Several major changes the last two years have changed the fishery in a positive way:
The lower Columbia and Willamette rivers have been primarily catch and release with very few sturgeon kept. That’s an extra 20,000 keeper-sized fish available. The primary sturgeon spawning grounds have been closed to fishing, areas that were normally heavily fished, reducing the total pressure especially for over-sized sturgeon. Few sturgeon congregate below Bonneville Dam, a historically strong fishery. The sea lions feasting at Bonneville have scattered throughout the system. This winter and spring on the Willamette river, we have caught larger fish than ever. 20 – 40 fish a day have been norm with many over 50 lbs.
Last June and July we followed the sturgeon to Astoria on the lower Columbia. This area is mostly saltwater, which the smaller “shakers” don’t like. Slow days average 20 fish and fast action fishing was 50 sturgeon. Most days several sturgeon between 100 and 300 pounds were caught. Much of the summer Astoria fishery is done is shallow, sandy flats where they feed aggressively. These are the wildest sturgeon we have caught, regularly running 50 – 100 yards, jumping completely out of the water like tarpon.
This is the best catch and release fishery on the planet! We cannot kill the fish but the memories will last forever.
Razor clamming closed on Clatsop beaches July 15-Sept. 30
Friday, July 13, 2018
Clatsop beaches are the most productive razor clams beaches in the state, and the annual conservation closure (July 15-Sept. 30) gives young clams a chance to get established on the beach during the summer. Photo from razor clam stock assessment survey in 2017.
Click on image to enlarge
ASTORIA, Ore. – Razor clamming will close 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 14 on Clatsop County beaches for the annual conservation closure to protect newly-set young clams.
Since 1967 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the 18 miles of beaches north of Tillamook Head to razor clam digging while young clams establish themselves on the beach during the summer.
“We want to ensure that the Clatsop beaches continue to be productive for razor clam harvesters,” said Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish and Phytoplankton Project leader. “By not disturbing the young razor clams it increases the chance of good recruitment.”
During the razor clamming harvest closure, ODFW will conduct stock assessments to determine the health of the population as it has on Clatsop beaches since 2004.
Clatsop beaches are the most productive razor clam beaches in the state, accounting for more than 90 percent of total harvest.
Digging for razor clams continues to be open on other state beaches though a few closures are in effect due to toxin levels. (Currently, razor clamming is closed from Cape Perpetua to the South Jetty of the Umpqua River and from Cape Arago south to California border due to unsafe toxin levels.) The best opportunities outside Clatsop beaches are in the Newport area, with the most consistent producers being Agate Beach, North Jetty and South Beach. Other beaches that can produce razor clams include Cannon Beach, Cape Meares and Yachats Beach.
Bay clam harvesting is open coast-wide as well.
Always check for toxin-related closures before harvesting clams or crabs by calling the shellfish safety hotline (1-800-448-2474). Closures are also noted on ODA’s Recreation Shellfish page and on ODFW’s Recreation Report – Clamming and Crabbing Report.
For more information about clamming on the Oregon coast, visit ODFW’s Crabbing and Clamming page online.
News Release from US Fish & Wildlife Service and ODFW
Wolves confirmed in northern portion of Cascades (Wasco County)
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Images of two wolves in the northern portion of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains were captured on remote ODFW cameras on the Mt Hood National Forest. Photos taken Jan. 4, 2018.
THE DALLES, Ore.—At least two wolves are using an area in southern Wasco County, marking the first time multiple wolves have been confirmed in the northern portion of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains since they began returning to Oregon in the 2000s.
The wolves were documented on the White River Wildlife Area and Mt Hood National Forest and have also been observed on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Several wolves are known to have dispersed through Wasco County in the past few years. A single wolf was documented in the White River Unit in December 2013. In May 2015, a wolf from the Imnaha pack travelled through the area as he dispersed to Klamath County. Later in 2015, a single wolf was documented in Wasco County.
Wolves in Wasco County and anywhere west of Hwys 395-78-95 are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, so U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead management agency.
Additional information about Oregon’s wolf population will be available in March, after ODFW completes its annual winter surveys and minimum population count.
Michelle Dennehy, ODFW, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us, (503) 947-6022
Elizabeth Materna, USFWS, Elizabeth_Materna@fws.gov, (503) 231-6912
ODFW seeks nominees to represent Oregon on Pacific fisheries council
NEWPORT, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is accepting nominations for a seat on the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The deadline to request nomination materials is Feb. 8, 2018 and the three-year term begins Aug. 11, 2018.
The Council manages about 119 species of groundfish, pelagic species (sardines, anchovies and mackerel) and highly migratory species (tunas, sharks and swordfish) off the coasts of Oregon, Washington and California. It includes 14 voting members representing tribal and state fish and wildlife agencies, and private citizens knowledgeable about sport fishing, commercial fishing and/or marine conservation. Several advisory councils and PFMC staff members also participate in Council meetings.
