September 13, 2013 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

Some of the best fishing now for both salmon and steelhead is at the mouth of tributaries where the fish hold up before heading upstream. Chinook salmon tend to run fairly deep, so anglers generally do best fishing about 40 to 50 feet down.

Braggin’ rights

A total of 63,870 adult fall chinook were counted at Bonneville Dam Monday. It smashed the previous record set just last Saturday (48,710). The record before that was 45,884 fish on Sept. 11, 2003.

Heads up

Water levels at Dworshak Reservoir are dropping about a foot a day as outflows are used to help keep downstream river temperatures cool for migrating salmon and steelhead. With this mind, boaters accessing mini-camps along the reservoir should be sure to leave extra line when tying off their vessels. The boat ramps at Big Eddy, Bruce’s Eddy 1, Dent Acres Park and Freeman Creek (Dworshak State Park) currently provide access to the reservoir; however some ramps may become unusable as reservoir levels continue to fall. For updated water level and boat ramp information, call (800) 321-3198 or go online to www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/ nww/rreports.htm.

• Beginning Monday, recreational boaters can lock past dams on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers almost any time during daylight hours.

• Shooting-hours charts have been eliminated from the Idaho rule book this year. To simplify things, shooting hours will be from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. The exact times can be found on the Internet at: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs /RS_OneDay.php or http://www.accuweather.com.

To learn more about fishing or hunting and local public lands for pursuing those sports, stop by for a free afternoon fair on Sept. 28 from 1-5 p.m. at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Eastern Regional office grounds at 2315 N. Discovery Place in Spokane Valley. Featured will be “virtual reality” fishing and hunting games, fishing-equipment rigging and line-casting demonstrations, and WDFW information about Hunter Education, Fish Washington, and Wildlife Area and Water Access Site programs. There will also be introductions to archery, bird-hunting dogs, and other outdoor skills, along with fish cleaning and preparation demonstrations.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee are still putting on weight and night fishing remains decent to good in 34 feet of water. Take a jacket.

Rock Lake has been more erratic than it was last week, but it is still possible to land a mixed limit of rainbow and browns to 20 inches. Most fish are caught relatively deep by trollers. Start at 40 feet.

Palmer Lake kokanee running 12-13 inches are hitting small corn-tipped red spinners 16-18 inches behind a 000 dodger at about 40 feet.

Trout fishing at eastern Washington’s put-and-take lakes is picking up again. Williams, West Medical, Clear, Fish and Fishtrap will all improve as nighttime temperatures drop.

Salmon and steelhead

Friends fishing at the confluence of the Clearwater say a few steelhead and chinook are being caught by both still-fishermen and trollers. Although they only caught one small chinook trolling on Tuesday, two 10-pound keeper chinook and two wild steelhead were caught Wednesday under a bobber and a jig tipped with shrimp. When the fish holed up below Lower Granite decide to move, this could be an epic year at the confluence for salmon fishermen. About 1,000 passed on Wednesday.

The fall fishery in the Yakima River has started out slow. WDFW staff interviewed 13 anglers this past week. One adult chinook was caught and released.

Because summer chinook returns to the Wenatchee River are predicted to be in excess of spawning escapement needs, anglers will be able to fish for and retain adipose fin-clipped summer chinook salmon (adult or jack) in an additional section of the Wenatchee River through Sept. 30, specifically from the Highway 2 bridge in Leavenworth upstream to the Icicle River Road bridge.

The catch-and-release fishery in the upper Wind River was scheduled to be open for steelhead Sept. 16 through Nov. 30, but it will remain closed because escapement quotas have not been met. The lower Wind River below Shipherd Falls will remain open as listed in the 2013-14 Washington Sport Fishing Rules.

Fall chinook fishing is fair to excellent on the Columbia River from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam. Coho fishing is fair to good at Buoy 10.

Drano Lake boat anglers are catching some fall chinook and steelhead. Anglers with a two-pole endorsement may use both there beginning Sunday. The Hanford Reach is heating up quickly for chinook.

Spiny ray

Largemouth are hitting top-water offerings in the sand dunes at Potholes Reservoir. Spinnerbaits are also good, but a popper or frog on top is a lot more fun. All area lakes – such as Silver, Hayden, Coeur d’Alene, Eloika, Newman and Long – are improving daily for largemouth.

Lake Coeur d’ Alene and the Chain Lakes are giving up a few pike, but nothing too big yet. The winter “fattening-up mode” should begin soon.

Other species

WDFW coastal shellfish manager, Dan Ayres, said tests conducted over the summer point to another year of strong razor clam populations and digging opportunities. During the 2012-13 season, clam diggers harvested 6.1 million razor clams, the highest number in 15 years. They averaged 14.5 clams per day, just shy of the 15-clam legal limit.

Hunting

A quick trip back to the Moses Lake sand dunes for doves on Monday was pretty much fruitless as only a fraction of the opening-day numbers were flying.

Grouse hunters in the Idaho Panhandle as well as those north of Spokane report seeing several good-sized broods of ruffs down low and decent numbers of dusky grouse up high.

Idaho Fish and Game will open the 100-yard shooting range at Farragut State Park every Saturday during September and October from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. so hunters can sight in rifles. A special grand opening will be held Sept. 21 when rifles may be sighted in for free; the normal range fee is $5. Handguns are not permitted at this time and hearing protection is not provided. Two free paper targets will be provided to each shooter while supplies last. Individuals under 18 years of age must be accompanied and supervised by an adult. Access to the range is through Farragut State Park, and participants must be in possession of an annual Idaho State Park pass or pay the $5 daily use fee upon entering the park.

A youth-only waterfowl and upland bird hunt runs Sept. 21-22 statewide in Washington. To participate, hunters must be 15 years old or younger and be accompanied by an adult who is not hunting. “We should have plenty of local ducks available in September, followed by a near-record number of birds expected from the north later this year,” said Dave Ware, statewide game manager for WDFW.

Idaho also has an early youth waterfowl hunt. The two-day hunt will be Sept. 28 and 29 for licensed youths aged 10 to 15.

Washington hunters 65 years or older may go afield for pheasants during a special senior hunt Sept. 23-27. In Western Washington, hunters of all ages can hunt pheasants beginning Sept. 28.

The Idaho Chukar, gray partridge and quail seasons open Sept. 21 and run through Jan. 31. Numbers appear to be up for all species.

The Idaho general fall turkey season will open in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions on Sunday. For specific hunts check the turkey rules brochure at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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