Washington Dept. Of Fish & Wildlife

The WDFW is the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
and their official website has links for fish and wildlife for the state of Washington.
 

Washington Dept. Of Fish & Wildlife

 
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Regulations & Seasons

Sportfishing Rule Change Proposals for 2012-2013

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting public comments through December 30, 2010 on state sportfishing rules proposed for 2012-13.

Due to continued budget and staffing reductions, the Department limited the scope of rules that will take effect May 2012. This also complies with the Governor’s executive order 10-06 that suspends critical rule development and adoption through December 31, 2011. Consequently, the Department will not solicit sportfishing rules from the public this year and is limiting rule making to rules that meet the following criteria:

1.Rules addressing a critical conservation need


2.Finalize permanent rule making for emergency rules; and


3.Significant recreational opportunities that generate revenue
Public Meetings

Four public meetings will be held in October throughout the state. During the meetings, the public can discuss the proposals with WDFW staff and submit written comments.

The public meetings will run from 6-8 p.m. and are scheduled for:

•Oct. 24 – Rotary Log Pavilion, 409 South Monroe, Aberdeen.
•Oct. 25 – WDFW’s Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
•Oct. 26 – Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E, Olympia.
•Oct. 27 – WDFW’s Spokane Office, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
Timeline for 2012-2013 Sport Rule Adoption Process
October 18 Public notified that proposals are available for comment.

December 2-3 Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Staff will brief the commission on proposed sportfishing regulation changes.

December 30 Deadline for the public to submit written comments on sportfishing regulations changes. .

January 6-7, 2012 Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Staff will brief the commission and take public testimony on proposed sportfishing regulation changes.

February 2012 Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting: Staff will ask the commission to adopt the sportfishing regulations changes.
Licensing Announcement
New provider selected, WDFW support center planned for recreational licensing system – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has chosen a new computer-services provider to manage its automated fishing and hunting licensing system.

The department has selected Outdoor Central, a subsidiary of Central Trust Bank of Jefferson City, Mo., to upgrade the current recreational licensing system and take over system operations by June 30, 2006, when the department’s current contract with MCI expires. The contract provides for system development and operation through Jan. 31, 2011.

In other pending changes to the recreational license system, WDFW is establishing its ...

NOTICE: We are not the WDFW Website. We get so many inquiries from people looking for their website that we are just listing some info here so that you can get to their website.

