Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Washington Outdoor Report week of January 22



TJ’s Bar and Grill in Kettle Falls is in hot water after serving seafood they should not have been selling to their patrons.  According to Captain Brad Rhoden with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, during the summer of 2019 the owner of the restaurant, Terry Baxter, went on a recreational fishing trip near Bamfield, British Columbia.   Baxter then brought the Chinook and coho salmon, as well as the halibut he caught, back home and proceeded to serve these fish to customers at his restaurant.

Captain Rhoden states, “By law, a business selling fish to a consumer, such as a restaurant, is required to state the species of the salmon and whether the fish was farmed or wild caught. The Legislature created these laws so consumers can be confident the fish they are about to eat is what it says.”

As for selling recreationally caught fish in a restaurant Captain Rhoden explained, “Washington law does not allow the edible portions of wild animals, game birds and game fish to be sold.  Food fish such as salmon and halibut can be commercially sold in Washington as long as the fish were lawfully harvested during on open season/area by commercially licensed fishers.  So, no recreationally caught fish can be sold, bartered or traded lawfully in Washington.”

The multi-year investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was prosecuted by the Washington State Attorney General’s Public Lands and Conservation Division last summer. On January 17, Baxter’s business plead guilty to the crime of First-Degree Unlawful Fish Catch in Stevens County Superior Court.  He received no jail time but will have to pay a $10,000 fine. 


Looking for a fulfilling, seasonal job working in a great outdoors location?  If so, apply for a job as a park aide with Washington State Parks.  They are hiring 305 seasonal workers to work from April through September at their parks throughout the state.

Duties include everything from registering campers to cleaning campgrounds and maintaining facilities and trails. Aides may also be helping out with interpretive and educational programs at parks around the state.  You may be assigned to one specific park or rotate your daily duties amongst several parks in close proximity to one another.

My son, David worked as a park aide for two years in college and really enjoyed his time during the summer months at Lincoln Rock and Daroga State Parks in North Central Washington.  However, this isn’t just a job for college students trying to make money during the summer.  It’s also a great opportunity for retired or semi-retired individuals who enjoy meeting people and spending time outdoors in the beautiful settings our state parks are set in.

Park aides earn anywhere from $16.61 to $19.09, depending on qualifications and experience.  Senior Park Aides (with previous experience) earn more.  You can fill out an application at  Simply type in Park Aide in the Search Bar along with Washington for the location and you’ll see what’s available.



Autumn Lawyer at Gorge Outfitters Supply in Rufus says they are doing pretty well catching walleye below John Day Dam.  Most of the walleye have been caught using spinner worm harnesses tipped with nightcrawlers. A bright orange and black combo-colored spinner worm harness is the hot ticket.  Several large walleye (up to ten pounds) have been caught in the last week.

Autumn says last week sturgeon fishing was also pretty good.  Catch and keep sturgeon fishing remains open (for now) in both The Dalles and John Day pools. Be sure to check the WDFW and ODFW websites before going out to make sure harvest quotas have not been met.


Austin Moser with Austin’s Northwest Adventures has been catching triploid rainbow trout near the net pens at Rufus Woods Reservoir over the last several weeks.  Austin says they have been catching limits of these hefty rainbow trout, averaging 4 to 8 pounds and going all the way up to 15 pounds in size.  Moser’s clients have been jigging 3/8-ounce Maxi jigs made by Yakima Bait Company.  While many anglers use bright colors, Moser has found natural colors such as black, brown and olive work best.

Bank anglers are having success as well, though it can be hit and miss.  Most anglers fishing from shore are using Powerbait to catch their trout.  It is worth noting that there is a $20 access fee to use the park near the net pens and also a $10 launch fee.  Shore anglers also need to have a Colville Tribal fishing permit.  Moser says he does have several openings for anglers in February.  To book a trip go to  If you want to find out more about fishing or camping at Lake Rufus Woods Park which is operated by the Colville Tribe, go to

John Kruse – and



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