Trout and kokanee
Anglers planning to fish the put-and-take lakes in Spokane County on opening day can expect good fishing, says regional fish biologist, Randy Osborne. Clear Lake, he says, will have “decent numbers” of rainbow trout 10-11 inches, triploids running about 16 inches and brood fish of about 19 inches. There will also be a good population of brown trout from 8-20 inches.
Fish Lake will have good numbers of eastern brook trout running 8-9 inches, last year’s brookie fry running 10-11 inches, and brood fish running 14-16 inches. Last year’s fry rainbow are running 11-12 inches. Osborne says Fish should be one of the top producers for the opener. No motors allowed.
Fishtrap Lake should have an “okay” opener, says Osborne, with rainbow catchables running about 10 inches, triploids running 16 inches and brood fish running 19-23 inches.
West Medical Lake has a decent carry-over rate with rainbows running 9-12 inches, triploids around 16 inches and brood fish 19-22 inches. There are also some small brown trout available.
Williams Lake catchable rainbows are running about 10 inches, last year’s spring fry are averaging 11 inches, triploids are running about 16 inches and the brood fish average 19 inches. There are also some cutthroat trout and a few tiger trout from previous year’s stockings, and some largemouth bass and pumpkinseed sunfish that have washed out of Badger Lake.
Badger Lake is not expected to fish very well for this season. Largemouth bass and pumpkinseed have negatively impacted the trout fishery. The lake was stocked with a minimal number of rainbow trout catchables and a few brood fish.
Coffeepot Lake is still producing good trout action. Friends who fish it regularly with barbless Hotshots say they lose more than they catch because the acrobatic rainbow easily throw the barbless plugs.
Judging by recent reports, Liberty Lake fishing has improved. Trollers have taken some large rainbow and browns recently, with the strikes coming in bunches, usually later in the day.
Friends who fished Lake Roosevelt this week said fishing was poor with three good anglers catching only four rainbows. They did say, however, that wind made trolling difficult, and reports from Swawilla Basin earlier in the week indicated fishing was excellent there.
The kokanee bite on Chelan has been spotty. If you find a school of willing biters, turn quickly and go back through the same piece of water. These “bites” may last only a few minutes.
Spring plants of rainbows have gone in at both Lake Chelan and Roses Lake, making for some nice fishing.
Idaho Panhandle trout plants continue with numerous small lakes being planted with catchables on Monday. These include Smith, Brush, Jewel, Robinson, Sinclair, Kelso, Granite, Bull Moose, Round, Fernan and Bonner. Kelso and Fernan will receive the largest plants – 3,600 trout each.
Hayden Lake gets crowded, but the fishing remains good for anglers trolling flasher- and Wedding Ring-type lures tipped with maggots at about 45 feet.
Salmon and steelhead
The chinook run is still lagging, but it picked up this week. Anglers are catching some fish in The Dalles and John Day pools. Lower Granite had counted a total of 111 salmon on Monday.
Two sections of the Snake River below Little Goose Dam and Clarkston will open to fishing for spring chinook salmon today. Two other sections of the river below Ice Harbor Dam near Pasco and below Lower Granite Dam will open Sunday. The Little Goose Dam and Clarkston area sections will be open Thursday through Saturday each week, while the sections of the river below Ice Harbor Dam and below Lower Granite Dam are scheduled to be open Sunday through Tuesday each week. With the good-size run forecast for spring chinook, it is likely fishing will be allowed into mid-June. Anglers should review the fishing rule change, posted on WDFW’s website at fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/ efishrules/ before hitting the water.
A Little Salmon River access map and rules brochure is now available on the Washington Fish and Game website at fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/ ?getPage=110, and also at the Lewiston, McCall and Nampa Fish and Game offices. A popular stretch of the Little Salmon River (mentioned in last week’s report) will be accessible for the spring salmon season thanks to an agreement forged by Fish and Game staff and the local landowner.
Two sections of the Yakima River will be opened to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon. Open daily May 3rd through June 15th is the section from the Hwy. 240 Bridge in Richland (river mile 2.1) to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser (river mile 47.0) approximately 1,000 feet downstream of Prosser Dam. Open daily from May 17th through June 30th is a section from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap (river mile 107.1) to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam (river mile 127.8).
Bright Coeur d’Alene chinook salmon are biting helmeted herring trolled at 1.8-2.0 mph on downriggers and side planers. Most of the fish recently have ranged from 5 pounds to almost 10.
The best walleye fishing recently has been on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County. Blade Baits and spinners on bottom bouncers have accounted for good catches, particularly around Medicare Beach and in Crab Creek. Smallmouth bass, some larger than 4 pounds, have been hitting jerkbaits around Goose Island.
Walleye anglers fishing the sides of the river channel are picking up “eating size” walleye in Lake Roosevelt. Heavy jigs are required and chartreuse has been the best color.
Banks Lake is a good bet for smallmouth bass. Throw divers into shallow water and retrieve slowly. You may catch trout this way, too.
Coeur d’Alene Lake pike are just beginning to hit. The Chain lakes are a little better right now.
Razor clam digs continue on the Washington coast through May 4th, and there could be additional May openings later in the month. Clamming has been excellent with big numbers of big clams.
Effective July 1, 2014 – the minimum age to hunt big game in Idaho will be lowered from 12 to 10 years of age.
The deadline for Idaho moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunt applications is April 30th. Apply at Fish and Game license vendors, or by telephone or over the Internet. Telephone applications may be made at 1-800-554-8685; Internet users may apply through Fish and Game’s website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.