-Dec. 31.
    • The combined daily bag limit is two adults, only one of which may be a chinook during Aug. 1 – Sept. 3. Beginning Oct. 1 the combined daily bag limit is two adults, both of which can be chinook. Jacks may not be retained between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30 under permanent rules.
    • All other permanent rules apply.
  • Lower Columbia (Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to Bonneville Dam).

    • Retention of adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
      Retention of chinook allowed:
      • Aug. 1 – Sept. 9** and October 1-December 31 from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore to red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island.
      • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31** from a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore to red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island, upstream to Bonneville Dam.
    • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jack salmon. During Aug. 1-Sept. 9** the daily bag limit may not include more than one adult chinook. During September 10 – December 31, the daily bag limit may include two Chinook upstream of Warrior Rock. During Oct. 1 – Dec. 31 the daily bag limit may include up to two chinook from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam.
    • An in-season extension may be considered for the area from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Warrior Rock during all or part of the September 10-16 timeframe under mark-selective (ad-clipped) regulations.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to the OR/WA border

    • Retention of chinook, coho, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31**.
    • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jack salmon.
    • All coho retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be adipose fin-clipped.

** Seasons may be subject to in-season modification.

For a complete summary of the summer and fall fisheries on the Columbia, including salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and shad, go to the ODFW website.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ODFW to Host Fly Fishing Class on North Fork Coquille River

Participants at the 2010 fly fishing class geared up to practice their casting before hitting the river to fish.
ODFW photo.

CHARLESTON, Ore. – ODFW Outdoors will host an adult fly fishing class at LaVerne County Park on the North Fork of the Coquille River on Saturday, June 2.

The class, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is designed for new or beginning fly fishers and will include sessions on equipment, casting, aquatic insects and reading the water.

According to Gary Vonderohe, ODFW fish biologist, the class will be helpful for both new and experienced anglers.

“A lot of accomplished anglers, who have been gear or bait fishing for years, have always wanted to try fly fishing,” he said. “This class will be a great way to get started.”

The class costs $40 and includes use of all necessary equipment, instruction/materials and lunch.

Go to the ODFW Web site for registration information, or call Gary Vonderohe at 541-888-5515 for more information.

ODFW and Local Fly-Casters to Host Youth Fishing Event in Bend May 19

BEND, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Central Oregon Flyfishers will host a youth fishing event at the Pine Nursery Pond in Bend on Saturday, May 19.

The free event is will last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will offer young anglers a chance to try two different fishing techniques.

From 9 a.m. to noon the focus will be on spin cast fishing -- a great way for beginners, especially young beginners, to catch a first fish. ODFW staff and volunteers will be on hand to help young anglers learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land their catch. ODFW also will provide loaner fishing rods, reels, and will have bait, bobber kits and information about additional fishing opportunities.

Bend Pine Nursery Community Park
Beginning at noon the focus turns to fly fishing, and the Central Oregon Flyfishers will provide hands-on instruction in casting, fly tying, insect identification and fly fishing in the pond.

The event is free and open to all kids 17 and under. Under Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, anglers ages 13 and under can fish for free while those 14-17 will need to have a $9 juvenile angling license available at ODFW field stations and license outlets. Licenses will not be sold on site the day of the event.

Pine Nursery Pond is stocked regularly by ODFW and offers great family fishing throughout the summer.

The Bend Pine Nursery Community Park is located in NE Bend. From Hwy 97, take Empire Blvd Exit and head East on Empire Blvd 1.5 miles. Turn left on Purcell for 1500 feet and turn right just before Ponderosa Elementary School.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife Recreation Report

Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Viewing
May 8, 2012

Apply for your fall controlled hunt
Avoid the long lines at the May 15 deadline by applying online now.
Oregon may have a million dollar fish
If we do, one lucky angler could catch it in Crane Prairie, Dexter or Blue River Reservoir. All three are included in the nationwide “Wanna Go Fishing for Millions” contest sponsored by Cabelas, Outdoor Channel and several fish and wildlife agencies (including ODFW).
Ladd Marsh Birdathon, La Grande, May 18 – 20, 2012
Free, fun and friendly! A unique birding opportunity for all ages during the height of spring migration and nesting in the Grande Ronde Valley. Whether you are a novice or an experienced bird watcher, you’ll find much to enjoy.
Explore the outdoors: Upcoming workshops teach you how
ODFW Outdoors has openings in the following workshops being held in June: Fly Fishing (June 2), Warm Water Fishing (June 16), Muzzleloading (June 16) and Archery (June 23). We provide everything you need; you just bring your sense of adventure. For more information go to the ODFW Outdoors event calendar.
Go spring turkey hunting
Anyone can purchase a tag, anytime before going hunting. See our hunting forecast for tips for beginners and what to expect this season.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sheep killed by wolf in northern Umatilla County

May 3, 2012

PENDLETON, Ore.—A May 2 investigation by ODFW confirmed that four penned sheep (two ewes, two lambs) were killed by a wolf on private land east of Weston, Ore. in northern Umatilla County.

