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Lake PO Club preps for Spring Derby, Gerrard strain fundraiser

FISHNG – The Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club's 68th annual Spring Derby will kick off with a pin auction fundraiser Friday (April 26), 7 p.m., April 26 at the Sandpoint Elks Club.

Fishing runs Saturday through May 5 with a payout of more than $15,000, including $2,500 for the top rainbow.

The club is raising money to reintroduce pure-strain Gerrard rainbows to the lake.

Derby tickets cost $40; Youths age 13 and under free.

Info: (509) 209-3608; rmilliken2004@yahoo.com; (509) 209-3608.

Read on for details about the club's Gerrard rainbow revival plan.

Region’s steelheading briefly subdued by rain

FISHING — Rain has fouled most of the region's rivers, setting anglers back a bit until the waters clear.

But the fish were there over the weekend before the flows picked up, and there will still be plenty of fish around when flows ease.

The exception is the Salmon River near Riggins, which was running at ideal flows and 43 degrees this morning, says Amy Sinclair, riverescape@frontier.com, of Exodus River Expeditions.

Here's a weekend Grande Ronde river drift boat report from angler Jeff Holmes:

15 takedowns for 6 fish Saturday, 5 wild. Another fish, probably a big wild one, fried my drag and broke me off! Pretty good action on 8-pound average fish. Hatchery fish was a nice 8 pounder, too.

Dying spring chinook are VERY. Numerous, much more so than in past. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists) say there may be a season soon.

Meanwhile, at the Clearwater Snake River Steelhead Derby, only 28 steelhead were caught today, Day 4 of the event that runs through Nov. 24.  That's down from 62 on Saturday, the first day of the event, 50 fish weighed on Sunday and 35 fish on Monday.

By the way, angler Robert Bass of Deer Park, continues to be a regular fixture at the top of the daily money winners — as he has for years. He's already weighed-in two steelhead over 18 pounds. Bass is a steelheading stud. 
  

11-pound rainbow wins OktoberFish derby at Pend Oreille

FISHING — Mike Perry of Garfield Bay topped the field of 105 anglers last weekend to win the the two-day Bayview OktoberFish Derby on Lake Pend Oreille.

Perry landed a rainbow trout weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces to top the second place fish weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces caught by Rick McCorkle of Athol.  Rory Bergere of Spoakne placed third with a 9 pound, 6 ounce rainbow.

Ken Olson of Coeur d’Alene won the prize offered for catching the most mackinaw with 11 fish totaling 32 pounds.

Anglers can cash in at Pend Oreille’s Pikepalooza

FISHING CONTESTS — Sign-up is underway for the season’s second Pikepalooza fishing derby on the Pend Oreille River, Friday through next Sunday, sponsored by the Kalispel Tribe.

Prizes up to $1,000 are being offered in a variety of categories to make the contest interesting to anglers of all ages. Categories include most fish, longest fish, total length of catch, smallest fish and tagged fish.

In addition, each fish caught gives a participant a ticket for raffle drawings.

During the first event June 29-July 1, about 80 anglers endured high water and windy conditions to compete catch 81 northern pike and compete for $3,000 in cash prizes and more than $500 in raffle prizes.

  • Josh Whitney won $1,000 for catching the most northern pike —14.
  • Dale Smith won $500 for catching the largest pike of the derby — 46.4 inches long.

There’s no entry fee, but participants must pre-register before they start fishing. Online registration closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Anglers can register on site at check stations.

The event includes the river from the Idaho state line to the Boundary Dam forebay.

Even though most of the non-native pike were gillnetted out of the Box Canyon Reservoir portion of the river this spring, pike are still available to be caught and new fish are likely coming downstream from Montana and Idaho.

Info: www.kalispeltribe.com/northern-pike.

Pikepalooza proves Pend Oreille River still holds whoppers

FISHING — The gillnets didn't get all the northern pike in the Pend Oreille River.

This spring, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department and Kalispel Tribe used gillnets to remove about 87 percent of the non-native northern pike in the Box Canyon section of the river downstream from Newport. (See story)

But results from the June 29-July 1 Pikepalooza organized by the Kalispel Tribe indicate that serious anglers not only can catch a number of northern pike in the river on an outing, they also can catch some whoppers.

