September 6, 2013 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

If you haven’t registered already for the new Hunt by Reservation program, you’re missing a bet as a lot of new private land is now open to Washington hunters. All the Washington programs – Feel Free to Hunt, Register to Hunt, Hunting by Written Permission, and Hunt by Reservation – are detailed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting/hunting_ access/private_lands/. Area-by-area summaries of the hunting prospects throughout the state are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting/prospects/.

Braggin’ rights

My son, Matt, and I found a sweet spot in the Potholes Sand Dune area just west of Moses Lake and shot limits of mourning doves the evening of the opener. My 14-week-old Brittany spaniel, Lucy, surprised everyone – including my veteran yellow Lab, Jill – by sniffing out and retrieving three downed doves the older dog couldn’t find.

Heads up

Those planning to hunt in the central Cascade Mountains should be aware that recent wildfires have altered conditions in some areas, and have resulted in new fire restrictions. Updates on fire conditions are available on the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ website at href=”http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Pages/default.aspx”>http://www.dnr.wa.gov /Pages/default.aspx.

• The WDFW access site on the northeast shore of Sacheen Lake will be closed Sept. 9-30 to reconstruct the boat ramp. Sacheen Lake, which has rainbow, tiger, and eastern brook trout, remains open to fishing through Oct. 31.

Fly fishing

Coeur d’Alene cutts are stacking up in pools and a friend who fished there last weekend said it was “too easy.” A Parachute Adams is a good choice.

Nymphing is still most consistent for Big Spokane rainbow. Fish the riffle water early and late.

Medical Lake rainbows to 21 inches and browns to 16 are pleasing fly fishermen fishing deep with Wooly Buggers.

Trout and kokanee

Spangle, Wash., residents Phil and Debbie Clements fished Lake Roosevelt recently north of Two Rivers and took two limits of rainbow in two hours. They said the majority of the fish were chunky 15-16 inchers and hit surface flies tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.

WDFW Central District Fish Biologist Randy Osborne said if conditions are right, September fishing at lowland lakes in eastern Washington can almost rival the first weeks of the season. He says “Air and water temperature changes during this month can trigger late summer/early fall insect hatches, which can equate to some pretty productive fishing conditions all month long.”

Spokane County’s Downs Lake and Lincoln County’s Coffeepot Lake close at the end of the month but can yield good catches of rainbow as well as perch and crappie during September. Downs and Bonnie lakes have the largest perch in the region.

Clear Lake, near the city of Medical Lake, typically produces good catches of brown trout, crappie and largemouth bass as fall advances, and Sprague Lake offers good-size rainbows.

It is still tough (and getting tougher) to launch at Rock Lake, but trout fishing has been very good near Johnson Beach. Anglers are pulling Apex lures between 35 and 70 feet deep. Most of the fish are rainbow only 10-13 inches long, but both Rock Lake species of trout get a lot bigger.

Salmon, steelhead

Anglers on the Clearwater River from the mouth to the Memorial Bridge have been averaging about a fish every 17 hours, though a friend fishing there Wednesday caught two keeper steelhead. The fish-checker on Wednesday said she had recorded 43 boats with six keeper steelhead and one chinook. Most were fishing with a jig and shrimp under a bobber. Upstream from Memorial Bridge to the Orofino bridge, the average is about a steelhead every five hours. Fishing the Snake downstream of the Salmon is very slow.

There are still good numbers of Chinook around Chelan Falls and they are in good shape for this time of year. The fish are hitting Super Bait early in the day and Mag Lip Flatfish wrapped with tuna later on.

Summer run Chinook are open on the Wenatchee River above Dryden Dam and there are good numbers of them dispersed throughout this stretch. Anglers are beginning to shift their focus from the upper Columbia to White Bluffs, the Hanford Reach, Drano Lake and below Wanapum Dam. The biggest Chinook of the year are taken from these waters in the fall.

The bulk of the pink salmon run is making its way into fresh water. In the northern Puget Sound, the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Skagit and Snoqualmie rivers are hot for pinks. Don’t overlook the Nisqually River as almost one million pinks are expected back to this small river north of Olympia.

Spiny ray

Badger Lake in Spokane has become infested with largemouth and smallmouth bass and pumpkinseed sunfish. Anglers are encouraged to harvest limits of those fish that are of legal size (largemouth less than 12 inches except one over 17 inches; only one smallmouth over 14 inches.) No restrictions for sunfish.

Banks Lake bass fishing remains excellent, especially for smallmouth. Several 5-pound fish have been taken recently. Surface poppers are providing a lot of action near Steamboat Rock.

The Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and the Columbia River below McNary Dam are two of the region’s best walleye fisheries, and the bite always picks up in September. Good walleye fishing can be found almost anywhere on the Columbia, but the stretch from McNary downstream to Crow Butte is considered by many to be Washington’s crown jewel walleye fishery for large fish. Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been decent for most of the summer, and with the cooling weather there is improved success.

Good perch catches are being made now at Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee where there is a 25-fish limit. Another good perch destination is Blue Lake north of Soap Lake. Those perch are large and plentiful and the lake remains open until Sept. 30.

Closer to home, the perch bite on Lake Spokane (Long Lake) always heats up in September. Anglers are finding schools of 8-10-inch fish in Willow Bay and across the lake from there along the weed line. Get as close to an edge as possible in 12-20 feet of water. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes in a spot if there is no action.

Pike fishing is still slow at Lake Coeur d’Alene, and those in the Chain Lakes, while more cooperative, are generally smaller. Throw spinnerbaits off the weed lines and under the pads. Once the water cools a little more, larger fish move back into the shallower water and are easier to catch.

Hunting

An early Canada goose hunt is open Sept. 10-15 in Goose Management Areas 1, 2A, and 3, and Sept. 14-15 in Goose Management Areas 4 and 5.

In Washington, archery hunts for deer began around the state Sept. 1, when hunting seasons also opened for forest grouse, mourning dove, cottontail rabbit, and snowshoe hare. Grouse hunters reported lots of dust and average to good success in Stevens, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties. Forest grouse hunting is usually productive in both the Okanogan and Chelan districts. Biologists say forest grouse prospects should be similar to last year, with best bets on Forest Service lands and on WDFW’s Sinlahekin and Methow Wildlife Areas. Chelan County has a relatively limited road system within grouse habitat, so hunters can increase their chances by hunting on foot, away from roads and most other hunters.

Dove numbers were high in the Columbia Basin and in Whitman County near the Snake River for the Sept. 1 opener. Recent storms would normally send them packing, but as long as nighttime temperatures remain high, they should stick around a little longer despite shooting pressure. Good dove hunting reports come from the vicinity of the Touchet and Walla Walla rivers and also near Brewster in the Yakima Valley.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus