February 12, 2010 in Sports

Hunting + fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Tip of the week

Sprague Lake still has ice, but both ends and the south shore are completely open. A few boats were on the lake this week. Trout fishing at Sprague could become very good very fast. Fly fishermen were reporting action along the ice edges early in the week.

Braggin’ rights

I’m admittedly not a very good walleye fisherman, and more often than not, Lake Roosevelt has my number. I did have an enjoyable midweek trip, however, and scored a Roosevelt trifecta—one walleye, one trout, one burbot. The burbot was over 2 feet long—the largest I have caught out of Roosevelt.

Overheard

Last year’s pre-season forecast of just over 1 million Columbia River coho (ocean abundance) was nearly spot-on. For 2010, the ocean abundance of Columbia River coho is expected to be 389,500 fish, or about 37% of last year’s post-season total.

Heads up

•Anglers can keep hatchery adipose fin-clipped steelhead with circular holes punched in the tail fin in areas of the Columbia River that remain open to steelhead fishing.

•U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams, including those on the Snake River, will be closed to cross-dam vehicle traffic on Presidents’ Day.

•The Wenatchee River will close after Feb. 28 from the mouth to 800 feet below Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

•Deer Lake mackinaw anglers likely will get on the water for the March 1 opener for the first time since the new opening date was established. At mid-week, the lake was mostly ice-free except for a little at the public access.

•Starting April 1, Washington anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to purchase a new endorsement stamp for $8.75. Anglers 15 and older will need the stamp and a license. Anglers with an Idaho or Oregon license are not required to purchase an endorsement if they are fishing from a boat or from the bank of the Snake River in their state.

Fly Fishing

Blue-winged Olives were bringing trout to the surface of the Spokane River in town on Wednesday afternoon.

Yakima River anglers are connecting with stonefly nymphs.

The Clark Fork River is fairly static at 2,240 cfs at St. Regis and water temp is around 40 degrees. Surface activity is rare, but nymphing can be good in slow water near tributaries. Red or pink San Juan Worms are working. Boat ramps and access points are snow-free.

Jon Allen of Silver Bow Fly Shop fished the lower Coeur d’Alene to Cataldo recently and said the fishing was “really good” for cutthroat, mostly14-18 inches. A Golden Stone Nymph was most effective.

Trout

Last week, the Colville Tribe released 3,000 triploids at the Rufus Woods lower net pens and anglers are catching them. Fish reportedly run 2-8 pounds, but a group of three anglers checked last week had six fish totaling 50 pounds.

Lake Chelan is at its peak for big Mackinaw above the Yacht Club. Guide, Anton Jones of Darrel and Dad’s Guide Service says normally his boat gets one laker over 10 pounds for every forty fish caught over the course of the year. This week he put 49 lakers in the boat and 10 of them were over 10 pounds.

Lake Roosevelt water came up a little last week and fishing improved. Then, it began dropping again and fishing success tailed off. Pink Apexes tipped with a piece of worm have been effective for trout as well as kokanee. Orange Rapalas trolled behind 100-150 of mono right on the surface are also taking the beefy triploids. A good speed is 1.5 to 3.0 mph.

Area residents Dale Moffat and Dan Davis trolled Spring Canyon on Lake Roosevelt two days this week, catching seven kokanee, including a three and a four-pounder and seven rainbow—quality fish, but not fast by any means. Moffat said all the fish—kokanee as well as trout—were taken on the surface over deep water, making them impossible to graph. Many of the fish were caught on a green Wedding Ring-type lure with double hooks.

Rock Lake is still giving up rainbows and browns. Although a lot of these are in the 15-inch range, there have been several 6-pound browns taken recently. Shore anglers are catching fish at the access, but report the water is beginning to muddy.

Medicare Beach on the Potholes Reservoir in Grant County has been producing some big rainbow for anglers casting Power Bait from shore.

Steelhead and salmon

The Grande Ronde continues to be the hot spot place for steelhead. At Boggan’s Oasis, Bill Vail says fishing is “Unreal” and that many boats are reporting 20-fish days. The ‘Ronde has been good for quite some time now, but its current two-hours-per-fish will be hard to top anywhere. Vail says orange, pink or chartreuse in any lure selection, including flies, is the ticket.

Methow angling tends to be best in the lower river. Jig and bobber anglers also are doing well on the Wenatchee and Okanogan.

The Clearwater is not doing as well as the Snake. Good reports come from both upstream and downstream of the Salmon River. On the Salmon, anglers are averaging a fish every four hours from Whitebird Creek to the Little Salmon.

Counting fish released, steelhead fishing is excellent in The Dalles and John Day pools for boat anglers. Bank anglers are also catching fish.

Spiny ray

Rufus Woods water temperature is 40 degrees and warming. A few large walleye were reported this week.

Friends who fished the Ft. Spokane area of Lake Roosevelt for walleye this week did very well on Monday and Tuesday, but said the fishing slowed considerably on Wednesday. The majority of their fish were 15-18 inchers taken with jigs in 50 feet of water. The bite is extremely light and most have are being hooked in the mouth.

Moses Lake still had a lot of ice on Thursday, but it was melting fast. Potholes Reservoir is virtually ice free and walleye are beginning to bite off the hump at the face of the sand dunes.

Walleye anglers are taking some big fish from the Columbia River near the Tri-Cities. If you’re new to the fishery, just go on a weekend and look for a concentration of boats. Above the Blue Bridge is always popular, as is Indian Island and the water bellow Buoy 30.

Other Species

Lake Roosevelt burbot are following the walleye towards the Spokane Arm. They are prevalent now off the rock ledges across from Seven Bays. If you graph masses of fish hugging the bottom on Roosevelt, most likely you are looking at burbot—also known as freshwater ling. Although homely and tricky to clean, burbot are unsurpassed as table fare.

Hunting

Unless you hunt rabbits, hunting opportunities in Washington and Idaho are about over until mid-April when the turkey season begins. If you fear your trigger finger will atrophy in the meantime, there are a number of pheasant preserves still open through April and later. Some of the closest are: Squaw Canyon Shooters near Rosalia (509) 523-4833; Double Barrel Ranch near Mica Peak (509) 995-3524; Miller Ranch near Sprague (509) 370-5535; Pheasant Valley Preserve near Lacrosse (509) 549-3912.

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

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