Fishing: Bob Jateff, WDFW district fish biologist, said lowland lake fishing for rainbow trout has been holding up pretty well in the Okanogan district. “Cooler, wetter weather has been keeping the water temperatures down a bit, and that has contributed to better than average catch rates for the month of June,” he said.
Jateff said good selective-gear waters are Chopaka, Aeneas, and Blue lakes in the Sinlahekin, and Big and Little Twin lakes near Winthrop. Other waters that are still providing decent fishing are Wannacut, Pearrygin, and Alta lakes.
WDFW Enforcement Officer Cal Treser recently reported checking numerous limits of trout on Lake Pearrygin, along with large crayfish. “If you want to try spiny ray fishing, fish Patterson Lake in the Winthrop area for yellow perch and Leader Lake west of Okanogan for bluegills and crappies,” he said.
Jateff also noted the Methow River is still running high, but as water levels start dropping, resident rainbow and cutthroat trout will be catchable. Smaller creeks and rivers can provide fishing opportunities even when the major rivers like the Methow are still running high. “Anglers should pay close attention to the regulations on the Methow because there have been a few changes this year,” he said.
Chinook salmon fishing on the mainstem Columbia River and selected tributaries above Wells Dam is scheduled to start July 1. New daily bag limits put in place this year will allow anglers to keep up to three adult chinook salmon, but only one of those can be a wild adult. Anglers should consult the current sportfishing rules pamphlet, because there are certain areas that anti-snagging and night closure rules are in effect.
Hunting: Hunters who applied for special big-game hunt permits for the upcoming season can find out if they were chosen by going to the hunt page on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/. Holders of the special permits can hunt at times and locations beyond those authorized by a general hunting license. Nearly 65,000 hunters submitted 229,761 applications for special hunts for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep and wild turkey. The permits will be mailed to successful applicants in mid-July.
Wildlife viewing: WDFW research scientist Gary Koehler recently discovered three lynx kittens while tracking a radio-collared adult female lynx in the North Cascades of western Okanogan County. To minimize disturbance to this federally protected species, the kittens were not handled or marked. But Koehler’s photograph is documentation that lynx are still reproducing in Washington.
Matt Monda, WDFW regional wildlife program manager, reminds wildlife enthusiasts and all outdoor recreationists to look at but don’t touch wildlife – including the more common species like mule deer. “Does know best how to care for their fawns,” Monda said. “The best way to help wildlife families is to give them some space.” For more information about living with wildlife, including fawns and baby birds, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/.
Birdwatchers may spot Canada geese with new ornamentation near the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake, or Coulee City. WDFW staff and volunteers captured geese in these areas to mark them with white neck-collars and metal leg-bands as part of an eastern Washington study to determine if such urban geese are resident or migratory. For more details on this study, see http://bit.ly/bZ5dEo. If you see a goose wearing a white neck-collar with a number and letter code, you can report it, with the location and date, to the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Lab at 1-800-327-BAND or at http://bit.ly/djemGf.
Black bears continue to be more than just visible in the north end of the region. From Wenatchee to Oroville, some bears have been trying to help themselves to everything from garbage to campground barbecues. WDFW enforcement officers and wildlife biologists remind both homeowners and recreationists in bear country to keep temptation away from these omnivores. At home that can include securing compost piles, removing bird feeders, and keeping pet food inside. In camp or at picnic grounds store food supplies in bear-proof containers and clean up grills. For more tips on living with bears, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/bears.htm.
Wherever wildlife viewing is enjoyed, WDFW officials remind recreationists to be careful with fire. Recent and abundant rain means lush vegetation can become wildfire fuel. All WDFW wildlife areas and water access sites throughout the region are under a fireworks ban and campfire restrictions. For details by area, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/.