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Fishing Report


Angling success at Loon Lake varies from day to day. For example, fishing was excellent last Friday and Saturday, somewhat slow Sunday and fair to good on Monday.

“Fishing is best before the water skiers get out on the lake and roil up the water,” Joe Haley of Granite Point Resort said.

“It’s best to troll early during week-days, when there are few people on the lake. However, fishermen can catch fish all day.”

Most successful anglers have been letting out 3 to 3 1/2 colors of leaded line. They use OOO Dodgers or two- to five-bladed flashers ahead of their lures. The Fisher Fly, baited with maggot or corn, is one of the most productive set-ups.

Still fishing at night remains sporadic.

Haley said kokanee in Loon average 13 inches long.

Most anglers are still catching limits of kokanee to 15 inches at Lake Mary Ronan, but action over Memorial Day Weekend wasn’t quite as fast as it was on opening weekend, Gary Thomas of Camp Tuffit said.

Most of the kokanee average 13 1/2 inches, he said.

Thomas said anglers also are catching some rainbows and perch. He said he’s seen rainbows to 3 pounds and perch that measured 10 to 11 inches.

Callibaetis mayflies started hatching this week, Thomas said. Both the kokanee and trout feed on mayfly nymphs and adults.

Fastest kokanee fishing in North Idaho is at Spirit Lake and behind Dworshak Dam. The kokanee are small, running 7 to 9 inches, but plentiful, and anglers have been taking 25-fish limits in 2-3 hours.

Trout, West Yellowstone

The Madison River has been producing surprisingly good fishing for rainbows the last couple of weeks.

Dick Green, new owner of Bud Lilly’s shop at West Yellowstone, said clients have been catching good numbers of rainbows ranging from 8 to 22 inches long.

Montana’s fish and game agency reported several months ago that 90 percent of the rainbows in the Madison below Quake lake have been afflicted with the “whirling disease” and have died.

Green said fishermen have been catching five rainbows for every brown trout.

The stream may be high and muddy this weekend. Warm weather earlier this week caused increased runoff.

Green said Idaho’s famous Henry’s Fork has been producing excellent fishing. Caddisflies have been hatching and salmonflies are moving up from Ashton. Fly fishers have been using Girdle Bugs to simulate nymphs of the big salmonflies.

The Firehole in Yellowstone park has been providing excellent fly fishing, Green said. Caddisflies, pale morning duns and baetis mayflies have been hatching.

Green, formerly of Minneapolis, said he bought the Bud Lilly shop from Jim Criner, who will continue, at least for the time being, to be associated with the shop.

Trout, Idaho

Most of North Idaho’s popular cutthroat streams were high and clear over Memorial Day Weekend.

The Coeur d’Alene was in the best condition for fishing, with both spin and fly fishermen faring well.

The St. Joe also was fishable. It was clear and high, but was dropping as the holiday ended.

The Lochsa and Selway rivers and Kelly Creek were clear and high over the weekend. However, water velocity was too high for fly fishing. Forest Service officials said spin fishing was fairly productive.

The Coeur d’Alene may be in good, fishable condition this weekend. However, as the result of high temperatures, the run-off may increase and the St. Joe, Lochsa and Selway rivers and Kelly Creek could color up enough to make fishing difficult.

Several North Idaho lakes are good bets for trout, but Cocolalla and Pend Oreille may be among the best. Anglers caught nice-sized trout during the Memorial Day weekend at Cocolalla and big mackinaw trout at Pend Oreille.

The largest mack reported caught at Pend Oreille was a 28-pounder. Several macks in the 13- to 18-pound class also were boated.

Jeff Smith of the Fins & Feathers shop said anglers can troll and jig for the macks at Pend Oreille. Unlike the macks in Priest, the macks in Pend Oreille often will suspend around bait schools.

Trout, Washington

Fishing was slow at many Eastern Washington lakes over Memorial Day Weekend. Even the selective fishery and fly fishing-only lakes proved disappointing.

Many fly fishers, for example, said they had trouble catching fish at Dry Falls, Ell, Aenaes and Chopaka lakes, as well as small Ferry and Stevens county lakes that usually produce excellent fishing for pan-sized trout.

Damselflies and dragonflies are hatching at most lakes and fly fishers, using patterns that suggest the nymphs of the big bugs, should do well at times. Chironomid hatches are peaking.

Grimes Lake, which was opened to fishing Thursday, should provide fair to good fishing this weekend for Lahontan cutthroat that average about 20 inches. However, in past years, the best fishing of each season usually is on opening day.

Spiny-rayed species

If you’re interested in catching smallmouth bass, now is the time to fish Lake Roosevelt, the Potholes Reservoir or the Snake River.

Guide John Carruth of Davenport said fishing for smallmouth bass is excellent at Lake Roosevelt. The bass are on the shallow flats and the sandy and gravel points.

The smallmouths will hit plugs or take jigs with curly tail grubs. The bass average 1 to 2 pounds, but fishermen sometimes hook bass to nearly 5 pounds.

Carruth also said walleye fishing is good at the lake. The walleyes also are in shallow water. He said he has had his clients use spinners and jigs.

About half the walleyes hooked are keepers, Carruth said.

The Spokane River arm of Lake Roosevelt was opened to fishing Thursday. The arm is closed during the walleye spawning season each year. Many walleye fishermen likely will be on the river this weekend.

Incidentally, walleye fishing has been good at Sprague Lake, with anglers frequently hooking fish more than 18 inches long.

Mike Mielke, operator of the Sprague Lake Resort, said he has seen numerous 18- to 24-inch walleyes the last 10 days.

When I was at the lake last week, three teenagers came to the launch ramp with three walleyes they showed to us and others. The largest was 16 inches long. All three were illegal.

Mielke said many fishermen have been violating the walleye regulations at Sprague Lake by killing fish less than 18 inches long.

Although bluegill fishing was slow over the weekend, some anglers found schools of 7- to 8-inch crappies in 7 feet of water, Mielke said.

Smallmouth bass and walleye fishing has been excellent at the Potholes Reservoir, Mike Meseberg of the Mar-Don Resort reported.

The smallmouths are near the face of the O’Sullivan Dam and the walleyes are near Goose Island, in the Crab Creek channel, Lind Coulee and the Winchester channel on the west side of the sand dune islands.

Meseberg said walleye fishing has been outstanding, with some knowledgeable fishermen taking limits of walleyes from 3 to 11 pound every time they fish.

Perch fishing has picked up at Crescent and Long lakes, he said.

Most bass are on or near their spawning beds at North Idaho lakes, Smith said. Although they’re spooky, they are suckers for bass lures when they’re protecting their beds.

Smith said many North Idaho anglers, knowing bass fishing could deteriorate fast if spawners are killed, release bass during the spawning season.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent in the Hells Canyon section of the Snake River even though the river is high and off color. Outdoor writers, using jigs with curly tail grubs, caught many smallmouths, most of them small, over Memorial Day Weekend.

Chinook salmon

Trolling for chinook salmon has been good at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Smith said. The chinooks can be found 25 to 35 feet deep.

Most anglers are trolling ProKing spoons at 30 feet off Arrow Point, in front of Squaw Bay or Tubbs Hill, he said.