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HEWESCRAFT: STILL INNOVATING AFTER MORE THAN 65 YEARS.

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ewes Marine Company doesn’t measure company performance by the number of boats that it builds and delivers throughout North America; it measures its success in years. For more than 65 years (since 1948), Hewescraft has set the standard for roomy, rugged, reliable, and safe fishing boats. Hewescraft boats are not just built for a day out fishing with the kids — they are built with room for the grandkids too. After all, they’ll be teaching their own kids how to fish out of the same boat someday. Hewescraft is the number one selling boat in Alaska and throughout the Pacific Northwest because each Hewescraft is engineered and built to handle years of what the Northwest’s fishing waters dish out. Hewescraft’s family-run company knows the value of ensuring that your crew

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is comfortable and safe on every journey, whether it’s in a quick-running river, a glassy mountain lake, or the chop of the open sea. THE TRIED-AND-TRUE SEA RUNNER GETS A FULL MAKEOVER Although the Hewescraft Sea Runner has been one of the most trusted fishing boats in the Pacific Northwest for years, the new 2015 model has been fully redesigned to make it even tougher and more comfortable. The new Sea Runner hull is now 6 inches wider, making it more stable at rest, while retaining its aggressive variable-deadrise that easily tames ocean chop. The Sea Runner is now available in 19- and 21-foot lengths, making it the perfect midsized boat for both fisherman and family. The Sea Runner’s bow, console, seating, and

fishing cockpit have been redesigned so that the new 19-foot model is roomier than the old 20-foot version, and the new 21-foot model is roomier than the old 22-foot version. Dozens of additional small improvements continue to put the new Sea Runner well ahead of its competition in providing the safe, comfortable boating experience in a value package that fishermen have come to expect from Hewescraft. Visit www.hewescraft.com to find the Hewescraft dealer nearest you and to find out more about each of Hewescraft’s nine roomy, rugged, reliable, and safe boat models. From the small (but tough) 16-foot Open Fisherman all the way up to the 26-foot Pacific Explorer, there’s a Hewescraft that will help you start your own family tradition of fun on the water.


CONTENTS

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

MACK’S LURE

www.mackslure.com

OLYMPIC PENINSULA

GREATER PUGET SOUND

8 10 12 14 16 18

66 68 70 72 74

Sekiu Summer Chinook Olympic Peninsula Coho Bogachiel River Steelhead Sol Duc River Steelhead Humptulips River Coho Wynoochee River Steelhead

SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON 20 22 24 26 28 30

Grays Harbor Chinook Willapa Bay Tribs Salmon, Steelhead Cowlitz River Steelhead Mayfield Lake Coho Lewis River Coho Washington-Oregon Albacore Tuna

NORTHWEST OREGON 36 38 40 42 42 42 44 46 48 50 52 53

Buoy 10 Chinook, Coho Nehalem Bay Salmon Tillamook Tidewater Chinook Columbia Estuary Ducks Tillamook Bay Ducks Nehalem Bay Ducks Multnomah Channel Spring Chinook Clackamas River Steelhead Molalla River Steelhead Willamette Falls Spring Chinook Siletz River Steelhead Alsea River Steelhead

SOUTHWEST OREGON 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 64 65

Siuslaw River Steelhead Umpqua River Steelhead Siltcoos, Tahkenitch Lakes Coho Eugene Summer Steelhead Santiam and McKenzie Rivers Steelhead Coos Bay Salmon Coquille River Coho Coquille River Steelhead Rogue Bay Chinook Chetco River Steelhead Howard Prairie, Hyatt Lake Trout

San Juan Islands Blackmouth Skykomish River Steelhead, Kings Central Puget Sound Chinook Kitsap Lake Trout Skookumchuck River Steelhead

COLUMBIA RIVER 75 76 78 80 82 84 85 86 87 88

Lower Columbia Steelhead Longview Fall Chinook Lower Columbia Spring Chinook Columbia Pikeminnow Bonneville Pool Fall Chinook John Day Cast & Blast McNary Dam Steelhead McNary Tailrace Walleye Tri-Cities Spring Chinook Hanford Reach Fall Chinook

WASHINGTON CASCADES 89 90 91 92 93

Lake Chelan Kokanee Chelan County Bears North-central Washington Bucks Western Yakima County Elk Klickitat River Salmon, Steelhead

INLAND NORTHWEST 94 95 96 98 100 102 104 106 108 110 112 114 116

Okanogan County Trout Lakes Conconully Lake, Reservoir Kokanee Brewster Pool Summer Kings Sprague Lake Trout Chewelah Grouse Spokane Whitetails Washington Private Lands Hunting Northeast Oregon Turkey Dworshak Reservoir Kokanee Lower Clearwater Steelhead Snake River Steelhead Brownlee Reservoir Crappie Eastern Montana Deer

NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN ATLAS is published annually by Media Index Publishing Group, 1201 1st Avenue South, Suite 309, Seattle, WA 98134. For display advertising information, call Media Index Publishing Group for a current rate card. Discounts for frequency advertising. All submitted materials become the property of Media Index Publishing Group and will not be returned. Copyright © 2014 Media Index Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher. Printed in U.S.A. ATLAS 2015

Volume 4 PUBLISHER James R. Baker ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Dick Openshaw EDITOR Andy Walgamott MAPS condensed from original stories by Ralph Bartholdt, John Black, Jason Brooks, Tim Bush, Robert Cgraggen, Dennis Dauble, Duane Dungannon, Larry Ellis, Jeff Holmes, Leroy Ledeboer, Brian Lull, “Uncle Wes” Malmberg, Andy Martin, Andrew Moravec, Terry Otto, Rob Phillips, Troy Rodakowski, Andy Schneider, Joel Shangle, Matt Smith, Andy Walgamott, Terry Wiest, Dave Workman MAP ART Richard Thompson OPERATIONS MANAGER Katie Higgins SALES MANAGER Brian Lull NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER Brian Lull ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Becca Ellingsworth, Mamie Griffin, Steven Joseph Mike Nelson, Mike Smith, Heidi Witt, Paul Yarnold DESIGNERS Dawn Carlson, Beth Harrison, Sonjia Kells PRODUCTION MANAGER John Rusnak PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Kelly Baker OFFICE MANAGER/ACCOUNTING Audra Higgins

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Visit nwsportsmanmag.com

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ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Katie Sauro INFORMATION SERVICES MANAGER Lois Sanborn WEBMASTER/INBOUND MARKETING Jon Hines CIRCULATION MANAGER Heidi Belew DISTRIBUTION Tony Sorrentino, Gary Bickford ADVERTISING INQUIRIES ads@nwsportsmanmag.com CORRESPONDENCE Email awalgamott@media-inc.com. ON THE COVER Brenda Schmidt shows off a San Juans blackmouth, caught in winter 2013-14. (KEVIN KLEIN) INSET Alex Tanner bagged this mule deer in 2013 on private land in Eastern Washington. (ALEX TANNER) CALENDAR COVER Jessie Bigley displays a lingcod caught off Westport in spring 2014. (JESSIE BIGLEY) SOCIAL MEDIA Get daily updates at nwsportsmanmag.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

MEDIA INDEX PUBLISHING GROUP WASHINGTON OFFICE P.O. Box 24365 • Seattle, WA 98124-0365 14240 Interurban Ave. S., Suite 190 Tukwila, WA 98168 OREGON OFFICE 8116 SW Durham Rd • Tigard, OR 97224 (206) 382-9220 • (800) 332-1736 • Fax (206) 382-9437 media@media-inc.com; mediaindexpublishing.com


OLYMPIC PENINSULA

Sekiu Summer Kings SEKIU, Wash.—July is prime time for big Chinook in the calm, sheltered waters of this Strait of Juan de Fuca port. What’s known as “The Caves” might be the most productive area of all. Just off the kelp beds here in 80 to 225 feet of water, fish tend to gather first thing in the morning looking for a meal. Whether using a cut-plug or whole herring, green or blue label, mooching or motor mooching, work the water 30 to 60 feet down. Off a downrigger, use a whole herring in a helmet 50 inches behind a Pro-Troll flasher in some shade of green. After the morning bite, Chinook tend to spread out, so trolling 4-inch Gold Star Squids, both UV and glow in green spatterback, army truck or purple haze, or an Ace Hi Fly in greens or purple haze will be more productive. –TERRY WIEST Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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OLYMPIC PENINSULA

Olympic Peninsula Coho FORKS, Wash.—Fall weather brings with it the return of fall coho. Puget Sound gets healthy returns, but when I think about the lockjaw that fish from local rivers often have, I start fantasizing about Silver Shangri-La, the Olympic Peninsula. Its rivers teem with runs of coho, and whether you prefer to fish big-water glacial rivers or smaller, lowland-origin streams, the variety that the OP offers is unbeatable. The stocks are a mix of wild and hatchery fish, and as you might guess, fishing spinners, floating salmon eggs or twitching jigs near a production facility can work very well. A lot of anglers will add a small hot pink or chartreuse plastic squid to the end of their spinner too. All of the West End’s rivers have good boat and bank access, but it’s best to go with a guide if it’s your first float. –ANDREW MORAVEC Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


OLYMPIC PENINSULA

Bogachiel River Steelhead LEGEND

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1. Hatchery Drift: drift, float fishing 2. Calawah Confluence: drift fishing 3. Tall Timbers: drift, float fishing; divers, back-trolling 4. Crescent Hole: plugging, float fishing 5. Ice Box: drift, float fishing; divers, back-trolling 6. Hundley Flats: drift fishing 7. Mary Lou: back-trolling, drift fishing 8. Goodman Mainline: plunking, divers, plugging

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6 4 5

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1

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110

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1/4

1/2

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1

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FORKS, Wash.–When it comes to December steelheading, the Olympic Peninsula’s Quillayute River system is tops, and tops amongst its tributaries is the Bogachiel, or Bogy. Not only can you intercept fish headed for the state hatchery on it, but double up on Calawah steelies. It’s a no-brainer where to fish: from the rearing ponds down. “The fish tend to stack in the tailout of each hole before moving up to the next section of holding water,” says guide Mike Zavadlov (360-640-8109). Launch at the ponds and take out at either Wilson’s Bridge (3.4 miles), at the end of Wilson Road, or Leyendecker Park (5.0 miles), at the confluence with the Sol Duc. The “Hatchery Drift” is probably the easiest and least technical water on the peninsula. From boat or bank, drift fish eggs, Corkies or pink worms, or run a float and jig. – TERRY WIEST Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


OLYMPIC PENINSULA

Sol Duc River Steelhead 0

1/ 4

1/ 2

to Port Angeles

1

6

Conley Rd.

7

4

8 10

9

Mapped Area

to Forks

1

Sol Duc River LEGEND

11

Shuwah

Eagle Pt.

2

3 5

101

Sol Duc Salmon Hatchery

101

scale in miles

Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

1. Hatchery Hole 2. Upper Connolly 3. Ledge Rock 4. Lower Connolly 5. Leaning Alder 6. Loop Hole 7. Mossy Rock 8. Salmon Flats 9. Garbage Dump 10. Jude’s Flat 11. Lake Creek Hole Boat launch

FORKS, Wash.–The risk and the reward of the Sol Duc River is in its rocks – boat-eaters behind which hide giant steelhead. Guide Mike Zavadlov (360-640-8109) divides the Duc into six runs “which will all have fish from January through March. From the top down is Riverside, Bear Creek, Hatchery, Maxfield, Middle Run and Lower End.” The first two are probably the most difficult and it’s highly suggested you book a trip with a qualified guide who has made these runs numerous times. The Duc is good for side-drifting, float fishing and pulling plugs. –TERRY WIEST Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


OLYMPIC PENINSULA

Humptulips River Coho Stevens Creek Hatchery

Mapped Area

Humptulips Highway 101

Reynvaan Bar

Kirk

patr

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101

Copalis Station

Humptulips River

Copalis Crossing

LEGEND

Bank fishing Best late season water Boat launch

Thorberg

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New London

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Morley (Jet sled launch) 109

Grays Harbor

101

0

1

2

scale in miles

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4

ABERDEEN, Wash.–The Humptulips River starts getting big coho in September and provides good fishing all the way through January. Some of the best fishing – and certainly the best bank access – is near the hatchery on Stevens Creek. But the Hump is made for floating. Don’t go past the dangerous boat chute below the Highway 101 bridge without pounding the water for fish stacked up around the hatchery. Target back sloughs, eddies and deep pools, especially ones with cover such as log jams. In low water twitch jigs such as 3⁄8-ounce black-andpurple Mack’s Glo Getters or similarly colored jigs while in rising waters try size 3 to 5 Vibrax in silver and chartreuse or silver and fluorescent red. Casted or backtrolled Wiggle Warts also work. –JASON BROOKS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.


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Wynoochee River Steelhead MONTESANO, Wash.—The ’Nooch, as it’s known, is no stranger to most steelheaders. Typically it’s among the top rivers in Washington, producing fish as early as November, but really picking up in January and February, and good through the end of season, March 31. Bankies, drift boats and sleds all have room to play. Your bait will be determined on how each stretch of river looks. In flats and deeper holes, use bait; for boulder-ridden areas and near brush, use jigs; around undercuts and slots near the bank, use pink worms. Some of the best bank spots are up high, near spur road 7400, while plunkers like the water near Montesano. Sledders work from Black Creek down to the Chehalis while drift boaters enjoy the 14-mile-long 7400 to White Bridge, and 9-mile White Bridge to Black Creek floats. Go left at the diversion dam and rope your boat over – do not float it. –TERRY WIEST Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON

Grays Harbor Chinook

HOQUIAM, Wash.–Pat Patillo and Tony Floor speak of Grays Harbor in whispered tones, much like golfers speak of Augusta. The bay is one of the signature salmon fisheries in Washington, owing to its geography and the quality of kings and coho available in shallow water. “It’s such a unique fishery,” says Patillo, whose day job is helping to manage salmon for the state. “There aren’t that many places where you’re fishing so shallow, and in those troughs (in the bay). It’s so diverse too: You can fish it over on the Humptulips River side, you can fish right out of Hoquiam or you can fish way out on the outside. The shallow-water troll deep inside 20 Northwest Sportsman

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the bay causes salmon sharpies like Floor, the fishing affairs director for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, to reserve weeks at a time at the Tradewinds in Tokeland. “If I could pick just one week to fish it, it’d be the last week in September,” Floor says. “It’ll be busy, but what outstanding Chinook and coho fishery isn’t?” The most well-known/popular spot inside the bay stretches across the mouth of the Johns River, a long trough that runs along the South Channel toward the mouth of the Chehalis River. The meat of this troll is in 15 to 25 feet of water, using Stearns Bluff as a central reference point.

