Customizing My Shelton Rockfish Release Device

This past summer the Alaska Department of Fish and Game required all charter fishing vessels in Southeast Alaska to carry a rockfish release mechanism on board at all times. Since I own such a vessel in Craig, Alaska it was apparent I was going to have to change how we do things on the bottomfish grounds. No problemo!

If you’re not familiar with what happens to a rockfish when it comes up from depth they usually suffer from barotrauma, also known as “The Bends”. If they aren’t descended rapidly the chances of a rockfish making it back to the bottom are slim to none.

In several conversations I had with Puget Sound Anglers president Ron Garner last winter he continued to mention the Shelton Fish Descender as a viable option to meet the new standard. They were relatively inexpensive and after checking the SFD’s out online I quickly figured out a way to customize them to make them easier to use.

The online instructions looked simple enough, but I immediately recognized how tangled up the whole mess could get in heavy seas with braided bottomfish lines sweeping under the boat. And, I wouldn’t have much time to get a rockfish hooked up and hauling ass back down to depth before I was off to tend to another rod on deck. On most days there’s little time for tinkering.

This is what I came up with. A 2 pound pipe jig with the SFD descender poured directly into the top of the jig. When Dad was building my pipe jigs last spring I had him pour me a jig with the Shelton Fish Descender poured into the jig.

Since two pounds is only sufficient to sink your average-sized rockfish I added a split ring and a three way spiral swivel to the bottom of the jig so that I could add more weight as needed. The weights that I added to the pipe jig were 2 pound square leads that don’t roll around the side trays when the boat is underway.

Smaller sized yelloweye rockfish, for instance, would usually take around 4 pounds of weight to get them to descend. Larger yelloweye in the 12 to 15 pound range would descend with two additional two pound leads spun onto the swivels making the jig a total of 6 pounds.

In speaking with Garner he told me that yelloweye rockfish larger than that would take 8 pounds or more to get them down. I had small lanyards rigged up just in case I needed more than 6 pounds of total weight, but I never needed them.

Overall the performance of this device was quite sufficient after I got the hang of using it. The key was to hook up the rockfish and send it downward and keep it going in one continuous motion, otherwise the fish would slide off the needle and I would have to retrieve the fish and start over. Having the bail open and ready to roll was crucial to making this work.

After some practice I could rapidly get a rockfish onto the needle and back down to depth in short order. I had a spare halibut rod on board with a large Penn 345 reel attached to it that could handle the heavy weight of this device.

Unless I find a better device for the summer of 2014 I plan on pouring more SFD’s into pipes that weigh 2, 4, and 6 pounds that can quickly be deployed onboard the “Polar Bear”. A small rack of these pipe jig descenders would greatly simplify this task.

If you’ve done some tweeking to your own rockfish descenders to make them more effective I’m all ears. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on the Outdoor Line forums. There’s a great learning environment on the OL forums and the only ones that get lit up are…well…us!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

Daiwa Saltist Line Counter Passes Alaskan Field Test

There are few products that I’ll give my blessing to before I field test them in the fish-filled waters of Southeast Alaska. I spend my summer months running salmon and halibut charters in Craig, Alaska, a place where very few reels last more than a couple of days. Read on to see how the Daiwa Saltist 30 line counter reel fared in these harsh Alaskan waters.

Between the sheer numbers of fish, severe abuse by charter customers, and harsh Alaskan weather any reel in service on a charter boat in these waters gets the living you-know-what beat out it. I can’t think of a better place in the entire world to test a line counter reel!

I recieved my shipment of Saltist’s in early July and they promptly went into service. At first I only switched out a couple of rods to the Saltist’s just to see how they felt and it wasn’t long before all of my Lamiglas “Salmon Moochers” were sporting them.

I opted for the Saltist 30′s because I could stuff 230 yards of 25 pound test Trilene Transoptic line on them. Break offs aren’t uncommon and we at times mooch cut plug herring in water as deep as 300 feet. I wanted plenty of line capacity to get the job done.

