September 14, 2012 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

Sprague Lake fishing guru Bill Blosser of Spokane said Sprague has been “really terrific” the last two weeks. Dunking worms and marshmallows in 13-14 feet of water between the island and Four Seasons Resort, Blosser and friends have consistently boated limits of fat rainbow, including many more than 20 inches. Blosser said even the small ones are 15 inches long.

Braggin’ rights

Washington State was outstanding in the latest Lunge Log, the international “brag board” where Muskies Inc. members in North America post their longest catches (and releases). No. 1 on the MuskiesInc.org “Longest Releases” for 2012 is a 46-incher from Merwin Reservoir in Cowlitz County. In second place was a 45.5-incher hooked at Silver Lake in Spokane County. Those two lakes and Washington’s Mayfield, Tapps and Curlew produced nine of the top 25 tiger muskies recorded by Muskies Inc. across North America this year.

Overheard

Chinook catch rates were excellent this year at Buoy 10. That means a strong run is heading for the Hanford Reach. Fish are being found throughout the system lying in the deep holes.

Although predictions are calling for the worst steelhead run since 1999, fishing on the lower Columbia is the best anyone can remember.

Heads up

• North-central Washington residents will have an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues with WDFW Deputy Director Joe Stohr and regional field staff in a roundtable-style meeting on Sept. 25 in Brewster from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Cove Recreation building, 508 W. Cliff Ave.

• Saturday and Sunday will see the annual MarDon Resort Dock Fishing Tournament and the Old Farts & Family Tournament at Potholes Reservoir in Grant County. Call the resort at (509) 346-2651 for registration and more information.

• Idaho Fish and Game will host a free sight-in day Sept. 23 at the Southeast Idaho Practical Shooters range. Four time slots are available beginning at 10 a.m. and going until 2 p.m. Space is limited and walk-ins will not be accepted. Info: James Brower (208) 525-7290 or through the Idaho Relay Service at (800) 377-3529.

Fly fishing

Amber Lake usually starts to get good this time of year, but reports indicate the fish are deep and not particularly aggressive. Those catching cutthroat say a green pattern works best.

Surface flies and nymph patterns are enticing Methow River trout now that the vinyl hatch has thinned out.

This is the time for some spectacular dry fly fishing in the upper Stehekin Valley, a great time for catching voracious wild fish on dry flies. Stimulator and Hopper patterns in sizes 8-12 are best. Fish are in the seams between walking-speed current and slack water, in depths from knee to chest deep.

Salmon and steelhead

There are enough chinook and steelhead in the Snake River system to provide decent fishing. Shrimp and bobber anglers at the Clearwater confluence are putting fish in the boat, but the bite is erratic. Friends fished identical gear from two boats anchored side-by-side on Wednesday. One boat caught six fish and the other was skunked.

Steelhead and chinook anglers are beginning to catch a few fish off the wall at Little Goose Dam and around the mouth of the Tucannon River.

Summer run chinook are providing some decent fishing on the Wenatchee River this week. Salmon anglers on the Yakima River were largely unsuccessful as of midweek, but chinook are moving into the system and fishing should pick up soon.

The fall chinook run is just getting started at Wells Dam. Anglers are hopeful that with dam maintenance complete, water levels will remain steady enough to provide easier, less hazardous fishing than what was experienced during the summer run.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt trout action seems to come in spurts with decent action from Spring Canyon to Keller. The San Poil Arm has probably been best, particularly if the wind is blowing. Troll Frisky Jenny flies tipped with worm behind a dodger between 25-35 feet down and switch to an Apex if the bite doesn’t materialize. Most fish caught average 14 inches, but fish to 22 inches are not uncommon.

Williams Lake has been the most consistent put-and-take lake all season, and the cool weather has reinvigorated the bite. Tree No. 11, about 25 yards from shore, is always a good place to start.

Rainbow trout action continues to produce good numbers of 3- to 4-pound fish in Grant County at the mouth of Lind Coulee and in front of Medicare Beach. A trolled Canadian Wonder or Needlefish account for many of the fish.

Myron and Ann Ingebo fished with friends on Koocanusa Lake recently, catching 83 kokanee averaging 11 inches and losing about the same number. They said it was the best fishing they’d seen in 25 years at the big Montana reservoir.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is still good all over the lake. Loon Lake kokes are beginning to turn, but are still in good shape and still biting. Trolling has picked up as low temperatures discourage night fishing.

Spiny ray

Perch anglers are loading up at area lakes such as Long, Eloika, Jump-Off Joe, Silver, Waitts, Downs, Cocolalla, Fernan and Hauser.

Potholes walleye, which have been off the bite all summer, are beginning to cooperate again, but those in Banks and Roosevelt aren’t.

Topwater bass fishing with Rebel Pop-R and many other surface lures are providing anglers with 30-bass outings along the rockpiles on the south end of Potholes Reservoir. The Lind Coulee arm can produce big smallmouth this time of year.

Hunting

The Idaho chukar, gray partridge and quail seasons begin Saturday. Populations of all are expected to be near or slightly above those of last year. Anglers in Hells Canyon are seeing a lot of chukars close to the river. The Washington quail season opens Oct.1.

There will be a special pheasant hunting opportunity for Washington hunters 65 years of age or older from Sept. 24-28. Area-by-area summaries of the hunting prospects throughout Washington are available on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/.

Idaho hunters applying for a controlled hunt can help the fight against poaching simply by checking the “Yes” box on the hunt application. This allows $1 of the application fee to go toward the Citizens Against Poaching program

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is sponsoring two mentored youth hunts in the Upper Snake Region this year – one waterfowl and one pheasant hunt. The waterfowl hunt will be Sept. 29, at the Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area. The pheasant hunt will be Oct. 6, at the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area north of Roberts. Both events are meant to provide opportunities for first-time youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 15 that do not have a mentor to take them hunting. Fish and Game will provide mentors and all equipment, including firearms and waders. Youths will be required to purchase a youth hunting license, which requires previous completion of a hunter education course. Waterfowl hunters must also buy a migratory bird permit in advance, but a Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required for youth under 16.

In Washington, a youth-only hunt for ducks, geese, pheasant and other game birds runs Sept. 22-23 statewide. To participate, hunters must be 15 years old or younger and be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting.

An early Canada goose hunt is under way through Saturday in Goose Management Areas 1 and 3. Closer to home, goose management areas 4 and 5 are open for goose hunting today and Saturday only with a three-bird limit.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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