Amber Lake cutts are lying near the bottom and not moving very far to feed. The narrows on the west end have been good in the evening.
The entire Yakima River system has been fishing well, but the upper river might be the best. Nymphs are the most consistent. The Teanaway River, which enters the Yakima, is excellent for fishermen tossing dries.
The Cle Elum River doesn’t produce big numbers of rainbow and cutthroat, but those caught are usually large. The river has numerous false channels and lots of log jams, so it would make sense to float it the first time with a guide.
The Clark Fork has leveled off and the river is returning to a fishable green color with just over two feet of visibility. It isn’t perfect, but it is doable. Caddis are showing.
Trout and kokanee
It was tough fishing on a hot day for two friends and me on Sprague Lake Monday, with just four big rainbow to show for seven hours of effort, but things picked up Tuesday when the weather cooled. A call from Bill Blosser Tuesday afternoon reported his two young grandsons caught six 18- to 20-inch trout dunking worms and marshmallows near the island.
Night fishing at Loon Lake picked right up again as soon as the weather warmed. Limits are the rule at night in 32 feet of water. The fish are running 11-12 inches. Daytime trollers are also doing well at Loon with most strikes coming at 25 feet near the windmill house and just around the first point past the public launch. Pink hoochies or spinners baited with maggots or white corn 18 inches from a small dodger is a consistent winner.
Kokanee anglers fishing in Swawilla Basin on Lake Roosevelt are getting a few 17- to 20-inch kokanee at 35-45 feet. Now that the water is close to full pool, the kokes should begin schooling and much better fishing is expected.
The carryover trout in the same Swawilla area have gone much deeper – 40 to 45 feet – but the new 10- to 11-inch plants are everywhere. Action is relatively slow on the bigger fish.
Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho is a good spot for kokanee averaging about 10 inches. Currently, most of the effort is between Canyon Creek and Dent Bridge, but Fish and Game says they have also marked good densities of kokanee farther up the reservoir.
A friend who fished Clear Lake recently said there was a lot of slime and weeds in the water, possibly caused by high winds. No such problems were reported at Fishtrap and Williams, where limits are still the rule.
Jameson Lake has been good for 11- to 13-inch rainbow report anglers at Jack’s Resort. The bite has been fairly consistent throughout the day.
Omak Lake produced some large cutthroat last week for anglers trolling or casting Vibrex lures. Many of the fish are over 20 inches long, but several over 30 inches were also netted.
The Lake Chelan kokanee fishery can be frustrating, but anglers say many hours of nothing can quickly turn into lights-out fishing. Rocky Point has been mentioned several times recently as the place to start.
Hayden Lake kokanee fishing was poor this week.
Salmon and steelhead
For the first time in almost 40 years, anglers will have a chance to fish for spring chinook on the Grande Ronde River this Friday through Monday. The purpose of this brief pilot fishery is to get an initial measure of angler participation and catch rates. The river will be open from the Oregon/Washington border to a deadline 100 yards upstream of the Wildcat/Powwatka Bridge on Grande Ronde River Rd. Daily bag limit will be two adult fin-clipped chinook and five fin-clipped jacks. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required. The area at the mouth of the Wenaha River at Troy, Oregon, will be closed to protect wild stocks.
Fishing for chinook salmon in the Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers will be closed at the end of fishing hours on Sunday. This closure marks the end of the spring chinook fishery in the Clearwater Drainage. The Little Salmon River will be open at least through Friday. It may continue after that if fish managers determine the sports quota has not been met.
Sockeye salmon are starting to surge up the Columbia River on their spawning mission toward the Okanogan and Wenatchee rivers. The run, expected to number 347,100 sockeye, is hitting stride with daily counts at Bonneville Dam rising daily. Last weekend, salmon anglers at Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) averaged a fish per rod. The majority of the catch were coho. Westport chinook anglers who were able to cross the bar were finding fish in 50 feet of water. Pink Lady divers and herring have been effective.
Banks Lake walleye are hitting bottom walkers and nightcrawlers near Steamboat Rock. As always, “keepers” of 16 inches or more are less common than the smaller fish, but some really large ’eyes have been mixed in recently. The bigger fish have been on the move. Smallmouth bass fishing on Banks Lake continues to be outstanding. Find shallow rocky flats and you’ll find fish.
Small Snake River smallmouth are easy to find in 4 to 7 feet of water. Just about anything, from spinner baits to plastics, are taking fish from Lower Granite to Lewiston. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good on Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho. A lot of smaller fish to 13 inches are showing, but recent warmer surface temperatures combined with the end of spawning activity has sent the larger fish into deeper water.
Potholes walleye appear to be moving from shallow to deep water and the bite has been off some.
A couple tiger muskie were taken at Silver Lake this week. One was caught from the dock at the public access.
Sturgeon fishing below Lower Granite Dam has been hit or miss depending on water temperature. Guide Craig Dowdy said the bite was “on fire” when the water temperature hit 60 degrees two weeks ago, then tapered way off when temperatures dropped. This week, it looks like the magic 60 degrees mark will be hit again and Dowdy expects good fishing for the next two weeks. Sturgeon anglers are also catching some channel cats.
Catch rates for shad were still good for anglers in the Columbia Gorge last weekend, where boat anglers averaged ten shad caught per boat, and the bank fishermen averaged 3.7 shad per angler.
Since 2009, when sandhill crane tags were made available on a first-come first-served basis in Idaho, the harvest per tag purchased has averaged 48 percent. To stay at or below the Pacific Flyway harvest allocation of 120 cranes, Idaho Fish and Game proposes to reduce tags to a maximum of 240 this year.
Most recent column
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