WDFW WEEKENDER REPORT
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
http://wdfw.wa.gov 
March 17, 2010
Contact: (Fish) 360-902-2700
(Wildlife) 360-902-2515
Spring fishing, hunting seasons
good reason to renew licenses
The popular spring chinook season is picking up on the Columbia River, steelhead fishing is going full tilt on the Olympic Peninsula and a pair of razor-clam digs are tentatively scheduled late this month and next.
Rather fish for trout? More than 30 lakes in the Columbia Basin will open for trout fishing April 1, followed by the statewide lowland lake opener April 24.
Those are just a few of the reasons why anglers might want to purchase a 2010-11 fishing license before their current licenses expire at midnight March 31.
Hunters also have good reason to plan ahead. The spring wild turkey season runs April 15 through May 31, following a special hunt April 3-4 for people age 15 and younger.
“We encourage people to renew their fishing and hunting licenses early, so they’re ready to go when the next season opens,” said Bill Joplin, licensing manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “A lot of great fishing and hunting opportunities are coming up in the next few weeks.”
For resident anglers, a freshwater fishing license is $26.00; saltwater is $24.20; shellfish/seaweed is $14.00; and a combination fishing license is $48.20. Resident hunting licenses vary with package options, ranging from a small-game license at $38.00 to a deer/elk/cougar/bear combination license for $81.20.
Anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries must also purchase a new endorsement approved by the 2009 Legislature to improve and maintain fishing opportunities in the basin. The new endorsement costs $8.75 for the licensing year.
Licenses may be purchased online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/  ), via a toll-free phone line (1-866-246-9453) or from one of 600 authorized license sales locations around the state.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife-viewing opportunities available around the state, see the regional reports below:
North Puget Sound
Fishing: With the region’s rivers closed to steelhead fishing, anglers’ attention has turned to salmon in the marine areas of Puget Sound. Anglers fishing Marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild chinook. Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) is closed to salmon fishing.
Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW biologist, said effort has been light in the region and fishing continues to be slow. “There have been a few blackmouth caught, but overall it’s been a real grind for anglers fishing the waters of northern Puget Sound,” he said.
Thiesfeld said the Strait of Juan de Fuca is the better bet for anglers looking to hook a blackmouth – resident chinook. Anglers fishing marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) have a daily limit of one chinook.
Looking forward to the summer salmon fishing season? There's still time to provide input on proposals for this year's fisheries. Several public meetings have been scheduled as fishery managers continue to develop the 2010 salmon seasons. Those meetings are scheduled for:
• March 23 – Eastern Washington North of Falcon discussion, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Benton PUD, 2721 W. 10th Ave. Kennewick.
• March 24 – Second coastal fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Raymond Elks Lodge, 326 Third St., Raymond.
• March 25 – Puget Sound commercial fisheries discussion, 10 a.m.-noon, WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
• March 25 – Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
• March 29 – Public hearing on ocean salmon management options, 7 p.m., Chateau Westport, 710 W. Hancock, Westport.
• March 30 – Final Grays Harbor/Willapa Bay fisheries discussion, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.
• April 6 – Second North of Falcon meeting, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave. West, Lynnwood.
The final fishing package for Washington's waters will be finalized in mid-April. More information about the salmon season-setting process can be found on WDFW's North of Falcon website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon/  ).
Meanwhile, a couple of lakes in King County that are open year-round have been planted with catchable-size rainbow trout . Angle and Green lakes each received 10,000 rainbow trout recently. Check out WDFW's weekly stocking report for catchable trout on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/weekly/index.htm  .
Before heading out, anglers should check the current regulations for all freshwater, as well as saltwater fisheries, in WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm  ).
Hunting: The spring wild turkey season runs April 15 through May 31 around the state. The general season follows a special hunt April 3-4 for people age 15 and younger. For more information, a Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/water/turkey/index.htm  .
Hunters have an opportunity to comment on a draft plan to guide management of the state’s white-tailed deer populations. Developed by WDFW over the past year, the five-year plan outlines strategies for sustainably managing the game animals throughout their range in eastern Washington. Other key goals include maintaining stable deer-hunting opportunities for state citizens and reducing deer-related damage to crops and other personal property.
The draft plan, along with an electronic comment form, is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/white-tailed_deer  . Public comments will be accepted through April 23 before a final plan is reviewed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and forwarded to the WDFW director for approval.
Wildlife viewing: Sightings of gray whales have been reported almost daily in the Whidbey and Camano Island areas. The large marine mammals are traveling up and down Saratoga Passage and some have been spotted feeding close to shore, according to a report on the Orca Network ( http://www.orcanetwork.org/sightings/map  ). The whales are part of a larger population making its annual journey north from the coast of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, where the animals spend the summer feeding before heading south again. While most continue on to Alaska, some gray whales linger in the waters of the Pacific Northwest during the summer months.