Grays Harbor has always been the land of gigantic herring and attractors, but many anglers are backing off the blue and purple label, scaling down to more Puget-Soundy green for, as Floor puts it, “a better, tighter spin and a better plugcut in general.” All three sizes are applicable, fished 6 feet behind a chrome/chartreuse, red or green Fish Flash, Kone Zone or similar attractor. The key is to keep your bait a foot off the bottom, with 4 to 6 ounces of lead, depending on current. —JOEL SHANGLE Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.


S O U T H W E S T

W A S H I N G T O N

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SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON

Willapa Basin Steelhead, Coho, Kings LEGEND

Trolling water Bank access Boat launch Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Willapa Tribs Salmonids

Mapped Area

Artic

North River

101

Lower Salmon Cr. Smith Creek Ward Creek

Smith Creek

105

Willapa-Monahan Landing Rd.

Tokeland

Raymond

Wilson Creek

Willapa South Bend North Fork

Menlo South Fork

Palix River Willapa Bay

6

Canon River

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Willapa River

Willapa Hatchery

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Naselle Resort Hotel

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401

4

Rosburg

NASELLE, Wash.–If coho, steelhead and even Chinook sound like an appetizing Christmas spread, consider heading for Willapa Bay streams this holiday season. The rivers get a mix of hatchery and wild stocks, some of which come in pretty stout thanks to feeding late into the year in the ocean. Silvers in the 18- to 20-pound range aren’t uncommon; the average will run 10 to 12 pounds. Bait under a bobber is the most popular offering, but the fish will readily take spinners and spoons. Light-lined Corky-yarn combos, especially when the rivers are low and clear, are also effective. The drawback is access. While you can reach the water via highway bridges, hatcheries, pull-offs and timberlands, there’s also a lot of private land to be aware of. There are limited boat ramps, but some anglers get around that by trolling tidewater. Just beware that Willapa Bay is shallow and dangerous. –TERRY OTTO Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.


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W A S H I N G T O N

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Cowlitz River Steelhead Blue Creek Blue Creek ramp

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Toledo-Winlock pencer Ro S Airport

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505

Massey Bar

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Evans Road Layton Road

Massey Bar ramp

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505

Toledo ramp

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Best side drifting water Best plug and diver and bait water 505 Best bank fishing Boat launch

TOLEDO, Wash.—Turkey Day is the official kick-off to winter steelheading in the Northwest, but you don’t have to wait until the holiday to start fishing. Watch Tacoma Power’s weekly “Cowlitz Fish Report” starting at the beginning of November for fish numbers in the productive Southwest Washington river. Blue Creek is ground zero for the fishing, thanks to very large smolt releases, but there’s also good water at Massey Bar and Toledo. Bank anglers drift fish, run bobber and jigs or swing flies while jet boaters side-drift with eggs and yarnies. When winter temperatures hit, most boaters switch to back-trolling K-11Xs, Wiggle Warts, Brad’s Wigglers and 3.5 MagLips in green or blue pirate, and red, green or blue metallics. –ANDY SCHNEIDER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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S O U T H W E S T

W A S H I N G T O N

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SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON

Mayfield Lake Coho

MOSSYROCK, Wash.—Looking for a change from combat fishing on Southwest Washington winter steelhead rivers? Target 16- to 18-inch landlocked coho on Mayfield Lake. The 2,200-acre reservoir on the middle Cowlitz is also heavily stocked with rainbows and produces native trout. Best results come from slow trolling a small flasher or dodger followed by a Wedding Ring or other spinner baited with a nightcrawler, corn or shrimp, or an F4 FlatFish. Target the 25- to 45-foot depths for coho, shallower for trout. There are launches at two parks. – Robert Cgraggen Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON

Lewis River Coho

WOODLAND, Wash.—The Lewis River features two coho runs, an early one which arrives in late August and peaks in late September, and a second which comes in in mid-October and peaks in early November. Some bright fish are caught as late as December. All are returning to the salmon hatchery, about 4 miles below Merwin Dam, and home to the Meat Hole, but coho also stack up in holes below there. Anglers cast spinners such as size 3 through 5 Vibrax, sometimes dressing them with a hoochie skirt, cast or back-troll purple plugs, float eggs under a bobber or side-drift or drift fish Corkies plain or with bait. –TERRY OTTO Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


SALMON TALES

A CELEBRATION OF WESTPORT’S FAVORITE FISH AND THE PEOPLE WHO CHASE AFTER THEM

W

S O U T H W E S T

In the ‘80s salmon sport fishing was forever changed as regulations designed to protect salmon runs in distant rivers limited the number of days per year the ocean could be fished. Stalwart skippers dug in their heels and kept the decks wet by broadening the Westport fishing experience to bottom fishing, halibut and albacore. Even with the addition of other exciting fisheries, the heart of Westport’s fleet remains hooked deeply to salmon fishing. The opportunity to connect with friends and family while hooking into a powerful king salmon exists today as it did in the ‘70s. The community has created a festival to celebrate that history and heritage called “Salmon Tales”. This annual event is held on the last weekend in September each year and showcases all things salmon! Fishing derbies, salmon related vendors, music, beer garden, historic displays and a competition to crown the “Best Smoked Salmon in the Pacific Northwest” make this exciting weekend worth coming to the coast for. To find out more visit the festival website!

W A S H I N G T O N

Through the booming salmon fishing years, Westport boasted great food and great entertainment. John Wayne fished out of Westport each year, the Kennedy family enjoyed hooking salmon there, and Freddie Steele, middleweight boxing champion of the world, opened a restaurant and lounge at the dock. Generations of Washington families visited the coast each year to make Westport the “Salmon Fishing Capital of the World”!

estport, Washington… Each year this quaint coastal community welcomed tens of thousands of visitors in search of the mighty king salmon. They came from all over the country and from all walks of life. Generations of fishermen rose before dawn to find their way to the Westport marina, where nearly 300 charter boats awaited to deliver them to the fertile fishing grounds. Pioneers of the sport fishing industry like Bob Williams, Bud Fender and Neddie Farrington helped many create lasting memories at the end of high test monofilament.

www.SalmonTales.info

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Stealing Salmon’s Thunder A CASE FOR PUTTING ‘T,’ AS IN TUNA,’ BEFORE ‘S’ IN THE NORTHWEST’S FALL FISHING ALPHABET. WESTPORT—Want to fill up your freezer with boneless blocks of fish so big, tasty and exotic that they eclipse all other Pacific Northwest gamefish for crowd-pleasing appeal off the barbecue or served seared from the pan? Want to find out firsthand that the tropics and some of the crystal-bluest water you’ve ever seen come every year within an easy run of Northwest ports from the Queen Charlotte Islands to the California border? Want to see evidence salmonids are the Glass Joe to the albacore’s Iron Mike? Don’t believe it? Go to your nearest Northwest fishing port this September and go tuna fishing. By early August, subtropical currents were already delivering big schools of migratory Pacific albacore within 40 miles of shore. September is the peak of tuna fishing in the Northwest and the best time to learn what many of us know firsthand about these mouth-breathing brutes: the albacore is the Pacific Northwest’s hardest fighting gamester. Although tuna fisheries dominate our commercial catches these days, the number of Northwest sport anglers who chase tuna lag well behind those in our ranks who focus on trout, salmon, steelhead, and even warmwater fish. The challenge and cost of getting to the tuna grounds is probably the single biggest limiting factor. Distractions like hunting seasons, school starting, salmon, and Seahawks games don’t help. An overlooked obstacle is the albacore’s absence from most of our narratives about the species we think of as our Northwest fish and wildlife. Everyone in the region with any clue about the natural world knows something about the life cycle and cultural 30 Northwest Sportsman

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NEAH BAY* 71

5

LA PUSH 2,167

EVERETT SEATTLE TACOMA

WESTPORT 27,217

OLYMPIA

ILWACO 18,752 5

ASTORIA* 2,306

GARIBALDI 7,466 PORTLAND

PACIFIC CITY 1,749

DEPOE BAY 10,382

5

NEWPORT 22,067

EUGENE

FLORENCE 36 WINCHESTER BAY 1,229 CHARLESTON 15,711 BANDON 2,212 BROOKINGS 9

* The most recent WDFW figures for Washington ports are from 2012 and were originally reported in pounds, but here were divided by the average weight that year (18.6 pounds) to get number of sport-caught albacore tuna.

5 ** The most recent ODFW figures for Oregon ports are from 2012, a record sportfishing year for albacore tuna.


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It’s tough to beat a one-day tuna charter featuring a total of 2½ hours of travel time. The end result is almost always smiling clients, full fish holds, and about an hour of free time while your deckhand loins your tuna for a measly 4 bucks a fish, a bargain. The short break allows time for procuring ice, drinking Bloody Mary’s to numb the shock of having up to 100 pounds of tuna loins to deal with, or whatever you like. (JEFF HOLMES)

significance of salmon and steelhead. It’s hard-wired in most of us to take an interest. We don’t know much about albacore, even most of us who like to fish for them. OUR ALBIES BEGIN THEIR FAMOUSLY far migration from the Asian mainland to our inshore waters every spring. They arrive in midsummer when subtropical currents of 60-plus-degree water push against the Northwest coast. They feed on squid and baitfish like sardines and anchovies, hunting in predatory packs that can range from several fish to several thousand, always moving, always with their mouths open to pass water past their gills. When it comes to speed, and slashing power through a school of baitfish, Chinook are junior-high sprint champions, and albacore are Usain Bolt. Their complex and perfectly evolved circulatory system regulates their body temperature, which increases their muscle efficiency. Their high metabolism, high blood pressure, huge volume of blood, and high levels of hemoglobin help them increase oxygen absorption. These specialized adaptations enable tuna to swim an eye-popping 50 mph and to cover tens of thousands of miles 32 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

annually. Their torpedo-shaped bodies and famously long pectoral fins propel them through the water at a cruising speed of 20 mph, and they range widely in the water column, chasing feed from the surface to well over 1,000 feet in depth. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration says 19-milewide schools have been observed on the open seas during migration. Albacore feed in Northwest waters well into autumn and then migrate to warmer waters in the Western Pacific for the winter and early fall. While they themselves are apex predators, so are the larger tunas, billfish, sharks, and humans who prey on them. Albacore range throughout tropical and subtropical waters in the northern and southern hemispheres, and are among the most targeted species by commercial fleets from many nations. Still, these fast-growing pelagic fish are reportedly doing very well at this point and are above target levels set by NOAA and international fisheries managers. Commercial albacore fisheries are also lower impact than most due to a relatively limited bycatch. In a time when many fisheries around the globe are struggling or on the point of collapse, albacore are abundant.

ONLY IN RECENT DECADES HAVE anglers realized the white-fleshed tuna come close enough to shore that day trips are possible for recreational anglers and for charter captains with smaller vessels. Overnight trips were the rule in the past and still are today for some slow boats and for captains choosing to make longer-than-usual runs on reports of hot fishing. Tuna have been close enough in recent years for larger, slower boats to offer one-day tuna trips, but those trips start at 2 a.m. and end 16 to 18 hours later. Last year I had a good time on one of these large-boat, one-day marathons, but I had a much better time on a shorter trip made possible by a highly specialized tuna boat and a captain who has gone all-in on tuna. I had so much fun last year, I convinced my wife to join me in a one-day express trip out of Westport in the middle of last month. Mark Coleman is owner operator of All Rivers and Saltwater Charters (allriversguideservice.com). He and his guides fish a range of fresh and saltwater locales throughout Washington, but when the tuna are in, Coleman’s two badass Defiance boats are in the Westport boat basin, moored near The Islander (westport-islander.com),


home to lodging, dining, and the wildest Bloody Mary on the coast, topped with a skewer of pickled onion, pickled green bean, cherry tomato, pepperocini, aged cheddar, smoked sausage, prawn, and celery. The drink is good – I fact-checked twice to be sure – but The Islander’s main draws for me are the Reel Tight and Reel Ultra, Coleman’s lightning-fast tuna boats. My wife and I left our condo getaway at Westport’s Vacations By the Sea (vacationbythesea.com) for our annual tuna trip at the lazy-for-tuna time of 5:15 a.m. to meet Coleman and crew. The bait tank was stuffed with wriggling anchovies, the coolers with ice, and the rod holders with Okuma rods and reels for live-bait and troll fishing. We left the harbor, found nary a ripple on the Westport Bar, and felt the power of twin Honda 225s and the engineering of the Defiance Guadalupe’s planing hull as we rocketed toward the tuna grounds, politely passing boats at a safe-and-sane but high rate of speed. Many of Coleman’s clients are repeat customers, and my wife and I chatted on the way to the grounds with two such anglers, a father-son duo. They started the conversation by telling us they were each other’s father, since the son, David Marshall, is an Episcopalian minister whose own father, Darryl, is a parishioner. They fish with Coleman on the Humptulips, but this was their first tuna trip. I withheld my rapidly aging “tuna virgins” joke when I found out David’s profession. I’d learn throughout the day from David and Darryl that Episcopalians and their ministers are pretty cool and tolerant of potty mouths, even the machinist ex-marine from Tacoma who dropped F-bombs like he was being paid by word. WE REACHED BRILLIANTLY BLUE subtropical water and boats hooking tuna, and Coleman cut the engine. He offers his clients solid instruction prior to ever grabbing a rod and follows that up with patient reinforcement of those lessons throughout the day of fishing. After Tuna 101, Coleman and his stellar deckhand, Mike, set out troll 34 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

