Monthly Archives: February 2012

PETE’S TRIVIA

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10 BEST SPOTS IN WEST FOR GIANT SMALLMOUTHS

(1) – Dworshak Reservoir (Idaho) – Formed by a dam more than 700 feet high and covering more than 17,000 acres when full, there are a lot of places for fish to hide. However, Dan Steiger managed to find the last two Idaho state record smallmouth bass in Dworshak and the last one weighed nine pounds 11.5 ounces and this reservoir has produced a number of other huge smallmouths. Sometimes the fish are quite deep and not suitable for catch and release fishing, but the key to the jumbo fish in this lake is the large number of smallish kokanee that provide fatty forage.

(2) – Pardee Lake (California) – Covering nearly 2,300 surface acres, Pardee Lake recently produced the new state record smallie of nine pounds 13.5 ounces and has produced a number of jumbo smallmouths in recent years. Contains lots of other fish species and the smallmouths are pretty much overlooked, but available to the relatively few anglers that actually target them. When Harold Hardin caught his state record smallmouth in 2007, he claims that he hooked and lost a much larger fish. Several other anglers have landed Pardee Lake smallmouths weighing more than nine pounds in reent years, yet nearly ninety percent of the anglers that fish Pardee do so for trout and kokanee.

(3) – Palmer Lake (Washington) – This clear eastern Washington Lake of 2,100 acres was famous for producing good numbers of giant smallmouths when they attempted to spawn in the very clear water. The largest spawning smallies were easily visible even when they were spawning in 15 feet of water. The big fish definitely got fished down before special regulations were enacted, but still capable of producing some truly huge smallmouts – including one weighing eight pounds ten ounces a few years back.

(4) – Henry Hagg Lake (Oregon) – Despite heavy fishing pressure on this nearly 1,100 acre lake due to its Portland area location, Henry Hagg continues to give up surprising numbers of big smallmouths with fish weighing at least six pounds taken every season. Even more impressive is the fact that the lake has given up the last four Oregon state smallmouth records including the current record of more than eight pounds and a previous record of seven pounds 14 ounces taken on flyfishing gear.

(5) – Columbia River-Snake River confluence area (Washington) – Check out the photo galleries of this area’s bass clubs to see some truly jumbo smallmouth bass catches. More than one smallmouth weighing more than eight pounds have been pulled from this area and some of these fish have been taken in recent years, indicating the potential for giant smallmouth bass catches is still present.

(6) – Trinity Lake (California) – No longer the state record holder for California smallmouths, it remains one of the few places that has produced a smallmouth weighing more than nine pounds. Covering about 17,000 surface acres, Trinity’s smallmouth can be difficult to keep track of when water levels fluctuate. It seems that all the fish species in Trinity reach impressive size for their species and the lake still gives up plenty of smallmouths in the five pound class.

(7) –  John Day River (Oregon) – Probably better known for the numbers of smallmouths it gives up than the size of them, the John Day gives up smallmouths weighing seven pounds, or more, virtually every year. The remoteness of the river and the fact that float trips are necessary to reach the best fishing makes it extremely difficult to officially certifty the largest bass taken – and bass have been taken that were larger than the current Oregon state record of more than eight pounds.

(8) –  American Falls Reservoir (Idaho) – This 56,000 acre reservoir on the South Fork Snake River is probably best known for producing giant rainbow and rainbow-cutthroat trout including one weighing more than 34 pounds in 2011. However, the reservoir has recently developed into a stellar smallmouth bass fishery with lots of bass caught weighing between three and five pounds with even bigger smallmouths a realistic possibility.

(9) –  Whatcom Lake (Washington) – This Bellingham area natural lake of 5,000 acres produces a number of smallmouths each year that weigh between six and seven pounds with big numbers of smallies weighing between three and five pounds also entering the catch.

(10) – Lake Chelan (Washington) – Having produced Washington state record mackinaw and landlocked chinook salmon weighing more than 30 pounds in recent years, this nation’s third deepest lake’s (more than 1500 feet deep) smallmouth bass are very much overlooked. Smallmouths weighing more than seven pounds have been caught and the numbers of three to four pound bass inhabiting Chelan is truly impressive. Even more surprising is that the bass seem to bite well during the late fall until at least Thanksgiving. In a lake stretching 55 miles in length and covering 32,000 surface acres with very few access areas, only a small portion of the lake receives much fishing pressure.

