Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

Coeur d’Alene River flows started spiking April 15, went out of shape Sunday and continued to build until Thursday. The Clark Fork also is blown out. Patience. Forecasted cool evening temperatures should help.

The Yakima went off-color below the Teanaway confluence this week, but above that was low and clear.

Rocky Ford has been regurgitating its old growth. A heavily weighted scud that penetrates the floating “goo” has been extremely effective.

Browns, McDowell and Long – fly-fishing-only lakes in northeast Washington – open Saturday, as well as Chopaka Loomis and Aeneas in the Okanogan.

Salmon, steelhead

The spring steelhead season is almost over. The best bets are roe or bobbers and jigs. The Clearwater River is the first area to close on April 30.

The Spring chinook season begins Saturday on the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake river drainages. Daily counts at Lower Granite and Little Goose are still low, but the fish are crossing Bonneville in good numbers. Chinook harvest at Wind River and Drano Lake is improving.

Opening day picks

Saturday’s fishing opener should provide great fishing in the Spokane area.

Badger and Williams lakes again should be among the top producers, WDFW fish biologist Chris Donley said. Rainbows to 18 inches and cutthroat will be available.

West Medical should be excellent and Fishtrap good for catchable-size, brood stock and triploid rainbow trout. Both lakes were rehabbed last fall. Fry plants will kick in later.

Fish Lake, northeast of Cheney, should be good for brook and tiger trout.

Clear Lake should have action on stocked yearling rainbow, brood stock rainbows and brown trout. Clear also has good largemouth bass and black crappie fisheries.

Chapman, south of Cheney, usually provides good catches of rainbow trout and kokanee on the opener, but it’s best known for late-season action on largemouth and smallmouth bass and other warm-water species.

Amber Lake, a selective fishery southwest of Cheney, shifts from catch and release to harvest fishery Saturday. Limit: two fish more than 14 inches. Trout with missing adipose fin must be released.

Deer Springs Lake northeast of Odessa has rainbows, some brown trout, plus perch and crappie. Access can be muddy.

Northeast lakes:

Ellen Lake north of Inchelium should be especially good for rainbows this year after a 2008 rehab.

Davis, Swan, Trout, Empire and Ward also could be good in Ferry County.

Rocky and Starvation lakes in Stevens County should be good as they start their catch-and-keep season that runs through May 31.

Waitts Lake net-pens will boost rainbow and brown trout plants this year.

Davis has good early- and late-season fishing for rainbow and eastern brook trout, kokanee and largemouth bass.

Diamond has net-pen rainbows, browns and, this year, 950 larger triploid ’bows brood stock have been added.

Frater Lake should be good for cutthroats.

Big Meadow Lake has 10- to 15-inch rainbows.

Other PDO County lakes worth checking out for the Saturday opener include North and South Skookum, Carl’s, Crescent, Fan, Halfmoon, Horseshoe, Ledbetter, Leo, Marshall, Mystic, Nile and Sacheen.

In Stevens County, Potter’s Pond, usually a standout, lost carryover fish in a fall die-off.

The Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes – Gillette, Heritage, Sherry and Thomas – have rainbow and tiger trout.

Others to consider: Cedar, Mudget, Black, Deep, Elbow, Jump-Off-Joe, Little Twin, Loon and Summit.

Grant County’s best bets include Park, Blue, Warden, South Warden and Deep lakes.

Smaller waters like South Warden, Perch and Vic Meyers should be overlooked, biologists say.

Okanogan County hot spots include Pearrygin, Conconully, Alta, Fish and Wannacut.

Good selective-gear waters include Big Twin and Blue lakes, Chopaka near Loomis and Aeneas.

Spectacle Lake, which opened April 1, continues to provide good fishing for rainbow trout 11-13 inches.

In Douglas County, Jameson Lake’s water quality has improved over the last several weeks and hatchery crews have been able to stock some 20,000 catchable rainbow.

Year-round fishers continue to plug along. Sprague Lake’s rainbow trout are huge, and anglers should be catching the Lahontan cutthroats this year.

At Lake Roosevelt, anglers this week were catching fat rainbows 15-17 inches long up from Keller, as well as a few kokanee more than 20 inches.


Turkey hunters have already enjoyed one of the best opening weeks in Eastern Washington, and the season seems to be just coming into its prime.

However, some turkey hunters aren’t playing by the rules.

After checking 231 hunters in Lincoln County last Sunday, WDFW enforcement officers had written 18 citations and 17 warnings.

The violations included loaded guns in a motor vehicle, convicted felon in possession of firearms, no written transport statement, failure to properly tag turkey, exceeding the bag limit on turkeys and failure to submit wildlife to an officer during a field inspection.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesman liere@yahoo.com. (Outdoors editor Rich Landers contributed to this column.)

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