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Hunting + fishing

Fri., Sept. 4, 2009, midnight

Fly fishing

The Yakima is prime for fly fishing. Brown caddis hatches are beginning to show along with blue wing olives and crane flies.

Upper St. Joe mayflies are dominating the action. Dry fly action is consistent if not spectacular on the Clark Fork. Lower temperatures this weekend could bust things wide open.

Henrys Lake in the upper Snake region turned on about a week ago and catch rates are good. Brook trout are starting to show up near Howard Creek, and Targhee is still fishing well. The Cliffs are a September mainstay. Drifting or trolling flies have been especially productive in 12-14 feet of water near the north shore and in the lake’s center. A couple of 10-pound brookies were netted this past week. Leech patterns are the most productive

Trout and kokanee

Despite warm water and algae, Sprague Lake anglers are still catching large rainbow. Reports are that if filleted, the fish are excellent table fare.

Lake Roosevelt kokanee and rainbow are turning on just in time for the big tournament next weekend. The biggest fish are 40 feet and deeper.

Kokanee fishing in Lake Coeur d’Alene will remain open through the fall for the first time in two years. Recent surveys show the number of adult kokanee has increased significantly, Idaho Fish and Game biologists say.

Steelhead and salmon

Snake River fall chinook opened on two sections Tuesday with some expansions and rule changes from last year. River sections open are:

•From the Highway 12 Bridge (near mouth of Snake River) upstream to the no fishing zone below Ice Harbor Dam.

•From Highway 261 Bridge (about one-half mile upstream from Lyons Ferry Hatchery) upstream to the no fishing zone below Little Goose Dam.

Note: The second stretch flows past the mouth of the Tucannon River, which is not open to chinook fishing. The mouth is defined as a line from the north side of the curve of the road west of the Tucannon River near a mile marker sign, to the north edge of the high bluff east of the Tucannon River. Anyone fishing south of that invisible line is technically within the Tucannon River and cannot keep fall chinook.

Starting Tuesday, the road crossing over Little Goose and Lower Monumental dams will be closed for maintenance until further notice.

Three anglers fishing near Lewiston on Tuesday’s Snake River opener hooked 15 steelhead and described the fishing as “fantastic.” Similar positive reports suggest this year’s reported steelhead bonanza is for real. The fall steelhead season also opened Tuesday on the Salmon and the Little Salmon rivers.

Hanford Reach has had a slow chinook start, but there have been a few reports of fish being caught at the mouth of the Yakima River. Salmon passage increased at McNary last week and fish seem to be hanging out in the Richland area.

During August, salmonid anglers made 47,100 trips on the lower Columbia with 5,663 adult chinook and 6,000 summer steelhead kept, plus another 3,700 steelhead released. The total effort, as well as fall chinook and steelhead catch numbers are all record highs for August since records began in 1969. For comparison, the fishery peaked in 2003 when anglers made 113,000 angler trips during an entire uninterrupted fishery. Last year, the lower Columbia was closed for chinook retention in August.

Columbia Ocean Area 1 has closed to recreational salmon fishing. Westport, LaPush and Neah Bay will close Sept. 20, possibly sooner. All three are approaching quotas.

On the Clearwater River, anglers may not keep any steelhead upstream from the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge until Oct. 15. Anglers averaged three hours per fish from the Memorial Bridge to Orofino this week.

Spiny ray

Fishing for perch and bass always becomes popular when the rainbow bite slows down this time of year. Lake Spokane, Eloika, Downs, Bonnie, Clear, Jump-Off-Joe, Banks, Potholes, Hauser, Hayden and the Idaho chain lakes are good bets. The walleye fishery on Roosevelt has slowed down. A friend fishing at Northport this week reported small walleye.

Other species

Recreational crabbing will close for a catch assessment in most areas of Puget Sound at sunset on Monday, after which everyone licensed to fish for crab in the Sound will have until Sept. 21 to report their summer’s catch. Crabbers who file their catch reports by the deadline will be entered in a drawing for one of 10 free 2010 combination fishing licenses.

Hunting

Idaho’s first wolf hunts began Tuesday with few hunters afield and reports of three wolves taken. Two wolf harvest reports came from the Lolo wolf hunting zone and one from the Sawtooth zone, the only zones of the 12 Idaho wolf zones to open. Two other zones open Sept. 15 and the rest on Oct. 1.

Idaho and Washington dove and grouse gunners went afield Tuesday, and indications are most found some action. Populations of both species appeared to be average or better.

The chukar survey along Idaho’s Brownlee Reservoir was conducted last week and the results were encouraging. The number of chukars observed increased 95 percent and the number of chukar groups increased 74 percent over 2008 levels, which were dismal. The number of chukars per group increased 12 percent from 2008.

Chukar flights are not complete in the Clearwater Region this year, but ground observations indicate a rebound there, too.

Idaho’s chukar season opens statewide Sept. 19. Washington follows Oct. 3.

Early archery elk hunting begins Tuesday in Washington. Blue Mountains elk hunters are restricted to spikes only, although some units offer antlerless harvest, too. Northeast bow hunters can take any elk.

An early Canada goose hunt runs Thursday through Sept. 15 in Game Management Units 2A and 3.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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