OUTDOORS: Marine Area 9 re-opens to hatchery chinook Thursday through Sunday; redbanded rockfish record

Department of Fish and Wildlife Tacoma’s John Sly caught the state’s first record-setting redbanded rockfish (7.54 pounds) while jigging with herring off of Westport on June 21.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Tacoma’s John Sly caught the state’s first record-setting redbanded rockfish (7.54 pounds) while jigging with herring off of Westport on June 21.

HATCHERY CHINOOK RETENTION in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) has resumed and will be open through Sunday after state fishery managers previously closed the king fishery Monday to evalutate catch totals and assess remaining quota.

Through Sunday Area 9 anglers had caught 79 percent of the available hatchery chinook quota.

Sufficient quota is available to reopen Marine Area 9 to the retention of hatchery chinook salmon for a limited duration.

After the fishery closes at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, fishery managers will again evaluate catch. If there’s any quota leftover, Fish and Wildlife will announce when the fishery will reopen to hatchery chinook retention.

I wouldn’t bet on another hatchery chinook re-opening and would place the odds against a re-opener in the high 90 percent range.

So fish hatchery kings in Area 9 now, while opportunity remainds.

Anglers fishing Marine Area 9 may keep one hatchery chinook as part of the daily limit of two salmon but must release chum, wild chinook, and wild coho today through Sunday.

Waters of Marine Area 9 south of a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele point will remain closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 15.

Check wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html for the latest information on marine areas that are managed to a quota or guideline.

Fish records set

Two state fishing records fell on the same day last month, Fish and Wildlife confirmed this week.

John Sly of Tacoma has established the state record for the largest redbanded rockfish caught in state waters while Richard Hale of Tukwila caught a 5.93 pound arrowtooth flounder, about a month after the arrowtooth flounder record was set by Art Tachell.

Sly caught the 7.54-pound redbanded rockfish while jigging with bait out of Westport on June 21. There was no previous state record for this species.

Pressure changes caused the air in the fish’s swim bladder to expand and push out the stomach and eyes and give it that animated animal on an episode of The Simpsons look as seen in the photo above.

Hale caught his flounder while drift fishing with bait out of Neah Bay, besting Tachell’s 3.89-pound fish by more than 2 pounds.

A complete listing of Washington’s state record fish is available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/records.

Deadly cougar healthy

A Washington State University examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist in May near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal’s unusual behavior.

The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul1618a.pdf.

Kristin Mansfield, a wildlife veterinarian with Fish and Wildlife, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.

Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. At 104 pounds, the animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.

DNA analysis by scientists at the University of California Davis confirmed that the cougar euthanized by wildlife officials was the same animal in the attack near North Bend.

Fish and Wildlife Capt. Alan Myers said the laboratory analysis confirmed that DNA from animal hair found on one of the victims was identical to that contained in muscle tissue taken from the cougar.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the genetics laboratory at the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Their report is available at wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul2518a.pdf.

“We were confident the animal euthanized at the scene was the same cougar involved in the attack but needed the DNA analysis to be certain,” Myers said.

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