Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Three reasons to go fishing at Sprague Lake

FISHING — Here are three graphic reminders (above) of why some anglers prefer fishing at  1,876-acre Sprague Lake, which straddles the Lincoln-Adams county line. 

The photos were snapped last week by Scott Haugen of Four Seasons Campground and Resort. May and June are considered prime time for catching rainbows that plump up fast in this productive lake.

"Last week-end was fantastic still fishing in the boats, out in the middle between our resort and the big island," he said. "Several boats with limits, with lots of 3-4 pound rainbows."

Sprague also holds largemouth bass that grow to very pleasing sizes.

Can Sprague Lake steelhead windfall result in trout?

FISHING — We'll know by fall if the attempt to salvage court-settlement-doomed steelhead smolts by stocking them in Sprague Lake will be good for fishermen — or whether the 369,000 million smolts being stocked will simply be dying and feeding bass, gulls, cormorants and pelicans.

It's a million-dollar question. Keep your fingers crossed.

Ice sailors get wild, sketchy ride on Sprague Lake

WINTER SPORTS — Take this as an ice fishing report or an ice sailing report.  Either way, Sprague Lake is pretty much off limits until the next good freeze.

Dave Farmer of Revival Lighting has been bummed to have such great ice conditions recently with little wind to power his ice sailing rig. When the winds arrived last weekend, the ice was on its way out.  But Farmer let it rip anyway.

Read on for more photos and his narrative of last week's action. Soak in the feeling of the speed and the thrill, knowing that one unlucky move could put him on the wrong side of the ice.

Sprague Lake surface shines for ice sailors

WINTER SPORTS — Sprague Lake set up some perfectly slick, shiny, hard, clear ice for skaters and the area's rarest breed of sailors.  

Dave Farmer of Revival Lighting is an ice sailor who rallied up catsailing partner Frank Caccavo and declared Saturday "opening day" of their season in the following report:

7 am, and the thermo reads out a nice round number, 0 degrees F, the low point in this week of Arctic air sittin' on the Inland Empire.  Just enough to finally skim over the shallower lakes in my neighborhood.  Wind predicted, maybe 15 out of the NNE.  I still need to load up, and attend to a task or two on the boat trailer, slow work in these temps! 
Frank and I roll up to Sprague Lake just before noon, under a cloudless sky, greeted by some of the sweetest ice we've ever seen in these few year of pursuing this bizarre hobby.  The breeze is less than predicted, but that makes the low temps tolerable, and this slick surface promises easy gliding.  We've picked up an assistant, a local pilot and skydiver who recognized the contraption atop Frank's Subaru as an iceboat, and pulled him over to inquire.  He helps us rig the two craft, and we launch into light air and glorious sunshine!
For the first time, I've got the runner alignment spot on right out of the box, and with an ever increasing sensitivity to my machine, I can coax her up near 30 mph in the maybe 10 mph puffs, and by studying the telltales and steering lightly, I can keep rolling in the lulls.  So rewarding to be able to see progress in my ability to keep her powered up when there's nearly no pressure.
We carefully expand our terrain, watching for thin ice, and even a couple of holes of open water.   The surface finally froze over when the winds we've had all week finally subsided enough to let it solidify, so there are rough patches separating  magnificent expanses of hard, hard plate so clear you can see bottom 10 feet down.
The precious sun allows us extended rides, with few breaks for adjustments, feeding, and warming up.  The breeze diminshes as the sun seeks the horizon, but I stay for the show, and the ever optimistic hope the the wind might wind up for just one more ride, such is the addiction.  I  tear down in the afterglow, and motor home with that ever sought ofter inner smile.  Season on!

Warm water no deterrent to catching Sprague Lake bass

FISHING — Justin Davis of Richland landed this largemouth bass — 3.6 pounds, 17.5 inches long — on Saturday while fishing at Sprague Lake.

Scott Haugen of Four Seasons Campground said Davis caught the lunker in 5 feet of 75-degree water at 10 a.m. using a modified Snag Proof Frog with a Sinister Wacky Worm.

Good reports about the size and quality of Sprague's largemouths are common.

Angler wins Sprague Lake derby with 6-pound rainbow

FISHING — Josh Williams of Spokane won $500 in gift cards and merchandise with the 6-pound 1-ounce rainbow he caught Saturday during the Sprague Lake Trout Derby. The fish measured 24.5 inches long.

Second, $250: Randy Williams of Spokane with a trout weighing 4 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches.

