April 8, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing roundup

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

Two of the best things to happen to sport fishing in recent years are braided fishing lines and fluorocarbon leaders. A problem arises when you connect them with a knot. The braided line is skinny and hard and will cut into the softer, thicker fluorocarbon leader. To minimize breaks, double the braided line before tying it to the fluorocarbon leader.

Overheard

Until the end of May, any walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel cat or northern pike minnow with a hole punched in its tail, taken from the Priest Rapids Pool, should be released. Fish of these species were tagged by WDFW, and to insert the tags into the fish they were anesthetized. The FDA requires a 21-day withdrawal period before these fish can be consumed.

Heads up

• Lake Roosevelt water levels were at 1,244 feet at midweek and dropping about a foot a day. Once at its lowest level, it will stay there two weeks for dam maintenance. This weekend, launching will still be possible at Kettle Falls, Hunters Camp, Keller Ferry, Spring Canyon and Seven Bays.

• April 18 is the deadline to register for the May 7 Kids’ Fishing Event at Clear Lake in Spokane County. For details on the registration form, see the Youth Fishing 2011 Event Calendar on WDFW’s website. The event is limited to the first 950 to sign up. Cost: $10 per kid, ages 5-14. Info: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/youth.html

Fly fishing

Brooks Sanford at Clark Fork Trout and Tackle in St. Regis, Mont., said anyone who calls (406) 649-2538 before Saturday can book a guided fly-fishing trip for any dates during the 2011 season and receive a $75 discount. New snow fell in the area this week, but the Bitterroot, Blackfoot and Rock Creek are dropping and the Clark Fork may be OK by the weekend.

The north end of Medical Lake is providing good fishing for trout in excess of 19 inches for anglers throwing chironomids under an indicator. The fish are near the bottom.

Spokane Fly Fishers Fly Fishing Extravaganza is Wednesday night from 6-9. Visit with exceptional fly tiers and enjoy one-on-one contact regarding all phases of fly fishing. Experts will talk about fishing nontraditional species such as pike, carp and bass, and there will be a table set up for beginners to tie their first fly. WDFW regional fish biologist Chris Donley will cap the evening with his annual stocking and fishing report for local lakes. Location: St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy.

Trout and kokanee

Despite the many lakes open, a lot of trout anglers are still going to Roosevelt to do their fishing. A short run from the Spring Canyon launch puts them into rainbow as well as some big kokanee. Big trout can also be caught at nearby Banks Lake where the canal enters the lake or from shore at the jetty near the entrance to the Coulee City Marina.

Overlooked Bear Lake, just north of Spokane, holds a fair number of fat, 12-inch trout as well as spiny ray. Bear is open for anglers younger than 15, licensed adults accompanied by a juvenile and anglers with a disability and a reduced-fee license. The gates are still closed, but if you can get a small boat to the lake, trolled spoons and flies will bring strikes.

Coffeepot Lake is getting quite a bit of attention and trout fishing has slowed.

Roses Lake in the Okanogan is producing quick limits of planter rainbows.  Pulling a black Wooly Bugger fly behind an action disk with just enough weight to get it under the surface is effective.

The desert lakes south of Potholes Reservoir in the Columbia Basin, which opened April 1, are good for 13-to-14-inch yearling rainbows and larger carryovers. Upper and Lower Hampton lakes have been productive.

Steelhead and salmon

There are still steelhead in Clearwater and tributaries, but water is cloudy to muddy and effort is low. Most guides are gearing up for salmon. A report from Rick Itami of Liberty Lake said he fished the Little Salmon at midweek and did well on Corkies and yarn, egg beads or jigs/beads under bobbers.  The water is high and heavy leaders are necessary to get the fish out of the swift currents. The fish are dark.

Chinook salmon will open April 23 in the Clearwater River, Snake River, Little Salmon and part of the lower Salmon River, except in the lower Salmon River from Short’s Creek upstream to Vinegar Creek, where the season opens June 18.

Columbia River anglers have been given at least eight more days to catch hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon below Bonneville Dam.

Spiny ray

Downs Lake largemouth are being found in shallow water off the channel edges. The lake temperature is staying around 49 degrees.

Roosevelt has been good for walleye out of Hunters, but if you plan to launch there, pack some waders. The water is low and you’ll probably need to wade in and out of your boat. There is no dock.

Rufus Woods has been good at times for walleye. The water is 40 degrees. but tenacious jiggers are taking a few fish.

The Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir is decent for walleye. Copper-colored spinners with worm harnesses have been effective.

The Dalles Pool and the John Day Pool are seeing some good walleye fishing. Smallmouth anglers at John Day are doing well.

Other species

The sport fishery for white sturgeon between John Day Dam and McNary Dam on the Columbia River will close to retention Sunday through Dec. 31. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will still be allowed between John Day and McNary dams, and between Bonneville and The Dalles dams.

A sport clam and oyster season opens at Fort Flagler State Park April 15 and remains open until further notice. The park is located in Jefferson County near Port Townsend. 

 

Hunting

The general season Idaho youth turkey hunt runs today through Thursday. Youths 15 years or younger may participate in the youth hunt. All youth hunters must have a valid hunting license.

The Washington youth turkey hunt held last weekend saw good participation and numerous opportunities for success. A friend who took two budding turkey hunters out in the Fan Lake and Springdale areas said the mature birds are already henned up, but there were lots of freewheeling jakes.

Applications for Idaho moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunts will be accepted through April 30.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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