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No spring chinook season on the Deschutes

THE DALLES (ODFW) – Fisheries managers have announced that the popular spring chinook fishery on the Deschutes River will not open in 2013.

According to Rod French, district biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, managers are predicting fewer than 650 wild spring chinook will return to the Warm Springs River to spawn.

Under the current Lower Deschutes River management plan, the predicted run must be at least 1,000 wild fish before ODFW can open a sport fishery on hatchery fish.

“We have seen a significant decline in the return of wild fish over the last several years,” French said. “When the wild populations are this low, we can’t afford any incidental harvest from anglers targeting hatchery fish.”

The return of hatchery fish to the two Deschutes River hatcheries is also expected to be low and any harvest may jeopardize future hatchery production and fishing opportunities in the river.

The exact cause of the decline is unknown, but managers hope that allowing additional fish to return to spawning grounds will boost wild production.

The Deschutes River is closed to all chinook fishing under permanent rule.

However, when returns exceed management goals, a season can be opened under emergency rule.

Past spring chinook seasons have typically opened in April.

The fishery below Sherars Falls is extremely popular because high catch rates offer a good opportunity to catch a Columbia River chinook from the bank.

Unlike the wild chinook population, the wild fall chinook population in the Deschutes River is one of the healthiest stocks in the Columbia Basin.

This will allow fishery managers to propose a sport fishing season for fall chinook beginning in August, French said.

Hunter education classes on tap

SALEM (ODFW) – Students interested in getting certified in hunter education by this fall’s hunting season should sign up for a class now.

Classes are limited and most are scheduled from spring through summer.

It’s easy to see what classes are available. Go to ODFW’s licensing sales website and click the “View all Classes/Workshops” link; then look at the “Hunter Ed Class” or “Hunter Ed Field Day” tabs.

Students may choose to take the hunter education course entirely in a classroom setting or by independent study.

Before getting certified, these independent study students must pass a required “Hunter Ed Field Day” that includes live fire exercises.

Complete directions for registering online are here.

To register, students will need to purchase a $10 hunter education class application fee.

Contact information for the class instructor is printed on the receipt.

Students who register online who have never purchased another license or tag from ODFW will need to click on the arrow next to “Hunter/Angler ID#” and select “New Customer” from the drop-down box.

Students can also register at any license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses.

Hunter education is mandatory for all hunters under the age of 18.

The course covers topics like firearms safety, hunter ethics, wildlife identification, hunt preparation and techniques and outdoor survival.

For more information, visit the Hunter Education webpage or call the program at 503-947-6028.

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