Wallowa County Outdoors: 'Leftover' big game tags on sale

An adult salmon fly hides under a syringa bloom as it waits for evening to fly back to the river. A few fly fishers have taken advantage of the hatches of salmon flies and golden stoneflies this month, but overall the hatches have gone unnoticed. (Photo by Kim Lamb)

Big game hunters have an opportunity to purchase "leftover" tags on July 1. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have more than 2,100 controlled-hunt tags for deer and elk available for sale on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning at 10 a.m.

"Leftover" tags are controlled-hunt tags that hunters did not apply for. Some reasons for these surplus tags can be, according to the ODFW news release, "they require landowner permission, access is difficult or supply exceeded the demand."

The tags left from the June drawing for controlled hunts are in a dozen units.Northeast Oregon has two elk hunts with "leftover" tags. They are:

254X - Mt. Emily Unit No. 1 - 700 tags - 47 maximum non resident tags, 255X - Walla Walla No. 1 - 198 tags - 6 maximum non resident tags. There are several other hunts with surplus tags and hunters can find a list of tags on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife web site.

Changes in the procedure this year include limiting hunters to purchasing one tag per hunt series, the purchaser may purchase the tag for themselves or someone else, however. These leftover tags may be purchased in addition to controlled-hunt or general-season tags that the hunter already has or may purchase.Non-resident hunters may purchase these tags, but only five percent of the tags are available to non-residents and ODFW does not set aside five percent of the tags for non-resident purchase, so in some cases less than five percent may be obtained by non-resident hunters.

Sales for leftover tags are only through license agents and no mail order or fax orders will be accepted, an ODFW spokesperson reports.


Current creel data was not available on Monday for chinook salmon angling in the Imnaha River, but a week ago the creel survey checked four fish and tallied an average of 57 hours per fish. Cleaner water and lower flows helped fishing last week, though and a report from Dave Tanzey at Imnaha Store suggested fishing was good last weekend. Anglers are still complaining that the fast-flowing water reduces the odds of landing a salmon when a fish is hooked, but a foot less water and more fish in moving into the river improved the odds of hooking a fish.

The season closes Sunday.

The Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers are near seasonal average flows this week, while the Lostine River and Bear Creek are two to three times higher than average for the third week of June.

Trout anglers in the local rivers should find fair to good success this weekend. Stabile water levers have allowed the rivers to clear and plentiful mayfly and stonefly hatches will give fly fishers plenty to work with.

Wallowa Lake was stocked this week, so anglers there can expect an improvement in fishing during the next couple weeks.

Gina Barstad at Wallowa Lake Marina says fishing is good this week, best in the morning and evening, but trout anglers are catching a few even through the middle of the day. She suggest Powerbait for the rainbows and the best colors this week are chartreuse, rainbow, and orange.

Kokanee anglers also continue to have good success with the best fishing in the morning and evening, while the lake is shaded.

Forest ponds will be stocked next week. Valley ponds won't be stocked again this season because the water gets too warm in July and August.


Anglers purchasing daily licenses and youths purchasing juvenile hunting and angling licenses will no longer be required to give social security numbers to obtain the licenses.

The new ruling, adopted by Oregon's Child Support Program exempt these license purchases in addition to landowners acquiring free licenses to hunt and fish on their own property.

"Federal and state laws adopted in 1996 and 1997 require applicants of professional, driver, occupational, and recreational hunting and fishing licenses to provide their social security number to aid child support enforcement authorities. In 2001 the Oregon Legislature changed the law to allow greater flexibility. The Child Support Program worked with ODFW and adopted new rules that redefine the term "recreational licenses" to include all permanent and fee-based annual hunting and fishing licenses" the ODFW news release explains. "The change is welcome news to many Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) license agents who received complaints from parents when they had to produce social security numbers for their children. The federal law originally was targeted to protect children, not to place additional requirements on them. The requirement often meant a trip or a phone call home to obtain the necessary information," the report continues.

Juvenile hunters purchasing a license for big game hunting must continue to provide their social security number at the time of purchase.

"Juveniles younger than 14 years do not need a license in their possession to fish, unless they are fishing for salmon, steelhead, halibut or sturgeon. An angling license for anglers younger than 14 years is free and a juvenile combined harvest tag is $6.50, story continues.

The following licenses no longer meet the legal definition of a recreational license in Oregon and are exempt: Small game/bird hunting licenses for youth under 14 years (free); Angling licenses for youth under 14 years (free); Daily angling licenses for one, two, three, four or seven days; Landowner bird hunting licenses (free); and Landowner angling licenses (free).   

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