June 7, 2013 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
Tip of the week

Most fly fishermen are quick to change patterns when fish don’t cooperate, but it often makes more sense to change the character of the fly. One method of doing this is to rough it up with a hard-bristle toothbrush, or even clip off one wing or otherwise make the fly look wounded.

Braggin’ rights

For the second year in a row, two locations managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District made the Bassmaster Magazine Top-100 list of best places to fish for bass. Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho was 26th and the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington was ranked 21st.


The 2013 return of adult upriver spring salmon to the mouth of the Columbia River should total about 107,500 fish, according to a new run-size forecast produced by federal, state and tribal fisheries experts. That updated estimate is down from a preseason forecast of 141,400. While the adult counts are relatively low as compared to recent year, the “jack” return so far has been robust, the third-highest dating back to 1980.

Heads up

• Anglers are invited to join an online chat with Idaho Department of Fish and Game fisheries and hatchery staff, along with enforcement officers, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Ask questions, receive feedback, and learn more about fishing in Idaho. Participants may also respond to fisheries-related polls and surveys, and see the results in real time. Go to Fish and Game’s home page at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and look for the chat link.

• Catfishing remains strong in the Palouse River. To get to the best spot, though, boaters must cross a big sandbar in shallow water right after exiting the Snake. Craig Dowdy of Y.J. Guide Service says most boaters’ instincts tell them to slow down when they hit the flat, but you’re better off to stay on plane until you’re over it. A lot of anglers have been stuck there.

• WDFW fish-hatchery crews will be stocking 10,000 triploid rainbow trout in 20 lakes just before Father’s Day weekend, June 15-16. In the Eastern Region, Medical Lake will receive 1,250 triploids and Williams Lake will receive 400. Pend Oreille County’s Diamond Lake will receive 600.

Trout and kokanee

A few hardy anglers have braved nighttime temperatures and are catching kokanee by jigging Glo hooks and maggots on the northeast side in about 30 feet of water.

West Medical remains good for trollers and still-fishermen with boats, but there are several spots on the lake where a bank angler can also do well throwing bait. The northwest shoreline near the Washington State Veterans Cemetery is usually good.

Fishing is improving at some of the northeast Washington lakes. In Stevens County, the Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes – Gillette, Heritage, Sherry, and Thomas – are providing catches, as are Pend Oreille County’s Skookum and Yocum lakes and many others at higher elevation. Northeast lakes that produced well on the April opener continue to see action, including Cedar, Mudgett, Rocky, Starvation, and Waitts lakes in Stevens County; Diamond Lake in Pend Oreille County; and Ellen Lake in Ferry County.

Waitts Lake, particularly, has seen excellent fishing for small ’bows and larger browns.

The Tucannon River impoundments – Big Four, Blue, Curl, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes – continue to be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout and are still providing lots of catches, said WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman.

Okanogan County lakes such as Spectacle, Wannacut, Pearrygin, and Conconully lakes and Conconully Reservoir, are all providing good fishing for rainbow. Selective-gear waters, such as Big Twin, Blue (Sinlahekin) and Big Green lakes are also good for rainbow. Kokanee are being caught in Palmer, Bonaparte, and Patterson lakes.

Steelhead and salmon

The ocean salmon season opens with a hatchery chinook selective fishery June 8 in Marine Areas 1 and 2 and June 22 in Marine Areas 3 and 4. The selective fishery runs through June 21 in Marine Area 1, June 22 in Marine Area 2 and June 28 in Marine Areas 3 and 4, or until a coastwide quota of 8,000 hatchery chinook are retained. Fishing for summer chinook and sockeye salmon opens on the Columbia River from the Megler Astoria Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam on June 16. On June 22, selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon begin off the coast of La Push and Neah Bay in Marine Areas 3 and 4.

This is a good time to try for hatchery spring chinook salmon from the Icicle River in Chelan County.

Effective today, part of the Little Salmon River has been reopened for chinook fishing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only.

Early fishing has been slow, but more fish are moving into the system. Most bank anglers use herring and egg clusters, while boat anglers use a variety of plugs and Spin-n-Glo setups in conjunction with bait.

Spring chinook fishing is currently open on two sections of the Yakima River where cooler weather has moderated flows and improved fishing prospects. That should continue as long as hot weather doesn’t bring on rapid snow melt. In the lower Yakima River, the fishery will likely remain open through June 30 from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser. The upper river – from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the railroad bridge below Roza Dam – is expected to remain open through July 15.

Spiny ray

Anglers are taking large stringers of decent-sized perch from Jump-Off Joe Lake. Nearby Waitts Lake also has a good perch population.

Try the shore straight across from the public access between the willow clumps.

Fan Lake has some nice trout in it, but it also has some very respectable largemouth. They are hitting plastics. Nearly every local lake holding largemouth has turned on the last two weeks.

Eloika Lake perch are cooperative but on the small side. The largemouth bass fishery, however, is at its peak.

Other good perch destinations with larger perch are Silver, Bonnie, Downs, Long, Diamond and Potholes Reservoir in Washington and Fernan, Hauser, Pend Oreille, Round, Jewel, Kelso and Granite in Idaho.

It has been six years since Sprague was rehabilitated – long enough for the bluegill to grow 8 inches. There have been no bluegill reports, however, but the bass fishing is phenomenal.

Friends fishing the edges of fast water below the dam at Northport had a couple decent days of walleye fishing recently. They expect it to improve.

Idaho’s Hayden Lake largemouth are hitting dark-colored Senkos and lizards. The fish appear to be in different spawning phases from pre to post. The best fishing has been in about 9 feet of water in the north arm.

The Banks Lake bass bite tailed off last week when the weather cooled, but warmer days have put them back on their beds and significantly enhanced the bite.

Warm-water fish species are providing catches in Okanogan County lakes. Patterson and Palmer lakes can be good for perch and Leader Lake can be good for bluegill and crappie.

Other species

Shad are beginning to make their spawning run in the Columbia River. The total count through Saturday was 468,000 and the run hasn’t even peaked. Good fishing has been near Bonneville Dam. Shad darts, Swedish Pimples and Dick Nite spoons are popular. Usually, something with red on it is preferred.

Yakima and Walla Walla River anglers are finding channel cats near or after dark. On the Yakima, try below Horn Rapids Dam. The deep holes hold fish during the day, but they come into shallow water at night and will take gobs of nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or ripe cut bait. The catfish typically run 2-8 pounds but can easily weigh twice that.


Spring turkey hunting ended May 31, and unless you are planning to hunt turkeys this fall, it’s time to report spring turkey hunting activity.

Reports are required, whether turkeys were harvested or not. Reports may be filed toll free at (877) 945-3492 or online by going to the WDFW web page.

Varmint shooters are targeting rock chucks now in Spokane, Whitman and Lincoln counties.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmaliere@yahoo.com

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