One additional lamb is missing and believed to have been killed by the wolf.

The incident occurred in an area not known to be frequented by one of Oregon’s known wolf packs (Imnaha, Wenaha, Walla Walla, Snake River) but by two wolves discovered last August in the northern Mt Emily wildlife management unit. Based on evidence at the scene, wildlife biologists believe a single wolf was involved in the depredation.

ODFW immediately helped the landowner install electrified fladry, a type of fencing that can deter wolves, around the sheep pens. ODFW is also working to capture and radio-collar the wolf.

This marks the first time ODFW has confirmed a wolf kill of livestock in Umatilla County. The county has an active Wolf Depredation Advisory Committee under the state’s new Oregon Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance County Block Grant Program and the landowner is eligible to seek compensation for the loss.

The five dead sheep bring the total number of livestock animals killed by wolves in Oregon to 57 since 2009. The last confirmed wolf kill of livestock occurred March 8, 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Columbia River Regulation Changes

COLUMBIA ZONE: Regulation Changes
Fishery managers extend chinook season above Bonneville Dam
Salmon, Steelhead and Shad
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, Buoy 10 upstream to I-5 Bridge
  • Permanent regulations are in effect.
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, I-5 Bridge upstream to Beacon Rock
  • Permanent regulations are in effect.
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam
  • Permanent regulations are in effect.
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, Bonneville Dam upstream to Oregon/Washington border
Effective March 16 - May 6, 2012:
  • Open for adipose fin-clipped Chinook and adipose fin-clipped steelhead 7 days per week from Tower Island Power lines (located approximately 6 miles downstream from The Dalles Dam) upstream to Oregon/Washington border for boat and bank, plus BANK ANGLING ONLY from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Tower Island Power lines.
  • Daily bag limit is 2 adult salmon/steelhead in combination.
  • Up to 5 adipose fin-clipped jacks may be retained in addition to the adult bag limit.
Effective May 16 – July 31, 2012:
  • Modified the hook regulation when bank angling at Cascade Locks in the area between the boat ramp at the lower end of the locks upstream to the east (upstream) end of the lock wall so only single-point hooks are allowed
SELECT AREA RECREATIONAL FISHERIES (Youngs Bay, Blind Slough, Knappa Slough)
  • Permanent regulations are in effect.
  • The retention of green sturgeon is prohibited at all times.
  • Anglers are limited to the use of one single-point barbless hook while angling for white sturgeon.
  • It is unlawful to use lamprey for bait.
  • In all areas, catch-and-release sturgeon angling is allowed during non-retention periods, unless otherwise indicated.
  • The lower Willamette River (including Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River) sturgeon regulation updates can be found under the Willamette Zone.
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, Buoy 10 upstream to Wauna Powerlines (mainstem Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines (River Mile 40) downstream to the mouth at Buoy 10, including Youngs Bay; and all adjacent Washington tributaries)
  • Open to retention of white sturgeon 7 days per week during January 1 - April 30, 2012, and May 12 - July 8, 2012.
  • Daily bag limit is 1 white sturgeon, 38-54 inches FORK LENGTH during January 1 - April 20, 2012 and 41-54 inches FORK LENGTH during May 12 - July 8, 2012.
COLUMBIA RIVER MAINSTEM, Wauna Powerlines (RM 40) upstream to Bonneville Dam (including all adjacent Washington tributaries)
  • Open to retention of white sturgeon on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during January 1 - July 31, 2012 and October 20 - December 31, 2012.
  • Daily bag limit is 1 white sturgeon, 38-54 inches FORK LENGTH.
  • Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from May 1-August 31 from Bonneville Dam downstream to a line crossing the Columbia River from Navigation Marker 82 on the Oregon shore through the upstream exposed end of Skamania Island, continuing in a straight line to the Washington Shore under permanent regulations.
COLUMBIA RIVER RESERVOIRS, between Bonneville Dam and McNary Dam
Sturgeon creel sampling summaries and catch estimates for Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day reservoirs can be found on the WDFW Website.
Bonneville Reservoir (Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam
  • Open to retention of white sturgeon during June 15-16, 2012 (Friday, Saturday) and June 22-23, 2012 (Friday, Saturday).
  • Daily bag limit is 1 white sturgeon, 38-54 inches FORK LENGTH.
The Dalles Reservoir (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam)
  • Effective January 1, 2012 (permanent regulations), The Dalles Reservoir is open to retention of white sturgeon until the reservoir-specific harvest guideline is met.
John Day Reservoir (John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam)
  • Effective January 1-May 20, 2012, this area is open to retention of white sturgeon under permanent regulations.
  • Effective 12:01 am Monday May 21, 2012, the Columbia River and tributaries in this area will close to the retention of white sturgeon.
  • Catch and release angling will remain open.
Effective February 1 - July 31, 2012, under permanent regulations:
  • Open to retention of white sturgeon from February 1 – July 31 annually.