The Saltist comes with a power handle that makes cranking in large salmon, halibut, or bottomfish quite comfortable for even the most inexperienced angler. I also like the fact that the spool, frame, and sideplates are all made of machined aluminum, which greatly reduces any corrosion that’s caused by dissimilar metals.  A carbon drag system and sealed, corrosion-resistant ball bearings come stock with the Saltist. The drags on the four reels that I put into service full-time were just as smooth at the end of the season as they were when they first started. In addition, there was no gravelly feeling in any of the reels that we used, and abused.

These reels cycled thru thousands of fish, were punished by lord-only-knows how many snags on the bottom, and survived multiple encounters with our favorite fur bag…the Stellar sea lion. A 1,500 hundred pound sea lion will smoke a lesser reel in seconds. The Saltist took everything Southeast Alaska could throw at it and was still standing strong at the end of the beatings.

Lastly, and this is a big one for me, the counters were still working at the end of the season. The line counter always seems to be the weakest link on any line counter reel. Go figure!

If you’re looking for a reel for the Columbia River, Puget Sound, or the Washington coast I’d probably opt for the Saltist 20 instead of the 30. The smaller 20 still holds 210 yards of 20 pound test and is super light and sweet on a light jigging, mooching, or trolling rod. For our charter application in Southeast Alaska, however, the Saltist 30 is the perfect reel.

As you can tell I’m happy with the performance of my Saltist’s and I’ll be ordering a few more for next season. If they hadn’t passed the ultimate test, well, I wouldn’t be talking about them here on the Outdoor Line. I really like these reels.

The Daiwa Saltist 30…worth every penny!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Northwest Outdoor Report

Sol Duc Picking Up for Springers
Bill Myer from Anglers Guide Service in Forks says he’s been hooking a few nice spring Chinook on the Sol Duc river every day and the fishing appears to be picking up. Myer said most of his springers have been in the 8 to 14 pound range, but he’s heard of quite a few spring Chinook over 20 pounds already. He’s been backtrolling cured eggs and cut plug herring to get his bites on the Sol Duc. The Sol Duc springer fishery will continue to produce fish well into the month of June.

Trout Fishing Still Great Despite High Flows on Upper Columbia
Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch Guide Service checked in from Black Bear Lodge on the upper Columbia River to say that the trout fishing has remained great despite really high flows the past couple of weeks. The upper Columbia has swelled from 85,000 cfs to over 175,000 cfs recently from snow melt in the upper part of the basin. Mitchell says the fishing has remained great right thru the uptick in flows. He said they’re catching trout over 20 inches on a daily basis on anything from carpenter ant patterns to caddis, baetis, mayflies, and pmd’s. Mitchell says the great fishing will continue thru the month of June when the Green Drake hatch takes off.

Hein Bank Comes to Life on Second Halibut Opener
Kevin John from Holiday Sports in Burlington reported excellent halibut fishing on Hein Bank on the second halibut opener on Thursday of this past week. Kevin and the gang from Holiday Sports had their limit of halibut between 25 and 45 pounds before noon on Thursday. They caught their fish on the south end of Hein Bank in 120 to 180 feet of water. He said the hot baits were squid with a big glow in the dark hoochie and a large squid with a whole herring stuffed inside of it. Anglers should have decent weather on the Strait of Juan de Fuca for today’s halibut opener until the wind kicks up later this afternoon.

Last Razor Dig of the Season
Clam diggers will get one more chance to dig razor clams at Twin Harbors beach near Westport next Friday thru Sunday. Twin Harbors will be the only beach open for digging. WDFW coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres says this has been the most productive clam digging season in over 20 years on the Washington Coast. Since last October diggers have harvested more than 5 million razor clams. The coast will close after this last clam dig to allow the razor clams to spawn and provide another crop of clams for digging next fall.

