Saturday, May 18, 2024

THE WASHINGTON OUTDOORS REPORT September 17

Outdoor Roundup

Posted

National Public Lands Day:

Saturday, September 23, is National Public Lands Day.  The holiday celebrates our public lands managed at both the federal and state levels, and it is free to recreate on these lands for the day (no passes or permits required).  This makes it the perfect day (if you are pinching pennies) to visit a National Park, State Park, U.S. Forest Service recreation site or trailhead, National Wildlife Refuge, and select Bureau of Land Management properties that would typically charge a day-use or parking fee.

This holiday is also one where you can volunteer to be a steward of our public lands.  East of the Cascades in Washington, there are a couple of events you can participate in that day.  One of them is the Liberty Campground Clean Up and Maintenance Day in Liberty (near Cle Elum).  The other event, being done under the supervision of the Washington Trails Association, will happen near Sprague at the Fishtrap Loop Trail, where a stone turnpike will be constructed to prevent damage to the trail by seasonal flooding.  You can find out more about these events and other ones in Washington State at https://www.neefusa.org/npld-event-search.

National Fishing And Hunting Day:

Saturday, September 30, is National Fishing and Hunting Day, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will celebrate the occasion from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Camp Cowles, located at 4161 N Shore Diamond Lake Rd, Newport, WA 99156.

Kids 17 and younger are invited to attend the event with an adult, and if they do, they will be able to shoot firearms, bows, and air rifles free of charge under the supervision of WDFW staff and hunter education instructors.

There will be a number of booths and activities at this event to include:

  • Conservation organization displays and information
  • Door prize drawings
  • Fun giveaways
  • Casting practice
  • Knot tying
  • Fish prints
  • Track plaster casting

The bottom line?  If you want to introduce a kid to hunting, fishing, or shooting sports, this is a great event to attend.

Snow Geese In September:

Ten years ago, seeing a snow goose in Eastern Washington was a very rare thing. Still, migration patterns have changed, and last winter, close to 12,000 snow geese were rafted up on Potholes Reservoir until April when they returned to their breeding grounds at Wrangell Island in Alaska.

Or did they?  I was fishing at Potholes Reservoir near the sand dunes the first week of September when we came upon a flock of 20 snow geese frolicking near shore.  The flock flew away as we got close, and it marked the first time I had ever seen snow geese in this area prior to mid-October.

I wanted to know whether these geese never left the reservoir this spring.  I called local fishing and hunting guide Shelby Ross with Ross Outdoor Adventures, who opined they were likely early migrants (as opposed to geese that had taken up residence here) because he had not seen any geese on the lake since spring.  I got the same opinion from WDFW State Waterfowl Biologist Matthew Wilson, who thinks they are early migrants, but they probably spent the summer further south than Alaska.

Record Mahi-Mahi:

Congratulations are in order to Wade La Fontaine, who was fishing for tuna off of Westport on August 25 on board the charter boat, Tunacious, captained by Keith Johnson.   That’s when he hooked into a dolphinfish, known as a mahi mahi in Hawaii and as a dorado in the coastal waters around Mexico.  These fish are rare off the Washington Coast, but both recreational and commercial anglers have caught a few in recent years.  None, however, were as big as LaFontaine’s 21-pound, 48-inch-long fish, which is a new Washington State record.

Catching Carp On Artificial Lures:

Growing up as a kid, I learned to catch carp using corn or nightcrawlers for bait, but it turns out these hard-fighting fish sometimes bite artificial lures.  Fly anglers were the first to figure this out, and back in the 1990s, there were actually a few guides fishing out of flats boats in the northwest, targeting these fish with sculpin imitations at reservoirs like Banks Lake.  In the last few years, I’ve caught carp, fair hooked in the mouth, on deep diving crankbaits and blade baits.  However, my son David’s ten-pound carp caught out of Potholes Reservoir this week on a lipless crankbait was a new one to me.  Even though it wasn’t the big bass or walleye he was hoping for, it did put up a tussle, and he had fun catching it with a most unusual offering.

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

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