rods with Rapala X-Raps off the sides and stern, and two cedar plugs fanned out wide on the surface on outriggers. We trolled at 7 to 8 knots, scanning the horizon for birds, baitfish, and jumping tuna driving bait to the surface. After a short troll, we hooked up two tuna – one on an X-Rap and one on a cedar plug – and our crew of six anglers sprung into action. Two of us reeled in troll fish, while the rest of us grabbed live-bait rods and headed to the bait station for Mike and Mark to hook up anchovies. We freespooled our little baitfish into the Pacific and three of us hooked up wrist-straining tuna that flopped on the deck of Coleman’s boat five minutes later, pattering out a maniacal rhythm and spraying the welcome sight of tuna blood. This troll-findfish-fish-live-bait-and-repeat pattern is a typical live-bait approach and one of the most fulfilling and addicting types of fishing I’ve experienced. All day, we chased birds, bait and tuna on the troll and on many live-bait stops. Not every stop accounts for fish, but many do, and the anticipation and elation of waiting for Mr. Albacore to slam your anchovy make every deployment of your bait a hopeful occasion. By late afternoon, we had a big load of tuna, including several fish at the 30-pound mark. Coleman gave the order to reel up and settle in for the run, and a scant hour and 15 minutes later we were back in Westport, leaving the rest of the tuna fleet in our wake. Whereas some ports don’t offer a supply of live bait, Westport does. So does Ilwaco. Hooking a live anchovy through the collar and letting it swim away from the boat while feeding line is as primal and fun as fishing gets for me. When the anchovies see the tuna coming toward them, they often struggle to escape, foretelling a bite for waiting anglers. That a tuna has grabbed your bait is as obvious as Peyton Manning’s pouting, Haley Joel Osment-looking face on TV right now as the Seahawks are demolishing the Broncos in preseason action. Your bait’s speed increas-

es from 2 to 20 mph instantly. Once a tuna grabs your anchovy, letting it eat for several seconds is imperative to hooking up. Completing the hookup is as simple as engaging the drag on your tuna reel. Their speed while feeding and the leverage of your fishing rod are all that are needed to drive the small, powerful live-bait hook home and to engage one of the oceans’ fastest fish. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO WOULD prefer it if I didn’t name him. He’s a biologist and a salmon and steelhead assassin who thinks like a salmonid; travels, feeds, and smells like one; and who has spent the last 30-plus years chasing Chinook and trophy steelhead from every major river system in Washington. He’s traveled far and wide chasing big, iconic Northwest gamefish. But like other salmon junkies I know, he turns his nose up at the hardest fighting fish in the Northwest and one of the fastest, tastiest and most sought-after fish across the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. I’ve had no luck convincing him to fish albacore out of a Washington, Oregon, or even BC port so far, but this article is one last try to convince him and the rest of you tuna virgins why you need to book a trip. If you get seasick, don’t go, but if you love to fish, like the ocean and haven’t yet returned to a familiar port with a boat stuffed with tuna, make a plan and go. Whether with Coleman or another well-reviewed and experienced tuna guide, you stand your best chances of scoring a heavy load of tuna loins by fishing with a pro. If you can’t afford a guided tuna trip right now, save up your money, or look on Northwest fishing blogs for experienced private boaters looking to split costs. Once you land an albacore, you’ll understand why so many of us go back for more. The 60 pints of canned albacore on our shelves and the scores of frozen tuna loins in our freezer are pretty big incentives too. –JEFF HOLMES Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.


NORTHWEST OREGON

Buoy 10 Chinook, Coho 1. THOU SHALT STUDY THINE TIDE BOOK “The first half of the (outgoing tide) offers the very best fishing in the north and south channel above and below the Astoria-Megler Bridge alongside Desdemona Sands for a mixed bag of Chinook and coho,” says Buzz Ramsey, brands manager for Yakima Bait Company (509-854-1311). “The downstream troll is best.”

DEADLINE

Sand Island

Chinook

Knappton Pt. Ellice

Buoy 10

401

1

2

4

Hammond

Fish the actual Byoy 10 area only during the first half of the incoming tide, starting at low slack for coho Fish the first half of the outgoing tide for a mixture of Chinook and coho

Youngs Bay

ge

Desdemona Sands

LEGEND

r Brid

BUOY 10

egle

scale in miles

N

ia-M

0

O GT IN SH GON A E W OR

r Asto

ATLAS 2015

101

it

36 Northwest Sportsman

McKenzie Head

p p S

5. HE WHO RUNNETH THE MOST GEAR KEEPEST THE MOST FISH “It always seems like the more gear you have on your line, the more fish you catch,” says Buzz.

Baker Bay

so

4. IN THE BEGINNING OF THE FLOOD, THOU SHALT BACK-TROLL “As ocean water begins to flood in, you nose into the current with the bow pointing west, and you’re basically back-trolling with that flooding water waiting for the ocean to push new fish into you,” says Ramsey. “That’s best when you’re fishing for coho.”

Mapped Area

Ilwaco

at

3. CRANKETH THINE FISHFINDER’S GAIN “Right at the Buoy 10, the ocean water floods in underneath the surface water,” adds Ramsey. “You can see a line on your fish finder where that incoming ocean water, which is denser, floods in underneath the less dense surface water. If you fish too deep, especially when the tide really gets clipping, you can’t tighten your drag tight enough.” Turn up the sensitivity (gain) on your fishfinder to find that line, and then place your lures or bait just above the break. Salmon will be coming in below that line but looking up toward your bait.

Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

101

Cl

2. THOU SHALT NOT FISH NEAR BUOY 10 ON AN OUTGOING TIDE “A big flooding tide, especially for coho, is when it’s the best at Buoy 10 itself,” notes Ramsey. “Don’t get here too early because the water can be very rough and unpleasant. But as soon as the tide starts to flood in, it calms the water. So the best fishing there is through the first half of the flood.”

101

Astoria

Warrenton 101

Boat launch

6. THOU’S DEPTH DICTATES HOW DEEP THEE FISHES “If the water is 30 feet or less, chances are you are going to do best if your gear is related to the bottom,” Ramsey says. “If the water is over 30 feet, you might find best success suspending gear 20 to 30 feet down.” 7. BRINGETH DIFFERENT SIZE HERRING “Fish a mixed bag of different size plug-cut and whole herring and let the fish tell you what they like,” emphasizes Buzz. Take green-, blue- and purple-label herring. Herring may be the bomb one day and not the next, but if you don’t have plenty of bait, you’ll never find out. 8. THOU SHALT WAIT FOR THINE ROD TO BE COMPLETELY BURIED Salmon have to turn that bait around in its mouth, just like they do in the wild. First they will grab a big lively sardine and kill it – bite No. 2. Then it has to turn it around in its mouth – bites 3, 4, 5, ad infinitum. If you make any hay-bailing hooksets while your

bait is being killed,turned and munched, you will yank it right out of the fish’s mouth. 9. THOU SHALT BRINGETH SPINNERS “You want to try different styles and colors, but a 6½ Cascade blade in red-and-white, chartreuse and green dot are some of the most popular colors,” says Ramsey. “And I had good luck earlier the week we fished on just a nickel red dot Flash-Glo. Having a spinner with a built-in pink or chartreuse squid on the end can also be good.” 10. THOU SHALT KEEP THINE HOOKS RAZOR SHARP Before you put a hook out, test it on your thumbnail. If the point doesn’t stick immediately, your hook is dull. Just one or two quick swipes with your file along one side is usually all it takes to get a hook as sharp as it can be. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Big Creek Fishing Club LLC Big Creek Fishing Club Facilities has very reasonable rates that are located at www.bigcreekfishing.com. Our October Silver season is of high quality and we are also booking lodging for the November Saddle Mtn. Elk Seasons, in Oregon. We also cater to Lower Columbia River Duck Hunters that also need lodging from November until January.

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NORTHWEST OREGON

Nehalem Bay Salmon 101

Hwy. 101 ramp

53

Nehalem Bay State Park

Nehalem Junction s.

sI

u ar

z

La

Wheeler

Mapped Area

Brighton

0

1/4

1/ 2

1

scale in miles 101

Nehalem Bay LEGEND

The Jaws

Nedonna Beach

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Good spinner fishing Good herring fishing Good crabbing Boat ramp

WHEELER, Ore.—Imagine a forgotten bay, loaded with crab, Chinook and coho, all less than two hours from Portland. That’s Nehalem, “a very healthy bay,” in the words of local guide Russ Morrow (503-3109733). He says mid-September is best as that’s when the weeds thin out and fresh salmon move in on every tide. He fishes a plugcut herring with a 12-inch dropper and up to 16-ounce weight, 6-foot leader, and bead-chain swivels behind “plain chrome, plaidpatterned flashers.” He advises crabbing on the incoming tide as the outgoing’s current can carry light pots into the ocean, or to look for corners and coves out of the current to drop your traps during big tides. –ANDY SCHNEIDER

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


N O R T H W E S T O R E G O N

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NORTHWEST OREGON

Tillamook Tidewater Kings TILLAMOOK—Set your inner deer hunter aside and hope for an Indian summer on Oregon’s North Coast. Dry leaves and twigs may make it difficult to move quietly through the woods, but only helps salmon fishing down in the bay. “The drier the fall season is, the better tidewater fishing gets,” says veteran Tillamook guide David Johnson (503-2014292). “So if the rains hold off, break out your bobber rods.” It also brings another group of anglers into what’s otherwise a boat show. “The lower Wilson and the lower Trask Rivers offer best access for boaters and bank anglers,” says Johnson. “Each river has miles of tidewater that give anglers plenty of opportunity to ambush one of these Tillamook fall Chinook.” While three other rivers enter the bay, concentrate on these two for consistent success. Tidewater on them can resemble a standard river with heavy current flowing towards the bay (on large tide exchanges) and in a couple hours, be flowing the exact opposite direction with equal force. Other days the water may not even have a noticeable current (on small tide exchanges). EGGING THEM ON Plugging, back-bouncing, bobber dogging and trolling spinners are equally effective, but bobber fishing is king of tidewater. And while eggs are one of the best baits to pursue fall Chinook with, also bring some sand shrimp, sardine, herring and maybe some anchovies to add something “extra” to your eggs. “A chunk of sardine sometimes is the trick that’s needed to get these fish to bite,” hints Johnson. Another thing to bring: your tide book. That will tell you when to deploy your gear. “Anglers don’t want to miss out on bobber fishing during high slack and low slack, followed by the outgoing tide,” says Johnson. He says a 1-ounce bobber will work 40 Northwest Sportsman

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best for tidewater fishing here. Most Tillamook bobber fisherman prefer to anchor to the side of the hole, then cast up current and let their eggs drift through the entire hole. But to cover a lot of water and find fish, try bobber dogging. Simply cast your bobber to the opposite side of the river while letting your boat drift with the current. Use your trolling motor to keep yourself even with your bobber. This is very similar to side-drifting, but with tidewater currents, usually done at a much slower pace. OTHER TECHNIQUES “Plugs catch fish in Tillamook,” says Johnson. “These Tillamook fall Chinook are just suckers for them. Both incoming and outgoing tides produce when anchoring with plugs. Just look for larger tidal exchanges for better fishing.”

A 24-inch dropper and a 5-foot leader works best when running K15 Kwikfish or M2 FlatFish. Pay attention to your plugs to make sure they are not digging into the bottom, or lengthen your dropper if needed. Back-bouncing eggs is an all-time favorite technique for many anglers and guides, one that is often overlooked in the softer flows of tidewater, but it still works – sometimes very well. And no need to leave your spinners at home either. While you may be trolling in just 4 feet of water, fish will still bite. Many times they will slide out of the way of a passing boat and become more aggressive. —ANDY SCHNEIDER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


N O R T H W E S T

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NORTHWEST OREGON

Columbia Estuary Ducks Tillamook Bay Ducks Nehalem Bay Ducks OREGON COAST WATERFOWLING, PART 1—How do you predict when to hunt waterfowl on the massive Columbia River estuary as well as Tillamook and Nehalem Bays to the south? With that book you used to figure out when to fish those waters for salmon: a tide table. Ducks will come into freshly flooded grass to feed with every incoming tide through high tide, and head to sandy and muddy flats to rest on the last of an outgoing tide. Unlike their inland counterparts, which primarily wing at first and last light, coastal ducks will move with the tide no matter what time of day, so you can easily plan a midmorning or afternoon hunt around an incoming tide. In fact, when hunting a new area and arriving at low tide midmorning, you could scout promising areas, all in the light of day, and set up where ducks are promised flooded grass offering food. OREGON COAST WATERFOWLING, PART 2—One thing that can spook even the unwariest of coastal waterfowl is a giant blind bought from a store. It is tough to match the ever-changing color of natural grass – except with natural grass. Instead, simply sitting in tall grass, or behind some natural cover, is one of the best ways to blend in in the estuaries and bays. If a blind or boat is a must, utilize natural vegetation for your cover. Just make sure to harvest it from another location than where you will be hunting. Not having a set blind can also be a big benefit as winds often change 42 Northwest Sportsman

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


around high tide. No matter the estuary, high tide always seems to bring a wind with it. If you are simply hiding in grass, you can easily move to put the wind at your back and have the birds land in front of you without much hassle.

N O R T H W E S T

OREGON COAST WATERFOWLING, PART 3—Not only does the tide have a huge effect on how you hunt, you also have to watch it closely to avoid being stranded from your boat or route back to higher ground. A 5-foot exchange – the average – will turn a 1-foot-deep mud puddle into a 6-foot-deep swimming hole in just a few hours. More than one duck hunter has lost his life attempting to get back to his boat during the wrong part of the tide. If stranded, just wait it out for safe passage once again. Having a small chase boat or kayak to run down cripples or shuttle you back to safety is a good idea. A retriever is almost a must too. Also, make sure your decoys have, at least, 10 feet of line to a 5-ounce lead. Large spreads are not as necessary. –

O R E G O N

ANDY SCHNEIDER

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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NORTHWEST OREGON

Multnomah Channel Spring Chinook McNulty Mapped Area

30

Warren

Bachelor Island

SAUVIE ISLAND W

Multnomah Channel

N TO NG N HI GO AS RE O

LEGEND

Trolling flats Boat launch

Co lum bi r ive a R

Coon Island Bathroom, docks

Scappoose

SAUVIE ISLAND

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

30

1/ 2

1 scale in miles

ATLAS 2015

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ake

0

eon L Sturg

Oak Island

44 Northwest Sportsman

PRESCOTT BEACH, Ore.—When I take friends spring Chinook fishing, I often choose the Multnomah Channel over the Columbia or Willamette Rivers. It’s a softer, easier fishery that appeals to the less fanatic fishermen, and features long, productive flats ideal for leisurely trolling without having to turn and run back upstream every few minutes. Most fishermen troll whole or plug-cut herring behind a flasher while others flat-line sardine-wrapped plugs. Herring that is brined or dyed will usually draw more strikes, and scents are a good addition too. Best depths are from 10 to 24 feet, and the key is to adjust your baits so they stay within a foot of the bottom. Below the Gilbert River ramp is hogline country when the tide runs out, and it can be tough to find room for trolling once the lines form. –TERRY OTTO


NORTHWEST OREGON

Clackamas River Steelhead Clackamas

212

224

Riverside

205

99E

Carver 224

Outlook

Gladstone

SE 232nd Dr.

