Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

Grandpa Al Brooks with Adam and Ryan enjoying a day ice fishing on Roses Lake-Jason Brooks

Let’s Go Ice Fishing!

by Jason Brooks

The recent cold temperatures have thickened the ice and a winter pastime is creating memories once again. Ice fishing is going strong in Eastern Washington with the trout bite being consistent on Roses Lake near the tiny town of Manson. Those that prefer to catch a mess of perch are doing really well on Moses Lake and don’t forget Fish Lake near Leavenworth.

Ryan Brooks waits for a bite through the ice-Jason Brooks

The fishing is fairly simple, just chop or auger a hole in the ice and drop your baits down towards the bottom where the water temperatures are a little warmer. Look for areas where other anglers have found previous success, as shown on the ice with places where fish have flopped around and froze, or by watching anglers on the ice.

A rainbow trout coming through the ice-Jason Brooks

Ice fishing is one of those activities that is more of a novelty than a “must catch a limit” fishery. Have fun out on the ice but realize that it is cold, windy, and if you take the kids along they might not want to sit out there for very long. To make it more comfortable I like to take a lawn chair and a piece of carpet. The carpet makes it so you won’t be sliding around all the time and it really helps keep your feet warm.

Just enough freshly frozen trout for dinner-Jason Brooks

For gear, a standard, light action Daiwa trout rod works well, but so do those tiny “ice fishing” rods you find in the mid-west. They are very sensitive as the bite is light with the cold waters. Spool the small reel with 6 pound Platinum Izorline monofilament. When trout fishing it is best to use a leader with the weight tied at the bottom and the hook tied off of the leader between the weight and the swivel. I prefer to use a 1/4 ounce bell weight and size 10 bait holder hooks. Common baits are powerbait, single salmon eggs, or my favorite-salad shrimp cured overnight in Pro-Cure’s “Shrimp and Prawn” cure. For perch, jigging is the way to go, and it also works great for trout fishing too. Use a small jig, like a 1/8 ounce or smaller Mack’s Lure Glo-Getter that is UV enhanced. Tip the jig with a piece of worm, shrimp, or maggots. I also use a lot of scent when ice fishing no matter the type of fish as this attracts the lethargic fish and turns on a bite. Try Anise and Garlic scents as they seem to work really well ice fishing.

Adam Brooks and our Vizsla Lucy use carpet to keep their feet warm on the ice-Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks – Outdoor Line Blogger

Spring Trout Tips

Ryan Brooks with an opening day rainbow -Jason Brooks

Ryan Brooks with an opening day rainbow -Jason Brooks

Spring trout fishing brings back a lot of memories for most of us as this is where we learned to fish. Getting up an hour before the sunrise and heading to our local lake to fish for the planter rainbows, filling our stringers and having fried trout for dinner. Today this tradition is still going strong and creating memories for generations of anglers. To increase your catching here are a few reminders and pointers.

 

A feisty rainbow makes it fun -Jason Brooks

A feisty rainbow makes it fun -Jason Brooks

1. Know where the fish are

By first checking the fish plantings for your local lakes at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/ you will have a better idea of how many and when the trout were planted. The “when” is the most important as it takes a few weeks for the fish to acclimate to the lake after being raised in holding ponds at the hatchery. Trout typically stay near the surface when recently planted and as the days go by they slowly make their way to a more comfortable thermocline and adjust to finding the food sources the lake offers. If the lake was recently planted, fish near the surface, if it’s been over a month deeper.

 

Pro-Cure jars of single salmon eggs with UV are a great trout bait -Jason Brooks

Pro-Cure jars of single salmon eggs with UV are a great trout bait -Jason Brooks

2. Baits

It seems Powerbait by Berkley has almost “dummied” the angler as that’s all we use. But it wasn’t too long ago that we used salmon eggs and did just as well. Since the trout are near the surface after planting try using a slip float and go back to salmon eggs, as Powerbait floats and is hard to fish under a bobber. Pro-Cure makes jars of salmon eggs with added scent as well as being UV enhanced, I don’t know any other salmon egg on the market that does the same thing right out of the jar! Also try nightcrawlers, small pieces of prawns or cooked salad shrimp. I always douse my baits with scents to give them that extra advantage.

