Three popular fishing derbies are coming up:
•The Lake Roosevelt Two Rivers Spring Fishing Derby, April 24-25; pays the top four places for both largest rainbow and largest kokanee. Entry $20; forms available at Skipper Bills, Two Rivers Marina and Two Rivers RV Park.
Info: (800) 722-4031.
•The Red Covey Memorial Spring Salmon Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene, April 17-18; guarantees a first-place pot of $1,000, daily prizes and an eight-place payout. Tickets $20, available at Skipper Bill’s in Spokane Valley or Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene.
•The K&K Spring Derby on Lake Pend Oreille, April 24-May 2; payout for the top five places for rainbow and mackinaw. Tickets $40 for adults, no charge for youth, available at Skipper Bill’s.
Info: (509) 928-1000.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene is up a little bit, but pocket fishing in the lower sections is still good. Baetis and midges are the ticket. No word on the St. Joe, but it should be getting good from Avery down. Subsurface nymphs are drawing strikes on the Clark Fork. Nymphs under an indicator as well as floating flies are taking trout from the Yakima River.
Rocky Ford and Crab Creek remain productive, but Washington selective-gear lakes are still a little cold for consistent fishing as there is not a lot of bug activity. The best success has come on chironomid patterns.
Steelhead are still catchable, but some fish are already making redds and wade- fishing will disturb them.
Salmon and steelhead
The south end of Lake Coeur d’Alene has provided good chinook action from the surface down to 30 feet. Diving Rapalas and helmeted herring are taking fair numbers of 3- to 8-pound fish, said Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers. Smith said the fish aren’t necessary hanging over deep water, and he has taken several close to shore in some of the bays. Smith also said the lake was up at midweek and the boat ramps at Higgins Point, Rockford Bay, Third Street and Spokane Point were usable.
There have been some phenomenal steelhead catch rates in the Salmon River system, particularly from the Lemhi River to the Little Salmon River. The season is winding down and fish quality is deteriorating.
Spring chinook fishing on the Columbia River was good last week above St. Helens.
Trout and kokanee
The word from Lake Roosevelt is that trout and kokanee fishing has been fair to good all week throughout the system. The fish are still suspending at 10 feet and up.
Rufus Woods anglers who started out on plugs and spinners say they had to switch to Power Bait and jigs to get their fish this week. No monsters have been reported recently, but there have been quite a few 4- to 8-pounders.
Liberty and Coffeepot lakes have been slow, but a single warm day and things could change quickly. Rock Lake browns continue to bite, but the lake has been stormy to the point of being dangerous.
Martha Lake in the Columbia Basin isn’t seeing many anglers, but those who are trying this desert water are finding a lot of 12- to 15-inch trout by throwing flies and spinners and even jigs. The lake is low and clear.
Koocanusa Lake in Montana is kicking out 50-fish limits of kokanee to jiggers on sunny days between Libby Dam and Yarnell Island. The fish have been suspended at 20-30 feet, hitting baited Swedish Pimples or Glo-Hooks. Fish size is 6-9 inches. Big rainbow trout have also been on the bite, favoring Lyman and Rapala plugs in the first 30 feet. The annual spring kokanee tournament is scheduled for May 15-16. Info at koocanusaresot.com.
Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are finally finding enough water to move into some of the bays. Herring close to the bottom under a bobber is most effective. Also in Idaho, Fernan Lake has been good for 10-inch crappie. Scented Screw Grubs have been effective. Rose Lake should not be overlooked, especially as a family outing.
Sporadic reports filter in regarding Newman Lake muskies. This isn’t a fast fishery by any means, but one good fish will make an entire fishing season. The bass bite on Newman is slow. Eloika Lake is the same.
The Spokane arm of Lake Roosevelt is closed, but walleye anglers are taking fish by Two Rivers.
In Moses Lake, the Lind Coulee is producing. Walleye fishing is said to be excellent in The Dalles Pool.
A few legal-sized sturgeon are being caught by boat and bank anglers in the gorge as well as in the Portland to Longview area.
April 16 is the beginning of the lingcod fishing season off Neah Bay in Marine Area 4.
A razor clam dig is tentatively planned at various ocean beaches on morning tides April 16-18, pending the results of marine toxin tests.
Thursday is the beginning of the general spring turkey hunts in Idaho and Washington. Both run through May 31.