Birdwatchers have an opportunity to take part in the "Wings Over Water" Northwest Birding Festival April 17 in Blaine. The festival features wildlife viewing field trips, arts and crafts, speakers, raptor presentations, and activities and games for children. For more information visit Blaine's Chamber of Commerce website at http://www.blainechamber.com/wow/index.html  .
Sound Sound/Olympic Peninsula
Fishing: The fishery for wild steelhead is peaking on the northern Olympia Peninsula, and blackmouth fishing is still going strong on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rough seas have slowed the start of the lingcod fishery, but ocean beaches are tentatively scheduled to open March 26 for a weeklong razor clam fishery.
And just in time for spring break, WDFW is stocking several lakes in Mason and Grays Harbor counties with trout – some weighing up to five pounds apiece.
“Fishing opportunities are really picking up throughout the region,” said Ron Warren, regional WDFW fish manager. “By the end of the month, there should be something for just about everybody who likes to fish or collect shellfish.”
As local schools count down to spring break, WDFW is planting 5,000 catchable-size rainbow trout in Duck Lake, Lake Sylvia and Vance Creek (Elma) Pond #1 in Grays Harbor County. Lake Nahwatzel, in Mason County, will receive more than 3,000 catchable-size trout and several hundred coastal cutthroat.
Larger trout, averaging three to five pounds each, also will be planted in the four lakes in time for the spring-break fishery. Vance Creek (Elma) Pond #1, south of Elma, will be open from March 29 to April 4 for juvenile fishers, seniors over 70 and WDFW-licensed anglers with disabilities. The other three lakes are open year-round.
“This is a great opportunity for folks to enjoy early-season fishing during local schools’ spring vacations,” said Richard Ereth, a WDFW fish biologist in Montesano.
Ereth noted that a new daily bag limit is in effect this year on Duck Lake and Vance Creek (Elma) Pond #1. The new limit is five fish, including up to two fish over 15 inches. When bait is used, anglers must stop fishing after the first five fish are landed, regardless of whether the fish are kept or released.
Meanwhile, steelhead anglers continue to catch – and often release – high numbers of wild fish on rivers around the northern Olympic Peninsula. On the Sol Duc, 63 anglers reported catching 100 wild steelhead (91 released) and eight hatchery fish during a creel check conducted March 12-14. Elsewhere, success rates ranged from about a fish to two fish for every two rods.
Anglers fishing for blackmouth salmon in the Strait of Juan de Fuca have also continued to rack up good catch rates. While fishing has generally been slow elsewhere in Puget Sound, 10 anglers checked five fish in Seiku and 27 anglers checked 13 fish at Ediz Hook during a creel survey March 14.
But those hoping to catch lingcod off the south coast haven’t been quite so fortunate. Heavy seas kept most boats at the dock for several days after marine areas 1-3 opened for lingcod fishing, said Wendy Beeghley, another WDFW fish biologist. “Based on the latest reports, they may not be able to get out for another week,” she said.
The minimum size for lingcod in marine areas 1-3 south of Cape Alava is 22 inches, with a daily limit of two fish per angler. In Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores), recreational fishing for rockfish or lingcod is not allowed in waters deeper than 30 fathoms. Marine Area 4, north of Cape Alava, remains closed to lingcod fishing until April 16. Additional information about the lingcod fishery is available on the WDFW Fishing Hotline (360) 902-2500 or online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm/ .
Those eager for the final word about a razor-clam dig at ocean beaches tentatively scheduled March 26-April 1 don’t have to wait much longer. Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the results should be available by Friday, March 19 from marine toxin tests required to make sure the clams are safe to eat.
Prospective diggers should be aware that the proposed dig is scheduled to start on evening tides, then switch to morning tides for the final four days, Ayres said. “The digs planned this month span the seasonal change, when the lowest tides shift from evening to morning hours,” he said. “So digging will be allowed after noon for the first three days of the opening, but will then switch to morning hours starting Monday, March 29.”
Tentative days, tides and beach openings for this month’s dig are:
• Friday, March 26, (4:29 p.m., +0.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Kalaloch
• Saturday, March 27, (5:19 p.m., -0.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch
• Sunday, March 28, (6:04 p.m., 0.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
• Monday, March 29, (6:35 A.M., -0.1) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
• Tuesday, March 30, (7:22 A.M., -0.7) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
• Wednesday, March 31, (8:07 A.M., -1.0) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
• Thursday, April 1, (8:52 A.M., -1.0) Long Beach and Twin Harbors only
Hunting: The spring wild turkey season runs April 15 through May 31 around the state. The general season follows a special hunt April 3-4 for people age 15 and younger. For more information, a Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/water/turkey/index.htm .
Hunters have an opportunity to comment on a draft plan to guide management of the state’s white-tailed deer populations. Developed by WDFW over the past year, the five-year plan outlines strategies for sustainably managing the game animals throughout their range in eastern Washington. Other key goals include maintaining stable deer-hunting opportunities for state citizens and reducing deer-related damage to crops and other personal property.
The draft plan, along with an electronic comment form, is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/white-tailed_deer  . Public comments will be accepted through April 23 before a final plan is reviewed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and forwarded to the WDFW director for approval.
