May 6, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Tip of the week

After trying to call Merriam’s Turkeys without success for almost three weeks, I am convinced good binoculars are a necessity. Friends have had excellent success spotting birds, determining their direction of travel and intercepting them.

Braggin’ rights

The recently completed Lake Pend Oreille Spring Derby saw Jack Peterson with the largest rainbow, a 34-inch fish weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces. Jesse Petersen caught the largest mack, a 25-pound, 15-ounce bruiser that bested Ray Stokes’ fish by only 6 ounces. Bryan Elmore won the youth division for anglers ages 9-13 with an 8-pound, 7-ounce mackinaw, and Mickie Koch took first in the 8-and-under division with a 7-pound, 11-ounce mackinaw.

Overheard

Bonneville Dam passage of Chinook through Tuesday totaled 68,752 adult fish, and daily counts have increased dramatically. The fishery for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon will re-open Saturday for four more days of fishing on the Columbia River stretching 163 1/2 miles above Bonneville Dam.

Heads up

If you are planning on fishing Lake Roosevelt from a boat this weekend, it better be a car-topper. All launches are unusable at this time.

Under Special Restrictions for the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, the listed fishing boundaries are incorrect. Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited within 30 yards of the west shoreline of the Salmon River from the Riggins City Park boat ramp upstream to a posted boundary about 50 yards upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River. Fishing from any watercraft is also prohibited in the Little Salmon River from the mouth upstream about 200 yards to a posted boundary.

Fly fishing

The Bitterroot River in Montana is one of the few fishable rivers right now. It has been very good. The Clark Fork could be blown out by the weekend.

Burke Lake in the Quincy Lakes Wildlife Area continues to produce Rainbows in the 1- to 5-pound range.  The lake’s eastern edge has been producing with chironomids and leeches.

Lenice has been fishing fair.  The fish are holding on shelves and cruising the shallow water at mid-day, feeding on chironomids fished under an indicator 4-7 feet below the surface.

Trout, kokanee

Warden Lake in Grant County had the highest catch-per-angler average (4.7) on opening day. Yearling trout averaged 14 inches, with others up to 17 inches.

Some of the best catch ratios in Spokane County on opening day were Williams (3.5) and Fishtrap (4.3) lakes. Williams Lake fish ran 10-19 inches. A lot of Fishtrap ’bows were 16-20 inches, and even the recent plants were a foot long. West Medical Lake gave up an average of 2.2 fish per angler. Bank anglers had a hard time of it, but boat anglers did well on fish 12-18 inches. Badger was projected to be less than wonderful, but anglers reported catching fish 3-4 pounds with an average of 2.5 fish per angler. Starvation Lake in Stevens County and Cedar Lake, also in Stevens County averaged over 3.5 fish per angler and Rocky averaged 3.64.

Fish Lake near Cheney holds a pretty good population of 14- to 16-inch brook trout, and they are cruising close to shore. Friends who fished Waitts Lake on the opener said a lot of 9- to 10-inch browns and ’bows were being taken on top, but anglers who went deep were catching plenty of 15- to 19-inchers on big, gaudy flies and a piece of worm. Sacheen Lake anglers were catching small rainbow and plants on the opener, but Davis Lake was very slow, as was Diamond. Power Lake, near Cusick, was good for small rainbow. Jump Off Joe was excellent on opening day for big brown trout.

Deer Lake has been open since March 1, but anglers reported catching rainbow there last weekend in excess of 20 inches. Loon Lake anglers caught almost an equal number of rainbow and tiger trout on opening day, some as large as 3 1/2 pounds.

Marshall Lake carryover cutthroat are a hefty 11-13 inches, the “best in a long time,” according to Clarence Grimes at Marshall Lake Resort. The lake didn’t get much opening-day action and wasn’t stocked this year. Grimes says the Skookum Lakes still have a lot of snow.

The Highest fish-per- angler average in Lincoln County was Wannacut Lake at 3.83. In Okanogan County, Blue Lake’s average was 3.80. Anglers who fished deep with Wedding Rings had success on trout from 14-22 inches. Park Lake in Grant County wasn’t as fast as past years. Fish were mostly 13-18 inches. 

Curlew Lake rainbow are hitting green Wedding Rings or small Rapalas on a slow troll. The bass haven’t awakened yet. Coffeepot Lake, near Harrington, was excellent this week for trolling small Hot Shots. Nearby Lower Twin was slow for bass.

Sprague Lake was largely ignored last weekend, but it still has some of the largest rainbow around. Anglers trolling the middle have taken fish up to 7 pounds. It’s not fast fishing, but the results can be eye-popping. Sprague also has 8- 9-inch planters.

The Kokanee bite started last week on Lake Chelan with surface-water temperatures finally breaking the 50-degree mark. The best bite was near Lakeside.

Salmon

A harvestable return of adult hatchery spring chinook to the Yakima River is expected this year, so two stretches of the river will be opened with special restrictions. Area 1, which opens Saturday is from the Interstate 182 bridge in Richland (river mile 4.5) to 400 feet downstream of Horn Rapids (Wanawish) Dam (river mile 18.0). Area 2, which opens May 14, is from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap (river mile 107.1) to the BNRR bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam (river mile 127.8).

The spring chinook fishery on the Hoh River usually operates on a Wednesday- through-Sunday schedule, but will open on Saturday, May 14 this year.

Spiny ray

Northern pike reports on the Pend Oreille River are as diverse as the weather, but overall this has been an excellent spring for the smaller fish. Many positive reports come from the Cusick area near Davis Creek. The majority of fish are coming in at the mouths of bays, but larger fish have come recently from the main channel.

Moses Lake smallmouth have not turned on yet, but there are signs the bite is getting close. Rock piles are giving up a few smallmouth and walleye. For largemouth, try the dunes area on Potholes Reservoir.

A few nice largemouth have been taken this week at Eloika Lake in the deeper water. Downs Lake bass are becoming more active, particularly in the afternoon.

Banks Lake walleye are still biting, and trollers are also beginning to pick up a few large perch. The smallmouth bite is picking up. The rainbow fishing is the best of all, with many 16- to 21-inch fish reported.

Walleye angling is excellent in The Dalles Pool.

Hunting

Hunter education classes are being offered June 3, Aug. 5 and Sept. 9. Classes are at the Outpost behind the Spokane Valley White Elephant. To sign up, go online at my.registered.com/ spokane/hunteredu. Look for Red Nierstheimer in the listings and follow instructions. Info: (509) 443-4570.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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