Tag Archives: bass

Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools, SW WA Fishing Report (4-10-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Preliminary Washington lower Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary

April 1-7, 2019

Bonneville bank anglers: 239; kept adult Chinook: 19
I-5 area bank anglers: 1; kept adult Chinook: 0
Vancouver area bank anglers: 61; kept adult Chinook: 1

Bonneville boat anglers: 13; kept adult Chinook: 2
Camas area boat anglers: 50; kept adult Chinook: 3
I-5 area boat anglers: 141; kept adult Chinook: 17
Vancouver boat anglers: 1138; kept adult Chinook: 123

A COLUMBIA RIVER ANGLER SIZES UP HIS SPRING CHINOOK DURING 2016’S RUN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 516 salmonid boats and 118 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Sundays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 14 bank anglers kept 1 legal sturgeon and released 5 sublegal sturgeon. 9 boats/23 rods kept 14 legal sturgeon, released 77 sublegal and 2 oversize sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.John Day Pool- 8 bank anglers kept 1 legal sturgeon.  2 boats/4 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/5 rods kept 5 walleye.

John Day Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch. 7 boats/13 rods kept 2 and released 10 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/6 rods kept 2 bass and released 71 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 37 bank rods kept 2 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  58 bank rods kept 13 steelhead.  38 boats/110 rods kept 42 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 272 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and four cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 40 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and two cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 17 winter-run steelhead adults and two cutthroat trout adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

Tacoma Power also tagged and recycled 109 winter-run steelhead adults to the lower river.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,970 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 8. Water visibility is 9 feet and the water temperature is 45.7 F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 14 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 3 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 3 boats/5 rods had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  No report of angler success.

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)           April 1, 2019 Rainbow 2,000           2.53 GOLDENDALE

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (4-3-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN AND PAUL HOFFARTH, WDFW

Preliminary Washington lower Columbia River mainstem sport sampling summary

March 25-31, 2019

Bonneville bank anglers: 146; kept adult Chinook: 7
I-5 area bank anglers: 1; kept adult Chinook: 0
Vancouver area bank anglers: 65; kept adult Chinook: 0

Bonneville boat anglers: 2; kept adult Chinook: 0
Camas area boat anglers: 9; kept adult Chinook: 0
I-5 area boat anglers: 8; kept adult Chinook: 2
Vancouver boat anglers: 375; kept adult Chinook: 55

SPRING CHINOOK CATCHES ARE PICKING UP IN THE INTERSTATE STRETCH OF THE LOWER COLUMBIA. LAST WEEK’S KEPT CATCH OF 55 WAS SIX TIMES LARGER THAN THE PREVIOUS MARCH WEEK’S NINE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report March 25-31, 2019

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 434 salmonid boats and 70 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 16 bank anglers kept 2 legal sturgeon and released 9 sublegal sturgeon.  10 boats/27 rods kept 7 legal sturgeon, released 86 sublegal and 1 oversize sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 62 bank anglers kept 9 legal sturgeon, released 44 sublegal and 15 oversize sturgeon.  11 boats/23 rods kept 8 legal sturgeon, released 1 legal, 40 sublegal and 1 oversize sturgeon.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/8 rods released 12 walleye.

John Day Pool- 44 boats/111 rods kept 172 walleye and released 12 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 5 boat/7 rods released 16 bass.

John Day Pool- 4 boats/7 rods kept 13 bass and released 12 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 21 bank rods kept 5 steelhead and released 5 Chinook jacks.

Above the I-5 Br:  8 bank rods kept 9 steelhead.  24 boats/81 rods kept 44 steelhead and released 3 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 196 winter-run steelhead adults and three spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 36 winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 23 winter-run steelhead adults and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,080 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 1. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 45.7 F.