Wildlife viewing: If you’re into bird watching, mark April 9 through April 11 for this year’s annual Olympic BirdFest in Sequim. Quiet bays and estuaries, beaches on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, an island bird sanctuary, an over six-mile-long sand spit, eel grass beds and the beautiful Dungeness River valley await your visit. During BirdFest, they will be home to marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets, harlequin ducks, black oystercatchers, peregrine falcons, and pygmy-owls – all of which will be sporting their finest spring plumage for this celebration.
Events include guided birding trips, boat tours, a silent auction, a salmon banquet, and many other events. A complete schedule of all the events can be found at http://www.olympicbirdfest.org/festival.php . If you have some spare time, you can join a three-day, two-night cruise through the San Juan Archipelago that begins April 11. Stops include a visit to Friday Harbor and accommodations at the historic Roche Harbor Resort. Details and registration forms for the cruise can be found at www.olympicpeninsulaaudubon.org .
Late winter and early spring also bring with them an increase in whale sightings. On Sunday, March 14, a gray whale surfaced and blew in about 25 feet of water, just barely clearing a dock at Fair Harbor Marina, Grapeview. The whale then dove back down and went under the dock and moored boats and headed back out into Case Inlet proper.
The Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network and Education Project encourages Shoreline observation and awareness of about whales residing in the Salish Sea. To report whales please go to Orca Network Sightings website ( http://www.orcanetwork.org/sightings/reportpage.html ).
Southwest Washington
Fishing: Spring chinook salmon fishing is starting to pick up on the lower Columbia River, although anglers are still working hard to catch fish. During a creel survey conducted during the second week of March, checkers counted 86 adult chinook and three steelhead among the 1,103 boat anglers contacted. Just one chinook and two steelhead were counted among the 196 bank anglers contacted.
“Spring chinook have been striking in fits and starts, but catch rates should start ramping up any day,” said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist. “Regardless of how big this run turns out to be, fishing will almost certainly improve in the days ahead.”
Hymer said boat anglers, fishing between Cathlamet and Vancouver, have taken most of the springers hooked so far this year. Lower river stocks – including some lunkers up to 30 pounds – have accounted for about half the catch, although upriver fish have been increasing in number in recent days. As of mid-March, the fishery was drawing approximately 600-800 boats to the lower Columbia River on weekend days. Those numbers are also expected to increase along with more fish and hopefully spring-like weather.
“If you put in some time, there’s a good chance you’ll take home a spring chinook,” Hymer said. “Boat anglers have better odds, because the river’s so low right now.”
According to the pre-season forecast, 559,900 spring chinook salmon - 470,000 of which are upriver bound - will return to the Columbia River and its tributaries this year, the largest run since at least 1938. Under regulations established by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, fishing is now open at the following places and times:
• Buoy 10 upstream to the I-5 Bridge: Seven days per week through April 18, except closed Tuesdays in March.
• I-5 Bridge upstream to I-205 Bridge: Three days per week – Thursdays through Saturdays – from March 18 through April 3.
• I-205 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam (Bank fishing only): Three days per week – Thursdays through Saturdays – from March 18 through April 3.
• Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam: Seven days per week from March 16 through May 31. Bank fishing only from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Tower Island power lines, six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam.
Anglers fishing below Bonneville Dam may retain one adult spring chinook salmon per day, while those fishing above the dam can keep two per day. As in previous years, only hatchery-reared fish marked with a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar may be retained. All wild spring chinook, identifiable by an intact adipose fin, must be released unharmed.
Spring chinook fishing opened March 16 on the lower Wind River and at Drano Lake, although Hymer noted that the action won’t pick up there until more fish pass Bonneville Dam. Anglers can check fish counts at the dam on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/fishdata/home.asp . Anglers should be aware of several changes in fishing rules on tributaries to the Bonneville Pool:
• Drano Lake: The anti-snag rule was removed March 16. Starting April 16, fishing around the outlet of Drano Lake will be limited to bank fishing west of a line projected from the eastern-most pillar of the Highway 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore.
• Wind River: The anti-snag rule has been removed from the mouth upstream to the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge.
• Klickitat River: Starting April 3, anglers fishing from the Fisher Hill Bridge downstream will be able to retain two hatchery chinook, hatchery steelhead or one of each as part of their daily limit. Fishing will be open four days per week - Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Below Bonneville, spring chinook are starting to make an appearance in several tributaries, although late-run hatchery winter steelhead continue to make up the bulk of the catch on the Cowlitz and Kalama rivers. At the Cowlitz Hatchery, 24 adult spring chinook and 225 winter-run steelhead were recovered during the second week of March. A creel survey that week on the Cowlitz turned up 17 hatchery steelhead and one adult chinook among 44 boat anglers. Eighty-eight bank anglers had caught 14 hatchery steelhead and released two others.
