September 24, 2010 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
 
Tip of the week

Weekday fishing is better than weekend fishing for salmon in the Vernita Bridge area because water is higher during the week and the fish are moving.

Braggin’ rights

Because Washington has a minimum length of 50 inches for the retention of tiger muskie, the record of 31.75 pounds is still tops. On Sept. 12, however, Ed Hoyle caught a 48 3/4-inch fish from Curlew Lake that exceeded the record by more than 6 pounds. The fish was released unharmed, and according to Hoyle, “took off very healthy.”

Overheard

Walleye anglers at Wanapum Dam have been hooking more steelhead than walleyes recently.

Heads up

• The annual Balls and Chain Benefit Walleye Tournament is Saturday out of the Kettle Falls Marina on Lake Roosevelt. There is still time to register and get in on the fun and a chance for some cash besides. Go to www.ballsandchain.org/ for more information.

• Recreational boaters can lock past U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers almost any time during daylight hours this winter. The change from scheduled locking times to “on-request” lockages occurs summer and winter, respectively, to accommodate changing volumes of river traffic.

• Muskies Inc. Chapter 60 Mountain Muskies will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Roundtable Pizza, 1908 W. Francis. Bruce Bolding from the WSFW in Olympia will speak about the tiger muskie program and also about northern pike in Washington.

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe are hot. Trout are taking dries (blue wing olive patterns), nymphs (caddis pupae patterns) and streamers (olive sculpin patterns).

Trout and kokanee

The official counts are in for the Two-Rivers Trout Derby. The team of Rick Sawyer and Don Hall took top honors with a total trout/kokanee weight of 75.445 pounds, followed by Ron and Maxine Moss with 65.745 pounds. Lake Roosevelt trout fishing remains good throughout the system. Flies tipped with worms at 35-45 feet will usually get you there, but John Kallas at the White Elephant in the Spokane Valley said the most requested Roosevelt lure this week has been the Apex in orange, pink or watermelon colors.

Kokanee fishing on Roosevelt can be awesome. Last week, they were staging in 70 feet of water in the lower end of the Spokane Arm. At Coeur d’Alene Lake, the north end is good for small kokes, though one report will identify “small” as 6-8 inches and another will say 10-12 inches.

Trout fishing from the dock at Curlew has been good after dark and fair to good throughout the day. Most anglers are dunking eggs and Powerbait.

Planer boards and Rapalas are beginning to nail 6- to 9-pound Pend Oreille rainbow close to shore. No matter how big the fish, it qualifies for the $15 bounty.

Waitts Lake anglers are trolling spinners at midlake and finding an excellent trout bite. Fish are running from 11 inches up.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater confluence is attracting a lot of attention, but the steelhead bite has been off all week. Fishing for hatchery steelhead and chinook still holds promise, with the salmon bite being a bit more reliable than the steelhead bite. Chinook trollers are dragging Super Baits stuffed with tuna.

The salmon bite is heating up below Priest Rapids Dam. Fall-run chinook are passing over at up to 800 a day, and those fish will be hitting the Wenatchee area soon. Super Baits in oranges, reds and lemon-lime colors are popular. Make sure you use oil-pack tuna, and don’t be afraid to mix in a little garlic. Steelhead fishing in the same stretch is also good. The Okanogan River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Oct. 1.

In general, success for fall chinook on the lower Columbia was best for boat anglers in Vancouver and just below Bonneville Dam with one-half fish per boat average, while boaters at the mouth of the Cowlitz averaged about an adult coho per boat. Up to two adult chinook may be retained as part of the salmon daily limit on the mainstem Columbia River upstream from the mouth of the Lewis River to Bonneville Dam. Fall chinook angling is still good between Warrior Rock and Bonneville Dam, with an average of 8,433 passing through the Bonneville ladder daily.

WDFW staff interviewed 347 boats/807 anglers with 322 chinook, one coho and 17 steelhead harvested last week in the Hanford Reach. White Bluffs and Vernita boat ramps showed the highest catch rates, with Ringold also showing good catches. The best bite is 19-22 feet. Chinook effort and catch are up from last year. There are lots of jacks and more 30-pound fish than last year.

The first reported fall chinook and coho were sampled in the Yakima River this week. Effort and catch has been relatively slow, but both should begin to increase soon. WDFW staff interviewed 50 anglers with two chinook and two coho this week.

Bobber fishermen near “The Wall” at McNary are getting more takedowns as the week progresses. At Little Goose, anglers long-lining are having sporadic luck for steelhead off the lower wall. At Darver Tackle in Starbuck, Verna Foley said the biggest fish are running 14-15 pounds.

The La Push area late-season ocean salmon fishery opens Saturday.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye are coming sporadically on anything from bottom walkers with crawler harnesses to wedding rings and worms. Successful anglers are dragging the flats – Colville, Bradbury, Outhouse – with Macks Smile Blades and nightcrawlers. Best luck has come in 40-45 feet of water. The Hawk Creek area has been decent but nothing big.

Friends who trolled Roosevelt near Hunters this week said they couldn’t keep the smallmouth off –and they were trolling walleye and trout gear at 60 feet.

Banks Lake walleyes are at many depths, but you’ll find more deep than shallow. Worm harnesses and bottom walkers are on.

Area “trout” lakes such as Diamond and Liberty have provided bass fishermen with some hot afternoon fishing. Cranks and plastics are equally effective as fish begin gorging for winter. For smallmouth, try drop-shotting plastics off rocky structure.

Eloika Lake has kicked out some oversized largemouth. Crappie and perch fishing has been slow, but those fish appear to be leaving midlake and coming back into shallower water.

Coeur d’Alene pike are coming out of the weeds a little and cruising for food. Hayden Lake has been a pike hotspot lately.

Other species

The first razor-clam dig of the season is tentatively scheduled to begin early next month on five ocean beaches. Final approval will depend on results of marine toxin tests. For the first opening, Twin Harbors is scheduled Oct. 7-10, with additional opportunities Oct. 8-9 at Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch.

Hunting

The early fall Washington hunting season for wild turkey begins Saturday in many game management units throughout the region. The northeast district continues to provide the most opportunity. Be aware that some units are beardless only.

A Washington muzzleloader-only season for deer and cougar starts Saturday, followed by the early muzzleloader hunt for elk that begins Oct. 2.

Contrary to a persistent rumor, Idaho deer seasons will not open Oct. 9 instead of Oct. 10. The season dates printed in the 2010 Big Game Brochure are correct – many units open Oct. 10 this year.

An Idaho youth pheasant season opens statewide Oct. 2 and runs through Oct. 8 for all licensed hunters 10 to 15 years old. The hunt begins a half hour before sunrise in Areas 1, 2 and 3, except on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours begins at 10 a.m.

Shooting hours continue statewide through a half hour after sunset. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 or older. A youth waterfowl hunt is Saturday and Sunday in Idaho and Washington.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email