Saturday, May 18, 2024

THE WASHINGTON OUTDOOR REPORT April 9

Outdoors Roundup

Posted

PUBLIC SHOOTING RANGE CLOSES FOR UPGRADES

The public shooting range at the Swakane Unit of the Chelan State Wildlife Area north of Wenatchee will be closed until this fall so that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife can make improvements. The range, long used as an unofficial shooting area, was built into a formal public shooting range in 2021 with a berm and target area along with shooting tables and benches.

The agency plans to upgrade the range so it meets the standards established by the National Rifle Association. These improvements include a separate 25-yard pistol range along with shed style covers over the berm and shooting tables.

One problem that has plagued this range (and other ranges open to the public on state and federal lands) has been the slothful ethic of some users who drag pallets, logs or other wood onto the range area to post targets on.  After they are done shooting, they leave these items there as well as their targets and their spent cartridges and shells, creating a huge litter problem that gives the entire shooting community a black eye.

The old saying for hikers and campers holds true for shooters at these ranges as well.  “Leave no trace” and “Pack it out”.

RAZOR CLAM LIMITS INCREASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) shellfish managers announced spring razor clam digging can proceed as planned until May 14 with an increased daily limit of 20 clams per person.

"Now that we have the toxicity closure behind us and are turning the corner into spring morning digs, we’re looking forward to better digging conditions and larger sacks of clams due to an increased bag limit," said Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist.

These digs will take place if marine toxin results from the Washington Department of Health show razor clams are safe to eat at these beaches. You can check current domoic acid levels at the following web page https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/basics/domoic-acid/levels.

On all open beaches, the daily limit from April 6 through May 14 is 20 clams instead of the usual 15.  Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container, and all diggers must keep the first 20 clams they dig, regardless of size or condition. 

The next round of digs takes place on the following dates at the listed beaches:

April 12, at 12:12 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (digging extended until 1 p.m.)

April 19, at 6:44 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks 

April 20, at 7:28 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis 

April 21, at 8:09 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks 

April 22, at 8:50 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis 

April 23, at 9:31 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks 

April 24, at 10:14 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

April 25, at 11:01 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

SPRING CHINOOK SEASON OFF TO A SLOW START

This year’s spring Chinook salmon forecast calls for over 198,000 springers to return to the Columbia and Snake Rivers, more than what returned in 2022 (185,209) and significantly more than the ten year average of 150,485 salmon. You wouldn’t know that from the early returns though. Angler success has been low thus far on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and as of April 5, only 359 adult Chinook had passed through the Bonneville Dam fish ladder. This is way below last year’s run on this same date which saw 925 Chinook over Bonneville Dam and also quite a bit below the ten year average of 648 adult salmon.

It is too early to tell if the run has been delayed due to cold water temperatures in the Columbia, decimated by an abundant population of sea lions in the lower river, or if the fisheries biologists just got the forecast wrong. Despite this, the Columbia River from the Tower Island power lines (approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Oregon/ Washington border, plus bank angling by hand-cast only between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines is open until May 6.

The daily limit is six salmon, including no more than two adults of which no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Anglers must release all wild steelhead and all salmon other than hatchery Chinook. The salmon must be 12 inches or longer to keep them.

John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here