The 2012 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (pdf) provide requirements for all zones. However, additional regulations may be adopted in this rule division from time to time and to the extent of any inconsistency, they supersede the 2012 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Columbia River Sturgeon Retention Updates

Sturgeon retention to end in John Day Pool,
but continue 4 extra days in Bonneville Pool


  1. John Day Pool - The sport fishery for white sturgeon will close to sturgeon retention.
    Effective dates:
    12:01 a.m., May 21, through December 31, 2012.

    The Columbia River and tributaries from John Day Dam upstream to McNary Dam.
  2. Bonneville Pool - The sport fishery for white sturgeon will re-open to retention on four additional days.
    Effective dates:
    12:01 a.m. June 15 through June 16, 2012 (Friday, Saturday) and 12:01 a.m. June 22 through June 23, 2012 (Friday, Saturday).

    The Columbia River and tributaries from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam.

Species affected: White sturgeon

Reason for action:

  1. The closure date for retention of sturgeon in John Day Pool was adopted because Washington and Oregon fish managers estimate that the harvest guideline of 500 fish will be reached on May 20, 2012.
  2. The Bonneville Pool harvest guideline of 2,000 white sturgeon was not reached during the regular season, which closed February 18, 2012. A balance of 1,060 fish remains on the guideline. This action sets additional fishing time to catch the remaining balance.

Other information: Staff will closely monitor catch in Bonneville Pool once the season continues and modify the season if necessary to remain within the catch guideline.

The section of the Columbia River and tributaries between The Dalles Dam and John Day Dam remains open to sturgeon retention until the harvest guideline in that area is reached. Approximately 250 fish remain on the guideline for that area. Catch and release of sturgeon is allowed, except for within the spawning sanctuaries in John Day Pool from the Highway 395/I-82 bridge upstream 1.5 miles to McNary Dam and in The Dalles Pool from the Rufus grain elevator upstream 2.4 miles to John Day Dam, which are both closed to all sturgeon fishing May 1 through July 31.

Information contact: Dennis Gilliland, (360) 906-6733.
Spring chinook fishery extended
163 miles upriver from Bonneville Dam

OLYMPIA - Anglers will have at least four more days to fish for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163 miles upstream from Bonneville Dam.

Citing the late timing of this year’s run, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to extend the fishery through May 6.

According to current projections, anglers will catch only about 232 of 1,689 salmon available for harvest through May 2, when the fishery was initially scheduled to close pending an updated run assessment.

"Fishing above Bonneville Dam has been slow, with the bulk of the run yet to arrive," said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "Both states agree we can safely give anglers an additional four days of fishing above the dam with little risk to the resource."

The extension does not apply to salmon fishing below the dam, which has been closed since April 23 pending the run update. By then, anglers had taken about 70 percent of their initial quota of upriver chinook for that stretch of the river - most during the last week of fishing.

Above Bonneville Dam, boat and bank anglers are allowed to fish from the Tower Island powerlines to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank anglers can also fish from the powerlines downriver to Bonneville Dam.

Anglers fishing those areas can keep two marked hatchery adult chinook per day. All wild, unmarked chinook must be released unharmed.

Prior to this year’s fishing season, fishery managers projected a strong return of 314,200 upriver spring chinook salmon to the Columbia, anticipated to be the fourth-highest on record. To guard against overestimating the run, both states have managed the fishery with a 30 percent "buffer," LeFleur said.

"We’ll have a better idea of the actual size of the run once more fish have passed Bonneville Dam," she said. "That assessment will also determine whether we can give anglers additional time to fish."

Most tributaries flowing into the Columbia River above and below Bonneville Dam are also open for spring chinook fishing under separate regulations described in the state’s 2012-13 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at license vendors and online at .