April 29, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

Turkey hunters who use a slate call should be certain they are not tapping the peg on the slate as they begin each series of calls. Even this small, unnatural sound will shut the birds up.

Braggin’ rights

After putting in his time on several fruitless turkey hunts and even suffering the embarrassment of missing one at 12 feet, 11-year-old Sam Hedding of Clarkston finally connected, bringing home a 21-pound gobbler.

Overheard

Kokanee have begun to bite in Lake Chelan. The fish are small, running 8-10 inches, but sonar readings suggest there are a lot of them this year. The bite should really pick up in the next few weeks.

Heads up

• Trout and kokanee were “biting like crazy” last weekend on Lake Roosevelt, according to Colville Tribe Creel Clerk Branditt West, but with the lake level projected to be about 1,220 feet by the weekend there will be no usable launches. There is still good bank fishing available in bays such as Crescent and Spring Canyon, but a long walk over sand is necessary. The drawdown is expected to stop at 1,218 feet.

• Medical Lake’s traditional Fisherman’s Breakfast will be open at the Fire Hall on Sunday.

• The Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic on Potholes Reservoir runs May 7-8. Contact: Mike Meseberg by phone (800-416-2736 or 509-346-2651), or go to mardonresort.com.

Fly fishing

Medical Lake has been very good for brown trout and fair for tiger trout. Fly fishermen throwing bloodworm patterns are doing well. After the deluge this week, area rivers are once again high and dirty.

Trout, kokanee

Eastern Washington’s lowland lakes open Saturday and anglers should have excellent success. Fishtrap and West Medical in Spokane County will be two of the best, but Williams will also be good, having been stocked with everything from 9-inch catchables to 3-pounders. Nearby Badger Lake, which is usually among the top five, may be disappointing, however, despite the planting of about 7,000 rainbow. Smallmouth are taking hold in Badger, competing for food.

Also in Spokane County, Clear Lake has received nearly 31,000 catchable rainbow, including 300 3-pounders and 696 that will average nearly 1.5 pounds each, Horseshoe got about 1,000 rainbow, and lakes such as Downs, Eloika, Liberty and Medical, which either opened March 1 or are year-round, have also been given recent trout infusions. Bear Lake was planted with 1,400 rainbow on April 19. Bear is for juvenile anglers and disabled anglers with a reduced-fee license.

In Pend Oreille County, Davis Lake was planted recently with more than 4,000 rainbow and Diamond was given more than 31,000 – including some 3-pounders and approximately 700 that will average 1.47 pounds each. Fan Lake got 2,000 rainbow, and Sacheen received 5,000. Horseshoe got 4,000 rainbow on April 15.

Deer Lake in Stevens County has received almost 24,000 rainbow, mostly this month, which include 250 fish over 1.5 pounds and over 2,000 averaging 1.47 pounds each. Nearby Jump-Off-Joe got about 7,500 catchable brown trout and 3,200 catchable rainbow. Loon Lake received 1,036 rainbow averaging 1.47 pounds each and 250 3-pounders. Expect Loon to give up one of the biggest fish in the state taken on opening day – probably a mackinaw in the teens. It is a little early for a kokanee bite there. Rigley Lake got 500 small rainbow and 100 large ones. Waitts Lake got 15,000 catchables of various sizes in April as well as 350 weighing approximately 3 pounds each.

More Okanogan County lakes will also open Saturday. These include: Pearrygin Lake, near Winthrop, with rainbows 10-12 inches and carryover fish up to 15 inches and 500 larger triploids. Conconully Reservoir and Lake, near the town of Conconully, also has rainbow trout 10-12 inches and carryover fish up to 15 inches.

Blue Lake, located within the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, has rainbow trout 10-16 inches and some brown trout are also available. This is a selective-gear/electric -motors-only lake. Big Twin Lake, near Winthrop, has rainbow trout 12-16 inches and is also a selective-gear/ electric-motor lake.

Chopaka Lake, near Loomis, will give up rainbow trout 12-18 inches; fly fishing only and no boat motors allowed. Aeneas Lake, near Tonasket, has rainbow trout 12-16 inches, brown trout up to 18 inches; it is fly fishing only with no boat motors allowed.

Curlew Lake is open year-round, but it is just now ice-free and trollers are catching rainbow averaging about 14 inches.

Rock Lake has been good brown trout and a few rainbow on countdown Rapalas. The water is murky and the lake may be in the process of turning over.

The Lake Pend Oreille Spring Derby has seen few changes this week, though Rose Greene bumped her father, Dale Greene, into second place in the rainbow division with a 12-pound, 12-ounce fish that was 2 ounces bigger than his. In the adult mackinaw division, Jesse Peterson is in the lead with a fish of 24 pounds, 15 ounces.

Steelhead, salmon

The fishery for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon has been extended through Sunday on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163.5 miles above Bonneville Dam. The fishery above Bonneville Dam is just getting started,” said Cindy LeFleur, Columbia River policy coordinator for WDFW. Poor fishing conditions also curbed catch rates on the lower Columbia River and anglers have just scratched the harvest guideline for that area. But the salmon have started climbing Bonneville by the thousands this week. Reports coming from Drano Lake are good.

Spiny ray

Anglers are still catching Pend Oreille River pike, and report seeing some huge fish in the shallows on sunny days. Currently, however, sunny days are more difficult to catch than 50-inch pike!

Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt is heating up as the fish get ready to spawn. Most of the ’eyes being caught now are males. Without a usable Roosevelt launch, walleye anglers may want to try Rufus Woods or head to the Tri-Cities or The Dalles Pool.

Sightings of Silver Lake tiger musky are enticing anglers to keep trying, though only a few of the big fish have been caught recently. Water temperatures are coming up slowly but are approaching 50 degrees. Curlew Lake, also, is giving up a few tiger muskies, but none as yet have hit the magic 50-inch mark. There have been numerous sightings near the railroad bridge.

Other species

The 2011 Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Season begins Sunday on the Columbia and Snake rivers. A bounty of up to $8 a fish will be paid. Info: 800-858-9015.

Lingcod, halibut and shrimp seasons are all set to open in early May. Marine Areas 6, 7, 8-1 and 8-2 halibut will open from May 5-21, Thursdays through Saturdays, and May 26-29 Thursday through Sunday.  Lings are set to open Sunday through June 15.

Hunting

Big turkey flocks are finally breaking up and the toms are becoming more vulnerable to the call. The season runs through May.

Hunters have through May 18 to apply for special hunting permits for fall deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons in Washington. Applications may be purchased from license vendors statewide or on WDFW’s website.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com

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