This is probably old but here it is anyway.
Editor: Don Nelson 360-416-2137
Water fowl counts are a mixed bag
By Denny Church
The USFWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service have announced the results of their annual spring waterfowl nesting survey, and while the data has implications for the hunters in central portion of the county, the outlook is somewhat better in the Pacific Flyway.
Pond numbers have declined by 29 percent on the Canadian prairies and the total number of ducks counted during the survey period was down by 11 percent from 2003.
By species, mallard numbers declined 7 percent to 7.4 million birds and pintail were down 15 percent to 2.2 million birds. In addition, widgeon numbers have declined 22 percent, green-winged teal 8 percent, and blue-winged teal 26 percent. On the plus side, scaup are up 2 percent and canvasback are up 11 percent over their 2003 levels.
The information was compiled during the early spring nesting survey which is conducted over the same geographical area at the same time each year. After this year's survey had been completed, rain fell on the prairies and biologists reported a very good late season nesting effort
As far as the Pacific Flyway is concerned, nesting conditions in Alaska and northern British Columbia were good this year and average fall flights of migrating waterfowl are predicted. However, resident duck nesting production will be down throughout the state due to the drought and a slightly shorter season with a latter starting date has been rumored.
Ban on unprocessed game likely
To prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease into Washington State, the Fish & Wildlife Commission is expected to impose a temporary ban on bringing unprocessed deer or elk meat from Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and five other states and the province of Saskatchewan.
Chronic wasting disease in deer and elk is related to mad cow disease in cattle.
Under the ban, hunters can still bring home meat, capes, heads, and antlers if the new processing guidelines are followed. The temporary ban could become permanent in 2005.
Salmon habitat fundraisers
The Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group will benefit from three fundraisers in the coming weeks.
On Friday, 4 percent of the day's profits at the Skagit Valley Food Coop will be donated to SFEG for community education and awareness programs.
On July 31, SFEG will host a beverage sales booth during the Samish Bay Bivalve Bash, and 90 percent of proceeds will benefit restoration programs. For more information about this event go online at www.bivalvebash.com
On September 18, participants in the Bellingham Traverse, a 40 mile biking, running, and paddling team event, can gather sponsors and donate the proceeds to their favorite non-profit group. Additional information can be found online at www.bellinghamtraverse.com
Sekiu and Neah Bay are still a slam dunk for wild chinook and coho along with a few retainable hatchery fish ranging from 6 to 30 pounds.
Through July 11, 12,000 anglers had been checked in Marine Area 5 and western portion of Area 6 with 1,352 hatchery chinook and 2,148 coho. This area will close when 3,500 hatchery chinook have been landed.
In Area 7, two different groups of anglers found chinook from 15 to 25 pounds near Eagle Point on the southern side of San Juan Island. Rosario Strait remained spotty through another week, but it's only two weeks until Samish and Nooksack river hatchery chinook will begin making an appearance in our local waters.
The upper Columbia River opened for chinook fishing on July 16th and excellent fishing is expected between Wenatchee and Brewster in the coming weeks. The best fishing is early in the morning when the salmon are at a depth of 20-30 feet. Trolling plug-cut herring behind a kidney-shaped weight can be effective at that time. A fish finder is a necessity to locate the narrow slots that hold most of the fish.
Today is the last day to make written comments for or against the proposed Grandy Creek or Baker River hatchery steelhead acclimation pond proposal. While most steelheaders are in favor of any program that would increase the return and accessibility to retainable hatchery steelhead, the wild steelhead groups believe the court ruling against the proposed Grandy Creek Hatchery also applies to the acclimation pond.
The halibut season closes July 24 in Marine Areas 5 to 13.
July 31 is the last day of the Baker-Upper Skagit River recreational sockeye season.
On August 1, the waters north of a line from Burrows Light to Bird Rocks will open for salmon fishing. This area includes Fidalgo Head, Eagle Bluff, Secret Harbor, and the Indian Village on Guemes Island. These are the places where the first Samish River chinook appear each year.
On August 16, salmon fishing begins in the Bellingham Bay management unit. A map of both of these areas can be found on page 106 of the Fishing in Washington regulations pamphlet.
If Samish River chinook arrive in Rosario Strait and Bellingham Channel during the first week in August, it will still be several days before they begin entering the Samish River.
Last modified on Jul 22, 2004 - 11:55:53 PDT
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