 

The Super Duper by Luhr Jensen is one of the author's favorite trout lures -Jason Brooks

The Super Duper by Luhr Jensen is one of the author’s favorite trout lures -Jason Brooks

3. Trolling lures

Speed is key when trolling. Slow is the name of the game for spring fishing, no matter if it’s for rainbows or kokanee. The slower you can troll and still keep your gear near the surface the more fish you will catch. My top lures are gold or silver 1 ¼” Super Duper’s by Luhr Jensen, black ¼ ounce Roostertail’s by Yakima Bait Company, and Double Whammy Wedding Ring Spinners by Mack’s Lure. In fact the Wedding Ring has probably caught more trout than any other lure when tipped with a piece of nightcrawler.

 

The whooly bugger, Mack's Smile Blade Fly, and Chironomids are productive flies for trout -Jason Brooks

The whooly bugger, Mack’s Smile Blade Fly, and Chironomids are productive flies for trout -Jason Brooks

4. Fly Fishing

Casting and slowly stripping in a fly or trolling them; using flies in the right water conditions and the right time of day is a lot of fun and very effective. This time of year it’s a wet fly game unless you get a really warm day and just at dusk and start to see fish rising. My main flies are the Mack’s Lure Smile Blade Fly (a whooly bugger with a small smile blade at the eye of the hook), Carey Specials, and Chironomid’s.

 

Adding scents attract fish and also cover any unwanted smells you put onto your baits or lures -Jason Brooks

Adding scents attract fish and also cover any unwanted smells you put onto your baits or lures -Jason Brooks

5. Scents

When bait fishing, trolling lures, or even fly fishing and I am planning on keeping the trout for the frying pan or smoker I always use extra scents. The main reason why I put on scents is to attract more fish to my hook. Especially when bait fishing as it will draw in a lot more fish and increases your catch rate. For trolling it creates a scent trail and I will often do a figure eight pattern with my boat as the fish will be attracted to the area of the lake I just trolled through. The other reason to use scents is to help mask any other scents you put onto your gear. You just touched a lot of stuff while getting your boat in the water and it can repeal fish away from your hook if they smell it. Pro-Cure’s Super Gel’s stick to your bait or lure and cover any unwanted scents.

Opening Day 2014 Top Ten Tips!

If there is a more popular fishing “rite of passage” than the lowland lakes trout opener, I sure don’t know what it is!

The Nelson Clan at Perrygin Lake in Okanogan County a few seasons ago…

I would venture to guess that more “first fish” are caught on this final weekend of April than at any other time of year. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters all descend on the lakes of Washington, three-hundred thousand strong. In preparation of this massive effort, the State of Washington plants these lake with literally millions of rainbow and cutthroat trout which are ready, willing and more than able to provide action as well as dinner or a smoker full of a tasty treat!

To aid in their quest this weekend, I would like to offer the following ten tips for an enjoyable opening day experience!

1. Get legal!

The WDFW licensing cycle for the year runs from April 1 to March 31. In other words, if you are not sure if your license is current… it’s probably not. Which, brings us to the second item on our list:

2. Bring your crew to the store!

If you have a young bunch (and even if you don’t) it’s always worthwhile to bring the crew along to get their licenses, get a copy of the fishing regulations and do a little shopping. “There’s that new Snoopy rod Dad, Can we try this?” Let your fishing gang get a little fired up about their new gear and in all likelihood, your opening day will get a lot easier!

3. Know your fishermen!

What size raingear do they wear? Boots? Warm coats? Can they cast? What’s their favorite snack food? The correct answers to these questions are best found out well in advance of “O” day!

4. Know your gear.

Seriously now, when is the last time you opened your trout box? How old is the line on your reel? If the answer to either of those questions is “I don’t know”… You know what to do!

5. Float your boat

While a boat adds to the complexity of any fishing trip is also adds productivity, mobility, comfort and convenience. In my opinion, more than a fair trade. However, the early dawn of opening morning is a poor time to find out that the batteries are dead, the drain plug is missing, the trailer lights are burned out and the tabs are expired. Just don’t ask me how I found that out…

6. Rig all the rods

Another way to dodge Murphy’s Law is to rig all the rods in the garage the night before…or the night before that! Trust me, it’s a lot easier to tie up under a fluorescent light than a dome light.

7. Scout your location

One of my favorite opening day memories is taking my young son to our chosen opening day lake the day before the opener. The lake was stuffed to the lilly pads with rainbows that were literally jockeying for position to eat the next bug to hit the surface. Watching the surface activity was secondary to scouting out the ramp and available parking. A word to the wise: It’s time well spent!

