Rob Phillips: Spring searching, fishing seasons in full swing | Outdoor and Recreation


This is the time of year when there’s a lot to do in the outdoor world of the Pacific Northwest. The turkey hunting season is in full swing and there are all sorts of options and opportunities to catch a fish or two.

First the fishing. Almost every lake in our area and throughout Washington state is now open for trout fishing. The lakes around the Yakima and Kittita valleys were stocked with trout in late April and more trout will be planted in the lakes in the future.

If you want to know when and where the trout are stocked, simply visit the Region 3 section of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website. It is very helpful with lots of information.

As the waters in the Columbia River and reservoirs of eastern Washington begin to warm, fishing for walleye and bass will increase. Reports from guides who have worked on the Columbia near Umatilla and below John Day Dam indicate that they are having some very productive days for walleye.

The same goes for walleye fishing in upper Columbia, the waters just below Grand Coulee Dam and Lake Roosevelt. Banks Lake should also heat up for walleye and perch.

Roosevelt’s Kokanee fishing can best be described as spasmodic. The fish are nice and big, but seem to be few and far between. And also the trout fishing was back and forth.

Anglers looking for a good Kokanee bite should head to Lake Chelan. The fishing has been very good there and this year the landlocked salmon are up to 15 inches long. In addition, anglers occasionally catch Chinook salmon.

Speaking of Chinook salmon, the spring salmon run on the Columbia has picked up momentum this past week, giving anglers a good shot at catching a nice, bright colored Chinook. The hotspots for fishing were the Willamette near Portland, the Wind River near Stevenson and Drano Lake.

With runs in the four figures for several days in a row, you can bet there will be many anglers at these spots trying to catch a big spring Chinook.

As you read this I am on a salmon fishing marathon and have been fishing 7 of the last 8 days. The fishing was pretty consistent and we got some nice fat jumpers in the boat.

Aside from the sockeye salmon, which returns to the Colombia in mid-summer, the spring chinook is the best edible salmon of the year, prized for its beautiful, bright orange flesh.

The onset of winter we had a few weeks ago and cool temperatures made the early days of spring turkey hunting season challenging. Some hunters found up to two feet of snow at their favorite hunting spots in the higher elevations of Klickitat County and north around Colville.

Still, if you believe Facebook (and you have to, right? It’s Facebook), through the photos that are being posted, many hunters have had good success, with some having their two spring turkey tags filled.

The birds usually follow the line of snow up the mountain, looking for fresh sprouts of plants, insects and other things to eat while the thaw lasts.

Early season toms are not as educated, but later in the season hunting can be just as good, if not better, because most hens are perched on nests and the toms can be prone to calling when looking for hens that Seek a refuge. not bred.

Another advantage of hunting later in the season is that there are fewer hunters in the forest. Some have filled their tags while others have moved on to other pursuits.

The turkey season runs until the end of this month.

The fall hunting season is at least five months away, but now is the time to start planning those hunts. The WDFW has opened applications for special big game hunting permits. All permits are granted through a special draw.

The new hunting regulations are now available online on the WDFW website and will be available in printed booklet form over the next few weeks. Applications for the special permits are available now, either online or through local license dealers. Special permit requests must be submitted by May 19. The results will be available in early June.

The application is subject to a fee. Applications for special hunting permits are $7.10 each and the very special “quality hunt” applications are $13.70 per application.

Earlier this year, the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved special permit numbers proposed by regional biologists. A quick review of the numbers shows that our area will have more special permits for cow moose, but fewer permits for other species.

Get your special hunting apps and then forget about it for a month and try to fill up a turkey stamp or two or catch some of the nice fish that are available right now. It’s a great time to be outside.

Rob Phillips is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer who has written the Northwest Sportsman column for more than 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected]