Archive for January, 2012
Reopening for steelheaders as of Thursday, Jan. 12 are the North Fork Nooksack from Mosquito Lake Road Bridge upstream to the yellow post at the northeast corner of Kendall Creek Hatchery as well as Whatcom Creek (mouth to Woburn Street Bridge).
The North Fork will stay open to further emergency closure dates of either Wednesday, Feb. 1 or Thursday, Feb. 16 depending on the reach section.
Whatcom Creek will stay open to Tuesday, Feb. 28.
These fisheries target trout 14 inches or longer and adipose fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead as well as other gamefish.
More details in the Sunday Herald’s Outdoors Column.
An eight-day 2012 Skagit County brant hunt will start Saturday, Jan. 14.
State biologists conducting an aerial look-see Friday, Jan. 6 in northern inland waters including Samish and Padilla bays in Skagit County found 6,704 brant present.
The minimum requisite number of brant called for in Washington’s brant management plan to allow the hunt to take place in Skagit County is 6,000 birds.
This year’s Northwest Washington weekend brant opener (Jan. 14-15) will be followed by hunt days on Jan. 18, 21-22, 25, 28 and 29.
While general waterfowl regulations allow duck and goose hunters a great deal of latitude in where they may shoot their webbed-footed quarry; for brant, the rules are much more restrictive.
Among Puget Sound goose hunting haunts, just the blacks and gray-bellies found inside Skagit County’s lines are fair game. Brant in Whatcom County waters are off-limits.
The only other Washington venue where brant are found in noticeable numbers and may be hunted is on Washington’s southwest coast at Willapa Bay. Pacific County’s ten-day brant opportunity started Saturday, Jan. 7 with more openings coming on Jan. 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22.
Besides having the basic suite of credentials including a Washington small game hunting license together with the state migratory bird validation (now in place of a stamp) and the federal migratory bird stamp, brant hunters must have a special $13 written authorization issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
This document, now obtainable on-line to qualified applicants, doubles not only as a permission to hunt brant, it serves as a harvest record on which each days take of these marine geese must be made.
To fulfill the end-of-season reporting requirement, brant hunters can either mail in their reports or log onto the department’s Web-portal, fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wa/migratorybird and make a digital accounting.
With native winter steelhead returns expected sub-par this year, the most of the Nooksack River system will close at the end of January.
Officially closing Wednesday, Feb. 1 to all fishing are:
- the Nooksack River mainstem: From the Lummi Indian reservation boundary to confluence of North and South forks.
- the North Fork Nooksack River: From Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls.
- the Middle Fork Nooksack River: From mouth to City of Bellingham’s diversion dam.
- the South Fork Nooksack River: From mouth to Skookum Creek.
Only the North Fork Nooksack River from mouth to Maple Creek stay open two plus weeks longer to Feb. 16, 2012. However a section that reach, Mosquito Lake Road to just above Kendall Creek Hatchery, is currently closed by another emergency order for broodstock escapement.
Other Puget Sound streams with emergency closures taking effect are the Skagit, Stillagaumish, Snohomish, White, Carbon and upper Puyallup rivers as well as streams entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Two winter personal use razor clam digs on Pacific Coast beaches have been tentatively scheduled by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Provided marine toxin levels remain in check (below action levels for public health), several beach management sectors are set to open Jan. 20-21 and Feb. 18-19.
For the first opportunity Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will be open, while the February option is slated to involve Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks beaches.
Kalaloch Beach remains closed for these digs but the National Park Service has announced that an early April dig will take place.
These will be PM or evening digs (digging allowed between noon and midnight) with slack ebb occurring around sunset.
Also 2011 annual versions of licenses allowing razor clam harvest are still good.
After tallying the total personal use take through the February dig to determine the remaining allowable harvest under resource protection and treaty allocation agreements, state shellfish managers will announce late winter/spring digging opportunities around the first of March.
The US Forest Service has decided to permanently close FSR 16 Illabot Creek Road in the Mount Baker Ranger District east of Rockport in Skagit County.
District Ranger Jon VanderHeyden signed a record of decision Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011 formally clearing the way for 16.7 miles of roadbed in that system to be closed and decommissioned (torn up and rehabilitated to natural slope).
Illabot Creek Road was built by the Forest Service in the 1950s for commercial logging. When timber harvest ended in the 1990s the road continued to provide recreational access to the Slide Lake Trail as well as user built accesses to Marten Lake, Jordan Lake, Lower Jug Lake and old Illabot Lake.
The first nine miles of the road, which cross private timberland will remain open.
There is a 45-day administrative appeal period in which the public may contest the order. Also district managers must now find the more than $1 million needed to do the deconstruction work.
In the next five years, the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is expect to close and decommission more roads on federal timberlands.
To reaad the environmental assessement leading up to this decision, log onto: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=29892 .