Kalama River – 19 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  7 boats/16 rods kept 1 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)          April 1, 2019 Rainbow 2,000            2.5 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

Lacamas (CLARK)                    April 1, 2019 Rainbow 4,300            1.8 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Hanford Reach Steelhead Sport Fishery

In March, an estimated 337 angler trips harvested 148 hatchery steelhead and released 3 wild (unclipped) steelhead. Anglers averaged 6.2 hours per steelhead. The fishery will remain open to “bank angling only” at the Ringold Springs Access area through April 15. Daily limit is two steelhead and only Ringold Springs steelhead can be harvested. Steelhead released from Ringold Springs Hatchery are adipose and right ventral fin clipped.

McNary Reservoir Steelhead Sport Fishery Summary

Why A Relatively Unknown Washington Lake May Produce The State’s Biggest Tourney Bass

If a WDFW staffer’s analysis of a decade’s worth of bass tournament catches spiked your interest in hitting Lake Osoyoos, we have a few more details to add about it and other hot spots.

That data posted to Facebook earlier this week showed that out of 18 waters across Washington, the fattest average fish was caught at this relatively overlooked border-straddling Okanogan River lake, 3.34 pounds — more than half a pound heavier than the next closest entry on the list.

A BASS ANGLER WORKS THE EASTERN SHORE OF LAKE OSOYOOS JUST BELOW THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER IN THIS CROPPED IMAGE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY’S SHORELINE PHOTO VIEWER. (DOE)

“I suspect they are large in there because conditions are perfect and they have been left alone for the most part,” says Dr. Daniel Garrett, a state warmwater fisheries biologist now stationed in Spokane who crunched the numbers from 14 contests held there.

“I’m sure they would eat a sockeye smolt,” he adds, “but I’d be shocked if crawfish wasn’t driving their growth there for most of the year, as in other systems.”

No need to tell that to two Washington anglers who fished a tournament on the British Columbia side of the 5,729-acre lake last April.

They brought a monster smallmouth aboard that might have gone 9-plus pounds had it not been “pooping crayfish all over the deck,” according to an article on Bassfan.com.

ANOTHER BASS BOAT WORKS OSOYOOS — WHICH MEANS “NARROWING OF THE WATERS” IN THE OKANAGAN LANGUAGE — ALONG ITS WESTERN SHORE IN THIS CROPPED IMAGE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY’S SHORELINE PHOTO VIEWER. (DOE)

It stated that the duo’s two-day, 64-plus-pound catch might also have been a record for the entire nation of Canada, though their final margin of victory — 39 pounds, 15 ounces — also suggests that they might have been fishing the spot on the spot on the spot.

The website reports they were dragging 4-inch Yamamoto Hula Grubs in cinnamon-purple flake and green pumpkin on 1/2-ounce football-head jigs around rocks next to weeds.

“This will put B.C. bass fishing on the map,” angler Shane Hoelzle told BassFan, which observed that otherwise, “largely because it’s a long drive from any large population center, and because anglers have kept quiet, Osoyoos remains largely unpressured.”

The lake is also on WDFW’s map, per se, and the agency says it offers “good fishing” from May through September, but ironically doesn’t list smallies in its rundown of “species you might catch” there.

At this writing, those spot-hoarding state zipperlippers only list perch, rainbows, kokanee, Chinook and sockeye as available.

But in Garrett’s analysis, Osoyoos actually had one of the highest percentages of smallmouth in its tourney catch, around 95 percent, topped only by the Mid-Columbia River’s Wallula Pool at roughly 97 percent.

Bronzebacks also comprised more than 70 percent of the bag at Lakes Washington, Sammamish, Banks and Long (Spokane), according to his analysis.

(WDFW)

But largemouth dominated at two other waters, Box Canyon and Potholes Reservoirs, a reflection of the preponderance of habitat for bucketmouths at the Central and Northeast Washington impoundments, he says.

“Box Canyon, for example, has a ton of slough habitat for largemouth,” Garrett says.

Those off-channel waters and drowned tributary mouths of the Pend Oreille River also unfortunately provided prime places for northern pike illegally introduced from Idaho’s Couer d’Alene drainage to establish themselves before WDFW and the Kalispel Tribe began an aggressive suppression program. While that effort appears to be working, walleye are now turning up in increasing numbers.