8. Friday night load up!

Get it all in the rig the night before. If its missing, you still have time to find it or replace it… ’nuff said!

9. Get ’em up easy…

Set the alarm a little early and let the gang go through a little of their morning routine. Rushing your charges out of the house so they can sit with you in a ramp line is not going to score you any points.

10. Make it fun!

Quick limits are great and are huge braggin’ rights fodder… on the Columbia for springers!…. Nobody is going to stop the presses and roll evening news tape for your stringer full of six inchers. The goal on opening day is to provide your friends and family with an introduction to a sport, a way of life that they will enjoy for the rest of their lives! Let the kids handle the rods and play every one of the fish! Let another kid handle the net, sit back and enjoy the mayhem that ensues!

Opening day is like a fishy Christmas. The more you give, the more you get and what you get from a successful opener you’ll never forget!

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line

710 ESPN Seattle

www.theoutdoorline.com

A Boat Launching Nightmare!

I just ran across this photo from a flyfishing trip I took years ago to the Green River in Utah. While the Utah Parks Gastapo was busy searching our boat for beer, order cigarettes, and porn this rig pulls up with two driftboats in tow.

“Where the hell are we…Mars?”, I jabbed towards the uptight Parks cop. We must’ve looked like we were sinners because she gave me the bitter-beer-face look and kept scrounging thru our gear.

Regardless, how would you like to back not one, but two boats down the ramp at the same time. Good luck!!!

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

 

 

Canyon River Ranch With Jay “The Bone” Buhner

I’ve always been chided by, well, everybody for my lack of fly fishing expertise.

The sad fact is, I really have no defense to the criticism. Most anglers careers follow some type of meaningful progression. You know, dunking worms as a kid in the local pond to fly fishing in some exotic destination. Unfortunately, my development as an angler was stunted, basically stopping at salmon fishing with herring, essentially using a piece of meat to catch a bigger piece of meat.

So, when the opportunity to cast and blast Canyon River Ranch with Mariner legend Jay Buhner presented itself, I knew I had a challenge ahead of me. The “blast” part of the equation didn’t concern me as much as the “cast” …but, we’ll get back to that later.

I had never been to the Canyon River Ranch before and was pleasantly surprised to find it so close to home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you get there, it’s a unbelievably luxurious and affordable destination that’s just like a slice of Montana less than two hours east of Seattle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I had my black lab Bailey with me, the good folks at the Ranch assigned me the “dog friendly” room… The nicest room the mutt and I ever stayed in, no question about it!

Once we got settled, it was time to check out Red’s Fly Shop. From the outside it looks inviting…

Once inside, Steve Joyce and his crew offer expertise in every aspect of the Canyon River Ranch experience from sporting clays to pheasant hunting to yes, fly fishing!

Your cast and blast adventure at the Canyon River Ranch begins at the crack of 8:30 when the pheasant hunt begins. Here’s Jay Buhner and I with the morning’s batch of roosters. Bailey the black lab was a little reluctant to have her picture taken…

As if by magic, after lunch the drift boats appear waiting to take you down the Yakima River Canyon.

With Canyon River Ranch’s Steve Joyce on the oars, Jay Buhner grabbed the stern of the boat which left the bow for me…and the camera man. This outing will be coming to a TV near you soon in the form of “ProGuide Outdoors” on Root Sports starting in January 2014.

Up ahead lay the Yakima River Canyon. I’ve floated many, many rivers in Washington State and this may be the most unique and beautiful river that this state has to offer.

Jay Buhner is a simply a fly casting machine once the winds came up and we switched from small dry flies to streamers it was “Bone” clinic time. Here’s a fine Yak rainbow.

Rainbow brute #2 goes to…you guessed it. The Bone strikes again and I’m learning that there is a lot more to casting and stripping streamers than you’ld think!

Jay and ProGuide Producer/Editor Russell Cameron of OMG Multimedia share a few thoughts at the end of a fun filled cast and blast day!

I learned more than a few things on this trip. First, Jay Buhner is a great guy and a fanatical fly fisherman. Second, Canyon River Ranch is a wonderful destination, capably operated by a whole bunch of wonderful, knowledgeable people. Lastly, I need to work on my streamer casting technique and as soon as I get this ice bag off my casting shoulder, i’m going to do just that!