Kids Fishing Event on Heart Lake
One of the hottest trout fishing lakes in the region, Heart Lake near Anacortes, will close over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend for a kids fishing event. The event takes place on June 1st and the lake is closed two days prior to allow freshly stocked trout to acclimate. Kids that otherwise might not get a chance to catch a trout get the entire lake to themselves on June 1st. The Kids Fishing event has been held for 20 years on Heart Lake and is sponsored by the City of Anacortes and the Fidalgo/San Juan chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers.

First Copper River Salmon Arrives in Seattle
Alaska Airlines pilots carried a 40 pound Copper River king salmon to waiting chefs at Sea-Tac Airport yesterday. It was the first Copper River king to arrive in Seattle and marks the beginning of the yearly craze for this great eating strain of king salmon. Copper River king salmon are prized for their high fat content and restaurants pay as much as $50 a pound to purchase them for their patrons. The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 contained an additional 24,600 pounds of Copper River king salmon and Alaska Airlines said it would run three more Copper River salmon flights like it on Friday.

Minnesota Lakes Test Positive for Cocaine
Associated Press – Scientists just studied 50 lakes in Minnesota for water quality and found a myriad of manmade chemicals in the lakes – including cocaine, DEET, synthetic estrogen, antibiotics, and antidepressants. The bug repellent DEET was found in 76 percent of the lakes and researchers were shocked to find that 32 percent of the lakes tested positive for cocaine. Cocaine was the third most common chemical found in the lakes and scientists were surprised to find it in some very remote lakes that weren’t close to population centers. Before you head to Minnesota and start snorting lake water understand that you’ll probably drown before you catch a buzz. Scientists say the levels of cocaine in the lakes that tested positive is around several parts per trillion…hardly enough to catch a buzz.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

KIRO’s Upshaw to Join the Outdoor Line on Saturday

We’ll have Ron Upshaw from KIRO’s popular “Ron and Don” show on the Outdoor Line tomorrow morning to chat with us about his recent fishing trip to Louisiana. Ron fished the flats for redfish, black drum, and seatrout by day and then bow-fished for redfish by night. That’s a FULL day of fishing right there!

Ron says, “It was super fun but I started running out of gas at around 1:30 in the morning.”

Bow fishing for redfish sounds like blast!

Here’s a few of the photos from Ron’s trip and he’ll be giving us the fully skinny on his fishing trip on the radio with us in the morning.

A Louisiana fishing trip has always been on my bucket list, so I’m anxious to hear what he has to say about he recent adventure on the show tomorrow. Plus, Nelly will get to learn about something other than his beloved salmon. Blackened redfish…it’s what’s for dinner Nelly!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

Luhr Jensen Releases New Flasher Colors for 2013

I just got my grubby little hands on the new Coyote flashers that Luhr Jensen just released for the upcoming 2013 salmon season and they look pretty schnazzy.

I hate to admit it but I’ve kind of grown fond of trolling for Chinook in Southeast Alaska and none of these flashers will be spared in our pursuit of chrome in the early part of the upcoming charter season. These flashers will be beaten in sand, gravel, and rock and thrashed by lingcod, halibut, and salmon. There isn’t a better place on earth to test out new tackle than Southeast Alaska!

Without further ado here’s the new flasher colors from Luhr Jensen:

Black/Double Crush Glow

Frog Racer

Glow/Double UV

White/Blue Bubble and Crush Glow

White/Chartreuse Dew and Crush Glow

If I had to choose three of the new colors when we start fishing in Southeast Alaska in early June I’d probably pick Glow/Double UV, Blue Bubble Boy, and Chartreuse Mountain Dew. Might as well start giving them nicknames right now!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

 

Northwest Outdoor Report

Kokanee Bite Taking off on Lake Samish
Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington says the kokanee bite on Lake Samish has been heating up the last few days. He’s talked to several anglers who have been limits of kokanee up to 17 inches on the lake. The hot rig has been a Sling Blade dodger with a Wedding Ring spinner behind it tipped with shoepeg corn and a pink Berkley maggot. Kevin says the larger fish are being caught 20 to 30 feet deep on the downrigger and the best fishing has been occurring in the middle of the lake directly in front of the boat ramp.

