Bull Trout are Biting

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Regulations require fisherman to return Bull trout in most locations unharmed so identification is important. 

Although the species was once abundant and widespread, bull trout now exist primarily in upper tributary streams and several lake and reservoir systems. The main populations remaining in the lower 48 states are in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington with a small population in northern Nevada. Bull trout have been extirpated from California. Bull trout may live near areas where they were spawned or migrate from small streams to larger streams and rivers or from streams to lakes, reservoirs or salt water. Migration is critical to healthy populations.  Bull trout numbers are declining because they are more sensitive to increased water temperatures, poor water quality and degraded stream habitat than many other salmonids. Further threats to bull trout include hybridization and competition with non-native brook trout, brown trout and lake trout, over fishing, poaching, and man-made structures that block migration. Bull Trout are listed as a threatened species in the State of Oregon.

Bull trout are members of the salmon family known as char. Char are distributed farther north than any other group of freshwater fish except Alaskan Blackfish and are well adapted for life in very cold water. Bull trout, Dolly Varden and lake trout are species of char native to the northwest. They can grow to more than 20 pounds in lake environments.

Since Bull trout need cold, clean water to survive, they are typically found in the headwaters of Oregon rivers.  They are predatory fish, eating mostly insects as juveniles and other fish as adults.  Spawning occurs in the autumn when water temperatures drop below 50F/10C .  The Metolious River and the Metolious arm of Lake Billy Chinook are two of the rare places in Oregon where you can catch and keep Bull Trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for LAKE BILLY CHINOOK: bull, brown and rainbow trout, kokanee, smallmouth bass

Bull trout fishing is good in the Metolius arm and fair in the Deschutes and Crooked arms.  Harvest is limited to 1 bull trout over 24-inches under the daily trout limit. Note: Anglers can now keep 5 kokanee in addition to daily trout limit. No bag or size limits on brown trout.

October 2018 – ODFW Current Conditions for METOLIUS RIVER: rainbow trout, bull trout

Anglers report fair fishing. Catch-and-release for trout including bull trout. Fishing is restricted to fly-fishing only upstream of Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). Artificial flies and lures permitted below Bridge 99 (Lower Bridge). No bait allowed.

What can be done long term to help ensure the survival of the Bull trout? 

A strong commitment by private citizens, industry, state, federal and tribal groups to change, reduce or eliminate activities that degrade streams and rivers will be necessary to truly recover many species of native fish. Much bull trout habitat in mainstream rivers and streams is privately owned, making conservation activities on private lands a key element to restoring aquatic habitat and recovering native fish populations. In some areas, reducing the potential for hybridization of bull trout with non-native fish species would enhance bull trout survival and recovery.

 

Don’t Miss the Night Sky this Week

Blood Moon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bpchua/25759275477/)

A lot is going on in the night sky during the last week of July. Some of the shortest nights of the year in the Northern Hemisphere give us a quick glimpse into the heavens.  Planetary viewing is great with Venus the bright Evening Star, Saturn, Mars and Mercury all showing off.

If you are coming out to The Cove, this is a great time to bring your telescope.  If you don’t have one, the sky is still dazzling for those of us that enjoy staying up late.  Ranger Erin will be leading full moon night hikes at 9 pm on Thursday, July 26 in the Deschutes Campground/meet at the store. Also, Sunday July 29 in the Crooked River Campground/meet at the Amphitheater.

Things to Watch For:

Thursday, July 26 – Mars at Opposition – Get ready to see the Red Planet up close: Just after Mars reaches opposition with the sun, observers on Earth will have their closest view of the planet since 2003.  Mars will be brightest, it will reach that closest point on July 31.

Friday, July 27 – Full “Hay” or “Thunder” Moon – It’s also a Blood Moon (The lunar eclipse occurring will not be visible from North America)

July 17 – August 24 – Perseid Meteor Showers (Peak is August 11 and 12)

Fire Ban in Effect Statewide

Governor Brown declared a fire emergency today. In accordance with this, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily banned campfires in all facilities statewide to help do our part to ensure the safety of Oregon’s Parks and their surrounding communities.  This includes the use of charcoal briquettes, tiki torches, all candles, or any open flame that cannot be immediately turned off with a valve.  Large propane fire rings are not permitted on all sites. (check with the park you are headed to for current restrictions.)  Propane cook stoves are permitted; however propane fires may not be left on and unattended.

Visitors planning a trip to a state park should check for up-to-date information about fire restrictions by calling the state parks info line at 800-551-6949.

Partial Fire Restriction at The Cove

 

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Photo by Hasan Albari on Pexels.com

The Cove Palisades Management Unit is instituting a partial campfire restriction effective immediately. 

7 AM – 8 PM  until further notice there will be NO open flames of any kind except for propane cook stoves (allowed for cooking only.)

8 PM – 7 AM small campfires in designated areas within the campgrounds will be allowed, which will include the use of charcoal briquettes and propane stoves.  No citronella or regular candles, tiki torches, or other open flames will be allowed.

These restrictions will remain in effect until we see temperatures and relative humidity change to a less dangerous level – see park website for the most up to date information: The Cove Palisades State Park

If you have questions, please call the park at 541-546-3412.

Bats at The Cove

Oregon has 15 species of bats, up to 13 of those species are found in Central Oregon and 8 of those are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. (These are animals that have small or declining populations, are at-risk, and/or of management concern.)

Bats are flying mammals that can reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph.  All bats in Oregon are insectivores.  Bats use echolocation which allows them to make high-pitched sounds then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Echolocation helps them find even the smallest insect. Bats are incredibly important as pollinators and provide humans with natural pest control.  One little brown bat can eat up to 1000 insects in an hour!

