Latest from The Spokesman-Review
FISHING — Solid winter trout fisheries are hot items.
Check out this report from Mark Morical of the Bend Bulletin about Central Oregon's Crooked River, a trout stream that lures fly fishers from far and wide, especially to the 7-mile stretch below Bowman Dam.
FISHING — Silver Bow Fly Shop is offering two classes this month at 13210 E Indiana Ave. in Spokane Valley:
- Beginner Fly Fishing, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sept. 7. $30.
- Fly Fishing for Steelhead, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sept. 16. $20.
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.
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.
FISHING — Despite strong winds that picked up by late morning, Saturday's opener of Washington's lowland trout fishing season produced some excellent fishing throughout much of Eastern Washington.
Click on the documents below to see the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's opening day survey results and comments of local biologists on the top lakes from Grant County east to Pend Oreille county.
FISHING — I feel sorry for parents who don't take their kids fishing. They don't know what they're missing.
See a few hints about what they're missing in my Sunday story about Saturday's opening day of Washington's lowland trout season
Please enjoy this short photo sequence of Quinn Connacher, 6, of Spokane, as he works at Williams Lake to catch his first fish.
Once the trout was netted, the boy got a huge high five before he pranced and danced in celebration on the Bunker's Resort dock.
To heck with the five-fish limit. As soon as his stepfather gathered their minimal gear, the boy made a beeline up to the campground to show off his prize.
The rainbow may have grown a little larger by the time he finished telling the story.
FISHING — Eleven-year-old Cameron Earnshaw of Kennewick caught the first fish of the season off the docks at Fishtrap Lake Resort on Saturday — two minutes after the season opened at midnight.
Much more fun followed for the large family groups gathered for the annual tradition of fishing on opening day of Washington's lowland lake trout season.
FISHING — After my post on a Spokane Fly Fishers outing to catch large Lahontan cutthroat trout at Omak Lake, I received an email from an angler who was surprised.
“When I lived in Omak in 1965-67, we waterskied there and as I remember the lake was very alkaline and nobody fished it,” he said. “Is it possible that the lake I remember is another lake?”
“No, it's the same lake,” I responded. “But you hit exactly on the reason it is stocked with Lahontan cutthroat trout, a species originating from the southwest and specially adapted to thriving in alkaline waters. The Lahontan species also is stocked in Lake Lenore and Grimes Lake.”
By coincidence, The New York Times has just published a story recounting the successful effort to revive and preserve the Lahontan cutthroat's genetics originating from Pyramid Lake, Nev.
Note: Check out the NYT photo of the anglers wading out with ladders to get out to deeper water while gaining a higher profile for longer casting.
FISHING — With April 1 falling on a Monday, the opening day for fishing at many of the Columbia Basin's trout lakes didn't reel in a lot of effort in some areas.
Dry Falls Lake was an exception.
The selective gear lake, a darling for fly fishers had a good turnout, with 45-50 float tubes and pontoons on the water when Washington Fish and Wildlife Deparment district biologist Chad Jackson checked it out.
Fishing overall was good with several anglers having double digit catches of trout, Jackson said. “However, individual angler success was highly variable, that is, some with over 20 fish, some with less than10, and others with 2-3 or less,” he said.
“Anglers who fished chironomids were the most successful.
“Trout size was excellent ranging from 12-20” and with most around 15-16.”
Fishing effort wasn’t very high at the “production” lakes (Upper and Lower Hampton lakes, North and South Teal lakes), but those who did fish Monday morning had gorgeous weather and reasonably good success, Jackson said.
Anglers averaged about two trout each, and those harvested were 13-16 inches.
FISHING — KHQ-TV paid a visit to the Spokane Fish Hatchery this week to produce this segment on winter operations that are vital to the region's anglers.
The cameraman was a bit late for the peak December spawning action described in this story by North Central High School student volunteer.
Here's a story about the “egg sucking” that goes into removing the dead eggs from the trays, as hatchery manager Ace Trump mentions in the TV video.
FISHING — Lake Roosevelt rainbows like those pictured above can be caught November-March from shore as well as from a boat by casting a bait rig. Look for a shoreline shelf under 10-15 feet of water and cast near the drop-off into deeper water.
A proven rig cast from a spinning rod includes:
- 8-pound monofilament line.
- 24-30 inches of 10-pound leader (extra heavy to take a beating with fewer breakoffs) below a snap swivel and 3/8- to 1/2-ounce sliding sinker.
- No. 2 bait hook baited with a mini-marshmallow or PowerBait and piece of nightcrawler.
