HOOK AND FUR By Bob Brown They say some days are a diamond, some days a stone. Right now it is not known if modern firearm hunting in western Washington is a diamond or a stone, and there has been no news how it's going on the eastside. However, fishing sure hasn't been a stone. In fact, it has been pretty good on a couple area rivers. Joe Hymer of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reported boat anglers fishing the Cowlitz River have been catching mostly coho from the I-5 Bridge downstream, while anglers at barrier dam have been catching both coho and fall chinook plus summer steelhead at the trout hatchery. During Sept. 29-Oct. 5, Tacoma Power employees recovered 271 summer steelhead, 1,301 fall chinook and 85 jacks, 7, 884 coho adults and 775 jacks, plus 60 sea-run cutthroat at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery. Also, 252 coho adults and 20 jacks were released into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and 553 fall chinook, 55 jacks, 507 coho, 24 jacks and eight cutthroat were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. Hymer also reported bank anglers fishing the lower Kalama have been doing well catching coho, although nearly half were released. North Fork Lewis bank anglers also have been catching mostly coho, plus a few chinook. Action and catching has been very slow on the Washougal and Nisqually rivers. Fishing has been about the same in the Puyallup. Meanwhile,he 2014 Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery sponsored by the Bonneville Power Administration has closed for the year. For the season a total of 163,965 pikeminnows were caught by 19,490 anglers. One hundred and seventy-two tagged fish were also caught. The Dalles was the hottest area during the season with 29,952 pikes caught and Boyer Park a close second with 23,299 pikes caught. The fishery is expected to reopen some time in May, 2015.
Bacteria in bighorn
WDFW plans to capture and remove eight bighorn ewes in southwest Washington to curb the spread of bacteria deadly to other wild sheep in the area. The sheep will be taken to a captive facility at South Dakota State University, where bighorn research is already under way to learn how to manage the bacterium Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae that causes fatal pneumonia in susceptible bighorn. Any animals evading capture will be humanely euthanized. Rich Harris, wildlife manager for WDFW, said the bacteria has no effects on humans and there are no appreciable risks of exposing other animals during the capture and transport operation because it has poor survival beyond the respiratory system in susceptible bighorns. "We believe these ewes are not only a remnant population with little chance of recovery, but a threat to other bighorn herds throughout Hells Canyon,GÇ¥ he said. Harris also said the sheep are a subgroup of the Black Butte herd. The herd historically include as many as 215 animals, but has suffered from pneumonia-related poor lamb survival on and off since an all-age outbreak in 1995 significantly reduced the herd. The disease in lambs has prevented population recovery. Over the past 20 years, bighorn sheep in the Hell's Canyon region along both sides of the Snake River have suffered from pneumonia. The decision to remove the sheep now was to keep them from spreading the bacteria to other animals during the mating season which begins later this month. Past outbreaks among bighorn sheep in Washington and other parts of the western United States have been linked to contact between wilds sheep and domestic sheep or goats. These domestic animals carry the bacteria, but are uninfected by it. The outbreak of the Black Butte herd in 1995 is believed to have originated from contact with a domestic goat. It is unknown at this time if there has been additional contact between domestic goats or sheep and the Black Butte bighorns.
Outdoors writer Bob Brown lives in Roy and can be contacted at email@example.com