Fishing and Hunting Report: Reports Due; Rule Changes in Effect on the Big C

By Kim Mason
For The Chronicle
If the conditions prove favorable, WDFW will proceed with an evening razor clam dig at several ocean beaches starting Jan. 8 and running through Jan. 14.
The best tide will be on Friday night at 6:14 p.m. and all four beaches — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks — are tentatively scheduled to be open.

File Hunting Reports Now
Hunters have a chance to win one of nine 2013 special hunting permits if they report this year’s hunting activities for black bear, deer, elk, or turkey to WDFW by Jan. 10.
There are five deer permits and four elk permits up for grabs in the drawing for the fall 2013 season.
All hunters, whether successful or not, are required to submit hunting reports for those species by Jan. 31. Failure to meet the deadline can result in a $10 fine, payable before a hunter can purchase a 2013 license.
Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, said the annual hunting reports are an important source of information for managing the resource and developing future hunting seasons.
“The drawing for special permits is designed to give hunters an extra incentive to file their reports early,” said Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “If everyone waits until the last minute, it creates problems with reporting.”
Hunters can report by phone (877 945-3492) or the Internet (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov). Hunters should be prepared to give the game management unit they hunted and their individual WILD identification number, which is printed on license documents.
As in recent years, hunters are required to file separate reports for general-season hunting activities and for special-permit hunts for deer, elk, black bear and turkey.
More information the WDFW’s incentive permit drawing is available on page 17 of the 2012 Big Game Hunting pamphlet ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/).

Crab Catch Cards Due
Puget Sound marine areas recreational winter crabbing will closed Dec. 31.
All sport crabbers with winter catch record cards must submit catch reports for the winter season to WDFW by Feb. 1 — even if they did not catch any crab.
Sport crabbers should be aware that if they fail to submit a winter catch report, they will receive a $10 fine when they purchase their 2013 crab endorsement, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish policy lead.
“By submitting their catch data, crabbers play an important role in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery,” Childers said. “We need to hear from everyone who was issued a winter catch card — including from those who didn’t catch any crab.”
To submit catch reports, crabbers may send their catch record card to WDFW by mail or file their report on a special webpage on the department’s licensing website. The mailing address is WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The online reporting system will be available until Feb. 1 at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html .

Inland Fisheries Advisors Sought
WDFW is seeking nominations through Jan. 25 for membership on the Inland Fish Policy Advisory Group.
Up to 15 qualified individuals will be chosen to serve. Those selected will provide guidance on statewide issues related to management of inland fish species, such as trout, bass, panfish and kokanee. They also serve as an important communication link between WDFW and its constituents.
Advisors should have a broad interest in inland fish management and the ability to communicate effectively with large segments of the public.
The advisory group meets approximately three times each year, serve a term of two years, and are asked periodically to comment on written materials throughout the year.
Advisors do not receive direct compensation for their work.
Any group or individual can submit a nomination, and self-nominations are also accepted. Nominees do not need to be affiliated with an organized group.
Experience, including the type of experience, and any species or areas of interest, as well as references.
Nominations must be received by Jan. 25. More information is available by contacting Bruce Bolding at (360) 902-8417.

Barbless on Big C
Starting New Year’s Day, Columbia River anglers are required to use barbless hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout from the mouth of the river to the state border with Oregon, 17 miles upstream from McNary Dam.
Under the new rule, anglers may still use single-point, double-point, or treble hooks in those waters, so long as any barbs have been filed off or pinched down.
State fishery managers said the immediate need for the rule is to make Washington’s fishing regulations consistent with those in Oregon.
“Fisheries can be very difficult to manage under two different sets of rules,” said Guy Norman, WDFW southwest region director. “The two states have worked together for nearly a hundred years to maintain regulatory consistency on the river that serves as a common boundary.”

On the Water
All of the rivers and streams are reportedly in great shape.
“The Chehalis River is still dropping and getting clearer every day,” said Charles McElroy, a sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center.
“They’re getting some surprisingly big steelhead out of the Chehalis too,” he added. “I saw three customers last week with pictures of steelhead between 15 and 18 pounds each.”
The Cowlitz River is producing some nice steelhead — but it’s the glo-balling night owls that are taking home the most fish.
“Between midnight and 3 a.m. is the best time to be out there between the launch and the mouth of the Blue Creek,” said McElroy. “The boats are hitting so heavy during the day that the bite does off not long after the light comes up.”
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 149 winter-run steelhead, 40 coho adults and 11 jacks during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
A total of nine winter-run steelhead, four coho adults and three jacks were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton; ten coho adults, seven jacks and five winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam at the Day Use Site; and two coho adults, one jack and two winter-run steelhead into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood.
American Lake is starting to produce some nice rainbow trout.
Riffe Lake is fishing well, but it a little slow going. Carlisle is the place to be if the sun is shining and South County Pond in Toledo is still holding some lunkers from the Thanksgiving plant.

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer and photojournalist. Visit her website The (Almost) Daily News (almostdailynews.com), find her on Facebook (Kimberly Mason — The Chronicle), call 269-5017 or email kim@almostdailynews.com.