Garrett hopes to drill further down into the WDFW tournament data, including catches by month and season, but notes that out of the 146,124 bass caught and recorded at events held between 2008 and 2018, at least 112,213 were smallmouth and 33,503 were largemouth.

“They don’t add up to the 146,124 fish because there are a few missing data points because anglers didn’t report their smallmouth and largemouth. Not very many, though,” he notes.

(WDFW)

WDFW’s permit to hold an event requires organizers to report how many fish of each species were caught, their total weight, the biggest and smallest fish, and how many were released alive.

It turns out that this data may also provide key and unique insights into Washington’s bass populations.

Asked on Facebook if the end of size and bag limits on the Columbia in 2013 and 2016 had had any effect, WDFW stated, “Average weights of bass weighed in tournaments have not changed significantly in the Columbia River Pools. The average since 2016 is slightly higher than the 10-year average.”

As for getting on Lake Osoyoos this spring and summer, there are two boat ramps on the Washington side of the lake, including at Osoyoos Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park at its south end and Deep Bay Park on its west side just off Highway 97.

Do be aware that the lake belongs to two countries and boaters on it are watched more closely than on your local neighborhood lake, if this 2013 Wenatchee World story picked up by the Associated Press is any indication.

But over the coming months you might just spot one of WDFW’s warmwater bios doing a little field research here.

“I need to take a trip to see this lake,” says Garrett.

Me too!

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-27-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

March 27, 2019

Columbia River and Tributary Fishery Reports

Fishery Reports:

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 128 salmonid boats and 52 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 2 bank anglers had no catch.  14 boats/39 rods kept 9 legal sturgeon, released 5 legal sturgeon and 107 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 52 bank anglers kept 2 legal sturgeon, released 5 sublegal and 6 oversize sturgeon.  8 boats/10 rods released 1 sublegal sturgeon.

DAVE ANDERSON SHOWS OFF A NICE MID-COLUMBIA WALLEYE CAUGHT ON A GUIDED TRIP LAST WEEKEND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 17 boats/32 rods kept 14 walleye and released 6 walleye.

John Day Pool- 47 boats/96 rods kept 93 walleye and released 28 walleye.

Bass:

Bonneville Pool- 1 boat/2 rods released 1 bass.

John Day Pool- 5 boats/10 rods kept 1 bass and released 17 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 64 bank rods kept 8 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  34 bank rods kept 20 steelhead and released 2 steelhead.  61 boats/181 rods kept 101 steelhead and released 10 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 91 winter-run steelhead adults, one winter-run steelhead jack and one spring Chinook adult during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released 21 winter-run steelhead adults and one winter-run steelhead jack into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Randle.

Tacoma Power released four winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/3 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 17 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Wind River – 1boat/2 rods had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Horseshoe (COWL)                Mar 19, 2019 Rainbow 2,900           2.9 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-20-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

 

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 129 salmonid boats and 15 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

SPRINGER BOATS ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Sturgeon

Bonneville Pool- 8 bank anglers released 2 sublegal sturgeon.  6 boats/17 rods kept 3 legal sturgeon and released 26 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 15 bank anglers released 1 sublegal sturgeon.  7 boats/13 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 6 boats/12 rods kept 9 walleye.

The Dalles Pool- No anglers sampled.

John Day Pool- 63 boats/152 rods kept 75 walleye and released 68 walleye.

Bass:

John Day Pool- 1 boat/2 rod kept 1 bass and released 1 bass.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Elochoman River – 6 bank anglers released 2 steelhead.

Germany Creek – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 42 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br:  38 bank rods released 3 steelhead.  48 boats/156 rods kept 26 steelhead and released 8 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 20 winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Tacoma Power employees released two winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River in Randle.

The remainder of the fish are being held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

Kalama River – 29 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  4 boats/11 rods kept 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead.

