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Hunting + fishing

Fri., May 14, 2010

Fly fishing

Various chironomids and small nymphs fished vertically on sinking lines will bring strikes at Amber, but the strikes are not aggressive and many are missed. Most fish are 14-16 inches.

Fish Lake is tough at times, but it’s worth it when it’s good. A small, black Wooly Bugger is often effective. Fish the bottom with a sink line. Anglers this week took brookies and a few tiger trout to 23 inches.

Although the Clark Fork River had been fishing poorly, David Moershel gave it a try on Monday and said he had his best day of Clark Fork dry fly fishing.

Salmon and steelhead

Salmon fishing picked up on the lower Clearwater and lower Salmon rivers last week and was excellent near Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, where the average was a fish every seven hours. On the lower Salmon between Rice Creek Bridge and Hammer Creek, anglers averaged 11 hours of fishing for each salmon.

The Lower Granite area has not been particularly good for chinook fishermen, but Ice Harbor has seen more than 65,000 fish, which should be showing up soon.

Sport fishing on the Columbia opens Sunday for hatchery steelhead and hatchery jack chinook below the Interstate 5 Bridge, and for shad below Bonneville Dam. Chinook salmon fishing opened Thursday on the Icicle River in Chelan County. It is estimated 11,000 fish are headed that way.

Just more than 40 percent of the boat anglers caught a chinook on the Wind River last week, and anglers at Drano did the same. Bank angling was a little slower at both destinations.

Fishing for spring chinook salmon is closed from the mouth of the Columbia River to McNary Dam, but an estimated 20 hatchery spring chinook were harvested in the lower Yakima River last week.

Trout and kokanee

Koocanusa Resort’s annual Trout and Salmon Derby runs Saturday and Sunday at Lake Koocanusa. The lake level is coming up and water is getting some color in the upper reaches. Rainbows 1-10 pounds are hitting shiny plugs in the top 25 feet of water. Kokanee are hitting near Libby Dam. They’re running 6-9 inches, but the limit is 50 a day, 100 in possession. Info: (406) 293-7474.

Kokanee are also numerous and small (81/2 inches) at Dworshak Reservoir this spring. IDFG did its first nutrient application of the year Thursday. Through the end of summer, the fish are expected to grow approximately an inch a month. On Coeur d’Alene, kokanee anglers are finding fish from the surface to 20 feet at the south end.

Horseshoe Lake in Stevens County also has small kokanee. Loon is giving up a few kokanee to trollers, but the bite doesn’t generally begin in earnest until the wild roses bloom.

Kokanee have been a virtual no-show on Lake Chelan, but there are lots of small fish visible on the surface in the mornings. Good kokanee reports come from Blue and Palmer lakes.

Rock Lake browns are hitting Flatfish and Sprague Lake rainbows are also active. Williams rainbow 12-16 inches are still biting well from both dock and boat, and Badger Lake remains good. West Medical and Fishtrap seem to have plenty of fish, but they are small.

Bass fishing has been slow on Deer Lake, but plugs trolled 4-12 feet down in 15 feet of water have accounted for some big catches of 2- to 4-pound rainbow. The Narrows has been good.

Coffeepot rainbow are running mostly 14-19 inches. Try trolling 2-4 colors of leaded line and a dark Wooly Bugger.

Curlew Lake, near Republic, has finally cleared up and anglers trolling Muddlers and Carey Specials are taking limits of rainbow. Two big tiger muskies – a 44- and 48-incher – were caught recently.

Wapato Lake in the Okanogan has been good for fat, foot-long rainbows, and this is still a good time for catch and release for Lahontan Cutthroat at Omak Lake. These are beautiful fish, running 16 inches and more.

On Chelan, the Lakers are scattered so you have to keep moving.

Spiny ray

Long Lake smallmouth are hitting crankbaits and Senkos. Watch out for debris in the water.

Liberty Lake is still booting out small planted rainbow, but bass fishermen are finding action on larger fish in front of the grass beds. Crappie are becoming more active.

Friends who fished Bonnie Lake on Wednesday caught no crappie, one perch and a lot of small bass. They said the weeds aren’t up yet.

Coeur d’Alene Lake pike are over the spawn and taking Rapalas and big Husky Jerks. The pike bite on the Pend Oreille River has picked up.

Potholes walleye are still hanging out in the Crab Creek channel. The fish, which are in excellent condition, are taking a variety of spinners on bottom.

Hauser Lake anglers have taken a few monstrous crappie this week.

Other species

The shad fishery on the Columbia River will open Sunday below Bonneville Dam.

Guide Ray Bailey said Palouse River catfish are running 8-10 pounds this year. He said a slow day is 20 fish.

Marine areas 3 and 4 (La Push/Neah Bay) opened to halibut fishing Thursday, two days per week, Thursdays and Saturdays, through May 22. Marine areas 1 and 2 are already open. Marine area 5 (Sekiu) will be open May 28 through June 19.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere@


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