The Washington Outdoor Report - week of May 24

Tacoma resident Garry Sandstrom releases a rainbow trout caught while fly fishing in the Seep Lakes south of Potholes Reservoir – Photo courtesy MarDon Resort

A fisher in Chelan County with her newborn kit – Photo courtesy Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

There’s a lot of news to cover this week when it comes to the outdoors in our region so let’s get to it:


Fishers Breeding In Chelan County – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reports the birth of first wild fishers in the North Cascades in a half century. Fishers are a house-cat sized member of the weasel family and were eliminated in Washington by the mid-1900s. They are listed as an endangered species.


Between 2018 and 2020, WDFW, the National Park Service, Conservation Northwest and the Calgary Zoo released 89 of these animals into North Cascades National Park and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Four young kits from one of these fishers was seen on a trail camera set up near its den in Western Chelan County.


Icicle River Opens To Salmon Fishing – Despite very low returns of Spring Chinook up the Columbia and Snake Rivers this year, state fisheries biologists believe they will have enough of these hatchery-raised chinook salmon return to the Leavenworth hatchery to provide a fishery. Salmon fishing opened on May 22 and is scheduled to go until June 30 though it may close sooner than that if the number of returning fish is lower than expected. Traditionally, the end of May and early June provide the best fishing on this small stream. The limit is two hatchery chinook salmon a day with a minimum size of 12-inches.


Trout Stocked In Lake Roosevelt – Speaking of hatchery fish, WDFW along with the Spokane and Colville Tribes are teaming up to plant some 485,000 fish this month in 151-mile-long Lake Roosevelt. The fish are all triploid rainbow trout and they contain an extra set of chromosomes that renders them sterile but turns them into eating machines. Many of the fish are only 8 to 12-inches long right now but within a few months they’ll grow to 18-inches. Others being released in the lower third of the lake already weigh around one pound.


Potholes Bass Fishing Hot – Bass fishing is very good in the sand dunes of Potholes Reservoir right now. Largemouth bass are in shallow water on spawning beds and walleye are also in this area of the lake as well. For the bass fish less than six feet deep with weedless jigs and craw trailers, plastic worms and shallow running or lipless crankbaits. My long-time fishing partner Rusty Johnston and I fished this part of the lake last week and hooked some 20 bass, the vast majority of them between 2 and 3 pounds, along with a bonus 3-pound walleye.


If you prefer trout, Pete Fisher at MarDon Resort suggests trolling for them near Perch Point or in front of the state park. If you don’t have a boat Medicare Beach on the east side of the lake is the place to go or you can explore some of the seep lakes below Potholes Reservoir which have also been producing good numbers of rainbows.



Catfish Are Biting In The Gorge - According to staff at Gorge Outfitters Supply, Catfish catches out of the mouth of the John Day and ponds adjoining the Columbia River near Rufus have been great and there have been lots of big cats caught too. This should make for an interesting annual Gorge Outfitters Supply Catfish Derby on May 29th and 30th. Entrants will be fishing the lower John Day River arm for this contest hoping for a big fish prize. In addition to prizes for big catfish there will also be raffles, and included in your entry fee is dinner and country music after the contest ends. You can register at the store in Rufus for $55 and get details at the Gorge Outfitters Supply Facebook page.



 John Kruse – and




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