  • Josh Whitney won a whopping $1,000 for catching the most northern pike — 14 — during the tournament.
  • Dale Smith won $500 for catching the largest pike of the derby — 46.4 inches long!

The tribe reports that 138 anglers pre-registered and an additional 70 anglers signed up on site.

But water and weather conditions limited participation to about 80 anglers who turned out to compete for $3,000 in cash prizes and more than $500 in raffle prizes.

Although anglers faced tough fishing conditions over the weekend including high water, wake restrictions, closed boat launches, and hit-and-miss weather, the 80 anglers harvested 81 northern pike, reports Jason Connor, the Tribe's fisheries biologist.

  • 33 people registered at least one pike.
  • Pike from 286 mm (11.25”) to 1178 mm (46.4”) were harvested with the majority (74%) being 1-2 year olds less than 18 inches. 
  • No tagged pike were caught, so prizes will roll over to the next Pikepalooza event set for Aug. 3-5.

Read on for the complete list of prize winners.

Big cash prizes await PO River anglers in PikePalooza

FISHING  – Sign-up is underway for the Pike Palooza fishing derby on the Pend Oreille River, June 29-July 1, sponsored by the Kalispel Tribe.

Prizes up to $1,000 are being offered in a variety of categories to make the contest interesting to anglers of all ages. Categories include most fish, longest fish, total length of catch, smallest fish and tagged fish.

In addition, each fish caught give a participant a ticket for raffle drawings.

There’s no entry fee, but participants must pre-register before they start fishing. Online registration closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday (June 27). Anglers can register on site at check stations.

The event includes the river from the Idaho state line to the Boundary Dam forebay. 

Even though most of the non-native pike were gillnetted out of the Box Canyon Reservoir portion of the river this spring, pike are still available to be caught and new fish are likely coming downstream from Montana and Idaho.

If an angler catches a Washington state record northern — a long shot, agreed — a professional taxidermist will produce a replica of the fish for the contestant.

Info:  www.kalispeltribe.com/northern-pike.

  • A second PikePalooza is set for Aug. 3-5.

Moon Light Catfish Tournament near Tri-Cities

FISHING — The Richland Rod and Gun Club is sponsoring a Moon Light Catfish Tournament starting at 7:30 p.m. on June 1 and ending at the 2 p.m. weigh-in on June 2.

Apparently the tourney organizers are catfishermen, who know that night isn't the most convenient time to for a contest, but it's the best time to catch catfish.

The event helps pay for fish to be stocked into the Kids Fishing Pond in Columbia Park.

Contest winners will also be able to win cash prizes for the contestant with the largest catfish and most total weight (without largest fish).

Sign-up starts at  5  p.m. June 1 at Columbia Point Gazebo No. 4.

Contestants can fish per WDFW rules/regulations in any waters found in Benton, Franklin, or Walla Walla Counties.

Cabela’s can’t confirm CdA fish tagged for sweepstakes

FISHING — A day of fishing is never wasted, but perhaps there was no reason for anglers to get their hopes too high for catching a $1 million fish since the weekend in Lake Coeur d'Alene. At least not yet.

On Friday, Cabela's announced the Saturday opening of a “Wanna Go Fishing for Millions?” promotion involving tagged fish in 19 states including Lake Coeur d'Alene in North Idaho and Sprague and Potholes in Eastern Washington.

However, Cabela's officials would not confirm this afternoon that any fish had been caught, tagged and released in Lake Coeur d'Alene.

“I can assure you a number of fish are going to be tagged now or in the next day or two,” said Ron Brekhus, general manager of the Post Falls store.

Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager, said he could not confirm that any fish had been tagged. However, he said the agency had received a request this week to help Cabela's tag some smallmouth bass.

John Whalen, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department regional fisheries manager said state fisheries biologists had inserted Cabela's tags into rainbows and largemouth bass last week in Sprague Lake and Potholes Reservoir.

More than 60,000 people have registered online to participate in trying to catch about 1,000 tagged fish in 67 waters in 19 states for prizes.

The goal is to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors, Cabela's officials said.

Register online to qualify for the prizes should you catch a tagged fish. Read on for more details.

Meantime, Cabela's officials said they would contact me to let you know when they could confirm that tagged fish have been released in Lake Coeur d'Alene.