The Washington Outdoor Report - week of Sept 5

Outdoors roundup

Fishing Reports:
Columbia River Gorge: At Gorge Outfitters Supply in Rufus, Megan Eshleman reports anglers are catching Chinook salmon off the mouth of the Deschutes River but winds have kept anglers off the water for several days during the past week. Walleye fishing remains consistently good above the John Day Dam to Roosevelt on the Columbia River. Purple and chrome colored spinner worm harnesses trolled behind bottom bouncers are what’s working best to catch these fish. Meanwhile, green pumpkin colored tube jigs are also picking up smallmouth bass in both the The Dalles and John Day Pools of the Columbia right now.
As for steelhead fishing, the summer run return is looking grim. As of August 31, just over 39,300 summer steelhead had passed over Bonneville Dam, far below the ten-year average of 142,300 fish. Oregon has already closed several tributary rivers (the John Day, Umatilla and Lower Deschutes from Moody Rapids to Shearer Falls, for steelhead fishing. Washington State has already limited boat fishing for steelhead at Drano Lake and is also closing the Wind River above Shipherd Falls beginning September 16 to protect a fragile run there. Check the WDFW website’s emergency fishing regulations in the coming days for what will likely be more closures and restrictions as we deal with what is being called the worst return of steelhead since 1938 up the Columbia River.
Potholes Reservoir: Pete Fisher at MarDon Resort reports water levels remain low at Potholes Reservoir presenting a number of potential hazards to boaters. While trout, walleye and smallmouth bass fishing has only been fair, angling for largemouth bass and panfish remains good. For bass, use topwater baits in shallow waters in the morning and evening. Mid-day, the bass will be found between 15 to 25 feet deep where jigs and deep diving crankbaits will be more effective. The panfish remain schooled at the face of the sand dunes and near the mouth of Crab Creek where they can be caught trolling Berkley Flicker Shad plugs, cast to with small spinners, or reeled in using jigs below slip bobbers.
Lake Roosevelt: Freddie Giannecchini at Clark All Sports in Colville says anglers are doing well catching trout and triploid trout throughout the lower two-thirds of Lake Roosevelt. As for the walleye, anglers are catching some but they are deep (around 80 plus feet deep), and scattered throughout the lake. Giannecchini recommends using your electronics to find the fish.
In other news, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has expanded a catch and keep sturgeon fishery throughout Lake Roosevelt from Grand Coulee Dam to the border with Canada through September 30. Anglers can keep one sturgeon per day and two sturgeon per season measuring between 50 and 63 inches from the nose of the fish to the fork of the tail. This expanded fishery is taking place thanks to a hatchery sturgeon program started in 2001 in British Columbia and 2004 in Washington State that has proven very successful.
Dove And Turkey Hunting:                                                                      
The hunting season for mourning doves opened September 1 and huntable numbers of these migratory birds should remain available throughout Central and Eastern Washington until cooler weather moves them south.
The fall turkey season also opened in many game management units on September 1 and according to state game biologists in Northeast Washington hunters should enjoy a good harvest this season. As for finding the birds, they write, “In the fall, food remains critical for growth of poults (juvenile turkeys) and for adults adding fat reserves. Forest edges that offer seeds, nuts, and fruits, as well as some green vegetation, are used the most. At this time of year, turkeys are at their highest population and widest distribution within northeastern Washington.”
Campground Openings And Continued Closures:
Washington State Parks announced they are adding a new camping area at Steamboat Rock State Park at Banks Lake. The new “Cove Loop” in the park includes 29 full-hook up sites for RV campers and is open for reservations and for use.
Meanwhile, the once popular Tumwater Campground, operated by the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest west of Leavenworth, remains empty, seven years after it’s closure due to flash flooding concerns from the Chiwaukum Creek wildfire in the summer of 2014. With secondary tree and shrub growth stabilizing the creek bed and surrounding hillsides along with new federal funding available for deferred maintenance, it’s unclear why the 86-site campground and picnic area remains closed during a time of unprecedented demand for campground accommodations. Queries sent to Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest officials about this on August 19 have so far gone without any official response.

John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com

 

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