Archive for April, 2010
Highway 20 between Marblemount and Newhalem will be closed Tuesday, May 4 from 9 to 11 a.m. while crews dislodge loose rock on backslopes above the road in the vicinity of milepost 112. A rock debris from a small slide was removed from road at that location April 27, but technicians say the upslope remains unstable.
If all goes well, the closure will be kept to the two-hour period, however WSDOT cautions that the rock ‘scaling’ work could take longer and bring more material down then they currently are estimating. There are no detour alternatives at the location so motorists are cautioned to expect lengthy backups and delays.
Also, spring snowfall continues to accummulate along the high points of the North Cascades Highway requiring both de-icer treatment and occasionally plowing. WSDOT also reports that off-road parking at higher elevations and at the summits, is still tight and that off-road lots are not yet clear of snow and available.Source: Jeff Adamson and Dave Chesson, WSDOT Communications
If you like fishing for and eating Puget Sound prawns, aka those big, delicious spot shrimp, don’t blink come the first of May.
The core Puget Sound marine areas, with the increase in recreational participation butting up against firmly held catch quotas are likely to have very brief opportunities. Some are already only scheduled to be open for the prized spots mere days this spring.
With the focus being on the larger, deeper-dwelling, spot shrimp, anglers will be under a count type daily limit of 80 shrimp. Later after June 1 when there is a max depth (150 feet) fishing restriction and the smaller coonstripe and pink shrimp become quarry, a daily ‘weight’ limit of 10 pounds (heads on) per angler is allowed.
The overall recreational catch target for spot shrimp this year is 130,000 pounds.
Here’s an area-by-area rundown (first pot drop date and subsequent options) of opening periods for the spring shrimping seasons:
Marine Area 4 (east of Bonilla-Tatoosh line) - May 1 at 7 a.m., daily, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport quota is landed.
Marine Area 5 – May 1 at 7 a.m., daily, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport quota is landed.
Marine Area 6 (except districts) – May 1 at 7 a.m., daily, until Sept. 15 or sooner if sport quota is landed.
Discovery Bay Shrimping District (in Marine Area 6) – May 1 and 5 only, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 7 South – May 1 at 7 a.m., 5, 6, 7, 8, 21 and 22. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 7 North/Central – May 1 at 7 a.m., 5, 6, 7, 8, 21 and 22. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 8.1 – May 1 and 5, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 8.2 – May 1 and 5, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 9 – May 1 and 5, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 10 – May 1 and 5, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 11 – May 1 only, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Marine Area 12 – May 1, 5, 8 and 12, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Additional openings could occur if sport quota remains.
Marine Area 13 – May 1, at 7 a.m., daily. Closes May 31.
Ocean coast areas 1, 2, 3 and 4 (west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line) _ Open year-round, daily.
For the rest of the details governing recreational shrimp fishing in 2010 see pages 138 and 139 of the 2010-11 Fishing in Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet. For the online version is click on this link: http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/2010/2010sportregs.pdf.
For announcements of early catch cap closings and additional openings click on this link and select the appropriate marine area or shrimp management district: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/shrimpreg/shrimpindex.shtml.
Washington’s 2010 sport fishing regulations are now available on-line at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html.
It may, however, be another day or two before hardcopies appear at your favorite fishing and hunting license dealer.
Be sure to take some time to read the new manual of angling arms closely, managers report that there are more than 100 permanent rule changes that have been made for the 2010 regulations year and they all take effect Saturday, May 1.
Of key note are the Puget Sound-wide closure for rockfish as well as the 120-foot maximum fishing depth for all bottomfish species.
And so halibut anglers don’t have a stroke, that bottomfish max depth limit does not apply to jigging for flatties.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife marshals its own army of staff and volunteers to get catch numbers on the fourth Saturday in April opening day of lake fishing. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m one of those volunteer interviewers.
These surveys are done between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on opening day only usually with at least one checker at the public launch, occasionally a second observer either doing full lake counts or interviewing anglers at a second publicly accessible location. At Silver Lake there is a checker at the north end WDFW ramp and another at the south end county park also a mecca for opening day anglers.
Creel census takers only record catch information and only from those anglers who indicate they have finished fishing at that lake. If they don’t have their daily limit, an angler conceivable could go to another open lake and catch the rest of their five-trout-a-day legal bag limit.
Besides the information displayed below, interviewers document the estimated hours fished by anglers and, besides rainbows, what if any other fish species they caught.
Since opening day on any hatchery-stocked lake is likely to be the heaviest fishing pressure it will see, department statisticians can run the data through a complex catch-estimation formula and calculate the numbers of trout caught. Those numbers figure significantly in decisions on how hatchery trout are apportioned among lakes. Managers also will look at catch rates per hour fished and take-home or kept fish averages and compare them to the subjective indications anglers give of their relative satisfaction with the experience.