The odds of catching hatchery steelhead were even better that week on the Kalama River, where 12 boat anglers had caught five fish and released three others. “Fishing for late-run hatchery steelhead is peaking right now, providing a great fishing opportunity as more spring chinook move into the rivers,” said Hymer, noting that anglers have also been catching some steelhead in The Dalles Pool.
Anglers should be aware, however, that March 15 was the last day to fish for steelhead on Abernathy, Cedar (Clark Co.), Germany, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Rock (Skamania Co.), Salmon (Clark Co.) creeks and on the Coweeman, Elochoman, Grays, East Fork Lewis and Washougal rivers.
Meanwhile, sturgeon fishing has been slow, although boat anglers have been catching some legal-size fish in the Kalama area as well as in The Dalles Pool, where walleye fishing is starting to heat up along with the weather. Boat anglers fishing there have been averaging a walleye per rod, along with some bass .
Trout anglers should know that WDFW recently stocked Battleground Lake with 3,000 rainbow trout averaging half-a-pound apiece. Nine recycled winter steelhead were also planted in Kress Lake on March 10.
Hunting: The spring wild turkey season runs April 15 through May 31 around the state. The general season follows a special hunt April 3-4 for people age 15 and younger. For more information, a Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/water/turkey/index.htm .
Meanwhile, hunters have an opportunity to comment on a draft plan to guide management of the state’s white-tailed deer populations. Developed by WDFW over the past year, the five-year plan outlines strategies for sustainably managing the game animals throughout their range in eastern Washington. Other key goals include maintaining stable deer-hunting opportunities for state citizens and reducing deer-related damage to crops and other personal property.
The draft plan, along with an electronic comment form, is posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildlife/management/white-tailed_deer . Public comments will be accepted through April 23 before a final plan is reviewed by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission and forwarded to the WDFW director for approval.
Wildlife viewing: Birders visiting the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge recently spotted two adult golden eagles . The raptors, which are solid brown with golden highlights on their heads, were seen flying over the south end of Rest Lake, according to a report on Tweeters website ( http://www.birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/TWET.html  ). Golden eagles – rare visitors to the region – are similar in size to bald eagles but they have smaller heads and bills. In western Washington, golden eagles are primarily found in the rain-shadow of the Olympic Mountains and the San Juan Islands.
Rather watch fish? Visit the fish-viewing window at Bonneville Dam right now and you might see a late-run steelhead or chinook salmon moving up the fish ladder. But things should start getting a lot more interesting later this month, when hundreds – then thousands – of spring chinook weighing up to 40 pounds apiece start moving past the dam on a daily basis.
To monitor daily fish counts from home, check the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/fishdata/home.asp . Or stop by the Washington Shore Visitor Complex and see the annual parade of fish for yourself. To get there, take Washington State Highway 14 east to Milepost 40 (about 5 miles from Stevenson) and turn into the Bonneville Dam visitor center. The visitor center is the glass building at the end of the powerhouse.
Eastern Washington
Fishing: The Grand Ronde River, a tributary of the Snake River in the southeast corner of the region, is providing good steelhead trout action. Steelheading has been reportedly excellent near the mouth of the Grand Ronde and near the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, which flows into the Grand Ronde northeast of Troy, Oregon.
The seven impoundments off the Tucannon River on WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County, which opened March 1, continue to produce catches of hatchery rainbow trout . Beaver, Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes have been stocked with “catchable-size” (about one-third pound) and “jumbo” (about one-and-a-half pound) trout from the Tucannon and Lyons Ferry fish hatcheries.
WDFW fish biologist Chris Donley of Spokane says some of the March 1-opening waters in the central district are also seeing good action on rainbow trout. Notable are Amber, Downs, Liberty and Medical lakes in Spokane County. Liberty and Downs recently received more catchable-size hatchery rainbows (see the WDFW Trout Plants at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/weekly/  for details).
Downs Lake, on the Spokane-Lincoln county line east of Sprague, is also already providing catches of largemouth bass . Liberty and Medical lakes are also producing catches of brown trout .
Year-round fisheries at Sprague Lake, on the Lincoln-Adams county line, and Rock Lake in Whitman County, remain good, Donley said. Sprague is all rainbows and Rock has both rainbows and browns.
Donley also noted Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam, is good for rainbows and kokanee , “if you can find the fish.”
The region’s winter-season fisheries in Stevens County – Williams and Hatch lakes near Colville – offer completely open water fishing for stocked rainbows for the rest of the month. Both close March 31.
Anglers can also pick up lots of information at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 50th annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show , March 18 – 21, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. An indoor kids’ fishing pond, where youngsters can learn to cast and actually catch trout to take home and eat, is one of the highlights of this event. A non-profit organization, the Council donates proceeds from the show to fish and wildlife projects. For more information about the show, see http://www.wildlifecouncil.com/ .
