Hunting, Fishing: Facebook Tattles on Poacher; Hunters Still Haunting Local Areas

Local hunters are still in the woods, though in fewer numbers than in the regular deer and elk seasons. It’s more than just a good idea to wear an orange hat or vest while out for a walk in woods, it may save your life.

Poacher Posted on Facebook

According to The Reel News (www.thereelnews.com) and the report of Deputy Chief Mike Cenci, WDFW Enforcement Program, the girlfriend of a poacher posted a photograph of the poaching suspect’s photo on Facebook along with his kill, which lead Officer Van Vladricken and Sergeant Wickersham to seek a search warrant for the suspect’s home.

There they seized a deer carcass, head, a cell phone and computer.

In spite of the suspect’s insistence that the deer was taken legally within deer season, the cell phone proved the photo was taken on Nov. 12, not Oct. 31.

Cowlitz River Picked as Top Producer

The state has listed the Cowlitz River as the number one producer of winter-run steelhead for 2010.

Cowlitz is credited with 9,477 winter-run steelhead; the next river on the list at number two is Bogacheil, with a catch total of 2,290.

But Don Glaser, president of the Friends of the Cowlitz and owner of Barrier Dam Campground, is confused by the numbers. He says they’re too high.

“The only way they could come up with these kinda numbers is to add up fish for the early and the late winter-run with the summer runs,” Glaser said. “And if, by chance, this number is right, why would WDFW and Tacoma Power want to take away the winter run?”

Glaser’s business is just one of many local Lewis County businesses that will be affected by the decreasing numbers of anglers that will flow through our area.

WFW Commission to Meet Jan. 6-7

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider increasing the number of multiple-season hunting permits available each year after hearing public comments on the issue at a meeting scheduled Jan. 6-7 in Olympia.

The commission, which sets policy for the WDFW, will also accept public comments on proposed changes to the 2012 sportfishing rules, but will not take action on those proposals until its regular meeting in February.

The public meeting is scheduled to convene Jan. 6 at 9:30 a.m. and Jan. 7 at 8:30 a.m. in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia. An agenda is available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

Multiple-season hunting permits allow selected hunters to hunt for deer or elk during all general hunting seasons, rather than having to choose among archery, muzzleloader or modern firearm seasons. Hunting data show that the wider range of options increases hunters’ chance of success in the field.

WDFW has proposed increasing the number multiple-season hunting permits available each year to 8,500 deer permits and 1,250 elk permits. In 2011, WDFW conducted a drawing for 4,000 deer permits and 850 elk permits from among the hunters who paid an application fee.

State wildlife managers say increasing those permit levels will not pose a risk to Washington wildlife, adding that fees generated by applicants for a higher number of permits would be used to expand efforts to prevent property damage caused by wildlife.

The public hearing on new fishing-rule proposal, scheduled Jan. 7, is the last in a series of public meetings held around the state in recent months. All changes proposed by WDFW are posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/.

Razor Clam Digs Tentatively Set

State shellfish managers have announced tentative dates for evening razor clam digs during the next two months at Washington’s ocean beaches.

In announcing the first digs of 2012, the Washington

Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) emphasized that final approval of all openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests that show the clams are safe to eat.

The first dig is scheduled Jan. 20-21 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks on evening tides. The second is planned during President’s Day weekend, Feb. 18-19, at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Kalaloch Beach will remain closed until April, due to a low abundance of razor clams. The National Park Service, which manages that beach in cooperation with WDFW, has announced plans to open Kalaloch for a razor clam dig April 7-9.

Goose Hunting Closes at RNWR

As of Dec. 30, goose hunting has closed in the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (GMA 2a, zone 1).

Big Game

Special hunting permit applications are now being accepted for spring bear.

Forty cougar hunting permits have been issued in several local areas including Mossyrock, Stormking, Winston, Margaret, Skookumchuck and Randle. Season runs through March 31.

Hunters holding special permits for the antlerless elk hunts are in the woods through Jan. 15 in Mossyrock (15), Boistfort (75)and Wildwood (50).

Rivers, Lakes, Streams

As of Wednesday, the Cowlitz River is steady at 6,560 cfs.

According to Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, “The rivers are blown. Everything’s blown, even the Cowlitz.”

Conditions at local rivers and streams change drastically from one minute to the next, however, and anglers need to keep their eyes on the USGS reports.

“This last weekend the bite was not easy to come by,” said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel. “The water levels have been fluctuating quite a bit, which is making the catching hit and miss. We are still seeing quite a bit of good sized steelhead being taken, mostly from the Blue Creek area.”

The boaters are running divers with coon shrimp, side drifting eggs or using yarn balls with one or two eggs, Borsom said, and the bank anglers are using a variety, pretty much anything to get a bite including sand shrimp, corky and yarn, jig and bobber, worms with red beads, spoons.

“You name it and they are trying it,” Borsom added. “We’ve heard of a few catches at Barrier Dam, but most the pressure can be seen at Blue Creek and on down.”

“The Chehalis and the Willapa should be fishable soon,” McElroy said, “they’re dropping like a rock.”

But the rain is good news for anglers, McElroy said, “It’ll push the fish up. Right now I’d try plunking on the Cowlitz, Castlerock on down. The fish are moving, so they’ll be closer to shore.”

Still, fishing should be “kinda bleak for about a week,” McElroy said.

The Skookumchuck is “just nasty — high and running mud,” McElroy said. He recommends waiting until at least mid-January before trying the Skook.

A few anglers have been fishing the local lakes and ponds, McElroy said.

“I’ve seen some pictures of some really nice fish coming out of South County Pond,” he said. “And a bunch of nice silvers out of Riffe.”

“Mayfield Lake is doing OK for trout around the hatchery with green power bait and worms we’ve heard,” said Borsom.”

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 696 coho adults, ten jacks, 121 winter-run steelhead and three cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 101 coho adults and two winter-run steelhead at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Site above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and they released four coho jacks and two steelhead adults into the Cispus River above Yellow Jacket Creek.

Also during the week 192 coho adults, five jacks, one winter-run steelhead and one cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. One cutthroat trout was released above Cowlitz Falls Dam.