Bass Tourney on Lake Washington This Weekend
The American Bass Association is hosting two tournaments on Lake Washington this weekend with separate tourneys running on both Saturday and Sunday. Larry Williams from ABA expects between 20 and 30 boats to turn out for the event. With the smallmouth bass recently moving up onto their beds he expects fishing to be quite good and thinks it will take a 22 plus pound limit to take top honors in both events. Williams says the best technique for catching smallmouth bass on Lake Washington this time of year is a drop shot rigged with either a Snyper or a Yamamoto bait.

Halibut Opener Most Productive Around Port Angeles
Anglers couldn’t have asked for better weather on the halibut opener last week. Anglers got flat seas, sun burns, and there was some good fishing at least for those in the Port Angeles area. WDFW fish checkers in Port Angeles checked 141 boats with 146 halibut on the opener last Thursday. That’s an average of more than one halibut per boat. Last year the average out of Port Angeles was around .3 halibut per boat. Port Townsend and Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island kicked out a few halibut, as well, while the fishing elsewhere in the eastern Strait and the northern Puget Sound was pretty spotty for halibut. Halibut opens in Neah Bay and LaPush this weekend and anglers are once again getting excellent water to fish for halibut offshore.

Neah Bay Halibut Opener Slower Than Expected
Mike Jamboretz from Jambo’s Sportfishing said they had to fish longer than usual to get their limits of halibut on the Neah Bay opener on Thursday. Jamboretz said the ling cod were so thick on most of 72 Square that it was hard to get to the halibut. He had to move quite a bit to find areas with good halibut numbers and finally found some better fishing on Blue Dot. Most of the fish averaged around 30 pounds and their biggest fish was 45 pounds on the opener. Neah Bay and LaPush are open again today for halibut and Jambo says they’ll have “canoe weather” offshore for fishing again.

Special Hunt Permit Deadline Drawing Near
Hunters should be aware that the deadline for special hunt applications is May 22nd this year. Hunters can apply for special hunts for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey in Washington thru the special hunt process. The drawing for special hunts takes place in late June.

Two Beaches Open for Clamming
Razor clam digging will be open Friday and Saturday on the Long Beach Peninsula and Twin Harbors beach will be open through Tuesday. Copalis and Mocrocks beaches are closed for the season because harvest guidelines have been met on those beaches. Low tide is at 8:12 a.m. today and digging usually starts a couple of hours before the low tide.

Florida Cops Enlist Alligator to Capture Fleeing Criminal
St Petersburg, Florida – A suspect who fled from Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies after a routine traffic stop was attacked by an alligator and later found at a local hospital being treated for puncture wounds to his face, arm, and armpit area. According to the police report the suspect, Bryan Zuniga, ran into the alligator at a nearby water treatment plant where it attacked him. He had no choice but to check himself into the hospital and of course…that’s where the police caught up to Mr. Zuniga and arrested him. If you run from the cops in Florida…you probably don’t want to wander too far off the beaten path.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Try Micro Hots Shots for Opening Day Trout

As we quickly approach the lowland lake opener here in Washington I’m reminded of how much fun I’ve had over the years trolling for rainbows with small plugs. In case you’re not sure when the opener is…it’s this Saturday.

The second I lift the lid on my old trout box every year a lifetime of trout fishing memories flashes across the ol’ mental movie player. There’s stuff in this box that dates clear back to the mid-70′s when I was just a pup.

In one small compartment is a pile of small spoons, another contains a bunch of Mepp’s spinners, there’s a box of trout flies I tied in the 4th grade, some old red and white bobbers, and in yet another compartment is a little pile of Hot Shot plugs. Some are new and some are old.

The memories of hooking opening day trout on these small plugs are some of my most vivid because the strikes were vicious and the trout would jump for the sky the second they were hooked.

Dad would run the 15 horsepower Evinrude that vomited noxious exhaust fumes and my brother and I would sit at attention in our huge orange life jackets waiting for a strike. We had a twelve foot Smokercraft, which seemed plenty big at the time. Mom would be there too, stuffing food in our faces and keeping us warm.