Lewis River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 11 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

LK SACAJAWEA (COWL)         Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 3,001           2.3 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

SWOFFORD PD (LEWI)           Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 2,750           2.8 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

SWOFFORD PD (LEWI)           Mar 14, 2019 Rainbow 3,000           3.0 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

HORSE THIEF LK (KLIC)           Mar 11, 2019 Rainbow 31                0.1 GOLDENDALE HATCHERY

SW WA, Lower Columbia, Gorge Pools Fishing Report (3-13-19)

THE FOLLOWING WDFW FISHING REPORT WAS TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN

The first spring Chinook was counted at Bonneville Dam March 11, 2019.

2019 2018 10-yr Avg
Dam Date Adult Jack   Adult Jack   Adult Jack
BON 3/11/19 1 0 3 0 24 0

 

Salmon/Steelhead:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line to Bonneville Dam– 55 salmonid boats and 28 Washington bank rods were tallied during last Saturdays flight count.

WINTER STEELHEADING ON THE COWLITZ RIVER IS PICKING UP AS THE LATE-TIMED STOCK BEGINS TO ARRIVE IN BETTER NUMBERS. JASON BROOKS TOOK THIS PIC AT BLUE CREEK SEVERAL RUNS AGO. (JASON BROOKS)

Lower Columbia Washington only creel checks:

  • Sec 3 (I-5 area) bank – 5 salmonid bank anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 3 boat – 5 boats/14 salmonid anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 4 (Vancouver) bank – 22 salmonid anglers had no catch.
  • Sec 4 boat – 31 boats/ 65 salmonid anglers had no catch.

Sturgeon:

Bonneville Pool- 7 bank anglers had no catch.  5 boats/14 rods kept 3 legal sturgeon and released 51 sublegal sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool- Closed for retention.  No report.

John Day Pool- 15 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/6 rods had no catch.

Walleye:

Bonneville Pool- 3 boats/6 rods kept 20 walleye.

The Dalles Pool- No anglers sampled.

John Day Pool- 11 boats/23 rods kept 26 walleye and released 3 walleye.

Bass:

John Day Pool- 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Elochoman River – 2 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.  1 boat/3 rods released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 60 bank rods kept 1 steelhead.  4 boats/5 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br:  17 bank rods released 3 steelhead.  31 boats/106 rods kept 22 steelhead and released 4 steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered two winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

All of the fish collected last week were held at the hatchery for broodstock needs.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,160 cubic feet per second on Monday, March 11. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 41 F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 32 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 5 bank anglers had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Salmon Creek – 9 bank anglers had no catch.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Catchable Trout Plants:

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

LEWIS CO PRK PD-s (LEWI)    Mar 07, 2019 Rainbow 2,000           2.5 MOSSYROCK HATCHERY

KlineLine PD (CLAR)                Mar 05, 2019 Rainbow 1,500          2.3 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

Lacamas LK (CLAR)                  Mar 04, 2019 Rainbow 4,000          1.9 VANCOUVER HATCHERY

50 Walleye Worth $1,000 Each Waiting To Be Caught In IDFG Lake Pend Oreille Study

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

If the great taste of a walleye fillet isn’t enough, anglers will now have added incentive to catch and keep walleye in Lake Pend Oreille and connected Idaho waters. Starting March 1, an experimental program launched by Idaho Fish and Game and Avista will offer a chance at cash rewards for anglers harvesting walleye.

IDAHO FISHERY MANAGERS SAY NONNATIVE INVASIVE WALLEYE WILL BE SWIMMING IN LAKE PEND OREILLE “FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE” BUT THEY ARE ALSO TESTING WHETHER ANGLERS CAN HELP KEEP THEIRS POPULATIONS IN CHECK THROUGH A STUDY THAT INVOLVES SPECIALLY TAGGED FISH WORTH $1,000. (MATT CORSI, IDFG)

Fifty walleye in Lake Pend Oreille, the Clark Fork River and the Pend Oreille River have been injected in the snout with a tiny, internal tag. These tags are invisible to anglers, but turning in heads from legally caught walleye offers anglers a chance at two types of cash rewards. Anglers will receive $1,000 for a head that is turned in from a tagged walleye. Additionally, every walleye head turned in enters anglers in the monthly drawing for ten cash prizes of $100 each.