Third, $100: Kathy Armstrong of Bayview, Idaho, with a trout weighing 4 pounds  3 ounces and measuring  22.5 inches.

Sprague trout, bass bending rods as free fishing day looms


FISHING — Reports of good catches of largemouth bass at Sprague Lake keep coming in, and some lunker rainbows also are showing to provide incentive for the June 8 Sprague Lake Trout Derby.

The photos posted here from Four Seasons Campground and Resort show a 5.3-pound rainbow caught off the resort dock and a 5.8-pound largemouth caught with a Rapala cast to shore from a boat over the holiday weekend.

Remember, the June 8 Sprague Lake derby falls on Free Fishing Weekend in Washington: No fishing licenses required.

Idaho has a single Free Fishing Day set for June 8.

Montana's Free Fishing Weekend is set for June 15-15, including Father's Day.

Sprague Lake Trout Derby has $900 in prizes

FISHING — More than $900 in prizes is waiting for anglers who catch the biggest fish and luck out in the raffles at the 2013 Sprague Lake Trout Derby on June 8.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids under 17. No fishing license is required since it’s Washington’s Free Fishing Weekend.

Tickets will be available the day of the derby at the two resorts on the lake:

The Main Derby Station and weigh-in site will be situated just outside Sprague Lake Resort.

Both resorts offer camping, boat rentals, boat launching, docks and tackle.

More info: (509) 259-7060.

Ice fishing conditions as good as they get

FISHING — Anglers who thrive on cutting a hole in the ice to drop a line were in a golden moment today.

The ice was a half-foot thick at Silver and Sprague Lakes today as I cruised around; winds were calm and the sunshine was brilliant, making temps in the teens quite pleasant.

One angler at Sprague said he wished the ice was not quite so thick because it was wearing him out augering holes as he tried to find fish.

The fishing wasn't exactly fast and furious at the two lakes I checked on my way out and back from quail hunting.  Anglers at Silver Lake had a few perch. I checked four of the six anglers on Sprague Lake at 2:30 p.m. and they had no fish.

"But what the hay," one angler said. "It's great to be out here."

Sprague Lake lunker shows too late for derby

FISHING — Todd Young of Spokane used PowerBait to catch this 27-inch rainbow weighing 6.8 pounds at Sprague Lake on Saturday.

Had Young caught the fish one week earlier, he would have easily won $500 in prizes offered for the biggest fish in the Sprague Lake Trout Derby, reports Scott Haugen at Four Seasons Campground and Resort.

The 202 anglers entered in the derby weighed in a bunch of fish in the 4-pound range, and the three top fish were separated by only 1 ounce, with the winner coming in at 4 pounds 9 ounces 

Anglers endure wind, rain to catch lunkers in Sprague Trout Derby

FISHING — A mere ounce separated the top three rainbows caught Saturday in the first Sprague Lake Trout Derby.

Despite a nasty day of wind and rain, 202 anglers participated. Many anglers went home with fish, but the one with the largest trout also bagged prizes and gift cards totaling $500.

While KHQ TV weatherman Dave Law didn't win, he should at least get a prize for knowing how to present a 4-pound 5-ounce rainbow to the camera (above).

Meanwhile, the winners are pictured at left:

  • Clinton Hartman of Lamont, Wash., was the winner with a rainbow trout that weighed 4 pounds 9 ounces and measuring 21 1/2 inches long.
  • The runnerup was Marrissa Young (left) of Cheney, winning $100 in prizes with a trout measuring 22 inches long and weighing 4 pounds 8 1/2 ounces.
  • Victoria Huston of Coeur d' Alene (right) came in third and $50 in prizes with a 22 3/4-inch long rainbow that weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces.

"We weighed in a lot of fish in the 4-pound range," said Dave Broxson, derby organizer with the Sprague Lake User Group.

The wind was so bad on the 1,840-acre lake, the Sheriff's marine patrol pulled off the water at noon because they couldn't make any contacts with boaters on the lake, said Scott Haugen at Four Season's Campground Resort.

"But people just kept fishing," he said, noting that he snapped Law's photo as the weatherman tied up his boat briefly at the resort docks as he fished up the lake. "Most of the rainbows were in the 3- to 4-pound range. I weighed in one over 5 pounds before the derby.  I also had a fisherman who caught a largemouth bass over 17 inches long."

"We had a wonderful turnout and hope it can get better next year," Broxson said.

Big is the word for Saturday’s Sprague Lake Trout Derby

FISHING — A prize totaling $500 awaits the angler who catches the biggest trout Saturday (June 9) during the first Sprague Lake Trout Derby.