I didn’t talk much. I would stare at my rod intently as dad meandered around the lake looking for a concentration of trout. When a trout would pound one of the plugs I still remember that moment of pandemonium when the rod would slam down and a chunky rainbow would launch itself into the sky trying to shake the hook.

It worked out best when they did spit the hook so we could fish a little longer. Regardless, I would get a big charge out of how hard a trout would slam these little plugs.

When I think back to the trout openers of my youth those are the first memories that come to the forefront, of trout smashing small plugs.

Trout-sized Hot Shots come in size 50, 60, and 70. If you choose just one size, however, I’d go with a size 60. They’ll dive a few feet down and if you need to go deeper simply add some split shot up the line three or four feet.

All of the colors above work great, but it seems like I always drift towards the froggy pattern and the flame orange Hot Shot. That’s what we used when we were kids and they still spank the trout to this day.

If you’re running an electric trolling motor you can let the plugs out around 30 feet and still get strikes. When using a gas-powered engine I recommend letting them out at least 50 feet or more. Be sure to troll slowly and when you get a few strikes in a certain area of the lake be sure to whip back around and make a few laps thru that area. Chances are there are more willing biters in the area.

A friend down near Portland, Oregon suggested running these small Hot Shot’s behind a Ford Fender. He catches some huge trout on some of the larger lakes in Oregon on this rig and says they absolutely paste the plugs when they hit them. That’s something I’ve got to try!

My wife and I will be taking our one year old daughter out on the boat this Sunday for her first trout fishing experience and I plan on trolling plugs. I’m pretty sure she won’t remember it when she’s older. We’ll remember it though and that’s what counts!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Northwest Outdoor Report

Sea Run Cutties Smashing Chum Fry on South Sound Beaches
Anil Sravastava at Puget Sound Fly Company in Tacoma says it’s the best spring searun cutthroat fishing he’s seen in at least a half a dozen years in the south Puget Sound. Anil says the searun cutties are keying in on chum salmon fry dumping out of the creeks in the south sound and really anywhere south of the Narrows has been fishing good. He pointed to both Carr Inlet and Colvos Passage as areas to hit, however, and he recommends fishing small baitfish patterns in the one and a half to two inch range that mimic the chum fry for the best results.

Alger Likes Cottage and Margaret Lakes on Trout Opener
Kent Alger at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville gave a nod towards Cottage Lake and Lake Margaret near Woodinville as his top picks for trout on the opener next Saturday. Kent’s favorite setup is a white micro jig under a pencil float and he says to run 4 pound test leader to get more bites. He says to set the float anywhere from 3 to as much as ten feet deep and twitch the jig occasionally to give it some action. Alger says the large holdover trout are particularly fond of this setup and expect freshly stocked trout to hit the jigs too. Three Rivers Marine will be opening the store at 6:00 a.m. for the opener next Saturday and they are offering 20% off on all of their trout gear including Daiwa D Shock and D Turbo trout combos.

Bill’s Boathouse to Release 6,000 Trout
If you’re looking to get a jump on opening day of trout season Bill’s Boathouse on American Lake will be releasing six thousand rainbow trout today. The trout all weigh nearly one pound and they will be released at 8:00 a.m. today. Mike Barr at Bill’s Boathouse says the fishing is outstanding off the dock at the boathouse this weekend and for several more weeks to come. Bill’s Boathouse is located near the community of Tillicum in Tacoma and they have a private fishing dock that costs between $3 and $5 per day to fish off of.

Razor Clam Dig Approved for Washington Coast
WDFW shellfish managers just approved a morning razor clam dig that will run April 24th thru the 30th at Twin Harbors beach. Two beaches, Long Beach and Mocrocks, will be open to morning digging for four days and Copalis will be open for three of the seven days. Full details of the beach openings for this razor clam dig are posted on the WDFW website.

