WEST REGIONAL

Jig for steelhead in Idaho, Desert Birds in Utah, Pike and trout in Colorado, and more.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Cold Metal **
Jig the Salmon River for steelhead
**Idaho
If you are a hard-core steelheader you can fish for Salmon River steelhead in winter like you would fish for July walleyes. Walk the river's shoreline ice shelves, bumping the bottom with curly-tail jigs. The fish are stacked against the shore where the current is slack and the vertical jigging presentation covers a lot of prime water methodically. January steelhead won't bite unless a lure bumps them on the head. Try downstream from Deadwater to the road's end at Corn Creek.

Contact: Silver Spur Sport Shop, Salmon (208-756-2833). -Andrew McKean

Desert Birds
You'll hussle for the chukar
**Utah ** Forget the gym. A better way to work off holiday pounds is to head to public ground in Utah's West Desert in search of chukar partridge.

Utah's West Desert chukar season ends January 31. Find birds by hunting rocky, windblown mountain slopes, especially those with the slight green tinge that indicates sprouting cheatgrass. Be prepared to do some walking to locate birds, and be ready for quick passing shots.

"Begin at the top of a mountain and hunt down on the birds," says Dean Mitchell, upland bird coordinator for Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources. "Locate coveys of birds by listening for the chukar's high-pitched call. If you bring a dog, make sure it's in excellent physical condition." Because the best chukar habitat comprises shale and lava rock, invest in leather or rubber booties to protect your dog's feet.

Contact: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (801-538-4700; www.wildlife. utah.gov). -A.M.

An Easy Alpine Climb to Great Fish
You'll need a fishing license and a driver's license to chase pike and trout
** Colorado** How do you reach Stagecoach Lake's 40-inch pike and fat rainbow trout in winter? Drive. The state keeps the access road, Routt County Road 14, plowed from Highway 131 to Stagecoach State Park on the lake's north shore. The lake might be low, but the ice should be great.

Jig big spoons, 1- to 11/2-ounce size, tipped with sucker meat for the northern pike. Go with smaller spoons for plenty of keeper trout, mainly rainbows in the 15- to 18-inch class.

Try the lake's west side near the inlet where northerns stack up in winter to feed on rough fish and smaller trout. Or fish the shoreline for rainbows at the Keystone or Morrison Cove access points.

By early February, large baits fished with tip-ups take the big pike. Stick a nail through the belly of a dead sucker to sink it about 15 feet deep. The action isn't fast, but pike that hit the big baits are generally large.

Contact: Stagecoach State Park (970-736-2436). -A.M.

John Day Carpe Diem
Winter-run hatchery and wild steelhead are on the way
**Oregon **The past few years on the John Day have seen the highest steelhead counts since 1988, and the winter season this year should be a good one. From Cottonwood Bridge to the North Fork, steelhead fishing is open year-round with a daily limit of three adipose-fin-clipped fish. There is no annual limit as long as you purchase the proper number of harvest tags.

Cast Stee-Lees, back-troll Kwikfish (K10s and K12s in gold, orange or silver) and Hot Shots, bounce night crawlers and eggs or cast salmon flies in whatever colors are hot. Bank-fishing is available at Cottonwood, Clarno and upriver of Service Creek. One- to five-day float trips are the most rewarding, but be aware that this free-flowing river fluctuates with the seasons.

Prime fishing through December goes up to the Clarno section of the river. After that head upriver to Kimberly. Hatchery fish in the John Day will be found primarily downstream of Cottonwood Bridge. Above the bridge, about 90 percent of the fish will be wild. Last ye, however, an angler caught a 37-inch, 16-pound hatchery fish at Kimberly. Just remember: All wild fish (no fins clipped) must be released unharmed.

Contact: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (503-872-5264); Pine Creek Outfitters (541-763-3662). -Scott Staats

Alaska
Kodiak Quackers: Don't overlook Kodiak Island for duck hunting. The season lasts until January 22 and limits are liberal. Mallards, gadwalls, teal, goldeneyes and sea ducks will be around in good numbers. Hunt along the road system, particularly around Chiniak and Anton Larsen bays. Contact: ADFG (907-486-1880); Kodiak Combos (907-286-2252).

