The Clark Fork near St. Maries was running at 8,240 cfs at midweek and on a steady decline. Fishing was reported to be good but not great. The 10-day forecast is for cooler temperatures, which should keep the water dropping. Closer to Missoula, fishing has been good on Rock Creek and the Bitterroot. Water continues to drop with temperatures slowly climbing. March Browns have been out along with Baetis in the afternoon.
Nunnally Lake rainbow and tiger trout are taking chironomids. Dry Falls has been on fire. If you find the right fly, Medical Lake has been excellent for browns and rainbow. Five-pound fish are not uncommon.
The Yakima River is slowly leveling out. From Teanaway River on up, it is good to go and the lower canyon is looking better but still high. The upper canyon is also an option.
Lake Lenore is murky and fishing has been slow. The typical fish is around 20 inches. Lenice and Merry have been good at times.
Trout and kokanee
Despite the falling water level, Lake Roosevelt trout fishermen are generally having good success. Friends fishing from shore at Hansen Harbor caught limits of chunky rainbow this week, though other friends closer to Lincoln on the same day had nothing to show for five hours of plunking. Pat Conley of the White Elephant and two of his sons, Ben and Jordon, fished three days at Swawilla Basin recently, catching trout and a dozen kokanee each day. They were trolling pink or orange Rocky Mountain Signature Squid and maggots.
Sprague Lake anglers are catching a lot of 12-inch rainbow, but it is the big carryovers that are creating the most excitement. Reports of 5- to 8-pound fish are coming in on a regular basis. Trollers dragging green or orange Wedding Rings and flashers are taking many of them.
Coffeepot Lake is still kicking out some big rainbow for anglers trolling plugs. The bottom of the upper lake right before the shallows has been excellent. The narrows have 2 feet of water at the shallowest spot.
Rock Lake anglers are trolling big plugs for big browns. Fish up to 28 inches long have been reported, but the rainbow are bigger on average. Water temperature is 40 degrees.
A few reports are finally coming in from Deer Lake. Water is up, so launching at the public access is not a problem. Anglers are catching mackinaw on top and rainbow in the shallows. Macks have been up to 12 pounds.
Steelhead and salmon
Salmonid effort on the lower Columbia is low. In addition to high flows, water visibility is reduced at Bonneville Dam with less than 3 feet each day during the past week.
Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River system has been excellent with hours fished per fish caught in the single digits. Upstream from the East Fork Salmon, and in the Little Salmon, catch ratios have been less than four hours of effort per fish.
Some big smallmouth are coming from Potholes Reservoir by the dam in about 15 feet of water. A 6-pounder was caught this week. Walleye fishing on the lake and also the Lind Coulee has been slow. Water temperatures are around 50 degrees. Largemouth are just becoming active in the sand dunes.
Banks Lake walleye fishermen are finding 15- to 20-inch fish near Coulee Playland in 20-40 feet of water.
Lake Roosevelt jiggers are still finding walleye above Kettle Falls, mostly 16-19 inches. The lake was at 1,236 feet at midweek and dropping. Most likely, the only usable launches by the weekend will be Spring Canyon, Keller Ferry, Seven Bays and Hunters.
Walleye anglers on The Dalles Pool are averaging more than three walleyes per rod. Bank anglers are catching some smallmouth bass.
Anglers are catching lots of small pike from the Pend Oreille River. Cast spoons along old weed beds in the main river.
Downs Lake is probably the best largemouth destination around until the weather warms up.
Spring is the best time for big sturgeon on the Snake River. If you still have not checked one of these dinosaurs off of your bucket list, consider contacting a guide such as Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing who chases the fish in Hells Canyon. Info: (208) 790-2128.
A five-day razor clam dig on ocean beaches begins Tuesday.
Two beaches – Long Beach and Twin Harbors – will open for digging Tuesday through April 22 until noon each day, plus April 23 until 1 p.m. Copalis and Mocrocks will be open for digging Thursday and next Friday until noon and April 23 until 1 p.m. under that plan.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved new hunting rules for deer, elk and other game animals during a public meeting here April 8-9. None of those proposals drew more public comments – both pro and con – than one that adds a four-point antler restriction for hunting white-tailed deer in game management units (GMU) 117 and 121 in Stevens County. In years past, hunters have been allowed to take any buck in those two GMUs.
Black bear hunters heading out today for the start of general Idaho black bear season in the Upper Snake Region should be careful to identify the species of bear they are looking at before they pull the trigger. Not only is species identification important, but in Idaho it is legal to take a female bear as long as no cubs are present. Bear hunters should take the time to watch for cubs and make sure the bear is a black bear and not a grizzly.
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