There is no bag limit on walleye in the Pend Oreille system. For rules and entry details visit Fish and Game’s Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program website or any of the following fish head freezer locations:

McDonald’s Hudson Bay Resort, 17813 E Hudson Bay Rd, Bayview
Fish & Game Field Office, 16805 Limekiln Rd, Bayview
Garfield Bay Boat Launch, 61 W Garfield Bay Rd, Sagle
Glengary Boat Launch, Marina Rd, Sagle
Peck Landscape Supplies & Farm Store, 468215 Hwy 95, Sagle
North 40, 477181 N Hwy 95, Ponderay
Arnie’s Conoco, 32131 Hwy 200, Kootenai
Holiday Shores Resort and Cafe, 46624 Hwy 200, Hope
Hope Marine, 47392 Hwy 200, Hope
Bonner Park West, 500 Railroad Ave, Priest River
Fish & Game Regional Office, 2885 W Kathleen Ave, Coeur d’Alene (weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)


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Experimental approach focuses on fishing power

Walleye were essentially non-existent in Lake Pend Oreille ten years ago, but numbers have been rapidly increasing since 2014. The population likely originated from an illegal introduction of walleye into Noxon Reservoir in the early 1990’s. These fish moved downstream into Idaho via the Clark Fork River. Biologists now fear walleye may cause a decline in kokanee and other high-demand sportfish, such as rainbow trout, native bull trout and cutthroat trout, and bass.

Using information provided by this experimental program, biologists will evaluate how effective anglers can be at keeping walleye populations in check. The lottery will be paired with an experimental gill netting program to compare effectiveness of both approaches. Walleye harvested from gill nets will be donated to area food banks.

Producing over 35,000 eggs per pound of body weight, walleye can quickly reproduce and become a problem if not addressed early. They are also adapted to live in a variety of both lake and stream environments, making them very effective invaders.

Walleye have dramatically changed fish communities in the western United States. Canyon Ferry Reservoir in Montana provides a cautionary look at how walleye can eat themselves out of house and home. Illegally introduced in the 1980’s, walleye depleted the prey base in the reservoir, collapsing perch, rainbow trout, and white sucker populations over the next decade. Following the loss of prey, walleye condition and size dropped. Ultimately, angler satisfaction in the entire fishery declined due to walleye.

Lake Pend Oreille has long been known for its trophy rainbow trout and bull trout, having produced world records for both species. Along with being a popular sportfish, kokanee are the primary prey base for these trophy fisheries and therefore considered the backbone of the fishery. As history shows, a downturn in the kokanee population has reverberating effects across the Lake Pend Oreille food web.

Borrowing a page from lake trout management

Just over a decade ago, lake trout threatened to collapse the kokanee fishery in Lake Pend Oreille. Similar to walleye, lake trout are an introduced, top-level predator in the lake ecosystem. Since 2006, Fish and Game staff and the angling community, with support from Avista and Bonneville Power Administration, have worked to manage and suppress lake trout. Angler rewards and commercial netting were the tools used to reduce lake trout abundance.

The program is a success, as kokanee are now highly abundant and the trophy rainbow trout fishery is outstanding. A similar management approach may work to limit walleye population growth but biologists want to test this strategy before committing long-term.

LAKE PEND OREILLE’S KOKANEE POPULATION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY PROTECTED FROM INTRODUCED LAKE TROUT, BUT NOW FACE A THREAT FROM WALLEYE. (MATT CORSI, IDFG)

Despite being a popular sportfish that benefit fisheries elsewhere, walleye pose a significant risk to sustaining the existing Lake Pend Oreille fishery. Trout and kokanee are particularly vulnerable prey because these species have no spiny fins for protection. Based on stomach content analysis, walleye commonly feed on kokanee in the deeper parts of the lake and yellow perch in the shallower areas.

Given what is known about walleye, it is unlikely the species could be eliminated from Lake Pend Oreille entirely. Fish and Game researchers want to find effective ways to manage this new walleye population at a low enough density that does not jeopardize the existing fishery.

