Archive for March, 2012
Halibut fishing for personal use will start Thursday, May 3 in many Washington inland waters and one coastal marine management zone No. 1 Columbia River.
The Puget Sound marine areas remaining closed for 2012 are 11, 12 and 13, this to protect rockfish.
Flattie fishing in the three other coastal areas will start either Sunday or Thursday, May 6 or 10. Marine Area 5 (west end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca) halibut fishing will start Thursday, May 24 with weekly closed days.
Washington’s recreational fishery quota for the 2012 catch year as determined by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the Pacific Fisheries Management Council is 214,110 pounds. Recreational fishing is limited by this quota, which is further allocated to individual coastal management areas and the inside fishery in toto.
However, in light of the popularity of the fishery, there will be weekly closed days to check the catch rate so the season can last for a little more than a month
Recreational anglers will be able to catch and keep one halibut a day and have two in any condition in possession.
As of March 15, steelheading has made a brief reappearance in the Wenatchee, Icicle and Methow rivers in north central Washington.
Sufficient room remains under the cap (maximum allowable impact to wild fish) for this resumption of fishing though WDFW managers warn that any one or all of these streams plus several others that are now open could close before the scheduled shut down date of March 31.
Managers say the reopening of several streams for a 16-day period also is designed to remove a few more hatchery steelhead from the wild fish domain.
Anglers intent on hitting these streams are urged to check the department’s fishing hotline 360 902-2500 or the emergency regulation posting Web pages at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ the night before or the day of their trip.
Okanogan and Chelan county river reaches currently legal to fish are the:
- Wenatchee from its mouth upstream to the Icicle River bridge.
- Icicle from its mouth upstream to a point 500 feet below the federal fish hatchery dam.
- Methow from its mouth upstream to the Chewuch River.
- Okanogan from its mouth upstream to the Highway 97 bridge at Oroville, excluding closed sections at the towns of Omak and Tonasket to protect holding wild adult spawners waiting to migrate up Omak and Tonasket creeks.
- Similkameen from its mouth upstream to a point 400 feet below Enloe Dam
The Methow River (from Gold Creek to the falls above Brush Creek) and Wenatchee River (from the Columbia to the Highway 2 bridge at Leavenworth) also will be open for the taking of whitefish concurrent to the steelhead openings.
While these streams are open, anglers must abide by these noteworthy rules:
- Release all wild steelhead as well as other gamefish (includes trout but not whitefish where legal) immediately and unharmed.
- Don’t lift wild fish out of the water for any reason.
- Keep the first two hatchery-origin (fin-clipped and longer that 20 inches) steelhead they bring to hand (close control).
- End their fishing for the day when they have landed their second marked steelhead.
- Stop fishing at one-half hour after designated sunset and do not resume until one-half hour before designated sunrise.
- Use only terminal tackle and a knotless net in accordance with the Selective Gear Rule, which also bans the use of baits and scents when it’s applied.
- On the Methow River refrain from fishing afloat between the second power-line crossing and the first Highway 153 bridge.
Region 2 Fish Program Manager Jeff Korth urges all would-be late North Central steelhead fishers as well as those anglers fishing many other streams in the greater Columbia River Basin to buy a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement.
It’s required to legally fish those waters but more importantly this voluntary $8.75 add-on to the cost a basic fish license reaps the funding to pay for the mandatory in-season monitoring of steelhead and salmon fisheries which in turn enables them to take place.
Federal authorities would deny the state a permit to conduct this fishery without the catch data collected and analysis derived weekly concerning angler encounters with wild fish.
Steelhead fisheries underway elsewhere in Washington include opportunities targeting summer-runs (catch and release) in the Grande Ronde and winter-run stocks in several southwest Washington streams including the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis as well as in those selected streams on the northwest side of the Olympic Peninsula where a catch and keep fishery on wild steelhead is allowed.
With the successful repatriation of hatchery produced spring chinook salmon to Oregon’s Umatilla River and more recently to the upper Walla Walla River basin, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation are proposing an extension of its reintroduction program to the Touchet River in Southeast Washington.
CTUIR is a consortium of the Walla Walla, Umatilla and Cayuse tribes of Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington united by the Treaty of 1855.
