Pete Heley Outdoors 3 / 30 / 2016

Virtually all of Oregon’s icefishing spots have now posted soft ice advisories. However, the rainbow trout in these spots should be cruising the shorelines for a couple of reasons. (1) – The shoreline shallows are often slightly warmer and closer to the rainbows’ preferred temperature than the colder deeper water and (2) – They are in or approaching spawning mode and often cruise the shoreline looking for gravelly areas – even in currentless waters where they seldom, if ever, successfully spawn. When doing so, they are within easy reach of bank anglers fishing in areas of open water.

Idaho continues to produce new state record fish for their new catch and release division. A 94-inch white sturgeon beat the record and then was almost immediately topped by a 98.5-inch fish. All of Idaho’s white sturgeon catch and release records have come from the Snake River. Other recently set catch and release Idaho state records include a 20-inch Bonneville whitefish from Bear Lake and a 22-inch northern pikeminnow from the Payette River.

A recent fishing report posted to an online website, while being exciting and intriguing to some northwest outdoorsmen, is of grave concern, perhaps even terrifying to most northwest anglers. The post was intentionally somewhat vague, but a small group of anglers fishing somewhere close to the upper end of eastern Washington’s Roosevelt Lake managed to catch 17 northern pike up to 34-inches in length. Northern pike are relativelt active in cool water and such efficient predators that northwest fisheries biologists will surely better appreciate the bass and walleyes they have now.

It was only a few years ago that several agencies teamed up to corral an out-of-control population of northern pike on eastern Washington’s Pend Oreille River. The tremendously expensive project was successful in greatly reducing the river’s pike numbers, but an established pike population in the upper Columbia River will be a fish management problem of a much larger magnitude.

Since almost all of Oregon’s adult yellow perch have already spawned, it appears that Oregon’s relatively humble 45 year old state record for the species will stand for yet another year. If Oregon’s two pound two ounce state record perch had the same body shape as Idaho’s current state record(2.96 lbs – 15.63-inches long), it would only be 14-inches long.

Last year, a few early-arriving shad were caught during the first two weeks of April on the Umpqua River near Yellow Creek.

Bureau of Reclamation fish technicians were netting the Link River, a shallow connection between Upper Klamath Lake and Lake Ewauna for shortnose sucker when they captured a massive white sturgeon.

The sturgeon, which was quickly released back into Lake Ewauna, was estimated to be eight to ten feet long and weigh between 300 and 400 pounds – and be more than 60 years old.

White sturgeon were released into Upper Klamath Lake during the 1950’s and while they survived, they did not reproduce. In the past, sturgeon were caught by anglers fishing where the Williamson River enters Upper Klamath Lake and where the Wood River enters Agency Lake at the north end of Upper Klamath Lake. Anglers wanting to target the increasingly sparse population need to remember that it is strictly a catch and release fishery.

Many Coos County waters received trout plants this last week. They include: Bradley Lake (3,000 legal rainbows and 200 16-inchers); Butterfield Lake (3,000 legals and 400 14-inchers); Eel Lake (2,500 legals); Johnsons Mill Pond (3,000 legals and 50 16-inchers); Powers Pond (3,000 legals); Saunders Lake (3,000 legals. Both Upper and Lower Empire lakes each received 3,000 legal rainbows and 250 16-inch rainbows.

Loon Lake is slated to be stocked with 1,000 legal rainbows this week. Both Carter Lake (2,000 legals) and Cleawox Lake (2,500 legals and 150-16-inchers are slated to be stocked during the week beginning April 4th. Those plants will bring this year’s total for Carter to 6,000 trout and this year’s total for Cleawox to 11,200. Cleawox is the most heavily planted lake on the Oregon coast – unless one considers Upper and Lower Empire lakes as one lake. By the first week in April, together they will have received 18,500 trout and are slated to receive 41,300 for the year – a very impressive total for about 50 acres of water.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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