Thursday, February 22, 2024

THE WASHINGTON OUTDOOR REPORT May 28

Outdoors Roundup

Posted

Spring Chinook fishing improves

After a very slow start for the Columbia River spring Chinook salmon run things turned around in a big way. As of May 24, over 101,000 springers had crossed Bonneville Dam, which matches the ten-year long-term average. Because of this, fisheries managers have reopened Chinook salmon fishing on the lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam to June 4 and it may be extended again after that. Boat anglers can fish from the mouth to Beacon Rock while bank anglers can fish right up to the deadline below Bonneville Dam.

The Icicle River near Leavenworth and portions of the Yakima River are also open for hatchery raised spring Chinook and large returns of fish are expected up both streams. The Icicle River is best fished from a drift or pontoon boat though bank anglers do have some access to the river below the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and at a marked pullout on East Leavenworth Road. Catch rates have been relatively low thus far due to high waters and spring runoff but the waters have been receding and there should be good fishing in the week ahead.

One angler who has had a lot of success fishing the Columbia River in recent days is Jarod Higginbotham with Yakima Bait Company. He has been catching springers using a 2.5-inch Spinfish plug with either Northwest Scent’s Graybill’s sand shrimp formula or Pro-Cure’s bloody tuna scent. The hot plug color for Higginbotham, something called “Touchdown”, a mixed pattern of chrome, chartreuse and blue.

Swakane Shooting Range closing for renovations

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the Swakane Shooting Range on the Chelan Wildlife Area north of Wenatchee at dusk May 30. It will reopen in the fall following a standard fire restriction summer closure.

While the range is closed WDFW will be upgrading the site to National Rifle Association range standards. A 25-yard pistol range will be added, completely separated from the rifle ranges. The pistol and rifle ranges will have amenities added including shed-style covers over the firing lines, shooting benches and tables, a kiosk and additional signage. There will also be an improved pistol range back stop and better drainage in the area.

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing in on fire

Steve Morris, the owner of SJM Guide Service posted a photo this week of five anglers at Lake Roosevelt who all had limits of eater-sized walleye. According to Morris, “The fishing doesn’t get any better than it is right now!”. Morris has just a few openings available over the next few weeks. Go to www.sjmguideservice.com if you want to book a trip with him.

Time for morel mushrooms

Several of my friends have reported having good success hunting for morel mushrooms. If you are wondering where to find them start off in forested areas that have been burned by wildfire in the last couple of years. These mushrooms are prized for their taste and can be fried, roasted or sautéed. If you are looking for recipes here is a good place to start: www.allrecipes.com/gallery/best-morel-mushroom-recipes/.

Leave the babies be

With a late winter in much of the Northwest, now is the time you may run across young fawns, calves along with other animals or birds that appear to be abandoned. Ninety-nine percent of the time these animals are not orphaned and the mother is foraging or hunting for food nearby. So don’t make the mistake of removing the animal to save it.

Such an act occurred last week in Yellowstone National Park where a man decided to lift a bison calf out of a river so it could rejoin its herd. Unfortunately, the herd rejected the bison calf after the human interference and park officials had to euthanize the animal.

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

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