Hunting: Hunters can pick up information about future hunting opportunities, as well as gear and services, at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 50th annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show , March 18-21, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. A non-profit organization, the Council donates proceeds from the show to fish and wildlife projects. For more information about the show, see http://www.wildlifecouncil.com/ .
The Washington State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation ( http://nwtf.ipower.com/ ) will conduct a drawing for extra wild turkey hunting tags on March 20 at the Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show in Spokane. The five-dollar raffle tickets may only be purchased from the Turkey Federation, either in advance of the show through chapter contacts (see website link) or at the show. The winner receives three extra turkey tags that can be used from April 1 through May 31 and Sep. 1 through Dec. 31. Money raised through this raffle support WDFW wild turkey management.
WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist Dana Base recently completed annual winter surveys of wild turkeys and reports populations in several areas are beginning to rebound from two successive severe winters. The Arden, Haller Creek and Chewelah areas have the highest total counts, number of flocks and average number of turkeys per survey transect mile.
As turkey hunters scout and prepare for the spring season that opens April 15, Base shares these observations: “Turkeys are certainly on the move now. The snow melted a lot sooner this winter in low and mid-elevations where fields and meadows are now greening up, and that’s where the birds are congregating now. I recently observed a ‘mega-flock’ of about 200 turkeys just before they went to roost in late afternoon. That was on private land, but only about a quarter mile away from a huge block of public land. There is no substitute for good scouting and obtaining private land access permission now, before the hunt begins.”
Another kind of popular “hunting” in the spring is for the shed antlers of deer and elk . WDFW wildlife biologist Paul Wik says that such activity can be detrimental to winter-weary animals that need all their energy focused on foraging, not running from people.
“We are getting pounded by elk-antler hunters in the Blue Mountains,” Wik said. “Too many are trespassing, traveling in winter closures, traveling behind locked gates, bumping animals accidently, and some even chasing animals trying to get antlers to fall off. Individuals may not think this is a big deal, but overall it adds up to harassment of wildlife at the worst possible time of year.”
Wik noted there is currently a closure to motorized traffic in the Lick Creek Game Management Unit (GMU 175) in Garfield and Asotin counties, and closures to all human entry in the Cummings Creek area of WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area. These winter closures continue through April.
Wildlife viewing: Migrating waterfowl are showing up throughout the region, from flooded agricultural field corners to major waterways. WDFW wildlife biologist Kurt Merg reports seeing mallards, pintails and wigeons throughout Whitman County.
Merg also notes some of the sounds of the seasons: Killdeer are beginning to call, red-winged blackbirds are chortling, and male turkeys are gobbling as they begin to compete for hens.
Both western and mountain bluebirds have been spotted back in the region, from the northeast to the southeast districts, looking for nesting sites in natural cavities and nest boxes near open meadow areas.
Now is the time to see hundreds of tundra swans making migration stopovers in the Pend Oreille River Valley north of Spokane. The largest concentration of swans resting and feeding before going on north to breeding grounds is at an Audubon-designated Important Birding Area, Calispel Lake, northwest of Newport. Now is also the time to register for limited space in the third annual Tundra Swan Festival, co-hosted by the Natural Resources Department of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and the Pend Oreille River Tourism Alliance (PORTA), on Sat., March 20. The day starts at 10 a.m. at the Tribe’s Camas Wellness Center on LeClerc Road in Usk, with travel by bus to Calispel Lake, where private landowners are allowing the group access. Register by PayPal on the PORTA website: www.porta-us.com . The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 years of age and includes lunch at the Camas Center.
WDFW wildlife biologist Wik noted that wildlife viewers hunting for shed antlers of deer and elk can also stress out winter-weary animals at a time when they need all their energy focused on foraging, not running from people.
Wik noted there is currently a closure to motorized traffic in the Lick Creek Game Management Unit (GMU 175) in Garfield and Asotin counties and closures to all human entry in the Cummings Creek area of WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area. These winter closures continue through April.
Wildlife viewers can pick up information about other wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as gear and services, at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 50th annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show , March 18 – 21, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. The Council donates proceeds from the show to fish and wildlife projects. For more information about the show, see http://www.wildlifecouncil.com/ .
Northcentral Washington
Fishing: Over 30 waters in the Columbia Basin lakes open to fishing April 1 and WDFW district fish biologist Chad Jackson says prospects are fair to good.
“With one exception, all these waters are located either within or adjacent to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge south of Potholes Reservoir,” Jackson said. “Over half are planted with spring and/or fall rainbow trout fry. Although most are in need of rehabilitation to rid them of competing fish species, nice sized trout can be found in many, including Upper and Lower Hampton lakes, North and South Teal lakes, and the Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes.”
Jackson notes that anglers who plan on fishing the refuge area lakes, especially the hike-in ones, should remember that – with the unseasonably warm weather the Columbia Basin has been experiencing the past month – rattlesnakes may be out earlier and in greater numbers than normal.
