November 2, 2012 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
Tip of the week

Waterfowl hunters are forever searching for new recipes. I recently tried his one, from Suzanne Sullivan at Burbank Guide Service, and it was both easy and tasty: Sautee an onion and set aside. Cut breasts of four ducks in strips and add the legs and wing sections to a fry pan and brown in olive oil. Add onions and some Mr. Yoshida’s sauce and granulated garlic. Cover and simmer until done. If you wish, thicken the juices for gravy and serve over rice. The meat makes great sandwiches the next day.

Braggin’ rights

After limiting on pheasants five days in a row in both of the last two years in South Dakota, I figured this year would be a slam dunk. It wasn’t. My friend, Mike and I now share the distinction of having eaten perhaps the most expensive pheasant dinners – four days of driving and three days of hunting produced a total of three roosters.


Medical Lake, a selective-gear lake with a two-fish limit closed Wednesday. A reader, a good fly fisherman who has fished there often, feels the fishing has declined dramatically over the years. He wonders if it has anything to do with the large groups that show up periodically on the upper end, fish with bait, and keep everything they catch.

Heads up

• The Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club is again sponsoring its Fall Derby from Nov. 17-21 and Nov. 23-25. More than $7,000 in prize money is available. Buy tickets at White Elephant stores and at Wholesale Sports.

• The weeklong Snake-Clearwater Steelhead Derby will be held Nov. 17-24 with $2,000 first-place prize money and over $10,000 in cash and prizes awarded. Each registered angler also has eight chances to win $22,500, to be used at any of the derby sponsors’ businesses. For more information and to register, call 800-933-2128 or 509-758-7712. Entry fee is $30 for adults, $15 for youth for 17 and younger.

• The waters of the Columbia River and tributaries from The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam have been closed to the retention of white sturgeon beginning Sunday through Dec. 31. The recreational harvest is approaching the 300 fish guideline for The Dalles Pool.

Fly fishing

Amber Lake is open until Nov 30 – catch and release only, single barbless hooks, no bait. The few fly anglers taking advantage of the warming weather are throwing streamers against the shore for good catches of fish to 22 inches.

Fly fishermen “matching the hatch” with pellet-style offerings are doing well near the net pens at Rufus Woods. It isn’t “pure” fly fishing, but the 2-to 4-pound triploids give a good account of themselves. Dark jigs have also been effective.

Spokane Fly Fishers annual fly auction will be held Nov. 14. Viewing begins at 5:30 p.m., bidding at 7. Location: St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead fishing appears to have picked up on the Snake River, as anglers are averaging about a fish every 10 hours. The Heller Bar area remains most consistent and probably a little better than other parts of the river, but the stretch between Lower Monumental and Little Goose dams has also improved.

Clearwater River fishing has improved with recent rains. The river was muddy on Thursday, but was expected to clear by the weekend. Rains have also sucked some steelhead out of the Snake to begin their run up the Grande Ronde. When that river clears, fishing should be good.

October creel surveys on some of the Snake River tributaries indicated anglers are taking a steelhead every four hours from the Tucannon. On the Walla Walla, they averaged about seven hours per fish.

WDFW fish biologist, Joe Bumgarner, notes good numbers of fish at “better-than-average catch rates” below Ice Harbor Dam and in the Wallula area on the Columbia River, both near the Tri-Cities.

The Methow River has been good at times recently for steelhead anglers, particularly those with boats. If fishing flies with an indicator, don’t forget to change the depth as the hole warrants to keep your presentation near the bottom. Near Bridgeport, anglers are catching a mixed bag of steelhead and triploid trout throwing bobbers and jigs near the outflow of the Colville Tribal Hatchery.


Rainbow fishing has been excellent on Lake Roosevelt for trollers using perch pattern flies and Rip’n Minnows in the top 20 feet. Most fish are around 16 inches, but a limit catch will usually include at least one carryover. The area near Jones Bay has been productive.

Rock Lake is producing a lot of brown trout and a few rainbow for anglers trolling Apexes at around 15 feet. The north end has been particularly good. The launch is still troublesome, as water is low.

At Sprague Lake, Bill Blosser and his wife, Nettie, had to quit fishing early when Nettie landed two trout over 20 inches in quick succession. Worms and marshmallows in 14 feet of water north of the big island did the damage. None of their catch was less than 18 inches long.

While most Washington rivers and streams closed to fishing after Wednesday, the Yakima River remains open year around for catch-and-release fishing – notably for trout.

Spiny ray

Most bass fishermen are through for the year, but those that try are still pulling nice largemouth and smallmouth from Lake Spokane. The Pend Oreille River bass fishery has also been decent, though anglers are competing with waterfowl hunters.

Walleye anglers are finding walleye below McNary Dam. Fishing can be extremely good between Umatilla and Boardman in the late fall.

If you’re looking for one last mess of perch fillets, Waitts, Lake Spokane and Silver are all producing, as is Potholes Reservoir in Grant County.

Other species

Fishing is picking up for whitefish on the Columbia River from Vernita Bridge to Priest Rapids Dam. The catch limit is 15 per day, and anglers are required to use a single-point hook no larger than a size 14.

WDFW has tentatively scheduled two multiday razor clam digs in November, including planned openings at Long Beach Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Digging begins even earlier at Twin Harbors. Final word on those digs will be announced after marine toxin tests are conducted about a week prior to each scheduled opening.


The modern firearm general elk hunting season and some special permit elk hunting run through Sunday in select game management units throughout the region. Late archery and muzzleloader elk hunting in select game management units runs Nov. 25-Dec. 8.

The late modern firearm general white-tailed deer hunting season runs Nov. 10-19 in northeast Game Management Units 105, 108, 111, 113, and 124 for any buck. GMUs 117 and 121 are also open for the late buck hunt, but are under a four-antler-point minimum rule. Seniors 65 and older may take a whitetail of either sex during this late season from Deer Area 1050, or antlerless only from Deer Areas 1060, 1070 and 1080. (See Game Pamphlet, page 39). Deer hunter check stations will be conducted the last weekend of the hunt. A late fall turkey season will run Nov. 20 through Dec. 15 in GMUs 105-142, 149-154 and 162-186. One turkey of either sex may be taken.

WDFW upland game bird specialist Joey McCanna reports good numbers of wild pheasants in the central and southeast districts of the region where many private landowners allow hunting through various WDFW access programs. Farm-raised rooster pheasants continue to be stocked periodically at several release sites throughout the region (details available at the Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program webpage).

WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman notes bird hunting has been good along the Tucannon River and throughout the wildlife area in Columbia County.

The waterfowl hunting season continues, with hope that the best is still ahead. So far, migrants have not shown in any numbers. Most northeast district duck hunting concentrates on the Pend Oreille River, mostly for diving ducks.

Contact Alan Liere by email at

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