Walleye will be swimming in the lake into the foreseeable future. Fortunately, walleye fishing is fun and they make excellent table fare. The walleye lottery is aimed at adding to that experience with cash rewards while directly involving anglers in Lake Pend Oreille’s fishery management.

If you have questions please call the Panhandle Regional Office at (208)769-1414.

Washington Bass, Walleye, Channel Cats Would Remain Game Fish But With Liberalized Regs Under Bill Amendment

Walleye, bass and channel catfish would not be declassified as game species in Washington, but the Fish and Wildlife Commission would need to liberalize limits on them in all waters where sea-going salmonids swim.

STATE LAWMAKERS RECOMMENDED THAT LIMITS ON LARGEMOUTH BASS, LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT AT A NORTHWEST WASHINGTON LAKE, AS WELL AS SMALLMOUTH BASS, WALLEYE AND CHANNEL CATFISH LIMITS BE LIBERALIZED IN WATERS BEARING SEA-GOING SALMONIDS LIKE CHINOOK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee this morning voted 8-6 to amend HB 1579 to that effect.

The bill mostly deals with enforcement of hydraulic codes, but targets the nonnative smolt eaters as part of its suite of changes meant to help out struggling orcas and their key feedstock.

I think we should do everything we can to encourage recreational fisheries to catch as many of those fish as possible so that they’re not predating on Chinook salmon,” prime sponsor Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Burien) said during a public hearing last week.

There already are no size or catch limit restrictions on smallmouth, largemouth, walleye and channel cats in the Columbia below Chief Joseph Dam and Snake and both of their tribs, a move WDFW implemented in 2016 following ODFW’s lead.

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But as written the change would liberalize regulations for the species on Lakes Washington and Sammamish and a host of other stillwaters connected to streams that serve as spawning and rearing habitat for not only Chinook but also coho, sockeye, steelhead, bull trout and other anadromous species.

For instance, Cottage Lake near Woodinville, Big Lake near Mt. Vernon, and Lake Sawyer east of Auburn.

WDFW’s SalmonScape illustrates the scope of other potentially affected waters.

And it also shows ones that may not, at least under the bill as it’s currently written — important spinyray lakes such as Banks, Billy Clapp, Moses, Potholes, Scooteney and Sprague in Eastern Washington, along with Seattle’s Green, Snohomish County’s Goodwin and Roseiger, and Bellingham’s Whatcom.

The state mapping product shows those have not been documented to have salmon present in or above them.

But eventually Rufus Woods and Lake Roosevelt could, if efforts to reintroduce Chinook to the Canadian Columbia go through.

Walleye and smallmouth are primarily in the Columbia system and largemouth are ubiquitous in lakes across Washington, and all can spawn naturally, but channel cats, which tend to only be able to spawn in the warmest of our relatively cool waters, have been planted in select lakes when funding has been available to buy them from other states.

While the issue of how to classify fish that are from the Midwest and elsewhere east of the Rockies is of concern to WDFW and the state’s warmwater anglers and guides, the bill has primarily elicited pushback for the elements strengthening how the agency permits work around water, including repealing all but automatic approvals for residential bulkheads on the saltwater, which can impact forage fish spawning habitat.

Rep. Bruce Chandler, a Republican from eastern Yakima County, called the bill “an imposition of changes that really apply to Puget Sound.”

Chairman Brian Blake, a Democrat who represents Washington’s South Coast, termed it a “work in progress,” but nonetheless asked fellow lawmakers to move it forward.

All eight Democrats voted for a slate of amendments to the bill, while six of the seven Republicans voted against, with the seventh absent.

The bill also would require anglers who fish for smelt in saltwaters to buy a license, a move that would annually yield an estimated $37,400, according to a legislative analysis.

A version in the Senate, SB 5580, had a public hearing yesterday. It was supported by WDFW and tribal and environmental groups, and opposed by building and business associations, with concerns from the state farm bureau.

To go into law, they would have to pass both chambers and be signed by Governor Inslee, and then, at least as far as bass, walleye, and channel cats go, the Fish and Wildlife Commission would need to make the changes to the regulations, though it could be also be done via an emergency rule.