Fishermen have boated some huge rainbows out of the 1,840-acre lake since it was rehabilitated in 2007. The derby gives them a chance to cash in on their luck.

It's scheduled for Washington's Free Fishing Weekend, so NO FISHING LICENSE IS REQUIRED.

And don't forget to fuel up at the Fishermen's Breakfast by the Sprague Volunteer Fire Department (details below).

Bonus:  Nine rainbows were tagged and released in Sprague Lake in March as part of Cabela's "Wanna Catch a Million" fishing contest. Most of the bass state biologists caught while electroshocking to caputre the fish for tagging were in the no-kill slot size.  So they chose to put all the tags allotted for Sprague Lake into rainbows.

All Sprague Lake Trout Derby participants will be eligible for prize drawings, and kids especially will have a chance to win fishing rods, said Dave Broxson, co-organizer.

The angler weighing in the second largest fish caught between 6 a.m. and the 6 p.m. weigh-in will win $100 in gift cards and merchandise provided by Cabela’s and Wholesale Sports.

Third place gets goodies totaling $50.

Tickets will be available the day of the derby at the two resorts on the lake:

The Main Derby Station and weigh-in site will be situated just outside Sprague Lake Resort.

Both resorts offer camping, boat rentals, boat launching, docks and tackle.

To participate, anglers must purchase a derby ticket, $7 for adults, $5 for youths 16 and under.

Read on for more details about the derby and the Fishermen's Breakfast.

Sprague Lake booting out fat rainbows

FISHING — Some anglers know they don't have to wait for the "opening day" at many of the region's lowland trout lakes.

Sprague Lake is one of many lakes open for fishing year round. You'll travel a long way to find fish that are any more robhust.

Tom Shellenberger, Mike Barnett, and Mike Shellenberger, pictured above, trolled plugs on Sunday for a nice stringer of fat rainbows running 18-20 inches. 

"It's going to be anothe great season," said Scott Haugen, operator of Four Seasons Campground, which opened  for customers last week on Sprague's northwest shore.

Rig heavy or get thrashed by Sprague Lake trout

FISHING — How huge are the trout at Sprague Lake?

I witnessed three violent breakoffs on 10 pound leader on Wednesday, including one fish that ripped off the trailing hook on a fly rig.

Here's the toll after Jim Kujala and Dave Ross finished a morning and short afternoon of trolling on Wednesday.

The biggest rainbow was 4.5 pounds, although Scott Haugen at Four Seasons Campground had weighed a 7.5 pounder earlier in the week. 

Two Lahontan cutthroats were 21 and 17 inches long. 

But all of the fish fought hard, especially the aerial and acrobatic 'bows, which felt like salmon-munching sea lions whacking the flies behind our dodgers.

Sprague water temperatures were 54 degrees on Wednesday.  Chris Donley, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fisheries biologist, says 55 degrees is the point that kicks rainbows into their most active feeding behavior. The Sprague fish also are in a prime eating condition that tends to deteriorate later in the season.

Rig heavy, and get out there now!


Sprague Lake thawing; a few coots survived

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The weekend eagle feast of coots at Sprague Lake has subsided as more of the lake has become ice-free in the last few days.  Here's a Tuesday report from birdwatcher Greg Falco of Sprague:

Today Sprague Lake had more open water, about 5 percent open, mostly at the NE end.

There were at least 1,000 COMMON GOLDENEYE and 300 CANVASBACK. 

The scaup and other flocks were too far away to observe.  It was snowing as usual.

About 20 AMERICAN COOT survived the eagle feast.  No eagles seen today. 

A couple KESTREL may be new arrivals. 

My first flock of PINTAIL was seen south of Cheney.

Eagles terrorize Sprague Lake coots

WILDLIFE WATCHING — The winter ice cap was almost gone from Sprague Lake a few days ago, but this week's cold snap has reversed the trend — and that's bad news for the coots that had taken up residence in the open waters. 

Here's the Saturday scoop just received from birder Greg Falco of Sprague:

Today Sprague Lake is almost all frozen (minus 12 for a low at my place).

There are about 5 small openings in the ice with ducks, mostly Common Goldeneye, tightly packed.   The coot flock was in one opening about 40 feet across, and getting smaller.

Twelve bald eagles were standing on the ice around the defenseless coots.  More balds were perched around the lake. 

Nothing scientific, but I’ll say the coot population has been reduced by more than 100 in the past week with about 50 birds left.  I’ll be surprised if any are left tomorrow.