August 17, 2012 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
 
Tip of the week

When smoking small trout or kokanee, cut off tails and heads and lay the fish belly-down on the smoking rack by slightly spreading the stomach cavity to make them “stand up.” You can get more fish on the rack this way and they smoke faster with more flavor.

Braggin’ rights

Ken Lange of Bellevue recently landed a 20-pound channel cat at Potholes Reservoir in Grant County.

Overheard

A total of 20,451 steelhead were caught from the lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam last month. The previous record for any single month was 18,516 in August 2011.

Heads up

• Anyone heading into the Idaho or Montana backcountry should check with Forest Service ranger district offices or county sheriff’s offices for fire closures before heading out. Fire updates for Idaho can be found online at: www.inciweb.org/state/13/. For Montana, go to fwp.mt.gov and click drought and fire updates under Hot Topics.

Starting today, anglers fishing in ocean waters off Westport and Neah Bay can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit. LaPush already has the two-chinook limit. Those fishing Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will continue to be limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

• Women can learn the basics of fishing, hunting, and other outdoor skills in a September weekend workshop that includes several sessions led by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife experts and other certified instructors. Scheduled for Sept.14-16 at Camp River Ranch in Carnation, the annual workshop is coordinated by Washington Outdoor Women (WOW), a nonprofit program dedicated to teaching women outdoor skills and natural resource stewardship. For information about the workshop, including registration fees, see the WOW website, washingtonoutdoorwomen.org, or call Ronni McGlenn at 425-455-1986

Fly fishing

Pat Way at Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene said the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers are fishing so well that he has a hard time making himself drive farther. He adds that “it’s not going to happen” if you aren’t on the water early or late.

Also in Idaho, the Lochsa, Selway, North Fork Clearwater, Kelly Creek and their tributaries are good options for westslope cutthroat. Use attractor patterns with yellow, red, or orange bodies, such as size 8-10 Clarks Stoneflies, size 12-14 Humpies, Elk Hair Cadis and Royal Wulffs. Terrestrials such as hoppers, beetles and ants are usually productive.

Some small Washington streams are good for fly fishing. The Entiat, Icicle and others are still slightly high but are dropping into wading form. The Yakima and Methow are in good dry fly form.

Trout and kokanee

Diamond Lake anglers are catching rainbow and a few browns trolling the northwest end. Waitts Lake is a good bet for either species, trolling the middle.

Loon Lake kokanee anglers have been fishing a lot of different spots at night, but the Sockeye Hole along Highway 395 is still one of the most popular. Find 32 feet of water and jig slowly just off the bottom. The bites have come in flurries with as much as a half hour between, but the majority of anglers are limiting. Some big rainbow have been taken at night. If targeting these, try different levels as they are often suspended. Loon Lake trollers say they are graphing a lot of fish from 35 feet to as deep as 60. Trolling hasn’t been as consistent as still-fishing.

In Montana, Randy Burch at Koocanusa Resort and Marina (406-293-7474) said kokanee fishing is the best he has seen in 11 years. Fish are running 10-13 inches, and many trollers are taking 50-fish limits. At Camp Tuffit on Lake Mary Ronan (406-849-5220), night fishing is excellent for kokanee 12-14 inches. The limit at Mary Ronan is 10 per day.

Reports from Dworshak Reservoir indicate excellent kokanee fishing above Grandad Bridge, about 1½ hours from the dam. Boat anglers trolling standard flash gear in front of a corn or maggot baited wedding ring seems to be the ticket. Most fish caught are running shallow, in the 12 to 20 feet range.

Colville Tribe fish counter Branditt West said kokanee and rainbow fishing are picking up on Lake Roosevelt. The kokes – mostly from Swawilla Basin and near the Camel’s Head area below the Kettle Marina – are running to 3 pounds, but there are a lot of 1-pounders. An occasional large rainbow is brought in, but West said most are a fat 12 inches. The best trout fishing is between the dam and Keller Marina.

Trout action on Chelan County’s Fish Lake has remained solid. Wedding Rings tipped with maggots trolled behind pop gear at about 1.3 mph are working well for fish around 13 inches long.

At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Rob Harbin said trout anglers are experiencing “world-class fishing.” He said, “I don’t even fish for trout normally, as I prefer walleye, but you can’t turn your back on fishing like this.” Harbin said rainbow more than 7 pounds have been caught recently and 4-pounders are common. He prefers trolling Shad Raps at 2.5 mph by the state park.

Salmon and steelhead

Anglers are beginning to catch a few steelhead in Idaho from the mouth of the Clearwater River to the Memorial Bridge. It’s about 11 hours per fish.

Fall chinook season is open from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam. Fishing is good there, and catches in the mainstem below Bonneville should improve over the next two weeks. Summer steelhead fishing is productive in the Columbia Gorge. Drano Lake on the Columbia is slow. The bite is probably a couple of weeks off.

Upper Columbia chinook are returning in good numbers. Fishing in the Bridgeport/Brewster/Wells Dam area should continue to be good for the next month at least.

Sockeye salmon are still being caught in the Brewster Pool, but most anglers are switching their attention to the kings that are swarming off the mouth of the Okanogan River. Sockeye action on Lake Wenatchee has picked up again with some bright fish in the mix. A small pink squid with two red hooks on a 12-inch leader behind a 0 flasher is the ticket.

Spiny ray

Long Lake smallmouth anglers are catching some decent fish on plugs and Roostertails. As always, look for rocks or structure. Not much is heard from Badger Lake trout anglers these days, but bass anglers are getting some nice largemouth.

Tiger muskies have been biting pretty well at Newman and Curlew lakes. Spinnerbaits are popular. Anglers at Curlew are seeing the most fish and say they are spread out.

Silver Lake spiny ray are in a number of different spots on the lake, but you don’t have to go far from the public access. Anchor in 20 feet of water and fish shallow by casting a bobber and worm toward shore for bluegill or drop straight down for perch.

Bass fishing, particularly smallmouth, is excellent along the dam at Potholes Reservoir, but because of the huge number of perch fry, walleye fishing is off. Anglers trolling spinners and worms say small perch are stealing their bait as soon as they get it down, though perch to 12 inches are taken now and then.

Other species

Fishing for channel catfish in the Snake River along the Lewiston levees has been good, especially in the early morning or at night. Recent reports indicate that most anglers are catching fish in the 3- to 5-pound range.

Channel catfishing has been good in Potholes Reservoir at night. Anglers targeting the big fish are putting gobs of nightcrawlers right on bottom around the MarDon Resort dock. For some good bullhead fishing, dunk nightcrawlers at night in Deer Lake in about 12 feet of water. Get in close to docks.

Hunting

Dove season begins Sept. 1 and the Royal Slope area near Potholes Reservoir has a lot of the jet-propelled birds. The Royal City Schools Boosters are selling access passes for prime dove hunting land. Contact MarDon Resort at 509-346-2651 to buy passes.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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