Experienced anglers have a half dozen hook-and-leader rigs ready to change onto the snap swivel if necessary so they can keep fishing when the bite is on. Keeping at least one rig in the water as a school of rainbows circulates through an area is an excellent application for the two-pole endorsement.
The rainbows tend to be most active for a short period in early morning and again in the afternoon, although they can be caught throughout the day and night.
A five-fish limit of rainbow trout from Lake Roosevelt is a beauty to behold in December, when the fish released from net pens in summer have had a chance to go wild putting on length and girth.
These are healthy, lovely and delicious fish.
FISHING — A five-fish limit of rainbow trout from Lake Roosevelt is a beauty to behold in December, when the fish released from net pens in summer have had a chance to go wild putting on length and girth.
These are healthy, lovely and delicious fish.
Limits have been coming easily on most days since mid November, although Wednesday was an exception. Anglers I fished with and interviewed had to work long, hard hours to scratch out a limit.
Today could be a different story.
WINTER FISHING — Hog Canyon had an average turnout, but the pressure was down somewhat at Fourth of July lake when the fisheries opened for their winter trout season on Saturday.
Fishing was good, but anglers had trouble getting their limits after catching two fast fish over 14 inches.
Problem: Most of the fish are large and you can keep only two fish longer than 14.
Click here for the opening weekend report from Hatch and Williams lakes near Colville.
Following is the Hog Canyon/Fourth of July lakes report from Randall Osborne, Washington Department of Fish Wildlife area fisheries biologist:
Both lakes were ice free for the opener and with the forcast, should stay that way for a while anyway. Both lakes fished relatively well and should be good for quite a while through the season.
Hog Canyon Lake - this lake had a pretty good turnout for the opener. Rainbows averaged 16 inches and ranged from 9 to 20 inches. Average number of fish harvested by anglers that were creeled was 1.9 fish/angler.
Fourth of July Lake - Not the most people I have seen here in past openers, but still a pretty good turnout. Rainbows averaged 17.5 inches and ranged from 15.5 to 21.5 inches. Average number of fish harvested by anglers that were creeled was also 1.9 fish/angler.
When these two lakes are in form, like they are now, they tend to grow trout really, really well. This is the reason for the relatively low harvest rates. Most people harvested their two fish over 14 inches pretty quickly, but struggled a bit finding fish under 14 inches to fill in their limits.
FISHING — Trout were present while any sign of ice was absent during Saturday's winter fishing season at several northeastern Washington trout lakes.
Here's Saturday's field report from the Colville area by Bill Baker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist:
Hatch Lake - No ice…all open water. Rainbows averaged 14.5 inches and ranged from 13-16 inches. Catch rates were decent with most anglers limiting within 2 hours. However, most fishing occurred from shore…not the easiest way to fish Hatch Lake due to its shallow, weedy nature. Few anglers took advantage of the open water to launch a small boat, but those that did were rewarded with quick limits. Given the weather forecast, I suspect that there will be open water for a while longer.
Williams Lake - No ice…all open water. Rainbows averaged 15 inches and ranged from 12.5-17 inches. Catch rates were very good with most anglers limiting within an hour. Similar to Hatch Lake, most anglers were fishing from shore. Shoreline fishing space at Williams Lake is somewhat limited due to the rushes and cattails growing around the edge of the lake. Therefore, as long as open water persists, I recommend fishing from a boat if possible. Trolling, drifting with the wind, or anchoring up and plunking bait should all be very effective.
FISHING — Time is running out for anglers at many of the Spokane-area trout lakes, some of which close for the season on Sunday .
The rainless heat wave of August-September is keeping water temperatures unusually high, and the fish haven't picked up their fall feeding activity.
I talked to a group of locals having coffee this morning at Fishtrap Lake Resort. They'd put in some long hours for just a few fish. But the ones they caught were beautiful, big-shouldered carryovers with delicious red meat.
“It's just a matter of how much time you want to put in to get them,” one angler said.
Water temps have cooled to 60 degrees in the morning and range to 65 or more in the afternoon, they said.
“But that's a lot better than earlier in the week when they were up to 72 in the afternoon, ” one man said. “That's just too warm for the trout.”
The general consensus from the group was that the water temperatures would drop and the fish would go on the bite within a few days after the Fishtrap fishing season closes.
FISH HABITAT — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to install a series of log jams consisting of native green and aged woody debris along a portion of lower Fish Creek in Mineral County.
Fish Creek, which begins at the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains, flows under I-90 and into the Clark Fork River near Superior.