WDFW Fish Program managers strive to distribute hatchery-raised fish fairly and equitably, but the program is expensive. Most of the rainbow trout caught from the opener on through the first few weeks are raised through the winter at hatcheries and are only released several weeks to a month before the opener. Evaluations are intended to determine the effectiveness of release strategies including the numbers of trout each lake gets.
Besides the catch of rainbows, monitoring also yields information about other department stocking efforts such as fry plants or perhaps the natural productivity of wild fish populations.
|TROUT TOTALS||TROUT/ANGLER||MAXIMUM ANGLER EFFORT|
|Lake||County||Total Anglers Checked||Kept Trout||Trout Let Go||Combined Caught||Kept Trout per Angler||Kept/Rel Trout per Angler||Time||Boat Count||Boat Anglers||Shore Anglers|
|DISTRICT 14 AVERAGE (Skagit/Whatcom)||3.1||4.1|
Here are some of the general observations creel checkers passed on about their opening day lakes and anglers at each.
|Lake||County||Total Anglers Checked||Comments|
|Erie||Skagit||46||Satisfied and loved triploids|
|Heart||Skagit||31||Best fishing in long time; liked triploids|
|McMurray||Skagit||One cutthroat, no holdover rainbows; Skagit Sheriff issued citations for PFD violations; overcast and cold. Liked size, catch rates and condition.|
|Sixteen||Skagit||35||Four holdovers to 16″, best success with Dick Nite, Roostertails and olive wooley buggers; cool and windy.|
|Cain||Whatcom||28||Five cutthroat; cold rainy wet, anglers happy, some low catch rates, happy with size and condition.|
|Padden||Whatcom||46||Lots of families; liked triploids; harsh weather, rained hard at times. Satisfaction happy with fish; only 4 out of 46 disappointed in weather. Of 156 kept rainbows, 46 were triploid. Osprey showed up, was not successful.|
|Silver||Whatcom||192||Poor weather, one wanted bigger fish, others were satisfied.|
|Toad||Whatcom||43||A lot of triploids; people were very happy; rain and cold; fish 16 to 18 inches. Anglers satisfied.|
The North Cascades Highway, State Route 20 from Marblemount to Winthrop, will open Friday, April 16 at 12 p.m. (noon).
Eastbound traffic can get in line ahead of time at the Happy Flats gate at milepost 134 above Ross Dam.
Tootsie Clark of The Eatery at Marblemount as she has done for will serve fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and hot coffee to drivers and passengers queued up for the opening at Happy Flats.
Late Wednesday afternoon (April 14), WSDOT announced that the North Cascades Highway would NOT open at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 15.
Avalanche control work Wednesday using aerially dropped explosive charges brought down more volume of snow in many locations than ground crews can physically remove before 11 a.m. Thursday.
WSDOT officials will set a new target date for reopening the northern-tier route sometime Thursday, April 15 after assessing both the avalanche hazard and slide removal efforts.
Source: Jeff Adamson, WSDOT, Wenatchee
It’s reported that mountain approach roads to several remote April lakes in the Winthrop area could still be snow-bound, too. But April lakes further east in the Sinlahekin, Limebelt and Okanogan locales are indeed physically accessible for fishing.
The North Cascades Highway could open for traffic as early as 11 a.m. Thursday, April 15 according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Present status: state crews have cleared the base snowpack from the entire route (Happy Flats gate to Silver Star gate). However the avalanche danger remains high.
More than 100 inches of snow have fallen since state crews began the annual snow removal effort March 22 reloading avalanche chutes on Cutthroat Ridge, Liberty Bell Mountain and Whistler Mountain.
Today (Wednesday, April 14), helicopter-mounted avalanche technicians are using explosive charges to dislodge snow accumulations to reduce the hazard in those slide-prone areas.
Thursday’s opening will depend on how many of these deliberately triggered slides reach the road, necessitating the reclearing of pavement and rebuilding of slide traps in these locations.
The line for eastbound traffic forms at the Happy Flats gate (milepost 134) above Ross Dam.
Tootsie Clark of Clark’s Eatery at Marblemount is expected to uphold her tradition of baking and bringing fresh cinnamon rolls and hot coffee up to the Happy Flats gate to provide to motorists waiting for the inaugural run to begin.
Source: Jeff Adamson, WSDOT, Wenatchee
Washington’s Pacific Coast beach razor clams have been given their marine toxin clearance, so a pending three-day opening will take place on three of the five WDFW management sectors.
Friday, April 16 Long Beach and Twin Harbors beaches open on the morning low tide cycle (digging legal midnight to noon) with the ebb coming at about 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18 Long Beach and Twin Harbors plus northern-most Kalaloch Beach will be open on the morning low tide.
- All digging must stop at noon each day.
- You may bag 15 razor clams a day (the first 15 you unearth regardless of condition or size). Two daily limits is the possession maximum.
- If you are in a party, each member must have a separate container.
