A group of fly fishermen testing Lake Lenore from belly boats recently said they were catching 35-40 Lahontan cutthroat each by throwing chironomids on the north end. The fish, they said, were milling about in huge pods about 60 yards off shore. When a pod moved in, fishing was furious for 16- to 28-inch cutts. Anglers fishing from shore have not done nearly as well.
This year’s Spokane Fly Fishers Spring Extravaganza is April 9th. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be in attendance with fishing tips and stocking reports. Project Healing Waters, several fly shops and resorts, the Steelhead Coalition and local fly tiers will also share information. Drop in anytime from 5-7 p.m. The regular meeting will begin at 7:00. Location: St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, Spokane.
A new film “Kiss the Water” is essential viewing for anyone passionate about fly fishing and the art of tying the perfect fly. The film details the life of Megan Boyd, whose expertly crafted Atlantic salmon fishing flies were even used by Prince Charles. The film is available for digital download as well as private screening across the country. You can watch the trailer at http://kissthewater.vhx.tv/
Trout and kokanee
Sprague Lake anglers seem to be having their best luck trolling near the island, but the bite has not been consistent. A lights-out day one time can be a big blank the next. Be aware of closed waters. They will be indicated by markers and signs displayed at the public boat launch. Cow Lake, part of the same drainage, has also had some good trout fishing at times.
Numerous lakes in the Idaho Panhandle will be stocked in April with 9- to 11-inch rainbow. Fernan will receive 3,600 fish the week of April 7th, Lower Twin will get 2,700 and Round Lake, 1,800. Other later stockings will be reported in future columns.
The ice is off Deer Lake and the macks should be near the surface. Anglers have reported more large brookies and rainbow than lake trout, however. Lake resident, Debbie Stewart, caught a 23 ½-inch rainbow off her dock this week and said neighbors are catching quite a few 16-17 inchers.
Amber Lake has delighted anglers since ice-off with many large cutthroat trout hitting everything from flies to Hotshots with single barbless hooks. Although the lake has “dinks,” at least half the catch has been for fish running 18-20 inches.
Rock Lake remains muddy, and anglers are disappointed the normal spring bite never developed. It is possible to catch browns and rainbows at Rock, but this isn’t the “lights out” fishing common in the early spring.
Anglers trolling either lead at four colors or mono on top about 200 feet back have made nice catches of rainbow and a few silvers recently between Spring Canyon and the dam. Whether using flies, spinners or Apexes, pink has been a popular color.
Rufus Woods rainbow have been cooperative lately on the lower end. The fish are shallow and hitting a variety of trolled plugs and flies as well as the usual drifted dark jigs and jigs suspended below a bobber.
Hayden Lake kokanee fishing is not red-hot, but the size of the fish (15 inches and more) make up for it. The best bite has been at mid-lake, but there has not been any consistency to depth.
High, turbid water has swamped the start of this year’s spring chinook fishery, but state fishery managers say there’s still time for good fishing. “We’ve seen this before,” said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for WDFW. “Once conditions improve, catch rates can take off in a big hurry. Fishing conditions have been tough, but this is still just the beginning of the run.” Check the WDFW Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) for updates.
The spring chinook season will begin April 26th on the Clearwater, Lochsa, Lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River in Hells Canyon from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam. Closing dates will be determined later. Limits will be four fish per day with a possession limit of 12 and a season limit of 20 fish. Only two of the daily limit of four fish may be adults on the Lower Salmon, Little Salmon, Snake River and South Fork Clearwater River. Only one of the daily bag limit of four fish may be an adult on the Mainstem Clearwater, North Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater and the Lochsa River. A special restriction will be placed on a short stretch of the Clearwater River known as Big Eddy. Only anglers fishing from the bank will be allowed to fish that section.
Walleye anglers have had some excellent days recently on Lake Roosevelt, particularly near Sterling Point. The trick, they say, is to go extremely slow, using nothing but wind if possible.
The walleye bite is picking up on Potholes Reservoir above Goose Island. Blade baits seem to be most popular there with local anglers, but nightcrawlers on spinner rigs with Smile Blades have been doing very well recently.
Banks Lake anglers are catching a variety of fish – from walleye to perch to bass to burbot. The perch are running 8-12 inches. The walleye must be sorted, but the bite has been good enough to release anything under 15 inches and still get a mess of fish. The walleye are still deep. Heavy bottom bouncers and Double Whammies have been effective.
Rufus Woods is booting out some really nice-sized walleyes.
Eloika Lake largemouth are beginning to stir and a few 4-pound fish were caught recently. Jerkbaits in the afternoons have worked best. There was still some ice this week.
His second trip this spring to the Palouse River for channel cats, says Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service, was much better than the first, and he expects it to improve further as the water warms. He reported catching 11 channel cats between 5 and 10 ½ pounds. Info: 509-999-0717.
The Washington youth turkey season is this weekend and the Idaho youth season runs April 8-14. The general turkey season in both states begins April 15th.