Carver

Barton Barton

S. Forsythe Rd.

S. Red

Oregon City

land R

Bonnie Lure State Park

d.

205

224

S. Bradley R

West Linn

d.

Redland 0 213

1

4

2

Feldheimer

scale in miles

Lower McIver

Four Corners

Clackamas River Clackamas

Steelhead

LEGEND Excellent bobber and jig water Good plug water Good side drifting water Boat ramp Boat slide

Milo McIver State Park

McIver

Estacada

ESTACADA, Ore.–The best drift boat stretches on the Clackamas River are from Feldheimer’s to Barton and Barton to Carver while Riverside or Carver are good putins for jet sleds. Both put you in the middle of prime side-drifting water. Best bank access is at Milo McIver Park, though winter steelhead won’t push into this stretch until midseason. Early on, look to Bonnie Lure at the mouth of Eagle Creek, Barton Park, Carver Park or the pull-offs on Clackamas River Drive below Carver. Plunkers should try Riverside and Clackamette Park during high flows. Best river levels for sleds are 12.75 to 13.5 feet while any time the river level is below 12.5 feet is good for drifters and bankies. –ANDY SCHNEIDER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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NORTHWEST OREGON

Molalla River Steelhead

IT WASN’T ALWAYS this way. Until the 1990s the river was planted with hatchery summer and winter steelhead, and they supported a very popular fishery. “Angler interest and harvest was very good,” says Murtagh. Winter 1979-80 was a high point with over 2,000 kept. However, wild populations declined in Willamette tributaries above the falls, including this one. Eventually concerns for these stocks brought about the end of the hatchery programs. Many Molalla fishermen turned to other rivers, and the native run responded. “The wild winter run seems to be growing,” says Sam Wurdinger, president of the Northwest Steelheaders’ Molalla chapter. “And with the coho numbers climbing, the Molalla River is starting to get some attention again.” Many steelheaders come with fly rods while others pack light conventional gear to get the best fight out of the 48 Northwest Sportsman

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Willamette River

Molalla River

Molalla State Park Knights Bridge

5

LEGEND

Bank access Canby Canby Community Park 213

Mo

lall

aR

ive r

99e

211

Wagon Wheel

Colton Molalla 211

Meadowbrook Bridge Feyrer Park

North Fork Molalla River

South Molalla Forest Rd.

214 213

Cedars (rough)

er Molalla Riv

MULINO, Ore.—January steelheading around Portland centers on the Sandy, Clackamas and Washougal Rivers. With their hefty releases of hatchery fish, you can take one or two home when the run’s in, but you will also find plenty of competition. There is another stream in our backyard that attracts a different kind of steelheader, anglers more interested in catch and release fishing for big, wild winter-runs among uncrowded vistas and lightly fished riffles. You will find them on the Molalla River, a 50-milelong tributary of the Willamette. It’s a “unique fishery” in the words of Tom Murtagh, the state fisheries biologist. “It is one of the last free-flowing Cascade rivers.” It’s also bereft of hatchery releases. “It’s not a robust fishery,” Murtagh says. “It’s more of a catch-and-release crowd. The only chance for harvest is hatchery strays from other systems.”

Mapped Area

Silverton 0

1

2

4

scale in miles

fish. Bait is not allowed in winter, and barbless hooks are encouraged. Run timing is similar to when natives show in the Sandy and Clackamas, with the first steelhead trickling in in December. The numbers build into spring, with best fishing in February and March. Access is good through most of the Molalla’s length, and since it is considered a navigable river, if you can find access and stay below the high water mark, you can fish long stretches. Indeed, covering a lot of water is a good strategy with wild steelhead. “They don’t bottle up in any one spot like hatchery fish do,” says Wurdinger. “You can catch one or two in one spot

one day, and they’ll be gone the next.” Wurdinger warns boaters of a hazard between Wagon Wheel and Canby, at an old railroad bridge jammed with logs. Bank access is available through parks and launch sites. Any fly pattern that works well in the Sandy or Clack will do well here. Boaters pull plugs and float jigs, while bankies like to throw hardware and drift gear. Wurdinger reports good success with Dinger Jigs; a shrimp-colored jig was hot in 2012-13. —TERRY OTTO Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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800-248-6335 ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

49


NORTHWEST OREGON

Willamette Falls Springers OREGON CITY–Drive over one of the Willamette’s many downtown bridges from midwinter into midspring and you’ll see Portland anglers hoglined up or plunking from the bank, hoping for a Chinook to bite their plugs, Spin-N-Glos, herring, prawns, eggs and other baits. The best stretch is from Willamette Falls to Sellwood Bridge. Whatever kind of fishing you like to do, there’s a place for it in this reach. There are deep, slow holes good for deepwater trolling; shallower shelves for trolling on the bottom; gravel bars that make for good anchoring and plunking spots; and great fast-water places to backbounce bait. Just beware that the currents below the falls can be tricky, and the area has become home to sea lions. –TERRY OTTO Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

50 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


NORTHWEST OREGON

Siletz River Steelhead Siletz River

LEGEND

ree k

Ro ot C

South Fo

rk

Jack Morgan Park k

Wildcat Creek

ird

Eu

Cr ee

k

ch

k

re C

e re

re e

Big Eddy

Private gate Palmer Creek ODFW acclimation Site

Ojalla Bridge (rough slide launch)

Sun sh Cre ine ek

Steel Bridge

Wildcat Bridge

Moonshine County Park k Moonshine ree Park Road Mill C

Oj

al

la

Cr .

Jay b

ork st F

yC Ro

229

k or tF

Strome Park HEAD OF TIDE

Ea

to Lincoln City

es W

Plum Creek timberland. Great bank fishing. Walk in from private gate 7 days a week. Drive in only on Saturdays and Sundays. Boat launch Drifts 1 Moonshine Park to Twin Bridges 2 Twin Bridges to upper part of town of Siletz 3 The Town Run 4 Lower part of town of Siletz to Ojalla Bridge 5 Ojalla Bridge to Morgan 6 Morgan to Strome Park, especially on a high out-flowing tide

0

1

2

4

scale in miles

Second Steel Bridge

Mil

ler

Cre

ek

Siletz

BRING ROPE TO PUT IN AND TAKE OUT

Logsde n

Old Mill Park

to Newport 229

Mapped Area

Logsden Road

Hee Hee Illahee Park

Twin Bridges

Sam Creek

Rock

Cree

k

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

SILETZ, Ore.–Among the most successful of Oregon Coast steelhead broodstock programs is the one on the Siletz, which sees solid returns of fish each winter. Anglers love this river because of its 55 miles of accessibility from tidewater up to where smolts are released, at Moonshine Park. Fishing kicks in around Thanksgiving and remains robust through April. Guide Nathan Cornelius (541-961-7749) says, “One of the nicest pieces of steelhead water is from Moonshine Park down to Twin Bridges.” It floats best between 5½ up to 8 feet. The easiest drift is Twin to Hee Hee Illahee, best at 4 to 6 feet. There’s textbook water for every type of gear on the Siletz. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

52 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Alsea River Steelhead Crooked Creek

Kozy Kove Mill Cr.

Scott Creek

Hatchery Cr.

Tidewater

Barclay Creek

2

Mill Cr. Hellion Rapids Quarry Hole Cedar Cr.

Barclay Breaks Mike Bauer Blackberry Park

North Fork Alsea

1

Forest Camp

2

Benner Cr. 4

scale in miles

Alsea Honey Grove Cr.

Missouri Bend

Birch Cr. Salmonberry Park Sulman Creek

South Fork Alsea Bummer Creek

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

O R E G O N

WALDPORT, Ore.–The Alsea River kicks out robust numbers of hatchery steelhead from mid-November through April. “We get one of the highest total catches out of all the coastal basins in Oregon,” says James Ray, a state fisheries biologist. Martin Thurber of Willakenzie Guide Service (541-741-7927) says, “There are so many different runs that have classic steelhead water. Depending on the water level, you may encounter five different types of water in the same run. You have to be prepared for just about everything.” His drift boat resembles a floating porcupine, with at least three rods apiece for plugging as well as side-drifting roe. “This river fishes best when it’s between 4½ to 6 feet, but it’s perfect at 5 feet,” he adds. –LARRY ELLIS

Mapped Area

BEST FLOATS Drift 1 Drift 2

34

Five Rivers Five Rivers

1

Seeley Cr.

Minotti Cr.

Lake Creek 0

Mill Creek Park

N O R T H W E S T

Stoney Point

Grass Creek

Schoolhouse Cr. Fall Creek Digger Cr. Maltby Cr. River’s Edge Campbell Park

Alsea River Fish Hatchery

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Drift 3 Drift 4

GOOD BANK FISHING 1 Mike Bauer Wayside (bank fishing, plunking) 2 Barclay Breaks (bank fishing) Boat launch

ATLAS 2015

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SOUTHWEST OREGON

Siuslaw River Steelhead

SWISSHOME, Ore.—The new year marks the time when winter steelhead move into the Siuslaw River, and while the return of hatchery fish back to its tributaries Whittaker and Green Creeks peaks around President’s Day, they can be caught into April. Bank access is good, but floating the river is the best option and there are a good number of ramps. Boaters side-drift or pull plugs. Other good baits include pink worms, Corkies and roe, and egg, articulated prawn and bunny leech pattern. But with large portions of this river quite snaggy, bring a lot of gear. River levels at or between 4 to 7 feet by the Mapleton gauge are best for fishing during the winter. Also be aware that you’ll need a Lane County Park Pass for the majority of parks and ramps. –TROY RODAKOWSKI Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

54 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Umpqua River Steelhead

S O U T H W E S T

Umpqua River

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

0

2

4

O R E G O N

LEGEND BEST DRIFT TIMING Thanksgiving – December 15 December 15 – January 10 January 10 – February February – March Mapped Area 8

scale in miles

ELKTON, Ore.–The Umpqua is legendary for trophy steelhead. Winter-runs begin to trickle in around Thanksgiving, and as fall deepens, the fish push further and further up. Martin Thurber (541-741-7927) says the ideal height for an early-season float from Scott Creek to Scottsburg Park is just under 6½ feet. Pull Mud Bugs and sand shrimp or Hot Shots, or side-drift Puff Balls and roe. There is also great bank fishing at the Sheep Shed and Beckley holes. The ramp at Kellogg Bridge, also known as Lefflers, is a must-take-out situation. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

55


SOUTHWEST OREGON

Siltcoos, Tahkenitch Lakes Coho ree k

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

1/2

1

2

scale in miles

Siltcoos Landing

Ma p

Kiechle Arm

0

Miller Arm

le C

to Florence

Mapped Area

Siltcoos

Arrowhead Point

Ore.–The productive waters of these two central OrSiltcoos egon Coast lakes make them 101 Lake great places for young coho to Booth Is. Ada Park grow before heading out to sea, Reed Is. k and when the salmon come back, ee r C le they’re often bigger than othd Fid er silvers reared in streams. To catch one, the best advice is to Fiddle get as close to the inlets as possiCreek Inlet ble without encroaching on fishing deadlines. Siltcoos coho start going on the bite in mid-October and action peaks arund mid-November; Tahkenitch’s fishery goes into December. Early in the day or during low-light conditions, use dark plugs and spinTahkenitch ners, says guide Jeff Jackson (541Lake 268-6944), and when the sun is up, go with pinks, oranges and blue or green pirate. “The hot spinner for both lakes is the Sonic Bell in LEGEND hot-candy-pink with Cast Siltcoos Special spinners in the Maple Arm a Size 7 blade,” says and toward Maple Creek k local luremaker Dean Troll Wiggle Wards and ree Cherry Arm lC Super Hoochies between e t Hendricks (541-997the Male and Fiddle Creek Lie Mallard Arm Arm 7080). –LARRY ELLIS FLORENCE,

Fiv em

ile

Cre

ek

Dunes City

101

to Coos Bay

56 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Mallard Creek

Siltcoos & Tahkenitch lakes

Cast Siltcoos Special spinners Troll Hot Shots and Wiggle Warts near th outlet at high water Cast Sonic Bell spinners and Super Hoochies Boat launch

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Eugene Summer Steelhead Mapped Area

S O U T H W E S T

Willamette River

LEGEND

O R E G O N

The Town Run Pengra-to-Jasper float Smolt liberation sites, ramps Boat ramps

EUGENE–Guide Bret Stuart (541-988-3828) has one word for the upper Willamette River’s “Town Run,” an 8-mile stretch between Eugene and Springfield. It’s home to summer steelhead as well as trout, features numerous boat ramps, can be run in drift boats or jet boats, and is the “shizzle.” ODFW releases smolts at Island Park and the “D” Street boat ramps in Springfield, the Alton Baker and Valley River boat ramps in Eugene, and two sites in the Middle Fork Willamette above Springfield. Throughout the run are numerous pilings which help create structure and cover. A good tactic is to run a diver, 5-foot leader, size 14 Spin-N-Glo in a bright color like egg-fluorescent with Mylar wings, two 5mm beads and a 2/0 Gamakatsu hook baited with a sand shrimp. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

57


SOUTHWEST OREGON

rco la

Rd .

Santiam, McKenzie Rivers Steelhead Ma

EWEB Canal

Deerhorn

McKenzie River 126 Hendricks Bridge Walterville

Springfield

Taylor Access

126

Jas pe

0 1/ 2 1

rR

Jefferson rt

No

am

nti

a hS

2

scale in miles

d.