The proposed project is a cooperative effort between FWP, Trout Unlimited and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
If approved, the project is projected to be completed later this summer and would improve habitat for native fish, restore natural stream processes and likely enhance the quality of fishing in the area.
A draft environmental assessment has been prepared for this proposal, and FWP is accepting public comment through Aug. 3.
Info: Region 2 FWP office in Missoula, (406) 542-5540; or email email@example.com.
OUTSEE – Fly fishing takes center stage in Spokane this week starting Thursday July 12 with the opening of the International Fly Fishing Fair at the Spokane Convention Center.
The public is invited by the Federation of Fly Fishers to cruise the exhibit and take part in presentations, clinics and classes in fly tying, fly casting, fishing techniques, conservation and more.
Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Cost: adults $5, kids under 16 free.
Other related activities include:
Benefit for Spokane River Redband Trout, featuring local brews, wind and Dry Fly Distillery spirits, 5 p.m-7 p.m. at Rick Singer Photography rooftop garden, 415 ½ W. Main Ave. $25. Sponsored by Trout Unlimited's Spokane Falls Chapter.
International Fly Fishing Film Festival, a two hour show featurring edited versions of the year’s top fly fishing films, starting at 7 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater. Benefits Spokane RiverKeeper.
Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 if purchased in advance at area fly fishing shops.
FLY FISHING — July is a major period of transition for fly fishing in the Inland Northwest, as you'll read in my outdoors feature story coming Sunday at www.spokesman.com/outdoors.
Hear the latest news from the water, connect with guides and get tips on the fly patterns and techniques that are working NOW from the area's great selection of fly shops:
Spokane-area fly shops and guides
101 N. Cabela Way, Post Falls; (208) 777-6300.
1114 N. 4th St., Coeur d’Alene; (208) 765-3133.
2171 N. Main, Coeur d’Alene; (208) 667-2707.
13210 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane Valley, (509) 924-9998.
1611 N. Ash St., Spokane; (509) 323-0500.
1003 E. Trent Ave., Spokane, (509) 838-0252.
FLY FISHING — A few lucky kids who sign up early will get special attention during the International Fly Fishing Fair coming to Spokane in July.
The 47th annual Federation of Fly Fishers extravaganza – which roams to venues such as West Yellowstone, Mont. – is coming to the Spokane Convention Center July 12-14.
One of the many offerings is a chance for Inland Northwest youths ages 8-17 to enjoy a full immersion in the sport.
Up to 25 kids will be enrolled each day for the Youth Camp sessions July 13 and 14.
Members of the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club and other anglers will host the camp, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at a private facility near Coeur d’Alene.
Instruction starts with a topic kids get into: entomology – bugs – the foundation of the sport.
Youths also will learn about fly tying, equipment and accessories, the balanced system, angler ethics, fishing safety, abeyance to regulations, catch and release, fly casting and, finally, FISHING!
Youths 11 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
In addition, youth activities will be offered during the main venue at Spokane Convention Center.
The Kid’s Fishin’ Corner will include fish and insect identification games, casting instruction, fish printing, fly tying and a scavenger hunt.
The FFF Fair is attracting anglers from across the United States to Spokane for a long list of casting, tying and other instructional clinics and programs taught by certified masters.
Many anglers consider this the premier event dedicated to the art and sport of fly fishing.
Online registration is open to 4 p.m. on July 2:
FISHING — Cool, wet weather has kept area lake fisheries alive into summer for local anglers.
While some fishermen give up on area fishing lakes in spring after the first few fast-action weeks of the season, others are finding more at the lakes than just the peace and quiet.
Luke Marcellus, 5, shares a little bit of his weekend action in this photo. Check out the quality of that cutthroat from Badger Lake. It measured 22.5 inches long, and it's fat as a corn-fed sow!
“There were three of us bottom fishing at Badger Lake,” said Jared Marcellus, who spoke so proudly of the fishing day, it was clear without asking that he's Luke's dad.
“It took 3 hours, but we limited; mostly small rainbows with one larger rainbow and the big cutthroat pictured with Luke.”
“He is quite the fisherman for a 5 year old! I probably wouldn't have gone Saturday without his request.”
We should all be so lucky as to have that motivation.
RIVERS — Two conservation groups and three phosphate mining companies in eastern Idaho have formed a partnership intended to improve water quality in the Blackfoot River in eastern Idaho.
JR Simplot Company, Monsanto and Agrium/Nu-West Industries have joined with the Idaho Conservation League and Trout Unlimited to form the Upper Blackfoot River Initiative for Conservation.
