Lakes are full and it’s time to catch some fish

Most of the Willamette Valley pond stocking with trout is done for this season. Bass crappie, bluegill, and catfish are available in most of the valley floor ponds and will become more active as the water warms up.

Both Foster Lake and Sunnyside Pond were stocked June 2, the last stocking scheduled until Foster gets another 5,000 fish on Sept. 15.

Both Clear Lake and Quartzville Creek are scheduled for regular stockings throughout the summer.

Green Peter, and Foster reservoirs are nearly full and all boat ramps are useable. All have been stocked numerous times with rainbow trout and are producing good catches. Bank fishing is remains good as surface temperatures are still relatively cool. Detroit and Green Peter are also producing some good catches of 9- to 12-inch chinook, with some up to 18 inches being taken. Kokanee catch seems to be down some this season so far.

Stream flows in the North and South Santiam rivers have been fluctuating, but still are on the high side. Steelhead numbers at Willamette Falls are encouraging, with more than 8,000 having come over so far. Willamette mainstem anglers have had some good success in the Salem area. Spring chinook numbers remain very low and all streams above Willamette Falls, except for the Molalla River, are now closed to the retention of any chinook.

Stream flows in Quartzville Creek above Green Peter Reservoir are receding some, though still affected by snowmelt.

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The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission last week approved just over 134,000 hunting tags for controlled (limited-entry) big game hunts this fall.

Elk tags are virtually the same as last year, while tags are down slightly for buck deer and pronghorn. Rocky Mountain goat and bighorn sheep tags are about the same as last year, though new hunts have been proposed for 2009. Beginning in spring 2009, the SW Oregon Spring Bear Hunt (#722A) will change from a controlled hunt to a limited, first-come, first-serve season with a total of 4,125 tags proposed to be offered.

To set the numbers, the commission adopted ODFW staff recommendations which were crafted using the latest population data available, results of hunter harvest surveys from last year, input from 23 public meetings held throughout Oregon in May and public correspondence.

The controlled hunt drawing process will now begin to award tags to hunters who applied by the May 15 application deadline. Results will be available by June 20. Hunters who were unsuccessful in the controlled hunt drawing may choose to hunt in a general season for elk and / or western Oregon deer. There is no limit on the number of general season tags sold. Cougar and fall bear hunting seasons are also managed as general seasons.

The following summarizes the commission’s actions.

Deer: 77,358 tags, a 4 percent decrease from last year due to low fawn ratios in some areas.

Elk: 53,841 total elk tags, virtually the same as last year.

Pronghorn (antelope): 2,893 tags, a 6 percent decrease from last year. While the overall outlook for pronghorn remains positive, south-central Oregon populations are experiencing a cyclical decrease in fawn ratios.

Bighorn sheep: 89 bighorn sheep tags and a new hunt, West Deschutes River.

Rocky Mountain goat: eight tags, one more than last season. Two new hunts proposed for 2009 season.

Spring bear: In October, the department will propose a 1 percent increase in spring bear tags to 8,010 tags for 2009.

Beginning in spring 2009, the SW Oregon Spring Bear Hunt (#722A) will change from a controlled hunt to a limited, first-come, first serve season with a limit of 4,125 tags proposed to be offered.

At its Oct. 10, 2008 meeting in Salem, the commission may adopt a new rule for the 2009 season that will require bear and cougar carcasses brought to ODFW for mandatory check-in to be thawed. Biologists are not able to pull teeth or get accurate measurements from frozen skulls, and hunters that bring in frozen skulls experience long wait times or have to return at a later date. ODFW staff are currently working with taxidermy shops and other businesses to increase locations available for check-in to make the process more convenient for hunters.

Cougar: No season changes from last year.

At its Oct. 10, 2008 meeting in Salem, the commission may adopt a new rule for the 2009 season that will require bear and cougar carcasses brought to ODFW for mandatory check-in to be thawed. Biologists are not able to pull teeth or get accurate measurements from frozen skulls, and hunters that bring in frozen skulls experience long wait times or have to return at a later date. ODFW staff are currently working with taxidermy shops and other businesses to increase locations available for check-in to make the process more convenient for hunters.

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The spring and early summer months are often a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. But if you’re planning a camping vacation or a weekend getaway, make sure you are prepared for dropping temperatures at night.

While a safely constructed campfire remains one of the best outdoor traditions for heat, weather changes can bring rain and cold spells that keep campers inside their tents and RVs to stay warm.

Keeping warm while camping when it’s cold is simple. Portable propane heaters are a good additional heat source to take the chill out of a spring night outdoors around the camp or picnic area. Propane cook stoves are also handy for heating soups and hot beverages.

However, the Camp Safe Coalition warns campers to never use any outdoor-only propane product inside a cabin, tent, truck cap, camper, RV or other enclosure. These products burn fuel and rapidly consume oxygen for combustion, which produces carbon monoxide (CO) as a byproduct. Campers run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when products labeled for outdoor use are used inside, especially overnight while sleeping.

There are a variety of heaters now available that are approved for safe use indoors or in well-ventilated enclosures if the warnings and instructions accompanying the product are followed. Low combustion catalytic heaters, such as the Coleman® BlackCat™, burn oxygen at a very low rate and produce very low, non-harmful levels of carbon monoxide. Heaters with oxygen depletion systems (ODS), such as the Mr. Heater Buddy Heaters, shut off automatically if oxygen levels indoors start to fall.

The Camp Safe Coalition urges campers to follow these tips to remain safe this season:

– Always read the manu-facturer’s packaging and operating instructions for proper use and proper ventilation.

– Heaters labeled or identified as “outdoor use only” must never be used indoors or in enclosed areas such as tents, campers, houses and vehicles.

– Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can easily be mistaken for a cold or flu, is often detected too late. Know the symptoms: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion. If you experience any of these, extinguish any possible source of CO and move to an area with fresh air.

No matter how cold, no fuel-burning appliance should be operated overnight in an enclosed area while sleeping, even products labeled indoor-safe. To keep warm overnight, stick with the basics:

– Eat a good meal – especially one rich in protein, carbohydrates and fat – to get your inner furnace going.

– Wear layers of clothing to bed. Keep your head covered to avoid loss of body heat.

– Use a foam mat or cot to eliminate ground chill and moisture.

– Use a sleeping bag designed for cold weather camping.

For more information, visit http://www.campsafe.org.

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