99E

Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

er Riv 226

Scio 226

Draperville

ODFW Emmerich Access

McKenzie & Santiam rivers LEGEND

Crabtree

Bank access Top float Boat ramp

20

Albany

Griggs Brewster

WALTERVILLE, Ore.–Anglers in the central and southern Willamette Valley have a very nice pair of streams to work for hatchery summer steelhead, the McKenzie and South Santiam Rivers. If one’s not fishing, hit they other – they’re only 45 minutes or so apart. The former is one of Oregon’s most pristine and scenic rivers; most of its fish range between 7 and 9 pounds. The latter provides big numbers of fish in concentrated locations. Both feature good floats, several boat ramps and other accesses. Drifting eggs or sand shrimp works well, as do Little Cleo spoons in blue and silver or green and silver combos, Hot Shots in blue/green or silver contrast and fluorescent, Moal Leeches in a purple/pink or purple/black, Green Butt Silver Hiltons and Egg-sucking Leeches. –TROY RODAKOWSKI Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

River City Park

34

South Santiam River

Lebanon 5

Waterloo

Santiam Marine Park

Waterloo Park

Mapped Area

20

0

1

2

4

scale in miles

58 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Pleasant Valley Bridge

Sweet Home

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Coos Bay Salmon Glasgow

Coos Bay LEGEND

Best coho fishing September 15-18 September 18-24

101

Airport

ou

Boardwalk

lev ard

Coos Bay

Ca pe Ar ag oH igh wa y

h rt

Sp

OC No

C FI CI PA

Mapped Area

nB

Isthmus Slough

Marshfield Channel Catching Slough

0

1/ 2

1

scale in miles

2

O R E G O N

Barview South Jetty

ea

it

EA

N

Oc

S O U T H W E S T

North Bend

Sept. 18-Nov. 30 Great bank fishing Boat launch

Bunker Hill 101

Charleston COOS BAY, Ore.–Coos Bay coho are really clean-tasting, just like in the ocean. They can be caught just about anywhere in this, the largest bay on the Central Oregon Coast. The action might be taking place at the jetties, around the Highway 101 bridge, in front of the boardwalk in town, or up in the Marshfield Channel – it changes at the whim of the salmon. General trolling tactics using cut-plug herring, heavy cannonball drop sinkers and a Big Al’s Fish Flash are the go-to methods here. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

59


SOUTHWEST OREGON

Coquille River Coho

BANDON, Ore.—A great spot to troll on the lower Coquille River for coho is the Rocky Point area, close to the boat ramp, and where you also stand a chance at hooking a Chinook. A great setup for coho in this estuary is a plug-cut herring trolled behind a Kone Zone flasher on a spreader bar using a 12-inch dropper with 2 to 4 ounces of lead. Bright pink Blue Fox spinners, Perry’s Mag Spinners, spinnerbait setups with bright red No. 4 G-spot blades and various other shocking pink concoctions trolled either behind a boat or cast from the bank can also get aggressive strikes. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

60 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Coquille Steelhead

Mapped Area

LEGEND A Acclimation sites Good bank access P Good plunking Good day drifts Boat ramp Coquille-Fairview Rd.

LaVerne County Park

P A North Fork Coquille

FairviewMcKinley Rd.

Fairview

Middle Creek

McKinley

Hantz Cr.

A

Fishtrap Rd. Myrtle PointSitkum Lane

Johnson

Dora

Frona County Park

42

Arago Norway

East Fork Coquille

Fat Elk Rd.

Powerie 42

Hoffman Wayside

Bridge

Middle Fork Coquille

Cheney Broadbent

MYRTLE POINT, Ore.—There are two qualities Northwest fishermen want in a steelhead run: aggressive biters and combative fighters. Premium filets for the table and trophy steelhead over 20 pounds are merely a bonus. In the Coquille, which features four fishy forks, you can catch fish with all those traits. Chrome-bright fish between 8 and 20 pounds begin trickling in around Thanksgiving, and by December, the run is in full swing and doesn’t slow down until April. Smolts are released at LaVerne Park on the North Fork, Hantz Creek on the East, Woodward and Beaver Creeks on the South. Depending on water height, either plunk with SpinN-Glos, drift- or back-drag Corkies, Puff Balls or yarnies and roe, throw spinners, bobber fish with sand shrimp or shrimp-roe cocktails, or pull silver/black Hot Shots. –LARRY ELLIS

O R E G O N

Myrtle Point

S O U T H W E S T

Rock Prairie County Park

Coquille

Coquille River Steelhead

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going

to Roseburg

Albert H Powers Memorial Park Seven Mile

Gaylord Myrtle Grove Memorial Park

A P

Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

P

Powers

A

C dw ar d

W oo

Powers Highway

r.

Beaver Cr. Hayes Hole

0

1

2

4

scale in miles

ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

61


SOUTHWEST OREGON

Rogue Bay Chinook 0 101

1/ 2

1/ 4 scale in miles

Mapped Area

545

Wedderburn

595

Indian Creek

Rogue Bay Chinook LEGEND

Gold Beach

101

Better high tide fishing Better low tide fishing Boat launch

GOLD BEACH–The Rogue Bay has earned its reputation as one of the Northwest’s most productive Chinook fisheries. The salmon are big and bright – witness the 71-pounder caught here in 2002 – fish populations are healthy, and the action runs from July through October. This is a troll fishery, and the vast majority of boaters use a Rogue Bait Rig, a green- or metallic-bladed spinner fished above an anchovy and with a treble hook, with a wire spreader, a 5- to 6-foot leader and beadchain, and a 15- to 18-inch dropper. The bay is shallow, and unlike some estuaries, Rogue anglers troll both directions. Typically, fishing is best high in the bay at high tide, and low in the bay at low. –ANDY MARTIN Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

62 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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Northwest Sportsman

63


SOUTHWEST OREGON

Chetco River Steelhead

BROOKINGS, Ore.—The prime time to land a trophy Chetco River steelhead begins in January. How you fish the South Coast river depends on its height. When the river is dropping and between 3,000 and 4,000 cubic feet per second, most anglers side-drift, pull plugs or ”baby” back-bounce in the softer water near the sides of the river. When the river is between 2,500 and 3,000 cfs, you can still side-drift, or consider back-bouncing with roe or yarn balls. When the river is between 1,200 and 2,500 cfs, side-drifting Puff Balls-and-roe and yarnies, or long-lining Kwikfish, Wiggle Warts and Hot Shots become the textbook techniques. The Chetco becomes a little iffy for side-drifting when it drops to 1,000 cfs. If the river blows out, as soon as it starts dropping and clears to a milky-green or slate-gray hue, bank fishermen do quite well plunking a No. 4 Spin-N-Glo in flame/chartreuse (stop-and-go) and sherbet (tequila sunrise). Plunkers account for a majority of steelhead over 20 pounds. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article ran in a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 64 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Howard Prairie, Hyatt Lake Trout

S O U T H W E S T O R E G O N ASHLAND, Ore.–Because most Oregon lakes are open to year-round trout angling, the opening day of the general fishing season in April doesn’t mean much to most local fisheries, but two notable exceptions are Howard Prairie and Hyatt, two reservoirs located in the Southern Cascades. Anglers prize the fast-growing fish in these two lakes, believing that the trout are superior in their eating quality because they’re stocked as fingerlings. Fishing on opening weekend can be better in the shallows, which are the warmest in the spring. After the weather warms, focus more on the deeper water. The usual trout baits are all productive, as is trolling with small spinners, or worms behind flashers. When you’ve had your fill of rainbows, there are bass and crappie to had near the willows. Both lakes feature Forest Service campgrounds and resorts. –DUANE DUNGANNON Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

65


GREATER PUGET SOUND

San Juan Islands Blackmouth Bellingham Sucia Island mm Lu

Buckhorn

Waldron Island

i Is

Beach Eastsound Haven

Bellingham Bay

d

lan

Waldron

Stuart Is.

Orcas

Island

Dolphin

Point Lawrence

Doe Bay East Sound

Roche Harbor

Samish Bay

Orcas

Mosquito Pass

Shaw Island Friday Harbor

Guemes Is.

Port Stanley Thatcher Pas

Decatur Lopez Is.

Lopez Sound Lopez Island Pass Cattle P t.

Richardson

Salmon Bank

Rosario Stra it

s

DA

A CAN IA, MB OLU TON HC NG SHI WA

TIS

BRI

San Juan Island

Cypress Is.

Blakely Is.

Padilla Bay

Anacortes Cap Sante Marina Skyline Marina

Fidalgo Island

Iceberg Pt.

Deception Pass 0

2

4

8

scale in miles

Whidbey Island

La Conner

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

ANACORTES, Wash.–When winter blackmouth season begins in the productive San Juans, three things are certain: the immature kings will be thick in the islands, feasting on the plentiful feed, and regardless of the wind, there will be somewhere to get out of the waves and work a herring. “The baitfish are small in the islands during the winter and (blackmouth) are a sucker to inhale a green-label plug-cut herring, 20 feet behind a downrigger ball, managed to troll 5 to 10 feet off the deck,” says expert Tony Floor. “I like to fish in water from 90 to 140 feet.” Mooching also works, but if the dogfish are thick, Floor switches to a Coyote spoon or Coho Killer. –TIM BUSH Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 66 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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Ellis Canvas Tents 970.259.2050 elliscanvastents.com ATLAS 2015

Northwest Sportsman

67


GREATER PUGET SOUND

Skykomish River Steelhead, Kings k

e re sC

d

oo W

Al Borlin Park

2

Sultan Sultan launch Jim’s Rock

Monroe 522

S ain W. M Lewis Street Bridge launch

t.

2 gh

Thunderbird

l Slou

Haske

Younkers Cracker Bar CONTINUES BELOW

Elwell

Bar

Ben Howard launch

k ree

rC

Two Bit

203

0

Mapped Area

363 Ave. SE Wallace River mouth

1/2

1

2

scale in miles

Startup

. Reece Rd

Wallace River Gold Bar May Creek

Reiter Intake (above no-fishing deadline) Cable Hole (below no-fishing deadline)

Mann Road

Reiter Ponds

Skykomish River LEGEND

Good bank/boat fishing Good boat fishing Bank access

0

1/2

1

High Bridge launch 2

scale in miles Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

SULTAN, Wash.—Doesn’t matter if you own a pimped-out jet sled, a beater drift boat or just a pair of hip-boots, the Sky is your river for summer steelhead and Chinook. The stretch between Lewis Street Bridge and the Wallace River is best for both species. Fish 10-pound hi-vis mainline and 8-pound leaders with 6 feet of leader. Salmon eggs are popular, but fishing prawn chunks or scented yarnies can be very productive for summer-runs. The mouth of the Wallace is also very productive during early mornings for float fishing or drift-fishing eggs, or tossing spoons. During high-water years or when visiblity is low, focus on inside corners. As summer progresses and the river drops and clears, diver and bait setups are best bets. –ANDREW MORAVEC Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 68 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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ATLAS 2015

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69


GREATER PUGET SOUND

Central Puget Sound Chinook Port Townsend Midchannel Bank Marrowstone Point

Marysville Langley

Bush Point

Freeland

Port Ludlow

Everett

Foulweather Bluff Skunk Bay Point No Point

Mukilteo Possession Point 0

Port Gamble

Apple Cover Point

2

4

8

scale in miles

Edmonds

Kingston Mapped Area

Point Wells

Poulsbo

Area 9-10 Chinook Silverdale LEGEND

Top Chinook areas Boat launch

Jeff Head

Meadow Point

Kirkland

West Point

Seattle

Yeomalt Point Elliott Bay

Bellevue

Bremerton

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

EDMONDS, Wash.—When Puget Sound’s Marine Areas 9 and 10 open in mid-July for hatchery Chinook, angler Nelson Goodsell says you must “start thinking like a big lazy king” to figure out where to fish: behind points in back eddies where the salmon don’t have to fight the current, and right on bottom where there’s feed such as candlefish. Nelson has had success with a Silver Horde Coho Killer spoon in “cotton candy.” Also try a Kingfisher Lite Spoon, which has a thinner blade and a super flicker flutter to its action. Run them behind 40 to 50 inches behind a flasher, using downriggers. –TIM BUSH Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 70 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Port of EVERETT

MARINA

ture Your adven e! er h s in beg

G R E A T E R

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71


GREATER PUGET SOUND

Kitsap Lake Trout Kitsap Lake LEGEND

Still fishing Bank angling Trolling Boat launch

3

Mapped Area

Kitsap Creek ti Aus nD rive

Kitsap Way ke

La ive

Dr

ake

e riv

wD

ap L

rlo

Kits

Ha

st We Rd.

0

250 500

Fishing dock Kitsap Lake Park launch

10 0 0

scale in feet

Price R

WDFW launch

Kitsap Lake Park

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ATLAS 2015

BREMERTON, Wash.—The I-5 corridor in Western Washington is thick with trout lakes, but venturing west of the interstate will turn up a nice late winter-early spring water, Kitsap Lake. Even in mid-March it can see bug activity, making for good trolling, still-fishing or bank angling. Covering 240 acres and reaching depths of around 30 feet, Kitsap warms quickly and weeds become an issue because they grow just as quickly. As season progresses, you will also see an increase in fast-moving recreational watercraft. There are two ramps on its south end. –“UNCLE WES” MALMBERG Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

oad

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


GREATER PUGET SOUND

Ol

Grand Mound Bucoda Volunteer Park

507

Skookumchuck Road Dam

Skookumchuck Reservoir

Thompson Creek Rd.

Hanafor d Creek Schaeffer Park

Fords Prairie Fort Borst Park

Chehalis River

1

2

scale in miles

Centralia 5

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Thompson Creek

Skookumchuck River 0

Riverside Park

Hatchery

Blo

Bucoda

Cr .