The ideal candidate would be knowledgeable of fishery resource conservation and management in marine waters off the West Coast. Specific knowledge of and experience in management issues and fisheries is important, as is a strong conservation ethic. The successful candidate also must work collectively with other council members, often making difficult decisions and fulfilling the standards set forth by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Council members make a substantial time commitment to fully participate in council business and related activities.
The Oregon seat is currently held by Dorothy Lowman, who is not eligible for re-appointment. ODFW will send all nominations to the Governor’s office, which will then forward the names of at least three candidates to the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Department of Commerce for consideration. Successful appointees must pass an extensive FBI background check.
Anyone interested in being considered, or wishing to nominate someone, must contact Cyreis Schmitt at 541-867-4741 or firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Feb. 8, 2018.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to manage fisheries from three to 200 miles offshore of the United States coastline. The Pacific Council is responsible for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.
Cyreis Schmitt (email@example.com) 541-867-4741
Train to be an Angler Education Instructor in Brookings-Harbor area
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
SALEM, Ore – Share your love of fishing with people new to the sport – become a volunteer fishing instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
ODFW’s free training for new volunteer fishing instructors is Tuesday, February 13 from 12 pm – 6 pm at the Harbor Fire Hall, 98069 West Benham Lane, Harbor. Lunch is provided and pre-registration is required by February 6. Contact Jenny Ammon at 503-947-6081 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ODFW’s Aquatic and Angling Education Program staff is hosting the training which is open to anyone 18 years of age or older and interested in becoming a volunteer fishing instructor. The training covers all elements of the program’s curriculum including basic fishing skills, stewardship, aquatic resources, and water safety. Participants also learn about events and other volunteer opportunities in their area.
Jenny Ammon, 503-947-6081
ODFW seeking comment on Jewell Meadows management plan update
Monday, Jan. 8, 2018
TILLAMOOK, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public comment on the newly updated Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area Long Range Management Plan, which will guide activities and management decisions at the wildlife area over the coming decade.
Wildlife area staff will host an open house to go over the plan and answer questions on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 4-7 p.m. at the Jewell School Library, located at 83874 Hwy. 103, Seaside, Ore.
The new plan is an update to the 2007 Long Range Management Plan. No major changes are reflected in the updated plan, according to Bryan Swearingen, wildlife area manager. The new planning document includes a summary of accomplishments over the past 10 years, along with changes to some management strategies based on completed projects.
A copy of the updated plan will be available at the open house. In addition, electronic copies are available online at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/management_plans/wildlife_areas/docs/jewel_meadows.pdf
Public comments may be submitted in person at the open house, by mail, or by e-mail.
To request an electronic copy (pdf) of the draft plan or to submit public comments please email Bryan.D.Swearingen@state.or.us.
To submit comments in writing please mail to:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area
79878 Highway 202
Seaside, OR 97138
For additional information please contact wildlife area staff at 503-755-2264 or Rick Swart, public information officer, at 971-673-6070.
Bryan Swearingen, 503-755-2264
Rick Swart, 971-673-6038
Razor clamming reopened on part of the Oregon coast
Friday, January 5, 2018
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce the reopening of razor clamming from the south jetty of the Umpqua River, south of Reedsport, to the south jetty of Coos Bay as domoic acid levels have dropped below the alert level.
The harvesting of razor clams remains closed from Cascade Head, north of Lincoln City, to the south jetty of the Umpqua River and from the south jetty of Coos Bay to the California border. This includes all beaches and bays.
Along with the area just reopened, clamming remains open from the Columbia River to Cascade Head.
ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins every other week, as tides permit. Reopening of an area requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.
For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at https://oda.direct/ShellfishClosures
Judy Dowell, (503) 871-2118
ODFW seeks Chair for Access and Habitat Board – Apply by Jan. 26
Thursday, January 4, 2018
SALEM, Ore. – ODFW is currently seeking a Chair for the statewide board of its Access and Habitat Program, which helps provide hunter access and improve wildlife habitat. The deadline to apply is Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.
This is a volunteer position. People with experience leading boards or commissions, as well as experience in forestry, agriculture or ranching, hunting and wildlife conservation are encouraged to apply. Please contact Isaac Sanders at (503) 947-6087 or visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/lands/AH/get_involved.asp for more information on the positions and application forms.
The A and H program is funded by a $4 surcharge on hunting licenses as well as the auction and raffle of special deer and elk tags. Aand H funds are distributed by grants throughout the state to landowners, conservation organizations, and others for wildlife habitat improvement and projects to provide hunter access.
