November 5, 2010 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
 
Tip of the week

Catch-and-release fishing is not doing the Pend Oreille River any good when it comes to northern pike, which are overly abundant and eating everything in sight. Keep those pike and fillet them. They’re delicious, and with a little practice, the bothersome y-bones can be easily avoided. The flesh of northern pike is firm and white and more flavorful than walleye.

Braggin’ rights

Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum is going to the BassMaster Classic. The 22-year-old pro angler topped the 55 state and territory champions from across the nation Oct. 27-29 to win the Federation Nation National Championships. Palaniuk won a $65,000 boat package for the overall title plus a berth in the Super Bowl of bass fishing as the top angler from the 10 states in the Western Division.

Overheard

Recent rains have been filling Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area’s many small potholes. If rain develops again and deep freezing holds off, waterfowl should be drawn in, offering good shooting on easy-access ponds.

Heads up

• Time to stock up on fly patterns? Spokane Fly Fishers will hold its annual fund-raising fly auction at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy.

• Two steelhead derbies start Saturday in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley: a weekend derby organized by the Colton Council of the Knights of Columbus plus the weeklong Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby organized by the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce.

• Get details on the Snow Goose Quality Hunt in northwestern Washington at wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting/snow_goose

Fly fishing

Fly fishers have reported that rainbow trout are biting at year-round Z-Lake off Telford Road on the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County.

Sprague Lake algae has mostly disappeared and fly fishermen are latching into some really big trout.

Lake Lenore is still good for outsized Lahontan cutthroat. Wooly Bugger patterns on a full sinking or sink tip line are working the best.

Lake Roosevelt isn’t just for trollers, a few fly fishers have reported.

Trout and kokanee

Two anglers trolling muddler flies and flashers reported recently catching six fish at Sprague Lake that weighed a total of 30 pounds. Two were less than 20 inches, but one weighed 7 pounds.

Lake Roosevelt trout continue to cooperate. Good catches are coming from boat and shore in the Fort Spokane area.

Although no official report was available, judging by the number of boats at the Seaton Grove launch, there is a good possibility the anticipated release of 3- to 4-pound triploids has taken place on Rufus Woods.

Waitts Lake is a good destination for German browns. Troll the middle depths with dark flies or Rapala plugs.

A few lowland lakes in the Okanogan are still open for catch-and- release trout fishing through November – Big and Little Green lakes near Omak, and Rat Lake near Brewster.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater River is dropping, which should improve steelhead fishing, said Andy Alldredge at Camp, Cabin and Home in Lewiston. A lot of water is being held behind Lower Granite Dam, but it must be released soon, and this should bring a big push of new fish.

The Grande Ronde had three feet of visibility at midweek. The fish are deeper than they have been and pluggers are doing better than fly fishermen.

Steelhead fishing on the Columbia near Brewster has been fair for jig and bobber anglers. Those who move around looking for new fish are most successful.

The Similkameen River opened Monday to fishing for hatchery-reared steelhead from the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Selective-gear and night-closure rules are in effect.

Steelhead angling is improving in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam. Above Wells Dam, anglers have been averaging one steelhead for every 10 hours of fishing on the mainstem Columbia River and its tributaries.

Fresh from a record catch of fall chinook, anglers fishing the Hanford Reach have had a tough time hooking up with hatchery steelhead. That doesn’t bode well for fishing opportunities in November.

Winter steelhead fisheries began Monday on several West Side rivers, including the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc, Quillayute and Hoh. Anglers fishing these have a daily limit of three hatchery steelhead, but the bite doesn’t traditionally get going until later in November.

Spiny ray

On Lake Roosevelt, the walleye bite has slowed way down, as it has at Banks. The Rufus Woods bite, for some reason, has improved. The fish are deep.

Potholes Reservoir is still a good bet for largemouth, smallmouth and walleye. To double your enjoyment, try a duck hunt in the morning and then hit the rock piles in the afternoon with plastics.

Pend Oreille River pike are hitting spoons tossed into 6-9 feet of water over weeds at the mouth of backwater sloughs. Red-Eyed Wigglers or Dardevles are good choices.

Good-sized smallmouth bass are hitting below the bridge at Priest River. Use crawdad-colored plastics and crankbaits.

Other species

Marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) and 12 (Hood Canal) will reopen Nov. 15 for sport crabbing seven days a week through Jan. 2. Crabbing also remains open through Jan. 2 at Neah Bay, Sekiu and south Puget Sound.

Hunting

Eastern Washington’s late buck season in GMUs 105-124 begins Saturday and runs through Nov. 19. Hunters have been doing at least as well as in recent years in northeastern Washington, according to early-season check station reports.

The modern firearm hunting season for eastern Washington elk closes Sunday. The South central Washington herd is providing some good hunter success. Hunting areas for elk abound in Yakima and Kittitas counties, where most public lands and private timber lands are open to hunters.

The Western Washington general elk season opens Saturday.

Wild turkey hunting reopens in Washington’s northeast corner just in time for the holidays. From Nov. 20-Dec. 15, turkey hunters can take either-sex birds in northeast game management units 105-124, where the birds are relatively plentiful.

Hunters who already bagged a bird or two (depending on the sex), can still take one more turkey in this late season. See rules on page 67 of the Big Game pamphlet.

Three extra days are allowed this month for goose hunting in Spokane, Lincoln and Walla Walla counties where the season is otherwise restricted to weekends and Wednesdays. The added dates for goose hunting are Thursday and Nov. 25-26.

WDFW waterfowl specialist Mikal Moore of Moses Lake said the most successful waterfowl hunters in the Basin are hunting isolated potholes in the North Potholes area and the Frenchman Wasteway between Dodson Road and Road C Southeast.

Water delivery to the Winchester Regulated Access Area has been slowed by an enormous beaver lodge, which prevented the area from flooding in time for the opener, she said. “It’s receiving water now and should be a good hunting spot until freeze-up, thanks to all the mallards using the Frenchman Reserve,” she said.

Small Canada geese are arriving in the Stratford area in large numbers. They will spend a few weeks feeding on harvested wheat fields in the area before distributing through the Basin.

Contracts for access to harvested corn stubble fields in the Columbia Basin are in the works, but they won’t be enacted until after the field corn harvest, approximately in mid-November.

A map of walk-in hunting fields enrolled in the Corn Stubble Retention Program will be posted on WDFW’s North Central Region webpage.

Joey McCanna, a WDFW upland game specialist, said this year’s pheasant season could be similar to 2009, when hunter participation was down 3 percent but harvest was up 3 percent. Participation and bag have been low.

Be prepared to burn a lot of boot leather to shoot a cock pheasant or two from here on. Friends Jerry Hawkins and Cary Christensen of Spokane aren’t spring chickens anymore, but they are relentless in their pursuit of pheasants and don’t mind piling up the miles. On Sunday in Douglas County, they were rewarded with a six-rooster day, with Cary’s aging setter Joe pointing every bird.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere @yahoo.com


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