Historic Drought Closures Hit Northwest
Each week we round-up the top fishing news from the Northwest and beyond. Do you have a news tip? E-mail us at news /at/ salmonuniversity.com.
Drought Prompts Expanding River Closures
On Saturday, rivers across Washington were closed to fishing due to drought conditions for the first time in history. Emergency rules issued by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) restricted activities on a number of additional rivers by banning afternoon angling. At the same time, Oregon moved to shut most rivers in that state to afternoon fishing. The Washington and Oregon closures follow an earlier ban on river fishing across much of Vancouver Island, a restriction imposed on July 3 by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations.
“With such extreme drought conditions in several areas of the state, we needed to take these steps to help protect vulnerable fish in waters where we have concerns,” WDFW spokesman Craig Burley explained in a written statement. “We’ll continue monitoring stream conditions throughout Washington this summer and take additional actions if necessary.”
In more than 200 comments posted to the Salmon University Facebook page reaction to the closures was mixed, with some anglers supporting the move, while others expressed frustration at the open-ended restrictions.
CCA Hosts Tulalip Scientist for Hatchery Update
The Coastal Conservation Association’s Sno-King chapter will host Mike Crewson, salmonid enhancement scientist with the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, on July 23 for a 7:30 p.m. event at the Sammamish Valley Grange Hall (14654 148th Ave NE) in Woodinville, Wash. Crewson will provide a briefing on current hatchery issues in the Puget Sound area including anti-hatchery activities on Icicle Creek, and the Dungeness, Nooksack and Stillaguamish Rivers. The free event is open to the public.
Studies Report Fishing Remains Popular, Bait Shops are Big
Fishing remains among the most popular outdoor activities for U.S. adults, according to the just-released Special Report on Fishing from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). According to the report, 15.8-percent of the U.S. population older than age six participated in fishing at least once in 2014, with Hispanic-Americans spending more time on the water than any other ethnic group (25.8 days per year, versus 19.4 days per year for the population at large). When study respondents were asked their top “reasons to fish,” the leading response was “to catch fish.”
In a separate just-released study, the National Marine Fisheries Service found that coastal bait and tackle shops are big business. The first-ever Recreational Bait and Tackle economic impact survey reports that independent bait and tackle shops in American coastal communities generated an estimated $854 million in annual sales of fishing-related equipment, supporting 16,000 full and part-time jobs.
Boat U.S. Calling for Action on Proposed Ethanol Standards
Boat U.S. is calling for American boaters to contact their members of Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding new gasoline standards the EPA has proposed for 2016. Under the new standards, gasoline with a 15-percent ethanol blend (E15) would be introduced into many gas stations for the first time. However, Boast U.S. notes,
… most marine engines are built to only work with up to 10-percent ethanol and it’s prohibited to use gas containing more than 10-percent ethanol in all marine engines. In multiple studies, E15 has been proven to damage boat engines. E15 and higher ethanol blends fuel can now be found 24 states, often at the very same pumps as E10 gasoline. The only warning you may have is one sticker mixed in with all the other warning labels on the pump. This creates a huge potential for mis-fueling and puts boaters at risk of using fuel that will damage their engines.
More information is available from Boat U.S.
Scroggins Scores Fishing Scholarship
Recent high school graduate Cully Scroggins has become the first Washingtonian to earn a collegiate bass fishing scholarship, according to KING-TV. Scroggins will attend Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, one of 200 schools in the United States with a bass fishing team sanctioned by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.
The Bethel University Bass team is no joke. It has a 32-man roster and five boats, competing from February to June. Administrators at Bethel University decided a strong fishing team could be a good recruiting tool, so they officially recognized it as a sport. Now, they welcome a youngster from the northwest to their school.
Scroggins graduated from Longview’s R.A. Long High School in June, which counts among its alumni a bass specialist of a different kind: Jeff Pilson, the bass player for the band Foreigner.
Canadian Coast Guard Receives New Ship
The Canadian Coast Guard has commissioned its newest Hero-class mid-shore patrol vessel, CCGS A. LeBlanc. The ship, named after Canadian fisheries officer Agapit LeBlanc who was killed in the line of duty in 1926, will be used primarily for fisheries enforcement, according to a statement from the Government of Canada. The 140-foot vessel lists a complement of nine officers and crew and will also embark up to five Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was built at a cost of approximately C$21 million. CCGS A. LeBlanc is one of nine Hero-class mid-shore patrol ships currently in service, or under construction, for the Canadian Coast Guard.