Dry Falls Lake, which also opens April 1, is located just northeast of Park Lake within the Sun Lakes State Park southwest of Coulee City. The 99-acre lake is under selective gear rules and a one-trout daily bag limit.
“Opening day success at Dry Falls in previous years was a little slow because of cold weather,” Jackson said. “But this year abnormally warmer air temperatures are heating up the lake much quicker and it may very well fish better on this year’s opener. I expect anglers to take 13-14-inch yearling rainbows and carryovers up to 24 inches, just like the last two years.
Brown and tiger trout are also planted into Dry Falls Lake. Jackson reported that a total of 9,900 rainbow, 1,000 tiger, and 1,000 brown trout fry were stocked into Dry Falls Lake in 2009.
“Some of the Columbia Refuge area lakes also offer excellent fishing for warmwater species,” Jackson said. “Probably the best opportunity is at Hutchinson and Shiner lakes. Since their rehabilitations in 1997, these two lakes have developed into quality fisheries for largemouth bass and bluegill . Anglers should note that only non-motorized boats are allowed on these two lakes.”
Other warmwater fishing options are the Coyote, Bobcat, and Hayes creek ponds located just south of Morgan and Halfmoon lakes. Jackson says these ponds are relatively small and shallow, so they warm up quickly, and offer good fishing for largemouth bass. Another option might be Deadman Lake located just off McManamon Road next to Halfmoon Lake.
Further north in the region, steelhead fishing in the upper Columbia River above Wells Dam is scheduled to close one hour after sunset on March 31.
“Steelheading can be very good during the month of March as fish become more active due to warming water temperatures,” said WDFW district fish biologist Bob Jateff of Twisp. “Remember, there is mandatory retention of hatchery adipose-fin-clipped fish up to the maximum daily limit of four steelhead. And since March 15, there are two section closures on the Okanogan River – one is from the first power line crossing near Coulee Dam Credit Union Building in Omak upstream to the mouth of Omak Creek, and the second one is from the Tonasket Bridge on 4th Street downstream to the Tonasket Lagoons Park boat launch. Selective gear rules are in effect for the Okanogan, Similkameen and Methow rivers.”
Several Okanogan County lakes open to fishing April 1. Jateff says Spectacle Lake, southwest of Tonasket, should produce catches of yearling rainbow trout up to 12 inches, with carryover fish to 15 inches. Washburn Island Pond, a diked oxbow of the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park, mostly produces largemouth bass with some bluegill available.
Other waters opening on April 1 for catch-and-release fishing are Davis and Campbell lakes near Winthrop, Rat Lake near Brewster and Big and Little Green lakes near Omak. Predominant species for these lakes are rainbow trout.
“Anglers planning to fish the Winthrop area lakes -- Davis and Campbell -- should check first as the ice may not be completely melted by the opener,” Jateff said.
Hunting: One popular spring “hunting” activity is looking for the shed antlers of deer , but WDFW Okanogan district wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin of Winthrop warns participants to be cognizant of their potential impact on winter-weary animals. He urges shed antler collectors to avoid pushing hungry deer off early green-up areas or otherwise disturbing them.
Hunters can pick up information about hunting opportunities, as well as gear and services, at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 50th annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show , March 18 – 21, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. A non-profit organization, the Council donates proceeds from the show to fish and wildlife projects. For more information about the show, see http://www.wildlifecouncil.com/ .
The Washington State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation ( http://nwtf.ipower.com/ ) will conduct a drawing for extra wild turkey hunting tags on March 20 at the Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show in Spokane. The five-dollar raffle tickets may only be purchased from the Turkey Federation, either in advance of the show through chapter contacts (see website link) or at the show. The winner receives three extra turkey tags that can be used from April 1 through May 31 and Sep. 1 through Dec. 31. Money raised through this raffle support WDFW wild turkey management.
Wildlife viewing: WDFW Okanogan district wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin of Winthrop reports large groups of mule deer are visible in the Methow Valley now.
“The deer are congregating on spring range at lower elevations to take advantage of early green-up,” Fitkin explained. “Our Methow and Sinlahekin Wildlife Areas are good viewing spots.”
Deer watchers who might also be interested in collecting shed deer antlers are urged to avoid pushing hungry deer off early green-up areas or otherwise disturbing them.
Fitkin says lots of waterfowl and early songbirds are beginning to return and/or move through the district in large numbers.
“Large water bodies, particularly in the Okanogan watershed, are good places to see large numbers of waterfowl,” he said, “including species generally bound for more northern climes such as loons and swans . The junction of the Okanogan and Columbia rivers and surrounding areas are generally productive for bird watching. Look for a large heron and cormorant rookery near the mouth of the Okanogan.”
Fitkin also noted nesting bald eagles are quite visible right now before trees leaf out. There are several occupied nests along the Okanogan and Upper Similkameen rivers. In the Methow, birds are frequently seen on Pearrygin Lake, Big Twin Lake, and the along the Methow River in and around Winthrop.
Further south in the region, the Columbia Basin is full of sandhill cranes, Canada geese , multiple species of ducks, and myriad songbirds. The 13th annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, March 26-28, features tours and presentations to celebrate the return of these big birds, easily visible without binoculars or scopes from roadsides throughout agricultural areas where they gather in the thousands to feed and rest during migrations to northern breeding grounds. For more information and registration, see http://www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org/ .
