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Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
February 28, 1996     Hells Canyon Journal
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February 28, 1996

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Page 16 Hells Canyon Journal February 28, 1996 By Gus Garrigus Sponsored by: "Outfitting o tf tt rs Hells Canyon Float Trips Since 1980" (541) 742-7238 (Editor's note: The opin- ions expressed in this column are those ofMr. Garrigus, and do not reflect the views of the column's sponsors, Canyon Outfitters of Halfway.) Local Fishing: If your in- terest runs to channel cat- fish, there is a lot of fishing available in the local reser- voirs. The trout are biting pretty slowly throughout; the water is very high and muddy and pretty much out of shape. The Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam is flowing at around 45,000 cubic feet per second and is 36 degrees cold. The high, muddy water pretty effectively eliminates any angling here. Better wait a while until the water de- clines and clears up, and the steelhead, sturgeon and cat- fish will be able to track down your lure or bait. Hopefully, the rainbows didn't get flushed downstream. The present conditions are pro- viding a natural Fish Flush, but there are few smelts to take advantage. Northeast: Thief Valley and Wolf Creek reservoirs offer first class rainbow trout angling. The usual ice fishing didn't develop this winter, as these reservoirs and other waters have only thin ice. Steelhead are caught in the Service Creek area on the John Day River, but it is high and discolored downstream. Southeast: Beulah Reser- voir might be worth a trip, although it is partially ice covered. There is a good popu- lation of large trout available at Beulah. Other waters are afflicted with rotten ice, muddy roads and no access except by snowmobiles or Our primary interest is to be as accurate as possible. If you know of an errorin a story, please let us know; call 742- 7900. If we make a mistake, or if a story needs clari- fication, the Hells Can- skis. Statewide: At Bonneville Dam, the Columbia River is flowing 398,700 cubic feet per second and 211,300 cfs is be- ing spilled over the spillways. The Willamette River is flow- ing at 134,000 cfs, flood stage, so there is obviously no fish- ing available in these waters. The Coos, South Coos, Millicoma and Coquille riv- ers are always good for steel- head this time of year, and they have suffered much less from the ravaging floods. The lower Rogue River is still hot for steelhead below Foster Bar. A trip to the Chetko, Elk, Winchuck and Sixes riv- ers might be productive. Emigrant Reservoir has been stocked with "surplus" steel- head from the Cole River Hatchery on the Rogue. These fish do not have to be "tagged" on your steelhead punch card. Sturgeon fishing is top- drawer at Winchester Bay. Hunting: Good popula- tions of coyote and cougar are available. You must have pur- chased a cougar tag last Oc- tober before participating in this mostly fruitless hunt. Coyotes are easily called, but don't forget to obtain permis- sion if you are hunting on private land. You have until March 15 to get your con- trolled hunt applications in to the ODFW. Of Interest: Gill-netting has been a reliable way of fishing in the lower Colum- bia River for more than 100 years. A recent survey by Oregon State University researchers has found that the gill-netters have lost all hope that salmon will ever return to the river in numbers large enough to warrant going forth in the expectation of making a profit from fishing. Most fishermen hope that the government, whom they blame for the lack offish, will buy them out. A gill-net fishing permit costs $480 annually, and most fishermen claim they did not earn enough in the past years to warrant even that small expenditure. Fisheries managers quibble about whether to per- mit one percent or three per- cent of the Snake River run to be caught by commercial and sport fishermen. Thirty-eight percent of this run gets lost or killed by the hydropower dams and slackwater reser- voirs. One gill-netter reported he used to make $40 - $50 thou- sand annually, fishing every day itwas permitted. The past few years very few days fish- ing have been allowed. Fish sales by the gill-netters have plummeted 90 percent since 1988, and in the past 20 years the catch has been half of the 1970-75 average. Prospects for this year are dire, with a catch of only 1,900 chinook allowed. The average catch for 1968 to 1994 has been running 9,900 fish annually. There are 355 gill-netters fishing the Columbia from the Oregon and Washington shores. Some of these commercial fishermen go to Alaska each summer, where some runs have been a record the past three years. There are nu- merous federal and state di- saster relief programs avail- The Return of South of the Fell Service Cocktail Bar !YON INN 785-3383 able to the unemployed fish- ermen and nearly 60 percent of the 355 gill-netters have taken part in one or more of these programs. Many fish- ermen object to the whole gamut of relief programs available, and many who ap- plied for relief were rejected. Washington has spent $4 million on buy-outs, but most fishermen say the dollar amount does not cover their investment in fishing boats and equipment. Oregon has voted several times on initiative petitions to ban gill-netting on the Co- lumbia. Netting has been prohibited on all other coastal rivers since the early 1950s. We continue to feel there is no place for a gill-net (or any other type of commercial fishery) on the endangered Snake River chinook. The Indians net far too many fish. We see no future for the en- dangered fish unless all fish- ingis prohibited. We also con- tinue to believe it is not the fishermen who have caused the rapid decline of the anadromous runs but the Columbia River dams...and we see no hope that these will be removed just to save an endangered fish species. The Oregon Fish and Wild- life Commission is meeting today, and one of the matters under consideration will be the proposed land swap be- tween ODFW and the City of La Grande; 132 acres adjoin- ing Ladd Marsh for approxi- mately the same acreage owned by ODFW which ad- joins the La Grande sewer system. Radioactive Contaminants at Hanford Reassessed State and federal officials believe radioactive wastes from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation may have al- ready reached groundwater and may eventually make their way into the Columbia River. Toby Michelena, chief monitor for the state Department of Ecology says new tests show contaminants may have moved further than expected below the reservation's underground tanks. Department of Ecology director Mary Riveland said the situation is deteriorating but doesn't believe the contamination poses an immediate public threat. "Long term risk has escalated," she said. The department's reaction came in response to a disclosure from the U.S. Department of Energy that it had found radioactive cesium-137 at least 125 feet below the surface of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Prices Effective: Feb. 28 - Mar. 2 Snow's Clam Chowder ................... 15 oz. $1,19 LaChoy BI-Psk Sweet & Sour Chicken or Chow Meln .............................................. 42 oz. $2,79 Frito Lay Ruffles ...................... 14 or 15 oz. $1,79 High Protein Dog Food W.F ............. 40 Ibs. $8,49 Van de Kamp Fish Fillets ................. 21.2 oz. $3,39 Johnson Chili Bricks ................................. 1 lb. $1,69 New York Steak ................................................ $3,89 lb, Whole Flash Frozen Fryers ........................ 69 lb, Hills Sliced Bacon ........................................ $1,39 lb, Red or Green Seedless Grapes .............. 89 lb, Broccoli ..................................................................... 79 ea. Zucchini Squash .................................................. 55 lb,