At times during the week, Amber Lake fly fishermen have not even had to put their belly boats or pontoons in the water. Fish are often working near shore, even at the public access. Blood worms under an indicator are taking a lot of 14- to 18-inch cutthroats. Evenings have been good.
A little surge of water on the St. Joe last week got the cutts hitting streamers, and dry fly fishing picked up too. Fish are still in the slow currents but have also started to move into some of the more traditional spring water. As the air temperatures go up, so will the river, so keep an eye on flows after this weekend.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene has seen a little bump in flow, but is very fishable. Streamers are the best bet, but there has been some dry fly action. The river is still big, so wading will be tough.
Trout and kokanee
An April 1st trout plant of 1,000 rainbow averaging 1 ½ pounds is already producing for Deer Lake trollers dragging Wedding Rings and worms. The best bite is in the morning.
Medical Lake isn’t just about fly fishing. Anglers throwing barbless spinners and spoons deep are also taking some big rainbow and browns. There is evidence of PowerBait and worms being used illegally in places around the lake, however.
Friends who fished Cow Lake recently said the rainbow weren’t biting, and neither were the bass. They figured the presence of three 4-foot otters may have had something to do with the poor fishing. The lake level is very low. Sprague Lake has been much better for trout. Trollers do best, but a friend fishing there from the public access this week caught a limit of 15- to 16-inch rainbow on PowerBait.
Coffeepot Lake trout fishing is still good for rainbow running about 18 inches and more. Coffeepot is a selective gear lake, but barbless plugs work as well as flies.
Upper Goose in Grant County has been decent to good for 12- to 15-inch rainbow.
Kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan has been tough recently, but while not producing the numbers it did last year, there are still quality 18- to 20-inch kokes available. Anglers are looking hard for their fish in all the usual places – Minneapolis Beach, Rocky Point, the Monuments and the Narrows. Pink or orange hootchies tipped with pieces of shrimp have been popular, as are Mack’s Cha Cha Squidders trolled at speeds of .9 to 1.4 mph at 40-80 feet. The bite has been best at first light.
Four friends fished Jones Bay from shore on Tuesday and took limits of 16- to 20-inch rainbow in 1 ½ hours.
They fished right at the launch, putting PowerBait or marshmallows and worms on bottom under a slip sinker. Trollers have also been doing well at Hanson Harbor and Spring Canyon for trout, but kokanee have been scarce.
Lake Roosevelt is dropping and will be at about 1,247 feet by the weekend. This eliminates quite a few launches, but Ft. Spokane, Lincoln, Porcupine Bay. Kettle Falls, Hunters, Keller. Seven Bays and Spring Canyon should still be usable.
Idaho Fish and Game continues to plant Panhandle lakes with catchables, and on April 14th, Post Falls Park Pond will receive 450 rainbow, Stoneridge Reservoir will get 900 and Upper Twin Lake will receive 1,800.
Salmon and steelhead
Columbia River anglers will get a few more days to catch hatchery- reared spring chinook salmon, as the season has been extended through Monday below Bonneville Dam. Although catch rates improved for boat anglers with 0.78 spring chinook caught per boat, the sports catch on the lower river is well below the harvest guideline. Anglers may get another chance to catch hatchery spring chinook later this spring when the run forecast is updated.
Spring chinook angling is open from Tower Island power lines upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam, as well as the banks between Bonneville and Tower Island power lines.
Snake River recreational fisheries (Washington waters) do not open until late April. The pre-season allocation for Snake River sport fisheries is 950 chinook.
It’s still early, but the largemouth bass bite on Eloika, Newman and Silver lakes has picked up. Anglers are having success casting diving plugs, letting them tick the bottom, then beginning a slow retrieve. A few tiger muskies have been taken at Silver and Newman.
Spring walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir doesn’t get much better than it was this week. Anglers are fishing the mouth of Lind Coulee, the face of the dunes, Crab Creek and Perch Point, catching walleye from 12-50 feet in all areas, using drag spinners with nightcrawlers or dunk blade baits. Info: Ross Outdoor Adventures (509) 750-7763.
Banks Lake walleye, too, are on the bite, but there are a lot of undersized fish. A few large perch have been landed recently, and trollers dragging spinners and nightcrawlers are even getting a burbot now and then.
Big Wally’s Guide Service says walleye fishing on Rufus Woods has been excellent early. The ticket has been pulling 1 1/2-ounce bottom bouncers in front of a Macks Lure Smile Blade/Slow Death Hook combo topped off with a nightcrawler. The walleye are in depths of 14-25 feet.
Walleye fishing has been excellent in the Dalles pool.
Catfish action is picking up on the Palouse. Decent numbers are starting to come in. Fishing at night has produced the largest catches of fish in the 4- to 10-pound range. Try using night crawlers or cut bait just off the bottom.
My family and I are heading to Long Beach the weekend of April 19-20 to take in the annual Clam Festival and the projected excellent razor clam dig. Both days have late morning low tides.
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