 Tom Nelson                                                                                                                      The Outdoor Line                                                                                 www.theoutdoorline.com                                                                                                 710 ESPN Seattle

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

Northwest Outdoor Report

Opening Day Catches Good Despite Weather
Despite cool and windy weather in many parts of the state, anglers had a lot of success reeling in large trout on the trout opener last weekend. From creel checks conducted at 98 lakes around the state WDFW estimates that anglers caught an average of 4.6 trout apiece on opening day. The largest trout checked was a 24.5 inch rainbow caught at Vance Creek Pond #2 in Grays Harbor and a 24 inch rainbow was caught at Lincoln Counties Fishtrap Lake.  The top three lakes in the state were Aldrich Lake in Mason County with a 4.7 fish average, Wood Lake in Mason County and Erie Lake in Skamania County tied with a 4.6 trout average, and Martha Lake in Snohomish County had a 4.5 fish average on the trout opener. Good trout fishing should continue on most of the planted lakes for at least another month or more.

Cowlitz Picking up for Springers
Bob Kratzer from Anglers Guide Service is reporting decent fishing for spring Chinook on the Cowlitz River the last few days. Kratzer said he’s been hooking three or four fish a day fishing below the I-5 bridge and that the fishing seems to be improving each and every day. He’s been backtrolling anchovies, plugs, and divers with eggs and shrimp and said on any given day the fish will prefer one over the other. Kratzer recommends using Anise scent and some Pautzke krill powder on the eggs. He says with the Toutle River flowing gin clear the river has been fishing really well all the way down to the confluence with the Columbia.

Port Angeles Tops for Puget Sound Halibut
Bob Aunspach at Swains General Store in Port Angeles said great weather lead to some pretty good halibut fishing on the opener on Thursday. He said fish were caught at the Rockpile, 31-36, Green Point, Freshwater Bay, Whiskey Creek, and the Garbage Dump. Bob said most of the fish he saw were in the 20 to 40 pound range and there was an 86 pounder weighed in by Port Angeles angler Mark Reynolds. Aunspach said horse herring has been the best bait year in, year out for catching halibut in the Port Angeles area. Halibut is open in Port Angeles May 2nd thru the 4th and the next opener is May 16th thru the 18th.

Possession Bar Cranking out Lings
Nick Kester from All Star Charters in Everett limited his boat out quickly on ling cod the first two days of the season in Puget Sound. Kester said it took them about two hours each day to catch their limits of nice ling cod. Kester said live sand dabs were the ticket and he fished them on a 3 ounce sliding cannon ball sinker. He says sand dabs that about the size of your palm are best for catching lings in the Puget Sound and be sure to keep them alive.

Walleye Bite Heating Up on Potholes Reservoir
Mike Meseberg from Mar Don Resort on Potholes Reservoir said he’s looking forward to the upcoming week of warm, sunny weather. They’ve been dealing with strong winds off and on for the past month that’s kept both the fish and the fisherman guessing. Meseberg said one of their guides caught limits of walleye in Linn Coulee earlier this week and a few walleye have also been coming out of Crab Creek and the mouth of Frenchman’s Slough. Mike says the best way to catch them right now is with a spinner and a nightcrawler on the bottom. The Rod Meseberg Walleye Classic is being held at Mar Don Resort this weekend and people from all over the northwest will be hitting the lake. With 80 degree weather forecast for the region this weekend Meseberg thinks the fishing should really pick up for the tournament.

Man Injured After Taping Cartridge to BB Gun
Gainesville Sun – (Darwin Award nominee emerges in Gainesville, Florida) A man who tried to shoot a squirrel for dinner by taping a .40-caliber cartridge to a BB gun was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds after the cartridge exploded. William Daniel Lloyd, age 31, taped the cartridge to the end of the barrel to apparently shoot a squirrel for dinner. When he fired the BB gun it hit the primer on the cartridge and the round went off alright. The cartridge exploded sending shrapnel into Lloyd’s upper arm and lower leg. Since the man was a convicted felon he wasn’t allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. He apparently found the cartridge while looking thru a scrap metal pile and thought it might work for getting some dinner in the form of a squirrel. Lloyd’s injuries weren’t life threatening.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
Washington Fishing and Hunting Reports and Forums

