Hunting + fishing
The best bet for fly anglers is the Coeur d’Alene River. It is already down to around 1,300 cfs and gin clear. At 4,290 cfs, the St. Joe is on the cusp of being very good, but wading is tricky and floating is dangerous. You can find willing fish on the Clark Fork, but the river doesn’t generally provide consistent flows and fishing until around June 20.
The Yakima River is back in fishing shape despite being slightly high. Nymphing continues to be most productive with a size eight tan-colored stone fly nymph followed by a dropper such as the San Juan worm in pink or red.
The two fly-fishing- only lakes in Okanogan County have been producing good catches of rainbow trout in recent weeks. Chopaka Lake, north of Loomis, is producing rainbows 14-18 inches. Aeneas Lake, southwest of Tonasket, has slightly smaller rainbow.
Alpine trout lakes and access trails are finally thawing and anglers willing to hike in with float tubes may do well. Dog Lake, just east of White Pass on the north side of Hwy. 12, usually produces good catches of rainbow. Nearby Leech Lake also usually provides decent catches of small brook trout and is scheduled to receive some triploids soon.
Trout and kokanee
In Montana, Koocanusa kokanee are small (8-inch average) and just starting to put on weight. “There’s a gazillion in the lake,” said Randi Burch at Koocanusa Resort and Marina. Fifty-fish limits are common.
Loon Lake kokanee are running large but don’t seem to be as numerous as the last three years. Night fishing is just beginning. Friends trolling Wednesday had their best luck in the bay just south of Granite Point. The biggest was almost 14 inches. Coeur d’Alene kokes are biting in the top 20 feet of water south of Powderhorn. Nine-inch fish are about average.
Williams Lake has barely slowed down, and Badger Lake is keeping pace. Try trolling three colors of leaded line and 50 feet of leader with a Wooly Bugger or Muddler Minnow. Still-fishermen are taking their share with worms and Power Bait.
West Medical has been good for 12- to 17-inch rainbow. Power Bait works, but casting small spoons such as the Little Cleo is also effective.
Rufus Woods is hitting its stride again. Cast spoons along the shorelines, dunk bait, or troll small flashers and worm for trout up to 4 pounds. The best fishing has been before 9 a.m.
Lahontan Cutts are just coming off the spawn at Omak Lake. Fish the shallow end of the bays at either end of the lake. Most fish are 15-17 inches, but some are as large as 6 pounds.
Marshall Lake cutthroat limits are averaging 10-11 inches. Make sure to fish early. Sacheen Lake rainbow are running 13 inches, and the brown trout are larger. Diamond Lake anglers are enjoying great rainbow action by still fishing the north end.
Three Pend Oreille County lakes just received extra plants of big triploid rainbow trout. Big Meadow Lake west of Ione received 600 triploids, Crescent Lake north of Metaline Falls received 600 and Nile Lake southwest of Ione received 800. The Four Bay area of the Pend Oreille River near Boundary Dam will receive 2,000 triploids when the river settles out.
More than 1,500 nearly 1/3-pound rainbow trout were just stocked in Union Flat Creek, a Palouse River tributary between Colton and Uniontown.
The sport fishery for hatchery-reared steelhead on the lower Columbia River opens today upriver from Rocky Point to the Interstate 5 bridge.
Stream flows are diminishing, resulting in better fishing for chinook on the Yakima River.
The Icicle River is back in fishing shape and producing salmon at a good clip. There are many jacks in the river. This increases success but drives average fish size down.
Walleye and bass fishing in the region is hitting its stride. Moses Lake and Potholes are good for both. The Lind Coulee is particularly good for walleye. Deer Springs in Lincoln County is kicking out small bass, as is Curlew Lake. Tiger muskie are also showing at Curlew, and the trout fishing remains good.
Long Lake is kicking out 10- to 13-inch smallmouth at a phenomenal rate. Fish seem to be active all over the reservoir. Target rocky banks and wood. Chartreuse jigs are good.
Newman Lake largemouth are nesting in the pads at the north end. Nice crappie catches have been reported by anglers throwing curlytail grubs.
Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt is good for either smallmouth or walleye. Reports from the Spokane Arm indicate most of the fish are on the smallish side, though a friend caught a 6-pounder that hit in just 2 feet of water.
Coffeepot Lake is giving up lots of largemouth in the 2-pound range, but bigger ones are there. Senkos are tough to beat, and are also enticing a few large trout.
Barker Flats on Banks Lake holds plenty of smallmouth along the rocks. Anglers casting to deeper water there are also having good walleye action.
Roses Lake in the Okanogan continues to be decent for trout but excellent for panfish.
Fishing for channel catfish in the backwaters and sloughs of the Snake River near Lyons Ferry continues to be productive. Shad catches are picking up below Bonneville Dam.
Sturgeon catch rates are good in the Astoria area.
Hunters who were unsuccessful in Idaho’s 2009 bighorn sheep controlled-hunt permit drawing have one more chance to hunt bighorn sheep this year. They can buy Idaho 2009 Bighorn Sheep Raffle tickets through the Idaho chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation.
Each year the foundation markets one bighorn sheep raffle tag for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The Web site is www.idahowildsheep.org.
Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com