Joh

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12

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Skookumchuck River Steelhead

Mapped Area

LEGEND Parking and access Drift fishing with Corkies and yarn, bobbers and jigs, or bait Plunking Closed waters

BUCODA, Wash.—Though there are many topnotch winter steelhead rivers in the Northwest, if you live along I-5 between Portland and Seattle, add the Skookumchuck to your list of waters to check out. It offers good fishing from January through March, but primarily for bank anglers. “The No. 1 method used is plunking nightcrawlers off the bottom,” says Todd Rock of Auburn Sports & Marine (253-8331440), but a float and a scented fluorescent pink jig, or a jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler should also work. The water below the hatchery is also good for drifting Corkies and yarn or bobbers and jigs. –MATT SMITH Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Lower Columbia Steelhead Rosburg Ilwaco

Brookfield

County Line Park

4

Skamokawa Cathlamet

Willow Grove

5

Astoria Westport

Kalama Beach

Quincy Rainier

Kalama

Dike Road 0

5

Woodland

10

20

C O L U M B I A

Jones Beach Dibblee Beach 30 Rainier Riverfront Park Prescott Beach Sand Island Marine Park Cannon Beach

Seaside

scale in miles

St. Helens Warren

26

101

Mapped Area

Longview Kelso

30

Walton Beach Willow Bar

Nehalem

Frenchman’s Bar Park

Vancouver Lewis & Clark SRA Camas 503

6

84

Portland Meldrum Bar

LEGEND

Summer steelhead spots

5

205

Bonneville

Chinook Landing

Rooster Rock State Park Government Island SRA M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Launch

R I V E R

Lower Columbia Tillamook River Steelhead

Troutdale

PRESCOTT BEACH, Ore.—Break out the T-shirt, barbecue and poleholder – late spring brings the start of some of the easiest, most productive fishing around: plunking for summer-run steelhead. From mid-May through August, hundreds of thousands of these fish will stream past Lower Columbia River beaches. Gearing up is easy and inexpensive, and local tackle shops have staff experts. Best baits include Spin-N-Glos and a 1/0 hook tipped with a cured prawn tail, and X-5 FlatFish or Brad’s Wigglers in fluorescent red. Watch where other fishermen are casting – typically tighter to the bank early on – and then fish that depth yourself. Also buy a tide book: the Columbia is tidally influenced all the way to Bonneville Dam, and the outgoing tide is best because it creates stronger currents that will work your baits better, and force the steelhead close to the bank. –TERRY OTTO Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

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COLUMBIA RIVER

Longview Fall Chinook LONGVIEW, Wash.– After fall Chinook make it past Buoy 10, they often seem to disappear until they reach the mouth of the Cowlitz and other tributaries which run a good 5 degrees colder than the mainstem Columbia, drawing in the kings. One of the best ways to catch the salmon in these waters is with a wobbler. As ocean tides still influence these waters, you’ll need a wobbler with more bend for times of less current to maintain the lure’s action and in stronger currents, less bend. Use a 5-foot dropper line to a 10- to 20-ounce weight and a 5-foot leader that ends with the wobbler. –TERRY OTTO

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Northwest Sportsman

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77


COLUMBIA RIVER

Lower Columbia Springers

PORTLAND—Guide Pat Abel (503-307-6033) says no single technique has a lock on catching spring Chinook on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam. “No matter if you’re on the bank or the boat, you have to spend time on the water to catch fish. By your own trial and error and watching other anglers on the water you will learn what works and what doesn’t,” Abel says. He likes to troll brined herring, cutplugged and run on a 30-pound, 24-inch leader with a two-hook setup behind a chartreuse flasher. Other times he anchors in water as shallow as 12 feet deep, but sometimes up to 30, and deploys Kwikfish, FlatFish or even a cutplug. “If you are getting bit or seeing fish caught around you, keep fishing that area,” he tips, adding that anglers should let the salmon really chew on the lure before setting the hook. –ANDY SCHNEIDER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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ATLAS 2015

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COLUMBIA RIVER

Columbia Pikeminnow 12b 11

2013 Registration Stations

12a 12

1a 1b 10

2a

The Northern Pikeminnow

2c

Rewards given for 9 inches or larger 10b

2d 7b 4a 3

4

5a

8a

6b

9 8

3a

Y

ou can help save salmon and get paid to do it! The Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program pays registered anglers for pikeminnow they catch that are 9 inches or longer. The program runs May 1-Sept. 30 in the Columbia from the mouth to Priest Rapids Dam and in the Snake up to Hells Canyon Dam. Pikeminnow tend to congregate in rocky areas with fast current near dams, islands, stream mouths, points, eddies, piling rows and bars in the river. Most are caught in 7 to 25 feet of water; best fishing is during low light as they move shallow. Anglers plunk, back-bounce and drift fish with an assortment of minnow-imitating plastics or bait such as chicken livers or fish guts. For more info, go to pikeminnow.org.

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Registration Stations:

(Times as indicated)

1a. 1b. 2a. 2c. 2d. 3. 3a. 4.

Cathlamet Marina Willow Grove Boat Ramp Rainier Marina Kalama Marina Ridgefield M. James Gleason Boat Ramp Chinook Landing Washougal Boat Ramp/Port of Camas

10:00 am 2:00 pm 9:30 am 1:00 pm 3:30 pm 12:00 pm 9:00 am 9:30 am -

1:30 pm 5:00 pm 12:30 pm 3:00 pm 5:30 pm 5:30 pm 11:30 am 3:30 pm

4a. 5a. 6b. 7b. 8.

Marine Park (PORTCO) Beacon Rock Cascade Locks Boat Ramp Bingen Marina The Dalles Boat Basin

4:00 pm 9:30 am 1:00 pm 9:00 am 9:00 am

6:00 pm 12:30 pm 5:30 pm 12:30 pm 3:00 pm

-

8a. Maryhill 9. Giles French 10b. Umatilla Boat Ramp

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm 1:30 pm - 5:30 pm 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

10. Columbia Point Park 11. Vernita Bridge Rest Area

2:00 pm - 6:30 pm 10:00 am - 2:30 pm

12a. Lyons Ferry 12b. Boyer Park 12. Greenbelt

10:30 am - 12:30 pm 10:30 am - 2:00 pm 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm


COLUMBIA RIVER

Bonneville Pool Fall Kings W

A

S

H

I

N

White Salmon Drano Lake

14 84

Rowland Lake

G

T

Chamberlain Lake

Hood River

O

N

tR iv er

141

Kl ic ki ta

White Salmon R.

142

Lyle Chatfield Rowena

Bonneville Pool LEGEND Best hover fishing Boat ramp

14

Mosier

35 O

R

E

G

O

Murdock

N

14

Columbia River

197 84

0

2

4

8

The Dalles

scale in miles

WHITE SALMON, Wash.—A chilly breeze swept over the Columbia as the boat lightly bounced over the wind waves. The rod tip, held just above the surface of the water, seemed to be locked in a dance with the small green swells. They kept in perfect sequence with each other while maintaining good posture and a respectable distance – until they got very friendly. The rod tip cut through the next swell, as if a weight had anchored the line somewhere in the depths of the river. And that is exactly what had happened – a Bonneville Pool upriver bright Chinook had picked up the small cluster of eggs hovering just off bottom. A quick, strong hook-set pierced the fish’s upper lip and an epic fight was on! Hover fishing, the technique used above, begins with good boat control. A little bit of wind won’t hinder you, but too much will make it impossible to maintain any semblance of control, preventing effective fishing. Sea anchors and an electric motor can really help in controlling the drift of your boat and keep you on top of a school of kings. Most hover fisheries on the mainstem 82 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

Columbia have the same MO: start on the east end of the fish-holding area and slowly work your way west, drifting at the same speed as the current. Once you have your boat in position, using your trolling motor, slowly allow your boat to drift down-current, keeping even with other fishing boats. Fishing rod control is your second priority. You want a rod that has a medium-light tip to detect bites, and a solid backbone for firmly setting the hook. Most hover anglers like to keep their rod tips 6 to 10 inches from the water. Bait control is key too. Unlike many other types of Chinook fishing, you want to suspend your bait – a small, firm cluster of eggs complemented with a sand shrimp, sardine chunk or coon shrimp tail – and keep it nice and steady. While a swell may move your baits slightly, this doesn’t seem to stop fish from biting. Many of the Columbia’s hover locations are 20 to 30 feet deep, where Chinook will be hugging bottom. Keeping your bait a reel crank or two off bottom will likely put you into the proper zone. Pay attention to your fish-finder and keep

Dallesport

The Dalles Dam

197

your bait directly under your boat. It’s amazing that a 25-pound salmon can pick up a bait so lightly that you may not even feel it. In fact, sometimes the only way to detect a bite is when the fish lets go of your eggs and the tension of the fish is released. Paying close attention to your rod tip is a must to detect a bite. Watch the tension of your weight and eggs and how it affects your rod tip. When that tension changes, a Chinook has more than likely picked up your bait. As for setup, on 50-pound braided mainline, thread on a weight slider and an 8mm bead above a six-bead chain swivel. Below the swivel, tie 48 inches of 25-pound fluorocarbon to a 2/0 barbless hook. On your weight slider, attach a 2- to 5-ounce (depending on drift) cannonball directly with a duolock snap without any dropper. Light fluoro line and smaller hooks are needed to keep wary fish from spooking. –ANDY SCHNEIDER

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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COLUMBIA RIVER

John Day Cast & Blast

RUFUS, Ore.—Before the John Day River empties into the Columbia, its flooded last 9 miles provided Northwest sportsmen a great cast-and-blast opportunity for steelhead and upland birds. Above the 500-foot safety zone that starts at water’s edge, work the willow, scrub draws, sage hills and rimrock for quail, chukar and Hungarian partridge. Back on the water, troll standard-sized Wiggle Warts in flame orange or fire tiger 100 feet behind the boat, or try wind-drifting or very slowly trolling a bobber and shrimp. –ANDY SCHNEIDER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


McNary Dam Steelhead

C O L U M B I A R I V E R UMATILLA, Ore.—In fall, maybe the best place to fish for steelhead bound for Inland Northwest rivers is near the McNary Dam. “Bobber and shrimp, or pulling plugs,” answers guide Bruce Hewitt (509-430-6448) when asked the “What do you use?” question. His favorite plug is a ½-ounce FatFish, but he will also use Wiggle Warts and Hot Shots, all in shades of metallic pink, black with silver flecks, or black-silver-fleck-red butt, and run in the top 10 to 30 feet of water. In the morning, he trolls downstream above the dam, then switches to upstream trolling by afternoon; below the dam, he back-trolls. Many boat anglers also use a smaller dyed shrimp below a slip bobber, and from bank or boat, bucktail or marabou jigs in black, or black and red are also favorites. –ROB PHILLIPS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

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COLUMBIA RIVER

McNary Tailrace Walleye 221

51 Run Green channel marker 32-38 feet of water

Peterson Point

14

Paterson

64 to 62 Drift (River Markers) Big flat, fish the dropoff in 35 feet of water. When they spawn, fish the flats.

Boulder Alley 14

Shallow mud flat 35 to 37 feet Glade Creek Run 40 to 44 feet of water

Irrigon 730

Mapped Area 0

1/ 2

1

2

scale in miles

Columbia River 84

LEGEND

Boardman 84

Mapped Area

Best hot spots

BOARDMAN, Ore.—In winter, guide Bob Roberts (541-276-0371) concentrates on a 15-mile stretch of the Columbia River between Irrigon and Boardman where he believes a new state record 20-pound walleye will come from. He fishes from Feb. 15 until the first full moon in April for the prespawn sows. Launching out of either town, depending on the wind, he targets waters from 32 to 40 feet deep, keying on the 34- to 37-foot range, especially near shallow mud flats. He loves to jig and his favorite lure is a Whistler with a stinger hook on the end. Between the two hooks he will string out a whole nightcrawler so it’s nice and straight. The walleye will be either right on bottom or within 16 inches of it. Roberts says it is critical to position your boat so you can make vertical casts. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Tri-Cities Spring Chinook

C O L U M B I A R I V E R PASCO, Wash.–The Lower Columbia isn’t the only place to catch spring Chinook. They can be had north, east, and south of Tri-Cities, in the Hanford Reach, lower Snake River and McNary Dam areas. Local guide Bruce Hewitt (509-430-6448) favors a downstream troll using cut-plug herring off a 5- to 6 foot-long leader and an inline flasher, keeping his gear close to the bottom, or back-trolling a Kwikfish or FlatFish. Bank anglers at McNary use chartreuse or tiger-stripe Spin-N-Glos with cut-plug herring, although prawn rigs are favored at stronger currents, while those in the reach cast size 5 or 6 Vibrax in silver, brass or red/black or drift roe. –DENNIS DAUBLE Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

ATLAS 2015

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COLUMBIA RIVER

Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Hanford Reach

24

Locke Island

243

hi

Coyote Rapids

Bl uf

B/C

te

Vernita Bar

Priest Rapids

W

D Priest Rapids Dam

fs

Columbia River

Hanford townsite 24

Ringold Springs 240

Taylor Flats

395

Map art by RJThompsonART.com Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Sunnyside

Yakima River 12

12 82

Richland Prosser

0

2

4

8

82

Kennewick

Pasco 12

scale in miles

RICHLAND, Wash.–Imagine a place where 40-pound salmon lurk in the shadow of nuclear reactors, hillsides are like backdrops to Westerns and up to half of all fall Chinook in the Columbia and Snake Rivers return each fall. This place exists: it’s the Hanford Reach. “It’s the most productive mainstem spawning area in the entire Columbia Basin,” says biologist Paul Hoffarth. The formula for finding kings is to target holding areas and migration corridors where fish are concentrated. Standard downrigger gear for slow88 Northwest Sportsman

ATLAS 2015

er water includes a flasher or dodger with cut-plug herring, Brad’s Super Bait stuffed with oily fish parts such as tuna or herring, or sardine-wrapped Kwikfish. Variable depth and strong current in many sections of the Reach, including Ringold and 100 B/C holes, make for selective downrigging. An effective and relatively safe way to work kings hanging near bottom is to back-bounce a golf ball-sized cluster of roe or a wrapped Kwikfish behind a Jet Diver. Divers allow for a controlled presentation in fast water. The all-time top color here is silver and

chartreuse. Other options include flat-lining a large diving plug, such as a Mag Wart, Hot Lips or FatFish along the edges of gravel bars 10 to 15 feet deep. Orange is a favorite. These tried-and-true lures can be deadly late in the season when salmon get more aggressive. Also keep a few of Worden’s deep-diving M2 FlatFish in your box. They have great action in fast water. –DENNIS DAUBLE Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Lake Chelan Kokanee W A S H I N G T O N C A S C A D E S

CHELAN, Wash.–Late April is the beginning of kokanee fishing on lower Lake Chelan, and action improves at the North-central Washington fjord through mid-May. With June’s high sun and oncoming heat, the fish go a little deeper and begin their long trip uplake. Leaded line with Pop Gear works, but Mack’s Lures’ Flash Lites and light-action rods seem to hold these fish on better. The rig is simple: 10-pound mainline, a ½- to 1-ounce banana weight, Flash Lite, rubber snubber and then either a Wedding Ring spinner or Double Whammy with a Smile blade with 24 to 30 inches of leader. Tip the hooks with white shoepeg corn and a piece of worm and troll slowly back and forth with your gear well behind the boat. There are ramps on the east end of the lake as well as many motels. –JASON BROOKS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

ATLAS 2015

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WASHINGTON CASCADES

Chelan County Bears

CASHMERE, Wash.—I always seem to stumble upon bears during the hot summer months. Not because I am some sort of “bear whisperer,” but because I tend to look for them in areas that most people just blow by or overlook. Most bear hunters look at open slopes or bedding areas offering cover and escape routes and basically hunt them like they would a deer as that is what they’re used to. But bears aren’t prey animals and really only need to worry about other bears and man, so they don’t sit perched on overlooks spying down and using thermal drafts to scent what’s coming uphill. Instead, they stay where they are comfortable and can eat. In the heat of summer this means cool, wet places. Season opens Aug. 1 in southern Chelan County. –JASON BROOKS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


