Anglers willing to hit the road for fishing that peaks in late may and June should look at these hot destinations:
Henrys Fork/Rainbow trout
In chronological order, the June spotlight shines on salmon flies, PMDs, green drakes, brown drakes, and the massive educated rainbows that rise to sip them. Keep your ear to the ground, since hatches can vary dramatically upstream and downstream. The Island Park area will fish better in runoff conditions. Hatches are more dependable in late month. PMDs are staple patterns, but trout are relatively reckless if green drakes hit the water.
Contact: TroutHunter, (208) 558-9900; www.trouthunt.com.
Brownlee Reservoir/Channel catfish
Overlook the famous smallmouth bass and crappie fishing for a moment and grab the chance to dog channel cats when they are in shallower water and even on the surface. Fish jigs and worms on flat shelves in the upper end of the 57-mile long reservoir or bark up another tree, going upstream into flowing water – beyond Farewell Bend, depending on reservoir levels – and hunting 5-pounders with crankbaits in pools below riffles.
Contact: Brownlee Charters, (541) 893-6863; www.brownleecharters.com.
Davis Lake/Largemouth bass
Jerks ruined trout fishing in this prized 3,900-acre fly-fishing-only fishery by illegally dumping largemouth bass that wasted no time spawning up a storm. Go ahead, be mad, but seize the brief opportunity to hook into the state’s hottest bass fishery. Car-top boats or personal pontoons are needed to effectively cast trout-like streamers to the north-side rushes. Some big trout still survive at Odell Creek mouth.
Contact: Oregon Fish and Wildlife in Bend, (541) 388-6363.
Columbia River estuaries/Sturgeon
Sturgeons are a huge attraction in the Columbia River’s lower 20 miles, where the catch is measured in feet, not inches. Five-footers are common; some anglers plunk anchovies to hook behemoths in the 10-foot range. Estuaries provide adrenaline sport, since many sturgeons are hooked in shallows and most of them break surface. Charters run $80 a day.
Contact: Long Beach Visitor Bureau, (360) 642-2400.
The 4 miles below Bonneville Dam has the best seats for the West’s biggest parade. About 4 million shad are staging for a march upstream. The first rush over the Bonneville fish ladders means they’re paving the river for many miles below the dam. Both sides of the river have access.
Contact: A&B Pro Guides, (503) 720-9033, www.abproguides.com. Also, wdfw.wa.gov/outreach /fishing/shad/shad.htm.
Grimes Lake/Lahontan cutthroat
Rare for a Washington lake, this 124-acre lake southeast of Mansfield doesn’t open until June 1. Fishing should be good for Lahontan cutthroats up to 20 inches. Rules allow only artificial lures and flies; no bait allowed.
Contact: Washington Fish and Wildlife in Ephrata, (509) 754-4624.