Spring Days at Defiance Marine
April 27th is the Defiance Marine annual Spring Event featuring halibut and albacore seminars with familiar names like Todd Schwartz, Tommy Donlin, and Rob Endsley. Rob Endsley will be on hand in the afternoon to demonstrate rigging techniques for fishing both cut plug and whole herring. Defiance will have tackle on sale and a free hamburger and hot dog barbecue for lunch. There’s also a fishing gear swap meet at the event, so bring your old fishing gear and unload it at Defiance Marine on April 27th.

Wolf Attacks Deer on the Edge of Wenatchee City Limits
Northwest Sportsman – Wolves are making their presence known near Wenatchee, as a wolf took down a wounded deer just a mile out of town near the Wenatchee Rifle and Revolver Club earlier this week. The wolf was attacking a wounded deer near a residence in the Number 2 Canyon when the homeowner called authorities to let them know what was going on. While the sight might have been somewhat shocking, authorities say the wolf was just doing “what wolves do” by removing a sick or wounded animal from the herd. Wolves have been seen in the same general area on two elk kills in the last month. The wolves have been hunting deer and elk that are on their winter range in the lowlands, which also happens to be where the most houses are located.

Hybrid Rattlesnake Seized from Olympia Apartment
Thurston County animal control officers seized an illegal hybrid diamondback rattlesnake from an apartment in Olympia last Sunday. The hybrid rattler was a cross between a diamondback rattlesnake and some other kind of pit viper. A neighbor tipped off authorities that the man had the snake after he told the neighbor that he had been bitten by one of his other pet rattlesnakes years earlier and had to be airlifted to Harborview. The shelter that was holding the snake said it was repeated snapping it’s head in its glass cage and squirting vemon from its teeth. It was not a happy snake. The man faces a fine of up to $2,000 for harboring a dangerous wild animal.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Dickson to Offer Float Trip for Wounded Vets

Wounded Warriors Grande Ronde River 4 day Wilderness Float Trip
Grand Ronde River, Washington
July 29-August 3 2013

The purpose of this special adventure is to raise awareness for the  Wounded Warriors program.

As a full time river outfitter I have spent the last 23 years rafting guests down many western rivers. My all-time favorite is the wilderness section of the Grande Ronde River in southeast Washington.

I am so thrilled to bring some brave young soldiers to my chosen waters.

I am asked almost daily. “Why are you doing this?”

My response: “These young men and women make the ultimate sacrifice for me, my family and our country. I could not be prouder to live in a country where brave young men and women risk their lives so we can all be a free nation. This small gesture is my way of saying THANK YOU!”

Check out our Grand Ronde Wilderness Float Trips when you get a chance and feel free to drop us a line if you’re interested in helping out with this awesome trip. These young men and women certainly deserve a great experience in the outdoors after all they’ve been thru!

Best of rafting,
Dennis Dickson
www.flyfishsteelhead.com
E-mail Dennis at DDDicksons@aol.com or phone at (425) 238-3537

 

Northwest Outdoor Report

Washington Sets Salmon Seasons
Fishery managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildife just released the 2013 salmon season package this past week. The Columbia River, coastal waters, and the Puget Sound will all see similar seasons to last year. Bouy 10 will open up for salmon fishing on August 1st with a one king limit thru September 1st. The coastal Chinook quota is down to 48,000 fish from a quota of 51,500 king salmon last year and the coastal silver salmon quota is up slightly this year to 74,760 fish. The coastal salmon seasons are somewhat complicated and anglers are urged to visit the WDFW website for the full details on coastal openings and closures this summer. The popular hatchery chinook fishery in northern and central Puget Sound from July 16th through August 31st will happen again this summer. That area could close sooner if the chinook catch guideline is achieved. After that those areas of Puget Sound revert to coho and pinks only from September 1st through October 31st. With over 6 million pink salmon returning to the Puget Sound this year the state is planning to have “bonus limits” for pinks in several areas of the sound excluding the Hood Canal. A comprehensive list of the salmon seasons throughout Washington is posted on the WDFW website.