Highway Grouse: You can find a productive and accessible location to hunt spruce grouse off Highway 9 between Moose Pass and Seward. This forested, mountainous area is open to the public. Pull off the highway, find a trail and start hiking. Take your showshoes. Contact: ADFG (907-260-3931).

Don't Forget the Sheep: Applications for all winter-drawing hunts must be postmarked not later than December 6. Forms are available at all ADFG offices, major license vendors and online at www.state.ak.us.

Key Dates
December 16: Waterfowl season in most areas closes.
January 22: Waterfowl seasons on Kodiak and Aleutian islands close.

Arizona
Dove Peak: Dove hunters should try the agricultural fields and desert near Buckeye. The birds feed in the harvested corn, sorghum and melon fields and water in the desert stock tanks. The season will soon be at its peak (closes January 5). The daily limit is 10 birds. Ask permission to hunt on private land. Contact: AGFD (602-942-3000).

Canyon Lake Bass: Not far from Apache Junction, Canyon Lake sees good plantings of catchable trout during the winter-which is great for bass fishermen. Tie on large, trout-pattern AC Plugs and Castaic swimbaits to take the big largemouths. Contact: AGFD (602-942-3000).

Javelina Online: Starting on November 26, leftover spring archery, muzzleloader and rifle javelina permits go on sale. The leftover permits are generally sold out by mid-December. This year for the first time, they will be available online or via telephone only. Contact: AGFD (866-462-0433; www.azgfd.com).

Key Dates
January 5: Late dove season closes.
January 26: Waterfowl seasons close.

California
Grizzly Island Ducks: Within Suisun Marsh, near Fairfield, sits Grizzly Island, an 8,600-acre state-operated wildlife area. Last year this area accommodated about 6,000 hunters who shot mostly mallards, green-winged teal and shovelers. Contact the area office to make a reservation; if the area doesn't fill up, spots are given out first-come, first-served. Contact: Grizzly Island WA (707-425-3828).

San Joaquin Trout: Wintertime trout offer easy pickings in the San Joaquin River below Millerton Lake. The rainbow trout are stocked biweekly during the winter months, and with minimal dam releases in December and January, the river is easy to fish. Access is good at the Highway 145 bridge and the Lost Lake Recreation Area. Contact: CDFG (559-243-4005).

Deer Disease Precautions: Big-game hunters must now remove all brain and spinal cord tissue from deer and elk killed out-of-state before bringing the carcasses into California. The precautions are to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The disease has not been detected in California. Contact: CDFG (916-653-0991).

Key Dates
January 5: Waterfowl season in the Northeastern Zone closes.
January 26: Waterfowl season closes in most zones; quail and chukar seasons close.

Colorado
Pueblo Walleyes: Get after the walleyes in Pueblo Reservoir just west of Pueblo by deep jigging for them. Bladebaits and larger chartreuse curly-tail jigs worked slowly along the bottom can be productive, and the big carryover rainbow trout are the bonus. Contact: Hulling's Tackle Pro, Pueblo (719-634-5056).

Blue River Trout: Dress warmly and cast your smallest flies for winter trout in the Blue River below Dillon Dam. Griffith Gnats and size 20 Parachute Adams work on the surface, or go with Brassies and Hare's Ear nymphs under a strike indicator for sub-surface action. Take Highway 9 east out of Frisco to access points all along Interstate 70. Contact: Wilderness Sports, Breckenridge (970-468-5687).

Depredation Permits? At press time the jury was still out on whether the DOW would issue depredation deer and elk permits for late seasons. Colorado's elk herd is estimated at 305,000 head, well above the objective population of 240,000, and far too large for drought-damaged winter range. Chances are good that the permits will be issued locally-watch for last-minute announcements. Contact: CDOW (303-297-1192).

Key Dates
January 31-February 2: Three Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament on Granby, Shadow Mountain and Grand lakes. Contact: Greater Granby Chamber of Commerce (970-887-2311).

