Mayflies are hatching at Williams Lake. A Stayner ducktail has been an effective pattern along the southeast bank, or try a Six Pack along the weeds. Rainbow are running to 23 inches.
Amber Lake is also a good bet for the fly angler. Six Packs and Ice Cream Cones are effective for cutts and rainbow to 19 inches. The far end near the red barn has been good.
The Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers are dropping. The upper Coeur d’Alene is fishable and some bugs – stone flies and goldens – are showing. Use heavy leaders and bang the banks. The St. Joe is not yet fishable and some of the upper Forest Service roads still have deep snow in shaded areas.
Hayden smallmouth are suckers for olive green Wooly Buggers, and the same presentation will sometimes entice a northern pike. At Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene, Pat Way said perch patterns and hare grubs have been tied up specifically for pike and they work well.
Trout and kokanee
Sprague Lake is beginning to green up a bit, but the fishing has remained sporadically good. A trolled Wooly Bugger and flasher is a good choice for rainbow up to nearly 5 pounds, though a lot of 1-pounders were caught last week. Afternoons and evenings seem to be the most consistent. A friend had phenomenal fishing this week just drifting a worm.
Rock Lake has been good this year. Anglers are catching everything from 8-inch rainbow to limits averaging 3 pounds per fish. The trick at Rock Lake is to be flexible. A simple color change will often make the difference.
Slow drifting Power Bait or worms on the south end has worked as well as anything at Fishtrap this week. Fish in about 20 feet of water. At Clear Lake, there’s no telling what you’ll catch – browns, rainbows or bass. Clear is also giving up some fair-sized bluegill.
Other lowland lakes are also giving up fish, and the more northerly waters such as Waitts, Diamond, Sacheen and Marshall are also coming on. The Loon Lake night fishery for kokanee should begin anytime. Anglers fishing the lake at midweek say they couldn’t buy a bite with any method.
Guide Toby Wyatt of Reeltime Charters in Clarkston said salmon fishing is in full swing and the next few weeks of receding water should be the best fishing on the Clearwater. The best numbers have come trolling roe cured with Pautzke’s fire cure combined with a Beau Mac Flash and Spin. Smaller jacks are abundant and you can keep three less than 24 inches. Downstream from the Cherrylane Bridge, where no adult salmon may be kept, four jacks are allowed.
It was a little later than usual, but chinook salmon fishing opened last Friday on Icicle Creek. The season runs through July 31.
Monday marks opening day for salmon fishing in Marine Area 11, which extends from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Salmon fishing is open in Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound).
The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt opens Monday to walleye anglers, and they are expecting good fishing. Some of the best walleye catching lately has been near the mouth of the Colville River. Elsewhere on Lake Roosevelt, fish have been mostly small. The smallmouth bite is said to be excellent.
Good walleye fishing is all but over in the Columbia River until September as the fish enter the post-spawn and begin to disperse. Banks Lake is probably the best bet for walleyes, and smallmouth are abundant. Fish jigs slowly down the drop-offs. Largemouth are also beginning to hang on their beds and are becoming aggressive. Try top-waters in the evening. Pike and smallmouth bass are still banging spoons on the Pend Oreille River between the Outpost Resort and the Usk Bridge. The pike spawn is over and fish are hanging near the mouths of creeks. A friend caught a 44-inch spawned-out female recently.
There is good crappie fishing at Long Lake in 12 feet of water. The weeds are not yet up. You may need to search for them, but the effort could be rewarded with fish up to 2.5 pounds, said guide Ray Bailey, who notes that many fish he has found are running 14-16 inches. Liberty is more popular with spiny ray anglers than trout anglers. Lots of small bass are coming on plastics, and in the late evening, the top water action begins. Fish the docks and the lily pads. Newman has been good for bass. Senkos in the lily pads do the damage. This is also prime time at Eloika for largemouth. A number of 4- to 5-pounders have shown recently.
Twin Lakes near Inchelium is good for smaller bass, but the larger ones have taken a temporary sabbatical. Twin Lakes in Idaho has been excellent for large crappie. Fish the docks.
Smallmouth fishing is much better than walleye fishing at Potholes, as the bass are on their beds. Slow reeling a plastic across the bottom is a sure thing. There are a lot of fish on the submerged rocks east of Goose Island. For largemouth, get farther back in the sand dunes. Top waters are working. But you can’t go wrong with plastics there, either.
The catfish bite is hot in the Snake River out of Lyons Ferry Marina. Most fish run 4-8 pounds and are taking cut bait. The new owners at the marina have made a lot of improvements.
Based on recent creel sampling results, lots of lower Columbia River sturgeon appear to be headed on their annual summer migration toward the coast. Success for legal-size fish has slowed in the Gorge, improved between Vancouver and Longview, and is just getting started in the estuary. At the ports of chinook and Ilwaco, charter boat anglers are averaging a legal kept per every 6.2 rods.
The recreational halibut fishery off the north coast of Washington will reopen Thursday and June 6. Marine areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay) will be open for halibut fishing in all waters.
The spring turkey season ends after Sunday. If you haven’t filled your tag yet, this should be a good time.
Entries in the first Idaho Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at the Fish and Game headquarters by Sunday with the drawing set for June 15. Tickets are available at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices, by phone at 800-824-3729 or 800-554-8685
Most recent column
The curtain has opened on the last act in the Columbia River system’s “Year of the Salmon.” The performance began with good returns of spring chinook followed by this summer’s post-dams record returns of sockeye and a great showing of coho. Now the big stars …
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