Fish And Wildlife Enforcement During The Pandemic

The Washington Outdoors Report

Maralee Moore from Moses Lake caught this monster walleye fishing at Potholes Reservoir last week – Photo courtesy MarDon Resort

On May 13 a regional news outlet reported the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued 17 fishing violations and three land use (trespassing) violations in Chelan, Douglas and Grant counties during the month of April when fishing and access to state public lands were closed.

I spoke with Captain Mike Jewell with WDFW about this. I learned enforcement officers were busy but issued verbal warnings in all except the most egregious situations during the six-week closure period. CPT Jewell said a total of 732 individuals were contacted on closed state lands from late March through early May.  Of that group, 129 individuals were fishing during the fishing closure that also occurred during this time period.

The few individuals cited were generally ones previously warned but choosing to trespass or fish anyway. Some examples of individuals cited included two who were fishing during the closure period and bragging about it on social media. One of these anglers, when contacted, was also found to have an illegal sized bass in his possession. Others cited were not only fishing during the closure but also had no fishing license. Still another was fishing a lake that wouldn’t have been open for fishing even if the closure wasn’t in effect. Others were not only fishing but doing so illegally trying to snag spawning walleye. The most interesting violation? That belonged to a person in a canoe shooting walleye with a crossbow under the cover of darkness.

Despite some of these serious violations, enforcement officers only cited these people with civil infractions instead of the criminal misdemeanor charges many of them deserved. In short, WDFW enforcement officers were vigilant but took a soft enforcement approach during the fishing and state lands closure.

Central/Eastern Washington Fishing Reports

Lake Chelan And Jameson Lake

Lance Effrig, the owner of Washington Guide Services says kokanee averaging 11 to 12-inches are spread out throughout the lake. Effrig is catching them by trolling Rocky Mountain Tackle dodgers and plankton squid lures in pink or orange colors at a depth of 30 to 50 feet.

If you don’t have a boat you can cast for trout from public docks and parks. Try using a black Warden’s Rooster Tail for success. A better bet for trout though might be a trip to Jameson Lake in Douglas County where Effrig says anglers are catching trout up to two-pounds from the bank.

Potholes Reservoir And The Seep Lakes

Pete Fischer at MarDon Resort reports good fishing for walleye, bass and trout at Potholes Reservoir. Walleye anglers have been having good success trolling nightcrawlers on Mack’s Lure Slow Death Hook rigs or #5 and #7 Berkley Flicker Shad crankbaits in perch colors.  Lots of largemouth bass in the 1 to 3-pound range have been caught deep in the sand dunes while the smallmouth bass are being caught in the main reservoir. Finally, rainbow trout are not only being caught in the main lake, but also in the nearby Seep Lakes. The hot lakes over the past few days have been the Hamptons, Corral and Warden Lake. Drop by the store at the resort to find out more and if you want to go camping MarDon resort is fully open again.

Lake Roosevelt

Kevin Witte with B&K Fishing Adventures says low water this year on Lake Roosevelt has the northern pike spread out near Kettle Falls though they are being caught by boaters trolling small crankbaits. Walleye fishing has been good and Witte has been limiting by noon. Troll bottom walkers and Mack’s Slow Death rigs at a depth of 20 to 50 feet for success.  As for trout, bank anglers are doing well in the Colville Flats area still fishing with bait. Other anglers are casting lures at the mouth of the Kettle River for pike and Daredeavle spoons are working well for that. Look for B&K Fishing Adventures on Facebook or call 509-398-7995 if you want to book a trip.


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