Northwest Outdoor Report

300,000 Anglers Expected for Trout Opener
If you’ve noticed a few more boats scurrying around Western Washington early this morning it’s because today is the lowland lake opener in Washington. With over 300,000 anglers hitting the water today it’s the single largest opener in Washington. WDFW responded to requests to plant bigger fish this year by increasing the size of the stocked trout from around 8 to 9 inches to 11 to 12 inches. They planted approximately 2.4 million of these bigger, thicker, and chunkier trout for the opener. In addition, they also planted 110,000 jumbo rainbows averaging between 13 and 16 inches and another 52,000 triploid trout averaging around one and a half pounds. Temperatures are expected to reach around 60 degrees over the weekend and outside of a few afternoon showers the forecast is excellent for the biggest fishing opener of the year.

Martinis’s Top Lake Picks on the North End
John Martinis at John’s Sporting Goods in Everett likes Lake Kye in Snohomish County, Martha Lake near Alderwood, and both Heart and Erie Lakes near Anacortes for the trout opener. Martinis says the state plants a lot of fish in all of those lakes and they produce excellent fishing every year. His go-to setup for catching a limit of stocker trout is orange Berkley Power Eggs fished on a long 3 to 6 feet leader of 4 pound test monofilament. He says the extra long leader allows the bait to float up off the bottom above the weeds where the trout are cruising.

Pollock’s Top Lake Picks on the South End
Tom Pollock at Sportco in Fife says his top pick in the Tacoma area would be Lake Spanaway which recently received a plant of over 18,000 trout. He also likes Mineral Lake, Wilderness Lake, and Bay Lake on the Key Peninsula for great opening weekend fishing. Bay Lake recently received a plant of over 7,500 rainbows in preparation for the opener.  Pollock says the fish are usually in the top three to five feet of the water column and he’ll target those shallow fish by trolling Wedding Ring spinners, Dick Nite spoons, or small Flatfish. Pollock says another fun way to catch opening day trout is to fish a small piece of cocktail shrimp on a #6 hook below a bobber. He calls it a “delicacy” for these stocked trout and says the holdover trout will also hit this bait, as well.

Dam Counts Reach 1,000 Springers  on the Columbia This Week
1,000 springers passed over Bonneville Dam on Tuesday of this past week. It’s the first time over 1,000 spring Chinook have passed over the dam all season and it seemed to encourage more springers to charge upriver. 2227 passed over the dam on Wednesday and 2541 went over Bonneville on Thursday. Reports from Drano Lake and the Wind River upstream of Bonneville are that a few springers are being caught already. These areas typically fish best for spring Chinook during the month of May. We’ll have more reports from both of these areas in the coming weeks.

Saltwater Openers up Next
Saltwater anglers are eagerly awaiting the May 1st ling cod opener in the Puget Sound. The ling opener is followed by the spot prawn opener on May 4th and a slew of areas open up for halibut the first week of May also. Recreational shrimpers will see a 70% increase in shrimp quota this year which means anywhere from an extra day or two of shrimping in some areas to an extra month of shrimping in the San Juan Islands. Anglers are urged to visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for a full run down of the upcoming ling cod, shrimp, and halibut seasons.

Fly Fishing Fair in Ellensburg
Don’t miss the 7th Annual Fly Fishing Fair at the Ellensburg Fairgrounds on May 3rd and 4th. Over 100 fly tiers will be on hand to share their fly tying skills and there will be numerous fly casting instructors at the fair all weekend to teach both beginning and expert fly casting techniques. The Fair boasts 18 flyfishing workshops over two days featuring names like Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch Guide Service, Steve Worley from Worley Bugger Flies, and Jim Teeny of Teeny Fly Lines.  For more information about the Fly Fishing Fair log onto Washingtoncouncilfff.org.

Yosemite Ranks Highest for Drug Busts
Associated Press – California’s Yosemite National Park lead the way in drug busts amongst all the national parks for the last three years. Park Rangers at Yosemite arrested 2,393 people for illegal drugs over the last three years compared to just 500 at Yellowstone and 365 at Grand Canyon National Park. One park visitor said they see a lot more happy faces at Yosemite than they do at Disneyland. The drug problem has been a boone to local mini-marts, however, who can’t seem to keep Dorito’s and frozen pizza’s in stock.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
Washington Fishing Forums and Reports

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