- The fishing and hunting license calendar year has turned. Diggers now must have some short- or long-term version of a 2010-11 Washington license that allows the digging and retention of razor clams. For license options, log on to: https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov
- Don’t dig in razor clam reserve areas (marked by metal poles and signs) in each zone. They are used by biologists to track razor clam abundance.
- New this spring, upland beach and dune sections of Long Beach and Twin Harbors beaches are off-limits to public entry to protect nesting snowy plovers that are on the federal and state ESA list. These locations are clearly marked.
WDFW also reminds North Sound travelers to coastal beaches of Interstate 5 traffic congestion cause by construction between Tacoma and Lacey. It may be faster to cross the Sound by ferry north of there and proceed south or west of Highway 101 and other state routes.
WDFW also announced a tentative six-day razor dig set for Tuesday, April 27 to Sunday, May 2 that will involve all five beach management sectors for at least a portion of th for ose dates. Long Beach and Twin Harbors will be available all six days, Mocrocks and Copalis Beach Friday to Sunday and Kalaloch Saturday and Sunday only.
Only about one and half miles of three and half to four-foot deep pack snow now separates east and west WSDOT crews working to clear the 2010 winter burden off the North Cascades Highway.
Progress was made this week inspite of sub-freezing temperatures plus falling and drifting snow that hit the northern tier route all week.
At the close of work Thursday, April 8, the east crew with its two Kodiak snow blowers, a loader and grader had a full swath (guardrail to guardrail) cleared to Rainy Pass. The west crew was at about milepost 156 (west of Rainy) working with one loader-mounted snow blower.
Supervisors say that Monday, April 12 will likely be a catch-up day, reclearing some 15 miles on the east side of snow that is expected to fall this weekend. There also is concern that the avalanche danger could return.
But they are looking forward to the resumption of traffic on the North Cascades stretch of SR 20 mid- to late next week. The Loup Loup section (Twisp-Okanogan) of SR 20 is currently bare and wet, while the Sherman Pass stretch (Republic-Kettle Falls) is open with patchy snow and ice in places.
Source: Jeff Adamson, WSDOT, Wenatchee
AN EAST/WEST GAP ALMOST CLOSED:
MP 170.5 Silver Star Gate (3,400 feet)…..MP 168.5 Lone Fir CG…..MP 166.5 Cutthroat Rid east crew ge…..MP 165 Spiral Gulch …..MP 164.5 Liberty Bell…..MP 162.5 Washington Pass (5,477 feet)…..MP 160.5 Whistler Mountain…..MP 159.5 Bridge Creek…..MP 157.5 Rainy Pass at Pacific Crest Trail (4,855 feet)…..MP 153 Swamp Creek…..MP 148 Granite Creek…..MP 145 East Creek Trail (near county line)…..MP 141 Canyon Creek Trail…..MP 134 West Gate near Ross Lake Trail at Happy Flats (2,170 feet).
At the close of work Tuesday, April 6 about five and a half miles of snow pack-covered pavement are left between east and west WSDOT crews on the North Cascades Highway.
Forging passed fresh snow slides that block the Liberty Bell stretch, Twisp maintenance personnel cleared pack snow off Highway 20 to Bridge Creek, just two miles east of Rainy Pass. The Newhalem crew, testing a rebuilt loader-mounted snow blower for a second day, has bared four more miles of highway up to Swamp Creek, about 3 and a half miles west of the Cascade Crest at Rainy.
Wednesday, April 7, the eastside crew is expected to dispatch one Kodiak snow blower west toward Rainy Pass, while the second machine, under the watchful eyes of avalanche technicians, will drop back and attack the new snow slide piles on the previously daylighted road section under Liberty Bell Mtn. Fresh snow slides reportedly also came down several Cutthroat Ridge chutes, but didn’t reach the bare highway.
There was a briefly held notion that the North Cascades Highway could open Friday, April 9, however the talk is again focusing on the original prediction of mid-April. Regardless, with the spring resumption of cross-Cascade traffic in sight, finish your ’lake list’ and pack your fishing gear, early waters in the Okanogan soon will be within easy striking distance.
CLOSING THE EAST/WEST GAP :
MP 170.5 Silver Star Gate (3,400 feet)…..MP 168.5 Lone Fir CG…..MP 166.5 Cutthroat Ridge…..MP 165 Spiral Gulch …..MP 164.5 Liberty Bell…..MP 162.5 Washington Pass (5,477 feet)…..MP 160.5 Whistler Mountain…..MP 159.5 Bridge Creek…..MP 157.5 Rainy Pass at Pacific Crest Trail (4,855 feet)…..MP 153 Swamp Creek…..MP 148 Granite Creek…..MP 145 East Creek Trail (near county line)…..MP 141 Canyon Creek Trail…..MP 134 West Gate near Ross Lake Trail at Happy Flats (2,170 feet).