In 2000 CTUIR extended its experimental cultured king introductions to the Walla Walla River and upper Mill Creek where returns were successfully reestablished in 2004 after more than 80 fish-less years.
The planned repatriation project for the Touchet is intended to be the initial phase of an even more comprehensive tribal hatchery fish supplementation project in the lower Snake River basin.
CTUIR fisheries and water management specialists are working in concert with state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation districts, the Army Corp of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration and local irrigation authorities to reestablish fish passage and restore riparian corridors along streams that will serve as both spawning and juvenile rearing habitat for early-returning chinook.
In particular, tribal leadership is working one-on-one with local farmers and landowners seeking cooperation rather than dictating what change is to be made, according to a statement on the tribes’ Web site.
Some of the fundamental changes accomplished for the Touchet salmon reintroductions include improving fish passage over the Maiden and Hofer irrigation diversion structures and the purchase of water right through a willing seller program.
Public comment on the CTUIR’s proposal is being accepted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife through Friday, March 30 via an email link firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the Umatilla Confederated Tribe’s spring chinook salmon go to http://www.umatilla.nsn.us/salmon.html.
The 2012 personal use (recreational) spot (a.k.a. prawn) shrimp season will start Saturday, May 5 throughout Washington’s inland waters, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Tuesday, March 13 announcement.
The traditional Wednesday follow-up opening was eliminated this year due to the very low tide on that day.
In four marine areas: 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5, 6 (excluding the shrimp districts) and 13, pot fishers may fish every day to a prawn quota stoppage or a fixed date. Of these four zones, the Strait of Juan de Fuca areas are set to close Saturday, Sept. 15 or when their catch ceilings are reached. The South Sound area will close for the taking of spot shrimp Thursday, May 31.
Shorter spot shrimp stints, measured in hours of days, also get started May 5 in other marine areas with follow-up open days as indicated:
- Marine Area 7 _ also May 11-12, 17-18 and 19.
- Marine Area 8 _also May 11 only. Last haul is by 3 p.m. both days.
- Marine Area 9 _ also May 11 only. Last haul is by 3 p.m. both days.
- Marine Area 10 _ also May 11 only. Last haul is by 3 p.m. both days.
- Marine Area 11 _ also May 11 only. Last haul is by 3 p.m. both days.
Pot soak time begins at 7 a.m. in these management zones when they’re open.
The highly popular shrimp management districts on Discovery Bay and Hood Canal open May 5, 11-12 and 16, Hood Canal for four hours each open day (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Discovery Bay for six hours (9 a.m. to 3 p. m.)
Spot shrimp fishers:
- are allowed up to 80 spot shrimp per day,
- may fish up to two pots individually with a maximum of four pots in a boat,
- must have separate keeper containers,
- and may remove the heads in the field.
The minimum mesh size for all pots when fishing spot shrimp is one inch.
If sufficient personal use quota remains in any one or more of the aforementioned management areas after these general seasons conclude, additional openings will be held.
Following the fisheries targeting spots, additional opportunities will be scheduled for the smaller coonstripe and pink species, with the proviso that shrimpers fish at much shallower depths.
For a description of the marine areas and fishing rules see WDFW’s Recreational Shrimp Fishing web page at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/shrimp/.
In the past several years the Bellingham Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers has donated a portion of its summer derby proceeds to Long Live the Kings, a non-profit organization founded more than 20 years ago, which continues to operate a private salmon production facility at East Sound on Orcas Island.
LLTK’s Glenwood Springs Hatchery produces mainly juvenile fall chinook salmon for release into the waters of the San Juan Islands, which find their way as they mature into both personal use (recreational) as well as commercial fisheries during the year.
Manager Mike O’Connell will talk about his facility’s operation and the contribution the organization’s salmon production makes to local fisheries at the Wednesday, March 21 Bellingham PSA meeting at Nikki’s Bella Marina Restaurant at Squalicum Harbor. The program portion of the PSA gathering begins at 7 p.m., attendees can gather beforehand between 6-7 to dine and chat. Everyone is welcome at PSA meetings.
Long Live the Kings accepts donation for its programs and can be found online at www.lltk.org.
Watch for details on this summer’s July Bellingham PSA derby at http://www.bellinghampsa.com/.