At Silver Bow Fly Shop, Jon Allen said he fished McDowell Lake recently, catching numerous 16- to 20-inch rainbow on a Bad-Ass Dragonfly Nymph. He also noted that a relatively new fly – the Morrish Hopper – is bringing “unbelievable results.” Allen fished the Bitterroot this week and said beetle and ant patterns were the ticket.
There is not much bug activity on regional rivers. The North Fork Clearwater is low, clear and extremely challenging. Go with smaller flies and a 6X tippet early, switch to terrestrials from about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., then pmds.
Trout and kokanee
Chapman Lake has been good for kokanee fishermen at night. The bite begins around 10 p.m. at depths of 25-40 feet over much deeper water on the north end. Most of the fish are 10 inches, but a few are larger.
A friend night fishing for kokanee in front of Granite Point on Loon Lake said he found a hot bite on the bottom at 34 feet. He and three friends limited on 15-inch fish in less than two hours Tuesday night. He said other anglers in the same area didn’t do nearly as well, that the bite is even more delicate than usual, and that moving his boat just a few feet was the difference between limits and no fish.
Badger Lake trout are still biting in 30-40 feet of water. Trout in all local lakes have gone deep. Marshall and Skookum remain good, and Waitts Lake trollers dragging Wooly Buggers in the evening are doing well on browns and rainbow.
Sprague Lake rainbow are absolute hogs. If you catch any of the original plant, they will be 4-61/2 pounds. Try the edges of the weeds. The Rufus Woods trout hanging under the net pens are big. Anglers say the bottom appears to be paved with fish, though they often have a tendency to chase and turn away before striking. On Lake Roosevelt, the new net pen releases are about 11 inches and biting readily.
Pearrygin Lake has been excellent for rainbow trout more than a foot long. Anchor and cast or still-fish near the swimming area.
Lots of smallmouth bass to 11/2 pounds are reportedly being caught at Cow Lake in the Sprague Lake drainage. Pend Oreille smallmouth are also active, and Hauser Lake anglers have taken some nice largemouth recently.
A friend fished Twin Lake (above Coffeepot) this week and said his party caught more than 30 largemouth in four hours, one 4-pounder, one 3-pounder and numerous 11/2-pounders.
Smallmouth are easy at Long Lake. Anglers putting in at the DNR launch are finding fish in both directions, but the rocks near Tum Tum are also good. On Lake Roosevelt, the Spring Canyon area is loaded with smallmouth, most 10-14 inches long. Roosevelt walleye are small but still on the bite. Good reports came this week from the Hunters area and from Lincoln to Hansen Harbor.
Clear Lake is producing lots of small bass, but also some decent-sized bluegills and an occasional large crappie. Banks Lake is a good bet for smallmouth and walleye.
Northern pike fishing on Coeur d’Alene Lake has been good along the weed beds. Spokane resident Shawn Bongers caught a 30-pounder recently in Rockford Bay.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead fishing at the mouth of the Clearwater has been sporadic, with hours of nothing followed by a frantic bite. Trolling at night with lighted lures has been most effective, but be prepared to stay late. If you prefer bobber fishing, purple shrimp is most popular. The fish are mostly 5- to 6-pounders.
Steelhead angling was good for boat anglers last weekend in the lower Columbia, especially in the St. Helens to Longview area where anglers averaged 2.0 steelhead caught per boat. Bank anglers had the highest catch rates in the gorge, where anglers averaged 0.31 steelhead per angler.
Lake Wenatchee’s sockeye season ended prematurely Tuesday. Fish mortality, substantial and unexpected, occurred during migration up the Wenatchee River because of high water temperatures and it was felt sufficient numbers of sockeye were not available to continue the sport-fishing season.
On the Wind River, effort is light, but some steelhead are being caught. Boat anglers on Drano Lake averaged 1.3 steelhead per rod last week. The White Salmon River is giving up approximately one steelhead for every two rods plus a few Chinook jacks.
Last week, Ilwaco anglers averaged 1.7 salmon per rod, with 90 percent of the fish caught being coho. Through Sunday, an estimated 60.8 percent of the coho quota and 68.4 percent of the chinook guideline had been taken.
The Lake Chelan chinook season will continue with a 15-inch minimum size and no fishing allowed within 400 feet of the mouths of tributaries.
The recent Big Fish Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene saw the biggest salmon caught in several years, reported Bill Bongers of Skipper Bill’s, who took the 10th-largest fish – a chinook that would have tied for first last year at 16.56 pounds. First place went to Wayne Dreager with a fish weighing 20.70 pounds
Anglers are catching channel cats from the Snake River near Boyer Park. There are also reports of good bullhead angling on Potholes Reservoir in 10 feet of water west of Mardon Resort.
Weyerhaeuser Company is prepared to give hunters holding special elk permits additional motorized access to 250,000 acres on the St. Helens Tree Farm, provided that enough volunteers can be found to assure a safe and orderly hunt. To participate in the St. Helens Land Access Program, volunteers can sign up at WDFW’s Web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/ volunteer/sainthelens/
No one has influenced so many facets of Inland Northwest fisheries as Allan Scholz during his 35 years at Eastern Washington University. The 67-year-old biology professor is transitioning into retirement, leaving a legacy that would rival Mark Few if fisheries science were a ball sport …
FISHING -- The Colville Tribe released 10,000 triploid rainbow trout weighing about 2 pounds each in Lake Rufus Woods on Thursday, making the reservoir between Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee ...
WINTERSPORTS -- They fought the good fight, but this strange winter is winning. Schweitzer Mountain and Silver Mountain ski resort swill close for the season after the end of operations ...