Isaac Sanders, Isaac.R.Sanders@state.or.us, (503) 947-6087
Another section of Oregon coast reopened to recreational crabbing
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce that recreational crabbing is now open from Cape Blanco, north of Port Orford, to the Columbia River. Crab samples taken from the area indicate that levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid have dropped below the alert level.
This reopening of the recreational season applies to crab harvested in the ocean and in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crab harvesting remains closed along the southern Oregon coast from Cape Blanco to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
Crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.
It is always recommended to eviscerate the crab and discard the “butter” (viscera or guts) prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. It is recommended to discard the cooking liquid, and do not use it in other dishes, such as sauces, broths, soups, stews, stocks, roux, dressings, etc. The consumption of crab viscera is not recommended.
For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at: https://oda.direct/ShellfishClosures
Keep bird feeders clean: Dirty feeders can spread disease to backyard birds
Red-breasted nuthatch at feeder. Keep feeders clean and free from bacteria to help birds stay healthy this time of year. Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODDFW.
Black-capped chickadee at feeder. Keep feeders clean and free from bacteria to help birds stay healthy this time of year. Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW.
Monday, December 18, 2017
SALEM, Ore.—ODFW is urging people to keep their bird feeders clean and free of bacteria so wild birds stay healthy this winter.
Calls to ODFW from Oregon bird lovers seeing dead birds in their yard and around their feeders are increasing with colder weather. Testing by the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory identified the cause of one recent bird die-off at a feeder in Corvallis as a bacterial infection from salmonella.
Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria along with viruses, parasites and fungal diseases can be passed by congregating birds at feeders that don’t get cleaned regularly. When the weather turns cold, the energy demands on birds and other wildlife increase dramatically so a high energy seed meal at a bird feeder will bring in birds and congregate them, increasing the chance of disease transmission.
Pine siskins, nuthatches, chickadees and other seed-eating backyard birds are some of the most common species affected by these diseases. The birds get infected at the feeders and pass the infection on when they come into contact with feeder surfaces, perches or visit multiple feeders.
“We ask those Oregonians who enjoy seeing birds and feeding them in winter to provide a clean and healthy environment for their feathered visitors,” said Dr. Colin Gillin, ODFW State Wildlife Veterinarian. “When you feed birds, be sure to start with clean feeders and to disinfect feeders periodically. This way, Oregon’s wildlife will stay healthy and both birds and bird watchers will benefit.”
Avoid problems at bird feeders by:
Providing fresh seed purchased recently.
Using feeders made from non-porous material like plastic, ceramic, and metal. These are less likely than wood to harbor bacteria and other diseases.
Cleaning feeders, water containers and bird baths monthly by rinsing with soapy water and then dunking the feeder in a solution of one third cup of chlorine bleach per one gallon of water.
Nehalem’s Karen Kuntz recognized with Riley Freeman Award for wildlife conservation
The riparian buffers on Kuntz’s property along Tomlinson Creek keep water temperatures cooler and provide a refuge for juvenile salmonids in the summer.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
SALEM, Ore.—ODFW recognized Nehalem’s Karen Kuntz and her Foley Peak Angus cattle operation with the Riley Freeman award during the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and Oregon Cattlewomen’s Convention and Tradeshow earlier this month in Bend.
Foley Peak Angus raises high quality, grass-fed beef on a 304-acre property in the Nehalem River watershed. The ranch uses an active grazing rotation plan, storm water runoff control, buffer strips along waterways and other efforts as part of a Resource Management System developed with the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tillamook Soil and Conservation District.
Rotational grazing throughout the property has been very effective at maintaining good field conditions and reducing sediment and manure runoff into Tomlinson Creek, which is a tributary of Foley Creek and the Nehalem River. Both sides of the creek have full vegetation, providing good canopy and habitat for wildlife and keeping water temperatures cooler for fish.
Native tree plantings of conifers and diverse shrubs have also improved wildlife habitat and provide escape cover, thermal protection and rearing and roost areas for neo-tropical birds. Kuntz’s efforts have paid off for local native wildlife including Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, raptors, mustelids, and beavers which benefit from the diverse habitat the ranch provides.
Juvenile salmonids also benefit from Kuntz’s stewardship. As they seek cooler water during the summer, the riparian buffers along Tomlinson Creek provide refuge from other areas of Foley Creek and the Lower Nehalem River with higher temperatures.
“The Kuntz family are committed stewards of their land and have been a pleasure to work with,” said Chris Knutsen, North Coast Watershed District Manager. “Foley Peak Angus is a great example of working agricultural land that continues to provide important habitat for Oregon’s fish and wildlife species.”
The Riley Freeman award is named after a past Chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Wildlife Committee. Freeman saw the need for greater coordination and cooperation between private landowners and state and federal natural resources agencies. While he defended an individual’s property rights, Freeman also advocated for partnerships between wildlife managers, landowners, and wildlife