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PETE’S TRIVIA

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SPORTS OPINION – Overrated/Underrated (Kobe vs Wade)

Things seemed on the verge of changing earlier this NBA season as Kobe Bryant got off to a hot start, while Dwayne Wade missed several games and played several while definitely subpar. However, a third of the way through this season, things are back to the way they have been ever since Dwayne Wade entered the NBA.

Bryant’s and Wade’s career per game scoring averages are virtually identical at 25.4 ppg for Kobe and 25.3 for Dwayne. Kobe is averaging more points per game this season (29.2) than Wade (22.0), but is playing five more minutes per game and attempting nearly seven more field goal attempts per game to do so. After a terrible start this season, mainly due to injuries, Wade has appeared to be at full strength in recent games and once again is shooting at a higher percentage from the field than is Bryant – just as Wade has done in each one of the other eight seasons he has been in the league.

Despite his slow start, Wade has raised his PER (player efficiency rating) to 25.47, higher than Bryant’s 25.36 and there does not seem to be a clear connection between Wade taking less shots when the Miami Heat win as there is with Bryant and the Lakers. Bryant’s turnover rate this season of 3.7 per game is more than 40% higher than is Wade’s rate of 2.6.

Despite having to share the ball with the NBA’s best player (LeBron James), Wade’s assists and rebounds remain on a par with Bryants, but where Wade really differentiates with Bryant is when it comes to blocked shots. Wade’s average of 1.1 blocked shots per game last year was at least ten times the rate that Bryant had and his rate of 1.5 blocks per game this season compares rather favorably with Bryant’s .3 blocks per game despite Bryant, at six feet six inches, being two inches taller.

While Bryant is possibly the NBA’s best at getting off shots while closely covered, his poor shot selection more than offsets that talent. Bryant has long been considered the NBA’s best clutch shooter, despite statistics that clearly show that, at least percentage-wise, he isn’t.  While Wade has taken, and made, far less last second shots than has Bryant, he accomplished something more amazing three years ago than Bryant ever has when he stole the ball from the guard attempting to run out the clock in game that the Heat were down by two points in. Wade stole the ball from the dribbling staller with four seconds left, and with several long strides managed to launch a jump shot from more than 35 feet just prior to the game’s end. The resulting three pointer resulted in a one point Miami win.

Mainly because of talented teammates, Bryant has had more post season success than has Wade. Bryant has played in eight NBA Finals and won five. Wade has played in two and won one, but in that one, the Heat beat a more talented Dallas Mavericks team and Wade was more dominant than Bryant has been in any of his NBA Finals.

Let’s talk about the “likeability factor”. As this column is being written, Wade has not been accused of rape, cheated on his wife, or taken the maximum amount of momey available to him. In fact, because of his commitment to his team, Wade is playing for less money this season than either LeBron James or Chris Bosh – and Wade makes some of the best received commercials of any NBA player.

Rather than tearing down Kobe Bryant, which I seem to have done a pretty good job of doing exactly that, let’s give Dwayne Wade all the respect and admiration that he truly deserves.

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Pete Heley Outdoors

Stable weather conditions have allowed somewhat better results for our area’s outdoor enthusiasts. Crabbing at Winchester Bay has rebouned somewhat, although both boat and dock crabbers are having to earn the crabs they keep. The Umpqua has cleared up and dropped and if this trend continues, there should be further improvement in crabbing results.

Charleston offers more consistent winter crabbing since the Coos Bay estuary, at more than 13,000 acres, is the largest estuary located entirely in Oregon – and is therefore more dominated by ocean conditions than are more riverine estuaries such as on the Umpqua, Coquille and Siuslaw rivers. If the Umpqua River continues to drop, the difference in winter crabbing success will narrow.

During the extremely muddy period on the Umpqua, anglers fishing the Triangle and South Jetty for bottomfish did best inside the Triangle or in the ocean off the south side of the Triangle. However, the Umpqua has cleared up enough for fishing the river channel adjacent to the South Jetty to improve. If muddy water continues to be a problem, try fishing near high tide when the water should become more clear due to incoming ocean water. Some anglers still do not realize that cabezon are illegal to keep, for all anglers, through March.

