Fishing and Hunting Report: Five Lakes Get Jumbo Trout Plant in Time for Thanksgiving

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

Five lakes in Southwest Washington to close Nov. 21, and reopen Nov. 25 for a jumbo rainbow trout fishery: Fort Borst Park Pond (1,200 trout, juvenile anglers only), Centralia; South Lewis County Park Pond (1,200 trout), near Toledo; Kress Lake (1,000 trout), near Kalama in Cowlitz County; Battleground Lake (2,500 trout), located at Battleground State Park in Clark County; and Rowland Lake (1,700), east of Bingen in Klickitat County.

The lakes will close to provide time for fish to be planted and acclimated and will open the day after Thanksgiving. The jumbo rainbow trout should average over a pound each.

According to WDFW, these fish were grown to provide quality family trout fishing during the Thanksgiving weekend. The opener allows anglers to plan their trip to these lakes and equal access to these fish on the day of the opener.

Big Game Hunting
Modern firearm elk hunters had moderate success this season. A lot of pickups were seen loaded down with elk as they drove out of the Winston and Mossyrock areas. Hunters near the Toledo area reported that they were having difficulty chasing down the local herd of 91 elk as it moved through private property zones.

Archers and muzzleloaders look forward to taking another shot at bringing home an elk during the late season, beginning Nov. 23.

Late buck season for black-tailed deer will run today through Sunday in select GMUs. Although the late-buck season is only four days long, it usually accounts for about a third of all the deer taken each year by hunters in the region.

Waterfowl Hunting
As Washington waterfowl hunting moves into the traditionally most productive part of the year, WDFW officials say this season may offer the best opportunity in over 50 years.
“Waterfowl biologists are predicting the best fall flights of migrating ducks since 1955,” said Greg Schirato, deputy director of WDFW’s Wildlife Program. “The opportunities haven’t been this good in most hunters’ lifetimes.”
Schirato said the bounty is due to good rainfall in northern waterfowl breeding grounds last summer, as well as favorable conditions here for duck and goose production.
A new waterfowl hunting feature at the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/waterfowl/) offers information ranging from the basics of duck and goose identification to hunting location, equipment, licensing and the handling of harvested waterfowl.
Waterfowl hunting opportunities increase as the season progresses, Schirato noted, with influxes of migrant birds and added hunting days. Goose management in much of eastern Washington restricts hunting to Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays, but late fall and winter bring added opportunity on holidays including the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 24-25, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16.

On The Water
Offut Lake received a plant of over 1,500 jumbo rainbow trout on Nov. 2, each fish averaging over a pound each in size.
“There’s lots of catching going on out there on the lake,” said Becky Pogue, Offut Lake Resort. “They’re using a bit of power bait tipped with a night crawler to get ‘em.”
In October and November, Black Lake in Thurston County was planted with 7,500 jumbo rainbow trout; St. Clair took in over 1,300 jumbos.
According to Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel, the fishing on the Cowlitz River is going OK.
“There are a lot of silvers throughout the system right now, however getting them to bite has been the challenge,” Borsom said. “The guys can see them jumping all over, but the catch has been hit and miss.”
The bait of choice in the pool at Barrier Dam is still eggs with sand shrimp.  Downriver its spinners, sand shrimp, corky and yarn and the boaters running divers with bait or plugs.
Winter run steelhead are being caught at Blue Creek, the run is starting early this year.
“Steelhead seem to like smaller baits — so try small gobs of eggs or sand shrimp, the boaters will pull divers with coon shrimp,” said Borsom.
Richard Lewandowski, an avid river fisherman and clerk at Cabela’s, recommends trying a little Smelly Jelly on your hook, “The anise or shrimp seem to work well,” he said.
We haven’t heard of a lot going on for Lake Mayfield or Riffe Lake just yet, but it’s usually around mid November that the silvers start biting again on Riffe, Borsom said.
“You might even try Scanewa Lake or the Tilton River for some of the fish being dumped in those areas,” he added.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 2,645 coho adults, 120 jacks, 205 fall Chinook adults, eight jacks, 18 summer-run steelhead, 15 winter-run steelhead and eleven sea-run cutthroat trout at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.They released 405 coho adults, 15 jacks, 64 fall Chinook adults and four jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood. And 872 coho adults, 35 jacks, 20 fall Chinook adults, two jacks and one steelhead into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam.
Also during the week 804 coho salmon adults, 39 jacks, 72 fall Chinook adults, two jacks, one winter-run steelhead and five cutthroat trout were released into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. One cutthroat trout was released above Cowlitz Falls Dam.

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