Since Washington, Idaho and Montana rivers are running high and fast, fly fishing is mostly on hold except in some of the small spring creeks. The Coeur d’Alene River is fishable in the seams but certainly not prime. The best bet is the lowland lakes. Amber and Medical have been good, and the many Grant County lakes can be excellent.
Trout and kokanee
The top four producing lowland trout lakes last week were Williams, West Medical, Fishtrap and Clear. Williams fish come in a variety of sizes, with plenty more than 18 inches. West Medical is producing rainbow limits of fish averaging about a pound each, with some running 4 pounds and better.
Sprague has been excellent for 15- to 23-inch rainbow, and the bite at nearby Cow has been good. Downs Lake trout fishing is picking up. Most rainbow are around a foot in length.
Loon Lake kokanee trollers are not going far from the public launch to find their fish, sometimes in water only 20 feet deep.
On Diamond Lake, an excellent report came from an angler trolling four colors of leaded line straight out from the public access. The fish are mostly cookie-cutter 12 inchers.
Twin Lakes at Inchelium is an excellent spot for big triploid rainbow.
Fish as large as 6 ½ pounds have been taken recently, many from the dock at Log Cabin Resort. The largemouth fishing is good.
Park Lake in Grant Country has been red-hot for rainbow since the opener. Both trollers and still-fishermen are doing well for fish up to 18 inches.
Blue Lake, also in Grant County, appears to be loaded with 10-inch rainbow, but there are also some big browns available.
East of Park Lake, Deep Lake is an underused fishery that has good rainbow fishing, as well as decent-sized kokanee.
Kokanee anglers are still managing to hook up with some nice fish on Lake Chelan, but the fishing is far from fast. Trollers this week were finding fish at about 65 feet. Most were 15-16 inches, but some went as large as 19 inches.
Jameson Lake in Douglas County is starting to show some algae, but trout fishing is still decent. Watch out for rattlesnakes.
Priest Lake anglers trolling dodgers and squids are boating fair numbers of 4- to 9-pound macks by dragging the bottom in 80-120 feet.
Salmon and steelhead
The harvest of chinook salmon on the lower Clearwater River from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge near Lewiston upstream to the Cherry Lane Bridge is closed. Anglers may continue to fish for jack salmon (chinook less than 24 inches in length) on this river section. The season continues on the North Fork Clearwater as well as the lower Salmon River, the Little Salmon River and the Lochsa River.
The Snake River upstream from Lower Granite has seen some muddy water and a lot of debris, but salmon anglers are taking fish from boat and shore.
Plunking a Spin ’n Glo tipped with shrimp or eggs under an egg loop has produced some nice chinook by shore fishermen.
Chinook fishing has been tough at Drano and off the mouth of the Wind River, but anglers trolling the 3.5 Mag Lip Flatfish and prawn spinners are putting a few fish in the boat. Spring salmon continue to pass over Bonneville Dam and the fishing on the lower Columbia will be good for a while.
Coeur d’Alene chinook action has slowed some as the fish disperse in the warming water.
A few fish are still being taken from the surface, but more are showing at 30-40 feet. Only a few kokanee have been caught.
Largemouth bass are becoming more active on Eloika Lake and some big ones have shown. Weed edges and reeds right next to shore are most productive.
A friend fished the north end of Sacheen Lake recently and said he caught a few big crappie and a dozen 9-inch perch. Bass anglers are also taking some decent-sized largemouth from the lake.
Crappie are also being taken on Long Lake by anglers fishing in the afternoon after the water warms some. Felton Slough and near the island at Willow Bay have been good. The reservoir is still filling and there is a lot of debris in the water.
Downs Lake crappie are running well more than 9 inches. The bass bite is fair, but the big perch haven’t shown.
Moses Lake has been nothing short of phenomenal this year for multiple species. Walleye and smallmouth bass are full of crawdads, but it hasn’t affected their appetites. Potholes has also been excellent for walleye and smallmouth. For largemouth, head into the sand dunes where fish up to 4 pounds have been relatively common.
Walleye fishing in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt has been “lights-out,” according to several reports. Although the fishing will slow now that the river is rising, many who fished last week said it was not unusual to net 40 fish a day, most coming from 15-40 feet of water.
There have been a lot of small fish, but also good numbers of “eaters” running 16-22 inches. Jigs and 4-inch worms have done most of the damage, but blade baits are also a good choice. The river is rising and is projected to be at 1,247 feet by Saturday.
Launch minimum at Porcupine is 1,243. Keller and Spring Canyon are also useable, but Fort Spokane is on the cusp.
Pike fishing should be getting good on Coeur d’Alene Lake as the fish move into the shallows. Smallmouth action on pre-spawn fish has been excellent. Lipless crankbaits are effective.
Hayden Lake crappie are plentiful, and though there are a lot of sub-legal fish (there’s a 10-inch minimum), a few keepers are usually in the mix. Fernan Lake has been good for trout, but good-sized crappie and perch are getting more angler attention.
Walleye fishing was excellent in The Dalles and John Day pools last week.
Catfishing has taken off on the Palouse River with consistent catches of 3- to -6-pounders and some as large as 10 pounds. Fish just off the bottom.
A few sturgeon have been caught from shore at Lower Granite Dam – a good sign the fishery is about to light up, especially for boat fishermen.
The recent razor clam season on Long Beach produced a lot of good-sized clams. Surf-fishing for perch extended the enjoyment of those who wanted additional action. Sea bass and lingcod have been biting for charter boat anglers out of Westport. The water is unseasonably warm, and a good tuna season is predicted.
Shad fishing has opened from Buoy 10 upstream to the Washington/ Oregon border. The fishery is just beginning. A few fish are being caught in the lower Columbia.
Contact Alan Liere by email at email@example.com
Most recent column
If there’s a consensus about anything in Northwest fishing circles it’s that steelhead and salmon deserve the highest respect. Their migrations up and down natal streams and survival in the predator-infested nightmare of the ocean set them apart in the angler’s heart. But some fishermen …
Recent blog posts
TRAILS -- Somebody made out like a bandit in an auction benefitting the Ferry County Rail Trail. Eddie Vedder and the rock group Pearl Jam band members supported the 25-mile ...
HUNTING -- Today's the day many sportsmen have been anticipating for months -- the opening of hunting seasons what will continue off and on into winter. Hikers and campers are ...