North-central Washington Bucks British Columbia

Pasayten Wilderness

2

r Rive

4 Conconully

Chew

20

uch

Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest

3

Winthrop

20

Twisp

5

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going

Methow River

6

C A S C A D E S

Loup Loup Pass

Lake ChelanSawtooth Wilderness

W A S H I N G T O N

CHELAN—Much of Chelan and Okanogan Counties are exceedingly rumpled, providing plenty of escape cover as well as a range of different hunting opportunities for mule deer hunters. Sportsmen look to the open, cloud-scraped meadows for the biggest bucks, but trail cams show they also like timber between 3,800 and 5,000 feet. Hunters are also learning to gravitate to burned areas. Both counties had large fires in the 1990s and 2000s, creating large areas of fresh, new nutrient-rich browse for deer, most famously illustrated by the 9x10 Tripod buck, shot in the Okanogan County burn of the same name. The wild card are weather conditions. Spring and summer rains and moderate temps provide good forage, but harsh winters can knock down the fawn crop, leading to fewer legal bucks two seasons down the line. –ANDY WALGAMOTT

WASHINGTON

1

Okanogan 153 Wenatchee National Forest Methow

Lake Chelan

Mapped Area

7 Manson Chelan 0

3

6

12

scale in miles

North-central Washington Deer LEGEND Large forest fires since 2000 1 Tatoosh 4 Tripod 2 Fawn Peak 5 Flick Creek Thirty Mile 3

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

6 7

Rex Creek Deer Point

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WASHINGTON CASCADES

Western Yakima County Elk

0

5

10

scale in miles

NACHES, Wash.—If you’re an elk hunter in Washington, and you hunt the eastern half of the state, there is a better than even chance that you will find yourself in Yakima County. Why? Because that is where the elk are. In the area between the Cascade crest, I-90, the Yakima River Canyon and the Yakama Indian Reservation is a herd of nearly 10,000 animals. They’re spread from the wide-open sage to the deepest, darkest timber at elevations of 7,000 feet or more. Where you hunt depends on the weather. A decent snowstorm will get the cows and yearlings – aka, spikes – moving out of the mountains towards winter feeding grounds at Oak Creek, Joe Watt Canyon and elsewhere. Snow or snow, though, consistently successful hunters will make an effort to get away from the roads. Canyons big and small are where you will find elk holed up, so be willing to get in there after them. This takes a pair of strong legs and lungs, and if you get one down, it will take help getting it out. –ROB PHILLIPS WITH DAVE WORKMAN

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Klickitat River Salmon, Steelhead W A S H I N G T O N

LYLE, Wash.— I am typically not one to seek a guide before trying a fishery, but the Klickitat’s reputation precedes it. It is a dangerous, cold river that eats boats and drowns anglers, and no one reading this article should think otherwise just because we made a map. The water between “The Slide” and Pitt Bridge are in the calmest stretch in the river’s best salmon water (fish color up fast in the Klick, so folks fish low in the system), but even here there are obstacles and a couple of significant rapids. October is the best month to fish the river. Steelhead are present throughout, as are Chinook and coho as the month progresses. Trout beads are very popular with flyrodders and gear fishermen drifting them below bobbers. Fly anglers also do well with Egg-sucking Leeches, streamers and egg patterns. The river is blessed with excellent spinner and spoon water, as well as excellent back-trolling opportunities for running divers, 5-foot leaders, a Spin-N-Glo and bait; divers and wrapped FlatFish and Kwiks; or chrome green and blue plugs. –JEFF HOLMES

C A S C A D E S

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM ATLAS 2015

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Okanogan County Lakes pka Cho

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CONCONULLY, Wash.–North-central Washington’s Okanogan County hosts plenty of well-stocked and scenic lakes for your fishing pleasure. Starting in the north, Palmer Lake is a jewel for kokanee. Wedding Rings, shoepeg white corn, OOOO dodgers or Hot Wings, Flashlights – any of the typical set-ups – will work here. Just find the right depth and stick with it. Above the town of Tonasket lies Spectacle Lake. This long, narrow lake gets large plants of fingerlings and should hold 16- to 18-inch holdovers. Trolling Carey Specials, FlatFish, Rooster Tails, baits – it all works here. Spectacle Falls Resort (509-223-4141) and Spectacle Lake Resort (509-233-3433) have a full range of accommodations. Nearby Wannacut is a veritable trout bowl. Come early and you’ll do OK, though the deep, cold lake means less aggressive trout. As summer comes on, they really turn on, and Wannacut has real angler plusses – starting with its lakewide no-wake zone. Plus, both the yearlings and holdovers add inches, girth and even more flavor as they chow down on the billions of shrimp here. Sun Cove Resort (509-476-2223) is a destination resort, with cabins, a fine restaurant, fishing dock, etc. The Twin Conconullies, a pair of reservoirs above Okanogan, are another excellent option. Stocked with roughly 130,000 large fingerlings apiece each year, as well as a smattering of bigger triploids, neither lake has had a real down season in years. Joining a couple of buddies on the lower lake, we trolled and plunked PowerBait for rainbows, including 16- to 17-inch carryovers, and saw photos of a few real heavyweights, trout up to 6 pounds. Upper Conconully has excellent depth in places and, like its twin, provides fine fishing right into late summer, then turns red-hot again in the fall. Liar’s Cove (800-830-1288) and Shady Pines (800-552-2287) on the Lower Lake and Conconully Resort (509-826-0813) on the upper lake have cabins, hook-ups, docks, etc. For solitude, try Fish Lake in the Sinlahekin Valley, or opt for Leader Lake, off Highway 20. The rainbows that go into Leader are larger, but it doesn’t get big plants. If you go, pack mini-jigs, meal worms, etc. – nothing wrong with picking up slab crappies and bluegills along with trout. –LEROY LEDEBOER

Omak 20

LEADER LAKE Bluegill, Trout, Bank Fishing

155 Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 94 Northwest Sportsman

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


Conconully Kokanee

I N L A N D N O R T H W E S T

F

or generations, Okanogan County kokanee fishing has been all about Palmer Lake. That’s changing. “Enough kokanee spawn in Chopaka Creek coming out of Palmer Lake for us to set up a fish trap, get the broodstock we need, then raise plenty of fingerlings in our Omak hatchery – not only to supply that lake but also Conconully Lake, Conconully Reservoir and Alta Lake,” says Linda Oules, a state fisheries tech. “We first put kokanee in the Conconullys in 2008 and last year saw some really nice catches, 15- to 16-inchers in the upper lake, slightly smaller in the lower reservoir.”

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM

Kevin Messer, owner of Conconully Lake Resort (509-826-0813), says any trolling gear that works on other kokanee waters will work on the Conconullys, anything from Kokanee Killers, Wedding Rings, and some small spoons. “Personally, my son and I like to use Double Whammies in chartreuse or nickle, though I rerig them with larger blades, and run these 24 inches behind a 3-inch herring dodger. I like that dodger better than pop gear because it’s not as heavy and goes flat on the surface so there’s almost no drag. And we soak our corn in anise oil overnight because it really makes for a better bite.”

Now six years since kokanee began to be stocked, they’re reaching sizes that are better than some other waters. “We’re going to get a lot in the 16to 17-inch range, a few even a little bigger, up to 2, maybe 2½ pounds,” Messer reported in spring 2014. “Tastewise, these are absolutely delicious. In June we’ll be down 14 to 16 feet, then as the weather warms and the lake temperatures go up a few degrees, we’ll go deeper, but never more than 35 feet or so.” —LEROY LEDEBOER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. ATLAS 2015

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Brewster Pool Summer Kings 0

1/2

1

2

Brewster

scale in miles

97

Ft. Okanogan State Park

173

Pateros

Rocky Butte

17

Lake Pateros LEGEND

Good for Chinook, Sockeye Good for Chinook

Bridgeport State Park

Central Ferry Canyon NW

97

Bridgeport Lake Pateros

Wells Dam

17

Chief Joseph Dam

Mapped Area

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

BREWSTER, Wash.—For 15- to 25-pound Chinook and smaller but tastier sockeye, the upper Columbia’s Brewster Pool in July, August and early September is where to head for easy salmon fishing. In low-snowpack, high-heat years, the warmer Okanogan keeps the fish in the cooler reservoir off that river’s mouth, says guide Shane Magnuson (509-630-5433). For kings he packs Super Bait Cut Plugs – greens early, reds, oranges later – with canned tuna mixed with scent behind 11-inch Hot Spot flashers in red, green or white and runs them 15 to 25 feet, even 35 feet down off downriggers. Some anglers use cut-plug herring behind a O or OO chrome dodger or M2 Flatfish or Chinook-sized Mag Lips with a bait wrap. Surprisingly, those work for sockeye too, but a OO or OOOO silver dodger with a 2-inch pink hoochie 10 inches behind the attractor is more consistent for the smaller species. Another hot spot is below Wells Dam, but watch currents there. –LEROY LEDEBOER Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 96 Northwest Sportsman

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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Sprague Lake Trout

SPRAGUE, Wash.—Since the roetenone treatment in fall 2007 to kill of its spinyray species, and the subsequent aggressive restocking of trout, super-fertile Sprague Lake is churning out the brawniest rainbows in Eastern Washington. They grow fat on the midges that splatter your windshield as you drive past on I-90, but Sprague is also rich in leeches, water boatmen, damselflies, crawdads, and other invertebrates. While that seems like it would bring out the fly guys, the lake is more known for bait fishing and trolling worm harnesses or plugs. Its trout fishery is best in spring and fall. –JEFF HOLMES Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. 98 Northwest Sportsman

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


INLAND NORTHWEST

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CHEWELAH, Wash.–My suggestion is to get hold of a Colville National Forest map; the forest’s headquarters is along Highway 395/Main Street in Colville. You’ll find good gravel roads in the region. This is grouse country, with varying terrain and woods that run from thick to thin. There are berry patches, good water and more. It’s all timbered, with fir, hemlock and pine, various hardwoods and lots of cover – just the kind of place where one can expect blue grouse and some ruffed grouse. Either work old abandoned logging skid roads or get away completely from anything remotely resembling a road and hammer through the cover. –DAVE WORKMAN Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Grouse Creek Rd.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


I N L A N D N O R T H W E S T

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Spokane Whitetails 105

95

Metaline 31 Falls

111

25 395

1

Northport Leadpoint

113

108

Tiger

Kettle Falls Colville 31

1 Bonners Ferry

Nordman

2

20

Ruby

Naples

57

25

2

Addy

Cusick Chewelah

Gifford

121

117

Sandpoint Clark Fork

211

Springdale 395 2 Diamond Fruitland Lake Deer Park Tumtum 231

Lakeview

95

206

291

4A

2

41 Athol 54

124

Long Lake

200

Newport

Hayden

4

53

Mapped Mapped Area Area

Coeur d’Alene 90

Spokane

Best whitetail areas Unit boudary State boundary

Harrison

Murray

3

90

Pinehurst

Wallace 5

Calder 50

95

5

6

Avery

6

Santa 3

8 0

5

10

7

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I D A H O

LEGEND

W A S H I N G T O N

Inland Empire Whitetails

3

9 Elk River

20

10A

scale in miles

Pierce

Orofino 11

Greer

Colville, Wash.–As the weather grows cold and snowy and the rut comes on, November’s late hunts are the best time to shoot a trophy whitetail buck in Northeast Washington and North Idaho. “The greatest concentration of deer and ... highest success rates” come from low-elevation private lands, says outfitter Dale Denney (509-684-6294) in Colville, but some big bucks can be found on state and federal lands just off the valley floors. Snows will also sometimes concentrate deer along the region’s reservoirs. Some hunters rattle from treestands while others still-hunt clear-cuts and stream corridors. –LEROY LEDEBOER AND RALPH BARTHOLDT

Kamiah Kooskia

Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


I N L A N D N O R T H W E S T

Stop In For Local Information On Deer & Turkey Hunting!

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www.colvilleinn.com ATLAS 2015

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Washington Private Lands Hunting

This screen grab off WDFW’s Go Hunt page shows the rough locations of Feel Free To Hunt (green circles), Hunting Only By Written Permission (orange triangles) and Register to Hunt (red stars) properties in this part of Eastern Washington, where almost all of the enrolled private lands are located. The site allows you to zoom within 4 miles or so of each ranch or farm before the beacons disappear and a road trip is required. (WDFW)

ST. JOHN, Wash.—Some of the most productive hunting grounds in Washington are also the most private – but that doesn’t mean you can’t chase ringnecks, deer and other game on them. The Palouse, Blue Mountains foothills, Northeast Washington and North Sound are rife with farms and ranches that allow sportsmen on through the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s various private lands access programs. The Feel Free To Hunt, Register to Hunt and Hunt By Written Permission options are probably the most well known and have provided over a million acres of land to hunt on. But in recent years, WDFW has added the online Hunt By Reservation system – big in pheasant- and whitetail-rich Whitman County – and the Snow Goose and Waterfowl Quality Hunts, mostly in northern Puget Sound. For more on these great options as well as good mapping, go to wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting and look for the “Private Lands Hunting Access” tab. “Remember, all private land access is built on a foundation of goodwill, and landowner-hunter bonds are the most critical ingredient. If hunters don’t do their part, there’s nothing state or federal officials can do to save it,” says Curt Merg, a WDFW access manager. –NWS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going 104 Northwest Sportsman

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I N L A N D N O R T H W E S T

WASHINGTON HOQUIAM Harbor Saw & Supply Inc. 3102 Simpson Ave (360) 532-4600 www.harborsawandsupply.com

LONGVIEW Cowlitz River Rigging, Inc 1540 Industrial Way (360) 425-6720 www.loggingsupply.us

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Northeast Oregon Turkeys

ENTERPRISE—Northeast Oregon is a hotbed for wild turkey and consistently produces some of the best opportunities in the state. Sled Springs, Sumpter, Wenaha, Pine Creek and Keating Units had the highest harvests in 2013 with 91 birds harvested in Sled Springs, while Catherine Creek, Desolation and Starkey are all viable options for hunters who scout their wooded pines and ridgelines. To find your spring gobbler, consider the snowline. Lack of snow pack can allow birds to disperse quicker into the high country, but late winter storms could keep them pinned in valleys. Bottom line, where you found birds last year may not be where they are this season. 106 Northwest Sportsman

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Turkey are drawn to food around small creeks with fresh vegetation, newly hatched insects, snails and small amphibians which are all irresistible to them. If you walk ridges above draws with creek bottoms that have freshly sprouted with plant life you should eventually run into turkeys. In these instances using locator calls or yelps will oftentimes induce a gobbler to sound off and give away his location. Often times, I like to drive or hike old logging roads early in the mornings while stopping to throw out some locator calls from time to time. This is a great way to cover this country’s large expanses of terrain.

