Trout and kokanee
Loon Lake trollers are already finding kokanee ranging from 9 ½ to 11 ½ inches. A friend trolling just out of the public access on opening day said he caught a limit dragging a flasher and Wedding Ring at 2 ½ colors. He reported that some kokanee anglers near him said they caught more rainbow than kokes, and these averaged 1 ½ pounds and went as large as 5 pounds. A few tiger trout were also caught.
Deer Lake fishing has been good. Anglers trolling or throwing spinners near the shorelines are catching rainbow of all sizes – including some nearing 5 pounds.
Jump-Off Joe Lake was not as productive for big browns this year as in years past. Anglers there caught plenty of newly-planted trout to 11 inches, but saw very few of the 18- and 19-inch fish present last year.
On Waitts Lake, anglers were finding two distinct sizes of rainbow – some 9-10 inches and others 13-15 inches. Most brown trout were running about a foot. Trolling at mid-lake with 2 ½ colors of leaded line, flashers and flies brought limits in a couple hours.
Diamond Lake has a good number of 9- to 10-inch rainbow as well as triploids over a pound. Fishing on the opener was good.
Williams Lake, with 5,000 recently-planted catchable rainbow, 1,000 triploids and 400 jumbos, was perhaps the best opening day destination.
Fish Lake in Spokane County provided good fishing on the opener with brook trout and rainbow of all sizes, including some 15-inch carryovers and jumbos even larger. The fish were caught mostly by trollers in the top 10 feet of water.
Buffalo Lake on the Colville Reservation requires a Tribal Permit, but the fishing has been fast for 16-inch rainbow plants and carryovers to 20 inches and more.
Badger Lake was mostly a disappointment to opening day anglers despite a recent plant of 1,000 catchables and 200 jumbos. Stunted bass and sunfish were bothersome.
West Medical Lake was popular on opening day and shore anglers throwing bait might have done even better than those with boats. Action was steady on rainbow catchables as well as a lot of fish running 13-18 inches.
Jones Bay on Lake Roosevelt has lost so much water it is barely a bay, but trout fishing from shore with marshmallows and PowerBait was excellent early in the week. Swawilla Basin has also been excellent for rainbow as well as kokanee that are hitting pink or purple Apexes and jointed Rapalas near the surface.
Trollers are beginning to catch kokanee from Billy Clapp Lake, part of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area. The fish are running about 12 inches.
Grant County’s Martha Lake was excellent for trollers this week, offering up limits of 10-11-inch rainbow. Many of the fish hit Rapalas on top.
Blue Lake, also in Grant County, appears to be stuffed with 10- to 11-inch rainbow. Anglers pulling small Rapalas on top were taking their fish this week from the launch north. Park Lake also, appears to have a lot of cookie-cutter rainbow.
Wapato Lake in Chelan County has a good population of trout, with the largest caught recently weighed around 3 pounds.
Conconully in Okanogan County was good from shore on opening day for anglers putting PowerBait on bottom. A lot of the rainbow were over a pound.
The Lake Pend Oreille Spring Derby which ends Sunday is seeing some strong competition in all divisions. Currently, the heaviest rainbow weighed is an 18 ½ pounder stretching 30 inches. The next four rainbow are even longer but weigh up to 3 pounds less. The heaviest mackinaw weighed so far was 19.72 pounds and the largest kokanee was 15 ½ inches.
Salmon and steelhead
The chinook bite on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been very good. Trollers dragging helmeted herring at 30 feet are connecting fairly regularly.
Get ready. Lower Granite Dam is starting to see triple digit chinook days with a total of 860 fish as of Tuesday. Bonneville Dam is consistently counting over 4,000 fish a day with 8,481 passing Tuesday for a total of 61,253.
Kyle Jones Sportsfishing reports chinook fishing on Drano and the Wind River has been good at times and predicts excellent fishing by the weekend.
Crappie fishing on Long Lake has already begun and anglers are reporting a few fish up to 15 inches with an average length only a couple inches shorter. Try a baited micro jig under a bobber in shallow water.
Eloika Lake largemouth to 18 inches are becoming more aggressive. No report so far on the crappie bite.
The walleye bite is on at Rufus Woods, with anglers bouncing jigs or trolling Smile Blades with a Slow Death Hook and nightcrawler are taking a lot of 17- to 22-inch fish as well as some much larger females.
Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir in Grant County are also giving up a lot of walleye using the same presentations as on Rufus Woods, but bottom boun- cers and baited spinners are also effective. Fish the north and south end of Moses Lake in water less than 10 feet deep. On Potholes, head to Lind Coulee and fish all the way to the bridge. Anglers on both lakes are also catching good numbers of smallmouth and a few perch.
One Hundred teams fished the Lester V. Smith pike Tourney on Lake Coeur d’Alene last weekend. Fishing wasn’t fast, but a number of pike in excess of 10 pounds were caught, with the big fish going to 17 ½ pounds. Anglers said the water was murky where the streams ran in, but jerk baits were enticing fish near the south end. The winning team of Marlow and McManus weighed in 42.76 pounds.
Anglers participating in the three-fish derby on Banks Lake last weekend had a tough time finding walleye, but the smallmouth fishing was good and a number of rainbow were caught.
Carp in the shallows at Scooteney Lake are providing good shooting for archers when weather cooperates. Scooteney is about 9 miles southeast of Othello, west of Highway SR-17.
Hunters have through May 22 to apply for special hunting permits for fall deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons in Washington State. Applications and licenses are available from license vendors statewide or on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa
There are still a lot of tom and jake turkeys around looking for love, as many of hens have gone off to nest. A friend, Mike Sweeney of Spokane, set up in a snow storm near Mt. Spokane last Sunday and had five jakes and a tom come sprinting to his decoy as soon as he called. Tuesday morning, I called in a whole flock of jakes – nine in all.