Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene is hot, said Mike Beard at Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene. He said there is no need to go up high as excellent dry fly fishing is available from Cataldo to Pritchard. The Clark Fork is also fishing well.

Renowned fly-tyer and author Skip Morris will be at the Yakima River Fly Shop in Cle Elum from 1-5 p.m. Saturday for a workshop entitled Tying and Fishing Flies for Trout Lakes. The cost is $35 with preregistration, or $45 at the door. Contact Jim Gallagher at (509) 674-2144.

Spokane resident Lyle Cochran fished Amber Lake this week and caught a 16-inch rainbow and four cutthroat in the 18- to 19-inch range, mostly on small, black chironomids.

Salmon and steelhead

On the Clearwater River, anglers are still catching steelhead, but they are releasing nearly as many as they keep. On the Salmon and its tributaries, the catch rate is still good, but according to IDFG surveys, most of those fish are being released.

Good steelhead reports still come from the Methow, Okanogan and the main stem Columbia River. Steelhead fishing in the upper Columbia River above Wells Dam will close Wednesday.

Trout and kokanee

Rock Lake has been murky, but the brown trout don’t seem to mind. Several anglers have reported exceptionally large fish, and a fair number of 20-inchers have been caught on Rapalas thrown toward shore. Many of the larger browns are full of small rainbow trout.

Although Sprague Lake recently received a plant of 10-inch trout, the overall size of the carryovers is delighting anglers. Longlining plugs still seems to be the most productive, though two friends recently caught some on perch Flatfish and 1½ colors of leaded line.

Banks Lake anglers report taking a few large kokanee recently as well as some nice rainbow. Roosevelt trollers are taking a kokanee now and then, and the trout bite has been sporadic. Rapalas on the surface are working better now than muddlers. A friend fishing from shore with rainbow Power Bait limited at Fort Spokane on Wednesday.

Roses Lake boat anglers have had excellent luck on rainbow trout by surface trolling this Okanogan-area lake. In the Columbia Basin, Corral Lake is kicking out 12- to 16-inch rainbow.

More than 30 waters in the Columbia Basin open to fishing Thursday and WDFW district fish biologist Chad Jackson said prospects are fair to good. With one exception, all these waters are located either within or adjacent to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge south of Potholes Reservoir. Although most are in need of rehabilitation to rid them of competing fish species, nice-sized trout can be found in many, including Upper and Lower Hampton lakes, North and South Teal lakes, and the Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes.

Dry Falls Lake, which also opens Thursday, is located just northeast of Park Lake within the Sun Lakes State Park southwest of Coulee City. The 99-acre lake is under selective gear rules and a one-trout daily bag limit. The lake holds 13- to 14-inch yearling rainbows and carryovers up to 24 inches. Brown and tiger trout were planted along with rainbow in 2009.

Several Okanogan County lakes also open to fishing Thursday. Spectacle Lake, southwest of Tonasket, should produce catches of yearling rainbow trout up to 12 inches, with carryover fish to 15 inches. Washburn Island Pond, a diked oxbow of the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park, mostly produces largemouth bass with some bluegill available.

Other waters opening on April 1 for catch-and-release fishing are Davis and Campbell lakes near Winthrop, Rat Lake near Brewster and Big and Little Green lakes near Omak.

Predominant species for these lakes are rainbow trout. Davis and Campbell may still have ice on the opener.

Spiny ray

Some of the Columbia Refuge-area lakes opening Thursday for trout also offer excellent fishing for spiny rays. Best opportunities are probably at Hutchinson and Shiner lakes. Since their rehabilitations in 1997, these two lakes have developed into quality fisheries for largemouth bass and bluegill. Only non-motorized boats are allowed. Other warm water fishing options are the Coyote, Bobcat and Hayes Creek ponds for largemouth bass.

They are located just south of Morgan and Halfmoon lakes. Another option might be Deadman Lake located just off McManamon Road next to Halfmoon Lake.

The Pend Oreille River is warming up, northern pike are looking to spawn, and some anglers are cashing in with fish to 15 pounds. Try large swimbaits, spoons, spinnerbaits or smelt under a bobber. Davis Slough and Everett Island Slough south of Usk are good places to start.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are, for the most part, hanging on the weed beds waiting for the water in the bays to rise. They are extremely vulnerable. Enjoy the resource, but don’t kill everything you catch.

The big perch were still biting off the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake early this week. I’m going to try it Saturday – a pretty good indication the bite is off. On Lake Roosevelt, good walleye reports have come from Hunters when I’m at Fort Spokane and from Fort Spokane when I’m at Hunters. The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt closes to walleye fishing for two months at the end of March, but anglers who have fished there recently say only the small males have arrived.

Worm harnesses on bottom walkers in 30-35 feet of water are taking some walleye from Lind Coulee near Moses Lake. Water temperature is about 46 degrees.

Eloika Lake is giving up a few largemouth, but the bite is probably two weeks off.

There should be some good crappie fishing at Eloika when the water warms a little.

Other species

The spring’s first razor-clam digs on ocean beaches will see today through Thursday openings. Prospective diggers should note that the opening starts on evening tides, then switches to morning tides for the final four days


WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist Dana Base recently completed annual winter surveys of wild turkeys and reported populations in several areas are beginning to rebound from two successive severe winters.

The Arden, Haller Creek and Chewelah areas have the highest total counts, number of flocks and average number of turkeys per survey transect mile.

The Idaho youth turkey season opens April 8, a week before the regular season. It runs through April 14. The Washington youth season is April 3-4.

The existing Idaho wolf season ends soon. The Panhandle is seven wolves shy of the quota.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere @yahoo.com.

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