Sunday, July 21, 2024

The Washington Outdoors Report November 3 - 9

Outdoors Roundup


Elk Hunting Advice:

The general Eastern Washington elk season has ended, but the modern firearm season remains open in Western Washington. There are also a variety of special elk hunts open around the state, and hunters using muzzleloaders continue to have hunting opportunities from now through December.

Outdoors writer Gary Lewis, who also hosts the television show, Frontier Unlimited, is an avid elk hunter.  I interviewed him recently on America Outdoors Radio and he shared some sage advice.  One topic we talked about was tracking elk in the snow.

In his words, “When tracking elk in the snow one thing we sometimes do is cow call while we are tracking.  But that seems to be a 50/50 proposition and I would do less of that now because, the elk are professionals at being tracked. Every single day of their lives they are being tracked by something.  So, they’re always looking over their shoulders, they walk out on a high point and look back, and so while you’re looking down at tracks, they’re looking at you and then they know they are being tracked and they keep on moving.  If you are cow calling them, you are just educating them at this point.”

Lewis also says you need to make a significant amount of time available for the hunt if you want to harvest an elk.  Lewis says, “6.6 days.  When I did the research that’s what I came up with as to what it takes to be successful in the elk woods.  You can get an elk on the first day or the last day but you’ve got to spend 6.6 days, on average, to get your elk.”

Pheasant Hunting Report:

Rob Phillips is an outdoor columnist for the Yakima Herald Republic and an avid pheasant hunter.  He says he has been out chasing roosters in the Yakima Valley but is finding the number of birds to be down significantly from past years.  Having said that, Phillips says there are still some isolated pockets of pheasant that can provide good hunting if you can find them.

Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon:

Catch and keep fishing is open for hatchery raised sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt right now.  Kevin Witte, the owner of Upriver Fishing, says the fishing has been pretty good for him but hit and miss for many anglers.  Witte has been finding the fish in the 50 to 100-foot range, not in the deeper waters where other anglers have been looking for them.  Witte says he also is moving around a lot to find fish and it’s working.  He’s catching up to 10 sturgeon a day, averaging a keeper every other day.

You are allowed to keep one fish per day and two per year measuring between 53 and 63 inches from the nose to the fork of the tail.  Once you do decide to harvest a legal fish you have to put your rod away.  Catch and release fishing is not allowed after you keep a sturgeon.  Kevin is still booking sturgeon trips weekdays until the end of November.  You can call him at 509-398-7995 or go to his website at to book a trip.

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report:

 Kristen Zahn At Gorge Outfitters Supply in Rufus says salmon fishing is trailing off but walleye fishing is picking up. The walleye are being caught at depths of 35 to 70 feet in the Columbia River.  Zahn says most anglers are fishing spinner-worm harnesses behind bottom bouncers, tipped with a night crawler.  The best patterns are dark colored, to include black.

Quite a few folks are also fishing the John Day River which is now open for steelhead.  Zahn says if you are in the lower arm where the current isn’t strong try fishing beads or salmon eggs or prawns.  Higher up where there is more current on the John Day try a Kwikfish. Lure sizes that work include the  K7X, K9X or K11X.  As for the hot color, that would be the gold-green-pirate pattern.

John Kruse – and



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