August 18, 2008 in City

Bullfrog: It’s what’s for dinner

Wildlife authorities say ‘bullfrogging’ helps protect native species
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Where to go

Virtually all Inland Northwest lowland lakes with shallow lily-pad-lined shorelines will have bullfrogs. Scout by listening for the bullfrog’s deep call after dark.

Find more facts about bullfrogs and hear their calls on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site: www.fs.fed.us/r4/amphibians/bullfrog.htm.

IDAHO & WASHINGTON

Bullfrogging rules

•To slow the spread of imported bullfrogs, it’s illegal to possess a live bullfrog in Washington. Wild bullfrogs must be killed or released immediately.

•Bullfrogs are classified as a nuisance species in Washington and no license is required to harvest them. Idaho considers them a “game fish” and a fishing license is required.

Neither Idaho nor Washington has a limit on the number of bullfrogs that can be harvested.

•Bullfrogs can be killed with tools such as spears, archery equipment and by hand, but not with firearms. Fishing gear also can be used in Washington in waters when they are open to fishing. In Idaho, bullfrogs can be taken only during fishing seasons regardless of the method.

In the realm of delicious activities conducted after dark with a fishing rod, one obscure sport is leaps and bounds above the rest.

Bullfrogging is a fully sanctioned “green” activity, endorsed by wildlife authorities to curb a non-native bully that’s wreaking havoc on native species in Northwest lakes and ponds.

Beyond that, it’s a hoot with a tasty reward.

Not to be confused with frog gigging, which involves gory skill with a spear, bullfrogging with a fishing rod has been a hit with everyone I’ve introduced to it, including my daughter’s teenage friends.

About the time the last fishing boats are being hauled out of area lakes in the twilight, bullfrog hunters should be staging at the boat launch with their small boats or canoes.

Come equipped with sacks, snacks, powerful flashlights, headlamps, extra batteries, lifejackets and a 9-foot fly rod rigged with a gawdy fly or a small RoosterTail spinner.

Listen for the bullfrog’s sub-woofer “brr-wummm” call, and paddle or use an electric trolling motor to slowly stalk it.

I prefer having a paddler in the stern, a four-cell flashlight handler in the middle and the striker with a fishing rod in the bow.

Scan ahead with the headlamp until you catch the shine of a whitish throat and a pair of eyes bulging up from the lily pads.

Carefully ease the canoe through openings in the thick vegetation until the striker can reach forward and dangle the lure about 3 feet below the tip of the rod and a few inches in front of the frog’s face.

If you don’t spook it, the frog will sit motionless, stunned like a deer caught in the headlights of a train, before the wiggling lure triggers it to pounce.

Be prepared. First-timers always shriek when that little bit of frog head suddenly surfaces and reveals a foot-long throbbing amphibian attached to the hook.

Swing the spread-eagled predator into the bag in the canoe and set out for another pair of frog legs.

Tastes like chicken.

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