Steelhead fishing on the Umpqua has been very good recently, and last week, a number of finclipped steelhead were caught – a most unusual occurence on the Umpqua. Other river such as the Siuslaw, Coos and Coquille are now fishing well and some of the southcoast streams as the Elk and Sixes are on the verge of being too clear for the best steelhead fishing.

The stable weather has also caused some of Oregon’s more serious bass anglers to start thinking about resuming their bass fishing. We have had some fairly warm winter afternoons recently, but cold mornings have limited how much effect they have on water temperatures. Slightly warmer temperatues and consistent weather should have our area’s bass anglers catching some of their largest largemouths of the year – of course almost all the fishing pressure will be directed towards Tenmile Lakes.

Anglers wanting to get an early start on their smallmouth bass fishing should look for backwaters or bank indentions that have their upper ends facing upstream and if they are not receiving water at their upper ends, they will tend to be slightly warmer on sunny days and the temperature differential between these backwaters and the river can be quite pronounced – especially during a sunny afternoon when the water is somewhat muddy. Backwaters that run downstream usually receive at least some water continually from the river and because the river water is colder, these backwaters are usually cooler than backwaters that  run upstream.

Although we no longer have any major crappie fisheries in our area, yellow perch are relatively common in most area lakes and for the next several weeks they will be at their heftiest as they approach the late March through early April spawning period. As the spawn approaches, the perch tend to become more aggressive and bite more consistently.

Until water temperatures increase, anglers fishing the Florence area lakes for recently stocked ranbow trout will do best by stillfishing baits on or near the bottom. That doesn’t mean that fly anglers and lure flingers won’t catch fish – they will just have to work harder for them. The trout stocking schedules are finally posted on the ODFW website for the Umpqua and South Coast areas. The south coast will begin receiving trout plants at the end of this month and at least some south coast waters will be planted every week. Loon Lake will be stocked in early March, while Lake Marie will is slated to receive its first trout plant in late March.

As I thought more deeply about the numerous complaints about outright lies and misleading fishing information on one of the online fishing sites, I came to a surprising conclusion. The conclusion I reached is that it is virtually impossible to stop such behavior and the best way to deal with it is to know, quite well, the people that you are sharing fishing information with. For instance, there is a reason that almost all anglers do not carry an accurate scale or even a good measuring device with them. If they do, they are bound by the findings of their measurement devices and therefore subject to the humbling truth about the weight and length of their catches. The great majority of the people that eschew such devices, do so with the intent of exaggerating the size of their catch. If you pay close attention, you can make a fairly accurate determination of just how much each person you talk fishing with exaggerates their fish. Once you know that, you can “resize” your catches to match up with their fish so that you both are talking on the same level. Don’t be ashamed when you start doing this – you actually have a moral obligation to size the fish you catch so that you are conveying your fish catches in a way that fits in with their fish catches. Sometimes, the anglers you converse with do simple things to the size of their fish. While I was growing up in Lakeside, one kid always added ten-inches to each fish he spoke about. The exaggeration was a lot more noticeable when it came to small fish than big fish, but it was always the same ten-inches and it was rather easy to “reconvert” the size of my fish so that I could speak “fishing” with him on equal terms. I thought that I would never again encounter this type of fishing exaggeration, but I encountered a young man working at a service station in the town of Sprague River that did exactly the same thing.

I am so aware of the tendency towards exaggeration of most anglers, that whenever I release a nice-sized fish with witnesses present, I hope that the witnesses are “serious exaggerators”. A good example of the benefit provided by such witnesses  was when I caught my largest Oregon largemouth bass of nine and a half pounds at Loon Lake. I released the fish after weighing it despite a couple pleading with me to give it to them. Despite my lack of cooperation, they managed to convince everybody in the immediate area that my released lunker weighed all of 12 pounds – and they managed to do it in less than two weeks.

There is no way to make all fishermen tell the truth and I am not sure we should really want to. However, there is nothing wrong with training oneself to effectively deal with it.

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