Later in the season, birds will be a bit more spread out as breeding diminishes. Toms will be wandering and looking for the last few receptive hens and rebreeding the first unsuccessful nesters. Gobblers will be heard less frequently and will frequently approach you silently. The best chance to hear a gobble will be early in the mornings on the roost. Position yourself as close to that tree as possible prior to sunrise for some of the best opportunities. —TROY RODAKOWSKI Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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I N L A N D

There Are A Number Of Tags Available For Any Hunter Who Failed To Draw An Elk Tag, Hunted In A Previous Hunt & Was Unsuccessful, Or Has Not Yet Purchased A Tag

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Dworshak Reservoir Kokanee OROFINO, Idaho—It isn’t often a clueless rookie gets a chance to learn from the master, so when John “Buzz” Nanninga invited me to go fishing with he and his son Cliff, I jumped at the offer. We were going to Dworshak Reservoir for kokanee, an especially exciting opportunity because Buzz is considered to be the local guru for the species. He began fishing this man-made lake when it opened in 1973 and now spends 20 to 30 days a year mastering techniques. Kokanee feed on plankton and mysis shrimp, and when you find an area where there is a good presence of bait, the fish will be present in good numbers. But Dworshak is a big lake and the fish move at will from one spot to another, so finding them can be a challenge. Also, there is an almost daily variance in depth. This is where experience pays of. Buzz explains there are predictable trends of migration that must be considered. Normally, the reservoir near the dam is the most productive area early in the year. As season progresses, fish will move slowly but surely uplake, towards their spawning grounds. Therefore, areas around Dent Bridge see more action in May while waters further north are most productive in July and August. But even with that and water temperature factors in play, finding schools can be difficult and Buzz is not afraid to move frequently to find fish. THERE ARE HUNDREDS of kokanee lures and attractors on the market. Buzz has tried many through the years, but prefers a St. Maries Special from the Blue Goose Tackle Shop (208-245-4015) in St. Maries. These have a ¼ inch between the bend of the top hook and the eye of the trailing hook. Buzz uses a 2-ounce weight and a 4- to 6-inch rubber snubber with Jack Lloyd attractors. This provides a perfect combination of attention-grabbing spin 108 Northwest Sportsman

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and sustaining a hookup because of the stretch of the snubber. Buzz, like most kokanee anglers, has tried different baits, including “a smorgasboard” consisting of a piece of corn, a maggot and a salmon egg on each hook. He has settled on a single piece of corn on each of his double hooks. He buys only white shoepeg corn and takes great care to make it baitworthy. He washes the kernels until all the mush and oil is eliminated. Then he treats them with Everclear alcohol to help firm them up. Best results are obtained when the kernels are mounted on the hook so that the open end of the kernel points away from the hook and leader. This takes a bit of practice, but even a rookie can do it after a few goofs. Buzz doesn’t use downriggers. He figures time spent setting and changing them can be better spent using multiple rods with linecounters and

varying depths. Trolling speed is also important. Buzz and Cliff believe in a slow troll, especially in cold water, but sometimes fish are more active and a faster troll will get the best results. The key is to vary speed until you lock on to what’s working on that particular day. This can be from .9 to 1.4 mph. DWORSHAK KOKANEE BITE all day, year-round at Dworshak, and the fish grow rapidly as summer nears. April’s 9-inchers will be 12 or even 13 inches in July. They will also be more aggressive when the water warms up, so your chance to catch a nice string of these tasty fish is at its best in the May-July timeframe. By mid-August, the season is over as the fish are on the spawning grounds and turning red. —JOHN BLACK Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going. Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


I N L A N D N O R T H W E S T

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Lower Clearwater Steelhead WASHINGTON

0

1/ 8

1/ 2

1/ 4

128 128

scale in miles

12

Snake River

CLARKSTON Dik 12

Clearwater River 5th Street

LEGEND

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yp

Clearwater River ass 12

LEWISTON

Boat ramp Bank access August fishing Bobber fishing from bank or boat Trolling with plugs Anchor fishing around pilings August retention fishery boundaries September fishing in Washington Good in coolwater tongue

12

IDAHO

Mapped Area

LEWISTON—When steelhead retention season on Idaho’s Clearwater opens Aug. 1, scores of trollers and bobber fishermen will gather in the lower 1½ miles of river. The perfect 54-degree water draws thousands of steelhead bound for upstream tribs such as Salmon, Imnaha and Grande Ronde. Fishing lighted plugs, whether at night or during low-light conditions, is highly effective. Today’s most popular baits are the Brad’s Lighted Wigglers in 3⁄8 and ¾ ounce, which come in a variety of finishes with either red or chartreuse strobes. A 013 Lighted Kwikfish will draw lots of strikes too. Some anglers use downriggers while others flatline troll. The steelhead tend to seek structure-like bridge pillars at night and current whenever they can get it. Trolling in circles, zigzags and serpentine patterns will usually draw more strikes than a straight troll. –JEFF HOLMES Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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Snake River Steelhead

LEWISTON—Whether you choose to fish right next to the world’s biggest steelhead hatchery, drift the river below it, head into North America’s deepest gorge, or troll the calm waters of a sprawling reservoir, you can’t go wrong where Washington, Idaho and Oregon come together. From August through March, the waters here are lousy with 3- to 8-pound A-run steelhead and big B-runs; as many as 320,000 have finned through these waters in recent years, though the average over the past 10 years is in the 180,000-fish range. There are numerous boat ramps and bank accesses on the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. As the fish wait to make their spring spawning runs, the fish will smack shrimp and/or jigs under a bobber, back-trolled plugs, trolled plugs, side-drifted eggs, and flies off spey rods, depending on water type. –NWS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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ds

oo W

Moody Road

Brownlee Reservoir Crappie n La e Ro

Brownlee Reservoir

ne

bi

Richland

tte ad Ro

Sullivan Lane

0

Hewitt, Holcomb Parks

1/ 4

1

1/ 2 scale in miles

Map information courtesy National Geographic Maps

Powder River Arm

Powder River Arm LEGEND

Fish points for bass Work backs of coves for bluegill, crappie and catfish Snake River Road Daly Creek Road

Zigzag off points, coves looking for dense plankton blooms which attract crappie schools Boat launch

Mapped Area

RICHLAND, Ore.–Brownlee Reservoir is great for crappie in May when the mottled slabs are grouped near shore, gulping down jigs as fast as you can toss them out. In June, the fish move offshore and scatter, and then in July, they are voraciously feeding. To find them then, watch for rock slides and points of land. Zigzag your boat around either until you locate a school on your meter. Brownlee is also good in July for catfish in the muddy shallows and around brush. Use a bobber with a 4-foot leader and bait. For smallmouth, don’t pass up any point with all the usual bass lures. –LARRY ELLIS Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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Map art: RJThompsonART.COM


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Please read the owner’s manual before operating your Honda Power Equipment and never use in a closed or partly enclosed area where you could be exposed to carbon monoxide. Connection of a generator to house power requires a transfer device to avoid possible injury to power company personnel. Consult a qualified electrician. © 2012 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

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Treasure It Bucks will be the game in Montana in 2014. Hunting managers reduced antlerless and B tags, but big boys like this Glendive muley should remain open for traveling hunters this season. It was killed by Katie Sanford, the retail marketing manager for the Tulalip, Wash., Cabela’s, with a 200-yard shot from her Browning .270. It was her first out-of-state buck. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)

MISSOULA—Montana’s wildlife commission made what’s being termed a “bold” decision that will affect this and coming hunting seasons: convert all but a few mule deer tags to antlered only. In addition, the citizen panel eliminated almost all of the “B” licenses for the species statewide, and for whitetails in most of central and northeastern Montana, reducing the number of deer that hunters can take each year in the Treasure State. While the move addresses what appears to be a continued downward population trend in Montana’s prized mule deer herd and is bad news for meat hunters, there should still be 116 Northwest Sportsman

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Montana’s Block Management program provides access to literally millions of acres of private lands, including 1.3 million in the region the author hunted. (BRIAN LULL)

CHANGES, OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT NONRESIDENT HUNTERS HEADING FOR MONTANA.


INLAND NORTHWEST plenty of opportunity for quality buck hunts statewide. Most of the eastern plains units offer out-of-state hunters decent chances to draw a tag, and there should still be B tags in southeast and western Montana. THE STATE IS BECOMING NEAR AND dear to my heart for good reason. I hunted near Plentywood, in Montana’s furthest northeast corner, this past season for the second year in a row. This area is characterized by wide-open grass prairie and dryland agriculture fields, interspersed with cottonwood-choked coulee breaks. It’s a long-distance-shooting affair, with shots often out past 300 yards and complicated by the ever-present prairie winds. Good shooting skills and equipment are essential. If you’re used to hunting the crowded deer woods of Oregon and Washington, Montana is a real eye opener. In two weeks afield this past season, we only ran into one other hunting group (they were from Oregon). Most of the locals wait until the later half of the generous season to hunt their bucks. Eastern Montana is a patchwork of public and private land, so either carry a plot map, or better yet, get a Hunt GPS chip for your handheld GPS. This will show you exactly where public and private land boundaries are. I have never seen a “no trespassing” sign in this region because the winds blow so hard the signs don’t last, so most private lands are marked with a red splash of paint on the corner fence posts. When in doubt, stay out!

That said, public and semi-public land is plentiful in this area. There is Block Management, BLM, and Montana State School Trust and some federal refuge lands. All have varying degrees of rules one must abide by, so be sure to read the signs. This past season I had three mule deer doe tags, as did my buddy. For some silly reason, our wives sacrificed vacation time for Cancun instead of Plentywood. We spent two weeks of quality hunting time there, pounding the coulees looking for deer on grounds we had permission on without the benefit of ladies luck on our side. We had to look harder than last year to fill our six antlerless tags, so I believe the Montana game managers are doing the right thing by stopping the doe hunt until numbers improve. Still, with two weeks of hunting time, my partner and I did not have trouble filling our tags and our freezers with some very quality and healthy-looking does. MONTANA IS A HUGE PLACE, BIGGER than most European countries, so for perspective on the proposed changes and where to start if you go, I talked to Rob Phillips, a Washington resident and Montana regular. With his many years of outdoor writing and industry connections, he could probably go on those Hollywood hunts we all see on the Outdoor Channel; instead, he chooses to do his own homework, and hunt with his son and close friends without a camera over his shoulder. Northwest Sportsman We have heard

The communities of Northeast Montana are full of history and colorful characters. You will see honest-to-goodness cowboys here and folks who have made their living off the land since covered-wagon days. For more info on planning a trip, contact Missouri River Country Tourism (800-653-1319; missouririver. visitmt.com). (BRIAN LULL) 118 Northwest Sportsman

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The author and one of three antlerless Montana mule deer he harvested in a past season, before state managers eliminated doe tags for the species to help rebuild herds after a bad winter. (BRIAN LULL)

that Montana may eliminate all antlerless B tags next year out of concern for the mule deer herds. You’re a buck hunter: Have you noticed any lack of deer in the area you hunt? Rob Phillips I have definitely noticed a big downturn in deer numbers in the areas of Montana where I have hunted. Game biologists say most of the population downturn is due to the bad winter three years ago, and since then is when we really started noticing fewer deer. In the north-central part of the state they say the mule deer numbers are down over 60 percent. Before the bad winter in 2010 we were seeing as many as 20 bucks a day. When we went back in 2012, we were seeing only four or five a day in the same areas. Because we knew the deer were really hit hard up north, we hunted in the center of the state, near Lewistown, in 2011. We all shot bucks, but didn’t see many deer and had to hunt hard for the bucks we got. Last year we hunted even further south, near Miles City. There seemed to be more deer there, but talking with the ranchers and local hunters, they say the numbers are way down in that area too. In fact, one of the ranchers who normally allows hunting on his place totally closed it off because he was seeing so few deer. NWS Do you notice any other trends in the game populations? RP We used to see a lot of antelope


I N L A N D

in some of the areas where we hunt, and have definitely noticed a big drop in the last few years as well. NWS Having hunted there for many years, do you rely more on landowner connections, Block Management or BLM, school trust, etc? RP We have had really good success hunting Block Management properties. We will hunt some BLM and state lands, but most of our hunting the past several years has been on Block Management lands where you sign in to hunt. Walk-in-only areas are especially good because most hunters, including many Montana residents, don’t feel the need to work too hard for their deer. It is like hunting anywhere: the farther you get off the beaten path, the better your odds of finding a decent buck. NWS Any advice for first timers?

RP First timers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. Yes, Montana is a big state, but by doing a little research, you can find out which regions offer the best opportunities. I have found that the regional biologists are very accommodating in giving insights into the game populations, areas to hunt, etc. And the state does a great job of providing Block Management maps and information. If a person is willing to do some research, and then willing to burn some boot leather, the odds of shooting a nice buck in Montana are still pretty danged good. NWS With the changes in nonresident license costs, and now the B license elimination, do you feel Montana is still a good enough value to burn a couple of weeks of vacation on? RP Yes; it costs more to hunt Montana, but it costs more to hunt just about everywhere. My Washington hunt-

ing licenses, permits, tags, stamps, etc., cost over $200 last year and I’m a resident! So for me to be able to go somewhere within a day’s drive, and be able to hunt private land through the Block Management program, and have a chance at shooting the biggest deer of my life, $600 doesn’t seem all that bad. I’ve passed numerous bucks, even in the last few years, in Montana that I would have killed in a heartbeat in Washington. And while I have yet to shoot a real monster, I have taken some very respectable bucks in Montana, even after the population decline. So that is why I apply to hunt in Montana each year. And with the higher costs, fewer hunters are applying, making it almost a certainty to get drawn each year. –BRIAN LULL Editor’s note: This article is from a previous issue of Northwest Sportsman. Be sure to check current regulations before going.

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N O R T H W E S T

Veteran Montana hunter Rob Phillips of Yakima, seen here with his 2013 Treasure State buck, says that despite the costs and potential reduction in deer harvest opportunity, he’ll keep coming back. (ROB PHILLIPS)


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