Recently The Cove purchased a new bat detector to be used on visitor hikes in the park.  It is called an Eco Meter Touch 2 by Wildlife Acoustics and it uses smartphone technology to display bats ultrasonic echolocation calls as they fly and identifies the bat species.

While we see bats and even here them occasionally, with this new technology Rangers can quickly identify the type of bats that are here in real time.  We can record their sounds and even email them to visitors on the hike.  Interpretive Ranger Erin Bennett used the detector for the first time on Thursday.   “It is so exciting to know exactly what kind of bats are flying around out there in the dark.  Now when a visitor asks, I can tell them definitively,” Bennett said.  She found five different species of bats flying just east of the Deschutes River –

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Little Brown Bat

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California Myotis

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Western Small-footed Myotis

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Canyon Bat

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Hoary Bat

Learn more about Oregon’s bats by joining Cove staff on night hikes at The Cove this summer or go online to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s websites Living with Wildlife, Bats page including a fun batty for bats flyer, plans for building bat houses and information on White Nose Syndrome.

2018 Programa de ¡Vamos a Acampar!

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Stay and play for free at one of the three camping events in Central Oregon!
¡Quédate y juega gratuitamente en uno de los tres eventos en el centro de Oregon!

• June 2-3 (one night only) – Tumalo State Park, 5 miles NE of Bend on OB Riley Road.
Junio 2-3 (una noche solamente) — Tumalo State Park, 5 millas al noreste de Bend en la calle OB Riley.

• Aug. 17-19 (two nights) — The Cove Palisades State Park, 16 miles SW of Madras.
Agosto 17-19 (dos noches) — The Cove Palisades State Park, 16 millas al suroeste de Madras.

• Aug. 24-26 (two nights) — Prineville Reservoir State Park, 16 miles SE of Prineville.
Agosto 24-26 (dos noches) — Prineville Reservoir State Park, 16 millas al sureste de Prineville.

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Registration/La registracion click here:   To Register

Registration for Tumalo event closes Mon, May 21.
La registración para Tumalo cerrara el lunes 21 de mayo.

Registration for August events closes Monday, August 6.
La registración para los eventos en agosto cerrara el lunes 6 de agosto.

We provide: Camping gear, Saturday night dinner, and the ingredients to make s’mores.  Plus, you will learn about the park, take a guided hike, and try kayaking (August events only).  We’ll also help you set up your tent, cook over a campfire, and learn how to be a great camping neighbor.
Ofrecemos: Equipo para campamento, la cena del sábado, y los ingredientes para hacer malvaviscos. Además, vas a aprender acerca del parque, participar en una caminata guiada por un guardabosque, y probar paseos en kayak (solo durante los eventos en agosto). También te ayudaremos a construir tu tienda, cocinar en una fogata, y aprender cómo ser un gran vecino de campamento.
Questions? Call Jill Nishball, 541-388-6073.
¿Preguntas? Llama a Priscilla Calleros, 541-633-7834.

National Bat Appreciation Day

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Photo (c) Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org.

National Bat Appreciation Day occurs annually on April 17th.  April is a good time of year to observe bats, as they are now beginning to emerge from hibernation. If you see one, be sure not to touch them.

It is also an excellent time to learn about the role bats play in nature. One important reason to celebrate bats is that they are considered to be an “insectivorous” creature because they rid our world of many annoying insects.  In one hour, a bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes.  Oregon bats also happen to feed on a number of pests, such as spruce budworm moths, tussock moths, pine bark beetle moths and gypsy moths.

Fun Bat Facts:

  • Some species of bats can live up to 40 years.
  • Many bats can see in the dark and use their extreme sense of hearing.
  • Bats are the only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight.
  • There are over 1,200 known species of bats.
  • The United States is home to an estimated 48 species of bats.
  • Nearly 70% of bats are insectivores.
  • One of the largest bats is the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox bat weighing up to 4 lbs with a wingspan of up to 5 feet, 7 inches.
  • Bats are clean animals, grooming themselves almost constantly.
  • North America’s largest urban bat colony is found on the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas. It is home to an estimated 1,500,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats. This colony of bats eats approximately 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of insects each night.  It is estimated 100,000 tourists visit the bridge annually to watch the bats leave the roost at twilight.
  • One colony of 150 Big Brown bats can protect farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
  • Almost 40% of American bat species are in severe decline, with some already listed as endangered or threatened.
  • Three U.S. states have an official state bat. Texas and Oklahoma have named the Mexican Free-Tailed bat their state bat, and Virginia has dubbed the Virginia Big-Eared bat their state bat.

One of my favorite Oregon bats is the Townsend Big Eared Bat

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Townsend Big Eared Bat – listed as a sensitive species in Oregon – photo credit: encyclopedia of Puget Sound

Townsend’s big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) are a medium-sized bat with very long ears. Their fur is pale gray or brown above and buff colored on the underside. Their wingspan is12-13 in (30-34 cm) and they weigh between 0.3-0.5 oz.  This bat’s ears are enormous, reaching a length of 38 mm. When the ears are laid back they extend to the middle of its body.  They can be found in pine forests and arid desert scrub habitats. When roosting they do not tuck themselves into cracks and crevices like many bat species do, but prefer large open areas.  They specialize in eating moths and other insects such as beetles, flies and wasps. Townsend’s big-eared bat is usually a late flier and will forage along the edge of vegetation.

Extra Fun-facts

  • When it’s roosting or hibernating, Townsend’s big-eared bat curls up its long ears so they look like rams horns.
  • When flying they can rapidly extend or contract their ears. When flying with their ears extended the ears point forward and are nearly parallel to their body.

To learn more about Oregon’s Bats go to:  living with bats