Outdoors Roundup

Rusty Johnston with three mallards. Courtesy John Kruse

WATERFOWL: The first wave of northern birds has arrived in the Columbia Basin. Checking out Stratford Lake this past week I saw an estimated 10,000 lesser Canada geese and approximately 1500 snow geese on the lake before sunrise. The first wave of mallards has shown up as well, along with wigeon. That’s something I found out hunting with my friend Rusty Johnston this week. We saw many more ducks, some in large flocks, that we didn’t see in mid-October when warm weather made for a tough opening day weekend. Now however, the weather has turned chilly and the migration has begun. Smaller ponds are beginning to ice up but bigger water, creeks and wasteways used by the ducks remain open. The arrival of these new birds should provide some very good opportunity for hunters.

POTHOLES RESERVOIR PANFISH: Most anglers focus on walleye at Potholes Reservoir this time of year but there are some big panfish and lots of them to be caught this month as well. Pete Fisher at MarDon Resort shared a photo of a 1.2-pound bluegill (yes, a bluegill) caught recently and Travis Dawson, the Fishing Department Manager at the East Wenatchee Sportsman’s Warehouse store, reported excellent fishing for crappie at Potholes last week. Travis was using small (1/16 ounce) white jigs or Road Runner lures tipped with a small Berkley Power Gulp bait for success. Look for schools of crappie around the habitat boxes planted in the lake. You can get a map at the MarDon store that will show you where they are at

COLUMBIA GORGE FISHING: Wendy Boyer at Gorge Outfitters Supply in Rufus says the coho fishing is wrapping up at the mouth of the Klickitat, but walleye fishing is picking up though the fish are deep. Try using a deep diving Bandit crankbait that will go down to about 28 feet. You can also try a Berkley Flicker Shad with a suspension dot (weight) to get it deep. There has been some effort for catch and release sturgeon in The Dalles pool and Wendy expects there will be good success when the catch and keep season for them opens up in January. On the hunting front, waterfowl hunters are having success on the Columbia River below John Day Dam near Rufus to the Biggs Junction Bridge. Wendy suggests dropping by the store in Rufus if you are looking for a good holiday gift for the outdoorsman or woman in your life. One special they are running is buy two deep diving plugs and get the third half off. The store is open Wednesday thru Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hours service is available. Just contact Wendy at the store a day or two in advance.

LONG LAKE RAINBOWS: Steve Morris at SJM Guide Service has been fishing at Long Lake and the rainbow trout fishing has been good. The trout are averaging 14 inches. Steve will likely fish Long Lake until the first week of December. Steve also went on a duck hunting trip near the Tri-Cities last week and had good success. Steve said there are good numbers of ducks in the area, a mix of mallards and wigeon.

ICICLE RIVER COHO: Some 13,000 coho appear to be bound for the Wenatchee and Icicle River but low waters and low temperatures kept most of them out of the Icicle where anglers can target them. That changed the first weekend of November when we got our first good amount of rainfall and the rivers rose. My son and I, along with a half-dozen other anglers, spent Saturday afternoon fishing the Icicle between the Fish Hatchery and the Icicle River Bridge at East Leavenworth Road. Unfortunately, the fish had not made it up yet in good numbers and only one fish was caught that afternoon.  Those fish should be in now. However, they are likely not fit for eating at this point since they are either spawned out or close to it. The coho season on the Icicle River remains open until November 30.


John Kruse – and





User menu

NCW Media Newspapers