Queets Should be Strong this Weekend
Flyfishing guide Mike Dickson from Dickson’s Flyfishing said they’ve been catching a few nice steelhead a day on the upper Queets when it’s been in shape. He says there a little rain rain in the forecast for this weekend but the flows should hold up until it closes. Mike says to fish anything big and bright and he’s been having quite a bit of success using a marabou tied fly in a light peach color lately. He says that fly seems to stand out really well in the glacial waters of the Queets. The Queets closes to steelhead fishing on April 16th and then Mike will finish out his season fishing the Bogachiel and Sol Duc rivers near Forks which close the end of April.

Lake Roesiger Kicking Out Koke’s
John Martinis from John’s Sporting Goods in Everett says the kokanee bite on the southern end of Lake Roesiger in Snohomish County has been heating up this past week. He’s heard of anglers pulling limits of kokanee out of the lake trolling dodgers and small pink hoochies tipped with either shoe peg corn or Pautzke Firecorn. Martinis says Roesiger is usually the first lake to heat up for Kokanee because of its smaller size. On nearby Lake Stevens the kokanee bite has still been quite slow.

Kokanee are on the Surface at Lake Merwin
Cameron Black from Gone Catchin’ Guide Service says the kokanee fishing is starting to heat up down on Lake Merwin near Woodland. Black had ten fish to the boat on Friday and said they’ve been really nice so far this season averaging around 13 to 14 inches long. He’s been running a silver Sling Blade on the surface with either an orange or chartreuse hoochie behind it tipped with shoe peg corn. Black has been running the gear 140 to 150 feet behind the boat to get bites and he said the bite has been better on stormy days than calm days because the fish tend to be a bit spooky. Black says the water temperature is 48.5 degrees right now and the bite should get better as the lake continues to warm up.
 
Hit the Yakima Canyon for Redsides
The report from Mike Canady at Red’s Fly Shop in the Yakima River canyon is that the river has dropped back into shape after last week’s high water and fishing should be good the next few days. Canady says there’s been a few March browns and blue winged olive hatches coming off recently and the yearly Mother’s Day caddis hatch should start happening soon also. Red’s will be conducting the 4th annual Red’s Rendezvous event on April 20th with free casting classes, on the water tutorials, beer and wine tasting, and a ton of giveaways. Reds is also hosting the popular IF4 flyfishing film tour the same day. The event is free and tickets for the film tour are $15.

If a Tree Falls in the Woods, Sue the USFS
Associated Press – An Idaho family is suing the U.S. Forest Service for over $1 million after a dead tree fell and injured their son in Boise National Forest back in 2010. Richard and Melinda Armstrong claimed their family was camping at a remote, unimproved camping site in September of 2010 when a gust of wind blew a dead tree onto their son. The 6 year old boy sustained a large laceration, a compound fracture, and a puncture wound on his back that made it difficult to breathe. Even though the campsite was unimproved and in a remote location the family’s attorney is stating that the USFS should have known about the dead tree and had it removed. The Forest Service has not commented on the recent lawsuit.

WDFW Officers Nab Poachers with 242 Trout
Lake Lenore will have quite a few less Lahontan cutthroat trout in it this spring. WDFW game wardens Will Smith and Chris Buschings busted four men last week with 242 of the big cutthroat trout. The men apparently netted the trout out of a fish trap in the dark and were loading them in a plastic fish tote when the wardens rolled up. One of the men jumped in the Toyota Tundra they were driving but was blocked by the warden’s rig and ordered to surrender at gun point. Another one of them gave up quickly and the two other men jumped in the lake and swam for it. One of them was caught holding onto a log to blend in with the surroundings and the fourth individual swam across the lake and disappeared. The water temperature in Lake Lenore this time of year is  40 degrees and the wardens first thought he might have drowned. Several hours later, however, a Soap Lake police officer spotted him walking thru a park 10 miles away with no shoes on and he had his socks full of newspaper to keep his feet warm. The four men have received multiple citations and the trout, weighing over 600 pounds, were donated to the Moses Lake Food Bank.

The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com