Free pre-festival scouting tours for cranes and other birds are scheduled for Saturday, March 20, starting at refuge headquarters in Othello, 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to dark. Led by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Randy Hill and others, these tours will search out the best viewing areas near feeding fields and roosts. For more information, see http://www.fws.gov/columbia/ .
Southcentral Washington
Fishing: WDFW district fish biologist Eric Anderson of Yakima says fishing is still good in the region’s year-round-open lakes.
“We just stocked more hatchery rainbow trout in I-82 Ponds 1, 2 and 3 near Yakima,” he said. “About 2,500 one-third-pounders went into each of those waters this week. More will go into other waters in the region by the end of this month or early next month.”
See the WDFW website for weekly catchable-size trout stocking details at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/weekly/ .
Forecasts for strong chinook salmon returns to the Columbia River this summer could lead to improved fishing in the river and Washington’s ocean waters. Public meetings in March and April will discuss regional fisheries issues and input will be considered as the season-setting process moves into the “North of Falcon” and Pacific Fisheries Management Council meetings to determine the final 2010 salmon seasons. This year’s meetings include one in the Tri-Cities area – Tuesday, March 23, 6 - 9 p.m., at the Benton Public Utilities District (PUD) building, 2721 W. 10th Ave. in Kennewick.
Hunting: One popular spring “hunting” activity is looking for the shed antlers of deer or elk , but WDFW wildlife biologists warns participants to be cognizant of their potential impact on winter-weary animals. They urge shed antler collectors to avoid pushing hungry deer off early green-up areas or otherwise disturbing them.
WDFW Oak Creek Wildlife Area assistant manager Bruce Berry reminds visitors that area and road closures – including Forest Service Road 1400 (Oak Creek Road), the Bethel Ridge Road which goes through the Oak Creek headquarters, and the Bethel Ridge/ Meloy Canyon Road -- remain in effect until 6 a.m. on May 1 to limit disturbance to animals during the critical time of late winter and early spring.
“We know this is a popular time for some folks to get out collecting shed elk antlers,” Berry said, “but the elk come first.”
Vehicle gates are closed to all entry on other wildlife areas in the region, too. The Mellotte Road into the Wenas Wildlife Area, the Robinson Canyon and Joe Watt Canyon roads into the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, and roads on the Whiskey Dick and a portion of the Quilomene wildlife areas in Kittitas County are closed until May 1 to protect elk.
The Washington State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation ( http://nwtf.ipower.com/ ) will conduct a drawing for extra wild turkey hunting tags on March 20 at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 50th annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show in Spokane, March 18-21. The five-dollar raffle tickets may only be purchased from the Turkey Federation, either in advance of the show through chapter contacts (see website link) or at the show. The winner receives three extra turkey tags that can be used from April 1 through May 31 and Sep. 1 through Dec. 31. Money raised through this raffle support WDFW wild turkey management.
Wildlife viewing: Spring migrating waterfowl numbers continue to increase on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and local wetlands. Canada geese, along with mallards, pintails, and other ducks, are especially concentrated on various units of WDFW’s Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges like McNary and Umatilla.
Sandhill cranes are making their annual migration stopovers in the Columbia Basin to feed and rest up before moving further north. Look for cranes foraging in local corn stubble fields near the towns of Mesa, Connell and Basin City. When water levels are right, they can be observed roosting on the mudflats of local lakes.
WDFW Oak Creek Wildlife Area assistant manager Bruce Berry reminds visitors that area and road closures – including Forest Service Road 1400 (Oak Creek Road), the Bethel Ridge Road which goes through the Oak Creek headquarters, and the Bethel Ridge/ Meloy Canyon Road -- remain in effect until 6 a.m. on May 1 to limit disturbance to elk and other wildlife during the critical time of late winter and early spring.
“We know this is a popular time for some folks to get out collecting shed elk antlers,” Berry said, “but the elk come first.”
Vehicle gates are closed to all entry on other wildlife areas in the region, too. The Mellotte Road into the Wenas Wildlife Area, the Robinson Canyon and Joe Watt Canyon roads into the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, and roads on the Whiskey Dick and a portion of the Quilomene wildlife areas in Kittitas County are closed until May 1 to protect elk.
 

Washington Fishing Reports

Weekly Washington Fishing reports

posted by the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

for all regions

Columbia River & Tributaries

by David Perez of Hooked On Fishing Guide Service

  • Columbia River
  • the Hanford Reach
  • Vernita Bridge
  • Priest Rapids areas
  • Wind River
  • Drano Lake
  • Cowlitz River
  • Lewis River
  • Klickitat River.
  • Salmon
  • Steelhead
  • Sturgeon
 

FISHING REPORTS FOR Columbia River, Other Popular NW rivers, Tillamook Bay & Coastal Streams

 

by Steve Leonard of Steve's Guided Adventures

  • Columbia River
  • North Fork Lewis River
  • East Fork Lewis River
  • Kalama River
  • Columbia River
  • Cowlitz River
  • Klickitat River
  • Sandy River
  • Columbia River
  • Tillamook Bay
  • Washougal River
  • Nehalem River
  • Buoy 10
  • Tillamook Bay
  • Nehalem River
  • Buoy 10
  • Salmon
  • Steelhead
  • Sturgeon
  • Walleye

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