Monday, March 4, 2024

The Washington Outdoor Report April 16

Spring is for the birds and the bass

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COLUMBIA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE BIRDING

A friend and I went for a hike around Morgan Lake at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge last weekend. The shallow lake was full of coots (mud hens) as well as mallard ducks and colorful northern shovelers. The basalt cliffs and desert landscape surrounding the wetlands in the refuge are a pleasure to visit in the springtime though the first wildflowers had not yet bloomed and the grass was just greening up after the long winter. In addition to the ducks, good numbers of sandhill cranes are in the area and there were still several thousand snow geese rafted up at nearby Potholes Reservoir though they should be migrating north soon.

If you enjoy birding this is a great time of year to visit a national wildlife refuge or state wildlife area near you to see not only waterfowl, but also raptors, song birds and wading birds too.

WRI BIRD FESTIVAL

Speaking of bird watching, the Wenatchee River Institute and the North Central Washington chapter of the Audubon Society announced the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest will take place from May 18 - 21 this year and they promise it will be bigger than ever with over 50 birding trips happening over the course of the festival.

The Institute promotes the festival as a celebration of the return of migratory birds where participants can take part in birding field trips, workshops, family activities, and more. You can check out the schedule of events and register now at  https://leavenworthspringbirdfest.regfox.com/bird-fest-2023.

LIMIT OUT MARINE BASS TOURNAMENTS

MarDon Resort and Potholes Reservoir are going to be the site of what may well be the most impressive bass tournament the Pacific Northwest has seen in years. Russ Baker, the owner of Limit Out Performance Marine with locations in Pacific and Spokane Valley, is putting on the first annual Potholes Shared Weight Pro/Am Tournament on May 4 - 5.

This is a unique event where professional anglers with boats compete with randomly drawn amateur anglers who fish from the back of their boats. Sharing the weight of the days catch means it’s in the professional angler’s best interest to help his co-angler catch fish. It’s also a great way for a non-boater to learn from a pro and there are some big names coming to this event to include Bassmaster Classic winner Luke Clausen, well-known pro Ben Green from Tennessee, Mark Lassagne who publishes Bass Angler Magazine, and other professional anglers from several western states.

The pro angler who wins the event will take home a new Phoenix bass boat valued at $50,000. The top co-angler will win a cash prize of up to $5,000 based on a field of 100 boats. The maximum number of teams will be capped at 120 boats. The deadline to register for this event is April 21.

Right after this event Limit Out Marine will host a two-day Big Bass Tournament at the same location on May 6 - 7.  There will be hourly pay-outs for the biggest bass weighed in each hour and the biggest bass caught during the tournament will be worth $10,000.  You can register for both events at www.bigbasstrail.com. If you have questions about either tournament, you can contact Russ Baker at russ@limitoutmarine.com.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the bass fishing at Potholes Reservoir, it is very good for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. It usually takes a six to seven-pound bass to win the big bass contest in the spring before the fish spawn and teams will likely need to weigh in a five fish limit weighing at least 20 pounds a day to have any chance at winning the pro/am tournament.

As for the current fishing report? Pete Fischer at MarDon Resort says, “Largemouth bass have moved into the sand dunes and are being caught on black & blue jigs, swim jigs, chatter baits, Senkos and lipless crankbaits. Fischer suggests looking for the bass in water depths of two to ten feet.

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

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