Fishing and Hunting Reopens May 5th
John Kruse, May 01, 2020
Hunters and anglers are heading out to the water and into the woods again beginning May 5th following announcements by Governor Jay Inslee’s and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that these activities are once again legal. In Central and Eastern Washington, all seasons will open exactly as they normally would be on May 5th.
Spring turkey season also opens on the 5th as does spring bear hunting, this latter season being extended to June 30th.
It is important to note these activities could be restricted (or even closed again) if outdoors enthusiasts don’t follow rules and guidelines currently in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 to include:
Staying local (if you can’t get to your destination and back in a day, you are going too far.
Maintaining social distance of at least six feet from one another.
Don’t contribute to overcrowding. If that boat launch or park is full of people, go somewhere else.
State wildlife areas and Department of Natural Resource owned lands are open for day use, as are the majority of state parks. National Forest lands are also open though access through Forest Service roads could be challenging. Many roads above 3,000 feet in elevation remain impassable due to snow.
FISHING AND HUNTING REPORTS:
CHELAN, DOUGLAS AND GRANT COUNTIES:
Travis Dawson manages the fishing department at the East Wenatchee Sportsman’s Warehouse store. He says trout anglers will find “Lily, Clear Lake and Beehive Reservoir are all stocked and accessible in the Wenatchee Heights. Other options are Wapato and Roses Lake near Manson and the Rock Island Ponds in Douglas County. According to Dawson, “Those trout are going to be hungry and fishing should be on fire!”
Dawson says many bass and walleye anglers are going to Moses Lake. Less crowded options would be Potholes Reservoir or Banks Lake. In Dawson’s opinion, “Nothing has changed in terms of opportunity, there is just lots of fresh fish to catch since they have not had any pressure yet.” Dawson also suspects the good fishing will last several weeks because there won’t be as many people fishing at one time like the traditional lowland lake opener. Sportsman’s Warehouse stores are open for business and have plenty of fishing tackle along with lots of gear and ammunition for turkey hunting.
CURLEW LAKE – FERRY COUNTY
Sandy Beck is the co-owner of Fisherman’s Cove Resort at Curlew Lake in Ferry County. When asked about being open on the 5th Beck replied their resort is not open now because they are not considered an essential business. However, the Becks are hoping to be open by Memorial Day or June 1st. Beck says, “Once we do, we’ll be enforcing strict sanitation measures to include temperature checks, mask use and hand sanitizer use. We want to make sure our guests are safe.”
As for May fishing, Beck says it should be very good for perch. They were illegally stocked a few years ago and now there are plenty of them and some are good sized. In addition to this the lake has been stocked with trout and Curlew Lake remains one of the premier places in the state for tiger musky though they are hard to catch.
CONCONULLY AREA LAKES – OKANOGAN COUNTY
Sam Martin, the mayor of Conconully and owner of the Comstock Motel in town said he is looking forward to having a good season starting May 5th but asks that visitors practice good social distancing and stay home if they are not healthy.
Martin says the state launches at both Upper and Lower Conconully Lake will be open and both lakes have healthy populations of bass, trout and kokanee. Other nearby lakes in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area will also be open for day use. Assuming you are a local resident but want to stay overnight, Martin says there are some overnight lodging options available in Conconully at the local motels and cabin resorts. There is also a small store in town and two restaurants offering to-go dining.
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
Wendy Herrera, the owner of Gorge Supply Outfitters in Rufus, Oregon says the Columbia River walleye are done spawning and the bite now is phenomenal! Also “phenomenal” is the smallmouth bass fishing in the Columbia River Gorge. Herrrea says you can catch bass all day though boaters should be aware river levels are fluctuating daily.
Herrera says Gorge Supply Outfitters is open for business and they are very well stocked with walleye and bass tackle. Turkey hunters may want to drop by as well to take advantage of an ammo sale going on now.
Until next week, keep your distance from each other, stay local and enjoy fishing and hunting for the first time in a long while!
John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com
*Wendy Herrera with a nice walleye caught in the Columbia River Gorge