The announcement came after a study revealed mutated trout in Idaho streams, possibly related to mining pollution. The study had been highligted on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (above) as well as the New York Times, as featured in this blog post.
Meanwhile, here's another interesting angle on the story, giving Simplot some credit, by Idaho Statesman columnist Rocky Barker.
In the latest story, the Idaho Statesman reports the conservation initiative group had compiled data on fish populations throughout the Upper Blackfoot and completed an assessment of fish passage obstacles and habitat conditions in February.
Monsanto, Boise-based J.R. Simplot Co., and Agrium/Nu-West Industries have mines in the so-called phosphate patch near the Idaho-Wyoming border.
Environmental groups have been concerned about selenium pollution from phosphate mining that’s killed livestock and aquatic life in eastern Idaho waterways.
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
I mean, who would believe anything in the New York Times.
Maybe there's no involvement with the giant agribusiness and the silence on the research by Idaho politicians who've married into the Simplot family.
But this special video report by Jon Stewart's reporter Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show last night sure makes an angler think about the possibilities, and have a good laugh about how things operate.
Mutated fish: another good reason for catch-and-release.
Meanwhile, here's another interesting angle on the story, giving Simplot some credit, by Idaho Statesman columnist Rocky Barker.
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.
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:
- Four Seasons Campground Resort, (509) 257-2332, on the northwest end of the lake.
- Sprague Lake Resort, (509) 259-7060, at the east end of the resort just outside the town of Sprague.
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.
Spokane-area fly fishers have lured the 2012 International Fly Fishing Fair to Spokane on July 12-14, offering a packed conference featuring fly tying and fly casting workshops, programs, expert speakers and a screening of flicks compiled from the International Fly Fishing Film Festival.
The event will be based out of the Spokane Convention Center, with many of the activities branching out to the Spokane River and beyond.
Pre-registration is open. Entry for daily events costs $5 but extra fees are charged for limited space in some of the workships, including fly fishing instruction especially for kids and a special session for women.
Check out the Fair website, their Facebook page and Twitter account, and pay extra special attention to the Fly Fishing Film Festival website so you can mark your calendar for this great part of the event.
Also, the Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited is planning a benefit for Spokane River redband trout on July 12 featuring a lot of fishing talk plus local brews, wine and spirits fro Dry Fly Distillery. The event is set for July 12, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., at Rick Singer Photography, 415 1/2 W. Main. Info: 838-3333.
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.
FISHING — This archive video has been making the rounds for a few years, but it's worth bringing up for a little fishing camp banter now that the fishing for Lahontan cutthroats is picking up at Lake Lenore.
The 1947 newsreel shows the U.S. War Assets Administration using Lake Lenore as a disposal site for drums of sodium into the lake.
Lake Lenore is in Grant County south of Coulee City, Wash. At the time of this newsreel, it was thought to be too alkaline to support fish.
Decades later, Washington fisheries biologists imported Lahontan cutthroat trout stock originating from the alkaline waters of Pyramid Lake, Nev. The fish thrived in Lenore — as well as farther north in Douglas County's Grimes Lake — to provide a popular selective fishery for anglers.
New flavors of Pautzke baits work, he said.
“Mallow Balls O’ Fire, American Wildfire, Atomic Garlic and Garlic Wildfire all got woofed when the bite was on,” he said, noting that they continued to get fish when the faster bite had turned off.
“Refine your old slip sinker bait fishing techniques for better success at Rufus,” he said.
- “First, lengthen your leaders. Instead of 2 to 3 feet, your leaders should be 4 to 6 feet.
- “Second, vary your weight as the current changes. To be consistent you have to be able to feel the bottom. You can be going 70 to over 90 feet deep to get at these pellet-eating fish.
- “Third, use a big chunk of bait. We usually are putting a gob of bait big enough to hide a #4 hook.
- “Finally, don’t just let it sit there. If you don’t get bit, move the bait. Recast often.”
FISHING — Here's the latest fishing report from Lake Rufus Woods on the Columbia River downstream from Grande Coulee Dam.
It comes from Anton Jones (above with a 9-pound triploid rainbow) of Darrell & Dad's Family Guide Service.
This is a great time to fish Rufus Woods for triploid rainbows. The numbers aren’t what they were a couple of months ago, but the average size is better.
Troll smile blade flies just under the surface or cast one quarter ounce black roostertails to catch fish around the lower three net pens. If that isn’t happening, move up to the lower pens and fish green or red Pautzke’s fire bait off the bottom with a slip sinker rig.
If the current is pushing good, add a Mack’s smile blade in front of the bait to attract those fat boys.