**Hawaii **
Big-Island Birds: With bird numbers up, head for the 75,500-acre Mauna Kea Game Management Area, which supports pheasants, chukar, francolin and quail. The area is a mosaic of grasslands, shrubs and lava flows from 6,000 to 11,000 feet. Mauna Kea is open Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays. Contact: HDFW (808-887-6063).

Exotic Troubles: Despite required agricultural inspections and control efforts, an estimated 20 to 30 alien species establish themselves annually in Hawaii. For information on how to recognize and fight these species, check the Division of Forestry Web site (www. state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw).

Key Dates
January 20: Upland bird seasons close.

**Idaho **
Ice Crappies: Go night icefishing for crappies on a dozen lakes near Coeur d'Alene. Charge luminescent mini-jigs with a camera flash and work them near the shoreline. Try Fernan and Avondale lakes right out of Coeur d'Alene, Rose Lake to the east and Gamble Lake near Sandpoint. Contact: IDFG (208-769-1414).

Snake River Geese: Launch a cartopper boat or even a float tube to access the islands from C.J. Strike Dam to Fort Boise, and then use small spreads to decoy honkers on the Snake River in southwestern Idaho. Set up before the birds fly off to nearby grain stubble, and be ready again when they return. Contact: Sunset Sports Center, Boise (208-376-1100).

Hot Muleys: The search was still on at press time for a "game thief" (or thieves) who last August broke into the Idaho Fish and Game office in Nampa and stole a monster mule deer mount that had hung on the wall for a drtreuse curly-tail jigs worked slowly along the bottom can be productive, and the big carryover rainbow trout are the bonus. Contact: Hulling's Tackle Pro, Pueblo (719-634-5056).

Blue River Trout: Dress warmly and cast your smallest flies for winter trout in the Blue River below Dillon Dam. Griffith Gnats and size 20 Parachute Adams work on the surface, or go with Brassies and Hare's Ear nymphs under a strike indicator for sub-surface action. Take Highway 9 east out of Frisco to access points all along Interstate 70. Contact: Wilderness Sports, Breckenridge (970-468-5687).

Depredation Permits? At press time the jury was still out on whether the DOW would issue depredation deer and elk permits for late seasons. Colorado's elk herd is estimated at 305,000 head, well above the objective population of 240,000, and far too large for drought-damaged winter range. Chances are good that the permits will be issued locally-watch for last-minute announcements. Contact: CDOW (303-297-1192).

Key Dates
January 31-February 2: Three Lakes Ice Fishing Tournament on Granby, Shadow Mountain and Grand lakes. Contact: Greater Granby Chamber of Commerce (970-887-2311).

**Hawaii **
Big-Island Birds: With bird numbers up, head for the 75,500-acre Mauna Kea Game Management Area, which supports pheasants, chukar, francolin and quail. The area is a mosaic of grasslands, shrubs and lava flows from 6,000 to 11,000 feet. Mauna Kea is open Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays. Contact: HDFW (808-887-6063).

Exotic Troubles: Despite required agricultural inspections and control efforts, an estimated 20 to 30 alien species establish themselves annually in Hawaii. For information on how to recognize and fight these species, check the Division of Forestry Web site (www. state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw).

Key Dates
January 20: Upland bird seasons close.

**Idaho **
Ice Crappies: Go night icefishing for crappies on a dozen lakes near Coeur d'Alene. Charge luminescent mini-jigs with a camera flash and work them near the shoreline. Try Fernan and Avondale lakes right out of Coeur d'Alene, Rose Lake to the east and Gamble Lake near Sandpoint. Contact: IDFG (208-769-1414).

Snake River Geese: Launch a cartopper boat or even a float tube to access the islands from C.J. Strike Dam to Fort Boise, and then use small spreads to decoy honkers on the Snake River in southwestern Idaho. Set up before the birds fly off to nearby grain stubble, and be ready again when they return. Contact: Sunset Sports Center, Boise (208-376-1100).

Hot Muleys: The search was still on at press time for a "game thief" (or thieves) who last August broke into the Idaho Fish and Game office in Nampa and stole a monster mule deer mount that had hung on the wall for a d