Editor’s note: An earlier version reported HB 1579 received a do-pass recommendation out of committee. In fact, the vote was whether to amend the bill, which occurred. It remains to be given a recommendation.

Trying To Foul Hook Downed Fowl, Something Bassy Bites Instead For Basin Duck Hunter

Everybody knows that Washington’s Columbia Basin is a great spot for duck hunting and it’s widely regarded as tops for bass fishing, but it isn’t often that Northwest sportsmen get to enjoy both pursuits at once.

KYLE VANDERWAAL AND THE FRUITS OF A COLUMBIA BASIN BLAST-AND-CAST LAST WEEKEND. (KYLE VANDERWAAL VIA GARY LUNDQUIST)

Waterfowling heats up in midfall as northern flights begin to arrive but largies and smallies become much more lethargic as lakes cool down with the onset of winter.

That’s the theory, anyway, and you just know that for every theory there’s that one guy gunning to poke a hole in it.

Enter Mr. Kyle Vanderwaal.

He’s a hardcore duck and goose hunter, if reports from family friend Gary Lundquist are any indication, and last weekend he found himself in the basin chasing mallards.

Despite blue skies hunting was pretty good that day, but apparently Vanderwaal downed one bird over water that was a bit deeper than his chest waders allowed him to wade.

Sans Bowser, it was time to implement plan C — casting.

Out came a fishing rod strung up with a No. 9 Shad Rap, a 31/2-inch plug sporting a pair of trebles, on the business end.

Perfect for hooking far-fallen fowl.

Also fish.

As Vanderwaal attempted to snag his greenhead, a green bass bit instead.

In the hook-and-bullet world, a cast and blast is an outing where you might fish for steelhead in the morning and head into the breaks for chukar in the afternoon, so this was more of a blast and cast or blast then cast.

Anyway, a photo snapped shortly afterwards shows the young hunter smiling with the day’s, er, catch — five drakes and a roughly 2-pound largemouth.

“The bass was released :)” reports Lundquist.

The same can not be said, however, of Vanderwaal’s ducks.

Confessions Of An Aspiring Basser: My 4-year-old Has Caught More Than Me

Editor’s note: We’ve all been there, Jesse, it’s nothing to be ashamed about if the fish don’t bite. Don’t be like the editor who after another fruitless go at coho today almost posted on Facebook that he had left his vehicle unlocked with all his tackle inside and sure hoped nobody would steal it (the lures, rods, net, waders, boots, etc., etc., etc., not the car!). Stick with it, the bass will bite, bud! In the meanwhile, thanks for sharing your great story about your daughter’s catch!

By Jesse Hopkins

On Saturday, September 8th, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter fishing for the first time.

I recently had gotten into bass fishing and bought myself all the high-end product thinking that would help me catch fish. Little did I know that was not the case. In fact, I have yet to catch a bass.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)Con

My daughter Noel, who is currently 4 years old, asked if I could take her fishing with me the next time I go. Of course, I said enthusiastically, but I have yet to buy her a fishing pole. On the way to the local lake at the Oregon coast we stopped at a Fred Meyer so I could buy her a cheap trout fishing pole. They had a combo set on sale for $9.99. Score.

We got to the lake with her and my brother-in-law and started fishing. She kept casting but was very discouraged because it wouldn’t go far.

I told her, “Why don’t you just stand by the dock and keep flicking the pole lightly with the line and hook in the water?”

She was happy to do just that. Keep in mind all she had was a small trout hook with a plastic green worm on it.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

After 10 minutes or so and multiple lost lures from my poor casting ability she yelled, “I have something on!”

I looked over and couldn’t believe she was able to hold on to the rod. It was whipping around like she was fighting a monster. She reeled it in and was so proud. She had caught in our eyes, a trophy bass.

My 4-year-old daughter now has caught more bass than me.

After several photos with the fish we were able to place it back in the lake to be caught by another fisher. She was the happiest I have ever seen her and very proud of herself. Now she is counting the days until the next fishing trip.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)