Local lakes are serving to scratch the fishing itch for fly fishermen who are finding high, unfishable water in most area rivers. Float tubers at Williams are seeing a lot of action early for trout up to 16 inches. Black Wooly Buggers are effective. Other lakes like Fish, Medical, Amber, West Medical, Clear, Fishtrap, Sacheen and Marshall are also good at times.
Trout and kokanee
Clear Lake trollers are finding plenty of 12-inch trout along the east side. The fish are mostly between 15 and 35 feet, hitting Wedding Rings and flies tipped with worm.
The south side of Williams Lake has been good to trollers all the way to the famous Tree 11, where still-fishermen are also doing well with salmon eggs, PowerBait and dyed marshmallows.
The West Medical trout bite has been particularly good in the morning. Boat fishermen and bank/dock fishermen, are doing well on assorted dough baits, worms and marshmallows.
Trout fishing remains good on Diamond Lake and many anglers are taking limits. The 8- to 10-inch rainbow are shallow and the larger rainbows and browns (14-16 inches) are closer to the bottom.
It is not uncommon for Waitts Lake trollers to limit in an hour on 12-inch browns and larger rainbow by dragging a fly and flasher down the middle. The deeper you troll, the larger the fish.
Rock Lake trout, mostly browns, are hitting near the surface on a variety of plugs and flies. Bright colors seem to work best. The water is still somewhat discolored.
Sprague Lake trout seem to grow larger each week. Many are just at 19 inches, but anglers commonly take fish more than 23 inches. Marshmallows and worms have been the most popular bait.
The big Lake Roosevelt trout are still in abundance, at least near the mouth of the San Poil. All fish came from the top 10 feet of water.
Loon Lake kokanee were up high last week. I caught mine on just one color of leaded line, 30 feet of mono, a flasher, and a Wedding Ring-type lure baited with maggots.
Park Lake in Grant County continues to give up rainbows and a few large browns to trollers, and bass fishermen are picking up a variety of smallmouth and largemouth.
Omak Lake trollers last week said the cutthroat action was consistent at 10-40 feet. Needlefish and similar lures were what the cutts wanted and several of them approached 10 pounds. Nearby, Buffalo Lake is also good for 16-inch plants and larger carryovers. Both lakes are on the Colville Reservation.
A few small kokanee have been showing for Coeur d’Alene trollers near Harrison. The good bite is still a couple of weeks away.
Idaho’s Fernan Lake provides excellent fishing for 9- to 10-inch rainbow. Channel cats to 8 pounds are also being caught.
Salmon and steelhead
The ocean salmon opener is Saturday. Anglers may keep two hatchery chinook through June 13. After that, the daily limit is one chinook, and one hatchery coho or two hatchery coho. With the spring chinook season now closed on the lower Snake River, anglers are searching elsewhere for their salmon fix. Fishing in the lower Clearwater (downstream of Cherrylane Bridge) remained constant last week with 16 hours per fish. No salmon were verified caught last week on the Little Salmon River. Best bet is to fish the lower Salmon River (Slate Creek area) and near the mouth of the Little Salmon River.
The Icicle River will be open through July 31 for chinook. A few big fish have shown recently.
Starting Saturday, anglers will get two more weeks to catch hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon and steelhead in waters of the Columbia River stretching more than 160 miles upriver from Bonneville Dam.
Recreational fishing closed in that area May 9, but fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved an extension through June 15 after transferring a portion of the upriver spring chinook allocation from the ongoing fishery below Bonneville Dam.
Bass fishing has picked up on Diamond Lake. Wacky rigged Senko worms have been good.
Downs and Bonnie lakes are giving up some big crappie. Both lakes are also producing largemouth bass, but Bonnie Lake anglers are also finding some outsized perch. The outlet creek, which is also the boat access to the lake, is running high.
At Long Lake (Lake Spokane), anglers are finding some nice perch in 10-12 feet of water near Tum Tum. Largemouth bass are also biting, but the crappie bite has slowed down.
Walleye anglers on Moses Lake haven’t had to motor too far from Connelly Park to find fish recently. A 2-ounce bottom walker with a 3-foot leader followed by a Slow Death Hook with a green Smile Blade has been extremely effective. Some big perch are also coming in.
Blue Lake in Grant County is good for planter rainbow, but the smallmouth action is also creating some interest. Topwater action is good.
Bass fishermen throwing topwater frogs have taken some 5-pounders from Silver Lake. Senkos are also drawing strikes.
Walleye anglers on Banks Lake are finding some larger fish. On Lake Roosevelt, Porcupine Bay was good over the Memorial Day Weekend, but the ’eyes were fairly small.
Columbia River walleye were biting well this week in the Celilo/Umatilla area. Anglers say this is one of the best walleye years on the Columbia with fish averaging 2 pounds. The bite is early.
Pike are hitting floating plugs in the shallows of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Chain Lakes are also producing smaller pike and some decent bass. Crappie fishing has slowed, however.
Channel cats are biting at the mouth of the Palouse River, reports Ashley Lotscher at the KOA Lyons Ferry Marina.
June is one of the best months to chase Snake River sturgeon – in Hells Canyon where it is catch and release, but also below Lower Granite where fish of the appropriate size may be retained.
The summer crab-fishing seasons for Puget Sound start Sunday, with an early opening in Marine Area 13 south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Most other areas of the Sound will open July 3.
The last razor clam digs of the spring will wrap up Sunday on a season that produced the most and largest clams in 30 years. All digs will be in the morning on minus tides.
Turkey hunters have through Saturday to get their tom. Birds are still out there gobbling and the big harems have diminished as most of the hens are nesting.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
Most recent column
The curtain has opened on the last act in the Columbia River system’s “Year of the Salmon.” The performance began with good returns of spring chinook followed by this summer’s post-dams record returns of sockeye and a great showing of coho. Now the big stars …
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