You Could Use a New Favorite
by Paul Krupin
Limited 2nd Round Already is Underway in Washington
The weather is getting warmer, the bugs are coming out, and the fish are beginning to bite.
In the next few weeks, regardless of whether you have a boat or prefer to go bank fishing, the number of opportunities for fishing increases dramatically.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of planting thousands of rainbows, kokanee and cutthroat in lakes and ponds all over the state. Over two dozen year-round lakes were scheduled to receive fish in April.
In southeastern Washington, these include Interstate 82 Ponds 4 and 6, Quarry Pond and Hood Park Ponds located just across the Snake River in Burbank, and Dalton Lake above Ice Harbor Dam. All have been planted recently. Most of those fish weigh in from a third to half a pound each, but some run up to 1 1/2 pounds.
While the steelhead fisheries are closed now in the Columbia and Snake rivers, the upriver run of spring chinook is supposed to start arriving in area waters in the next week or two.
Biologists and fisherman are watching the numbers closely, with only a trickle of salmon having made it over Bonneville Dam so far. On Thursday, only 51 fish were counted at Bonneville and only two fish went over McNary.
Salmon angling has been curtailed on the Lower Columbia for the time being. Last Saturday, the WDFW allowed a one-day salmon fishery and nearly 1,200 salmon boats were counted between Bonneville and Puget Island. Another 600 bank anglers were observed, but there was no report on angler success.
Anglers will need to pay close attention for emergency rule changes over the next month. The Columbia River is tentatively open for spring chinook fishing from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Oregon border near Umatilla from March 16 through May 7.
The lower Yakima River will likely open in late April or early May (as soon as the fish arrive in good numbers). The lower Snake River is also slated to open for spring chinook fishing, with three sections open to fishing two days per week. The first Friday-Saturday near Ice Harbor Dam started this week; the short sections of the Snake River near Little Goose Dam and Clarkston start their two-days-per-week fishery on Sunday.
Anglers are also beginning to see the walleye action pick up in the Columbia River below McNary Dam. The state-record walleye weighing 20.32 pounds was caught in the Columbia River in Tri-Cities in March 2014. The bass bite will get better as the water temperature gets above 42 degrees.
The WDFW's Fish Washington released for the first time a fishing app, which can be downloaded for free to smart phones. The app provides up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state along with interactive mapping to help anglers find fishing near them, locations of boat launches and other fishing access points and more.
This year, WDFW will be holding an ongoing fishing derby. From May 1 to Oct. 31, anglers who catch one of 1,000 green-tagged trout will be eligible to redeem the tag for a prize donated by license vendors. The total value of those prizes is more than $38,000. A complete list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes is available online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/Home/FishingDerby.
There are also a number of lowland lakes that offer bank fisherman the opportunity to catch a variety of warm water species -- sunfish, bass, white and black crappie and channel catfish. The state record channel catfish, 36.2 pounds, came from the I-82 Pond 6 in 1999.
Locations of warm-water fishing interest near Tri-Cities include:
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