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Hunting + fishing

Fri., May 28, 2010

Fly fishing

Thursday’s rain is likely to foul river fishing, although the Clark Fork was still dropping Thursday morning. Stoneflies were hatching on the Bitterroot.

Fan Lake is often overlooked by fly fishermen. According to Dan Wight of Spokane Flyfishers, this is a mistake. Wight said to fish the edges of the Japanese iris with a damsel fly pattern for fish up to 20 inches.

Blue Lake 10- to 12-inchers will keep a fly fisherman happy all day. The fish have been rising all over the lake in the evening.

For larger rainbow and a consistent bite, Curlew Lake would be hard to beat. In the evening, the lake is usually dimpled with rising fish.

In the Okanogan, Aeneas Lake has provided good fly fishing for rainbows 14-16 inches with an occasional brown trout up to 18 inches.

Shad numbers are building in the Columbia River. If you’ve never tried them on a fly, you’re missing out on some great action. About 2,000 a day are crossing Bonneville Dam. Look for them in current seams in 5-10 feet of water and throw a fast-sinking tip. If you’re not getting hung up occasionally, you’re fishing too shallow. The wet fly swing is the most effective way to fish for shad.

Salmon and steelhead

Anglers were doing well last week for spring chinook on the Clearwater River. About 2,000 adult chinook a day have been coming over Lower Granite, down from more than 5,600 last week.

Drano and the Wind River may still offer the best chance of catching hatchery spring chinook in Washington, although catch rates have dropped off in recent days as more fish move upriver.

The lower Yakima River closes for spring chinook fishing Monday, although the upstream fishery from the I-82 bridge at Union Gap to Roza Dam will remain open through June 30.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt anglers have caught nice-sized rainbow trout and kokanee, but water levels are dropping again and fishing could slow down. Some ramps are still unusable.

WDFW fish biologist Chris Donley of Spokane said trout lakes such as Amber, Williams, West Medical, Fishtrap and Sprague are fishing well. Almost everyone is limiting at Williams. Tree 11 between Klinks and Bunkers has been good for still-fishermen. Trolling the same water is also effective.

Rocky, Waitts and Starvation lakes in Stevens County are also fishing well. Rainbow and browns in Waitts are mostly around 10 inches. The catch-and-keep season at Starvation Lake ends Sunday, then switches to catch-and-release through October.

Horseshoe Lake rainbow up to 13 inches are biting, especially in the evening. A few kokanee are being taken in the bay to the right of the launch.

The Colville Tribe recently released more triploids on Rufus Woods Reservoir near Chief Joseph Dam. A lot of these 3- to 5-pounders have been caught this week.

Several Okanogan area rainbow trout lakes are providing good fishing. Pearrygin, Wannacut, Conconully Reservoir, Conconully Lake, Spectacle and Alta are producing rainbows in the 8- to 12-inch range with winter-carryover fish up to 15 inches. Grimes Lake opens Tuesday.

Fishing for rainbow trout is good at Curlew Lake northeast of Republic in Ferry County. Ellen Lake, near Inchelium, is also coming on.

Spiny ray

Deer Lake largemouth are spawning in shallow water under the numerous docks around the lake. Getting one to bite requires stealth and persistence. Dark-colored plastics are effective.

Downs Lake crappie and perch are not biting nearly as well as the largemouth, but anglers who move around are finding a few large fish.

Northern pike fishing on the Pend Oreille River is hot, WDFW biologist Bill Baker said.

Long Lake bass are hitting consistently. Anglers are beginning to find a few large schools of crappie in the shallow bays near Tum Tum. Perch are cooperating, most coming from about 12 feet of water.

Walleye fishing is improving from the Kettle Falls area to the Spokane arm, which opens Tuesday. Rufus Woods walleye have also been easier to catch recently.

At lower Twin (above Coffeepot), friends have been hammering the largemouth throwing Senkos in the evening.

Curlew Lake largemouth are mostly small, but they are numerous, especially in the lower lake which is accessed through a narrow channel. Tiger muskies can be found in any bassy-looking water throughout the lake.

Moses Lake is providing fairly good walleye angling on the north end, but the fish have gone a little deeper. Use a slow presentation. Anglers have begun catching a few large crappie from the lake – a rare treat in recent years. Potholes Reservoir has been excellent for smallmouth bass to 4 pounds.

Walleye fishing is beginning to pick up in the Columbia River both above and below McNary Dam.


Spring gobbler hunting ends Monday evening in Washington. Spring black bear permit hunting also closes after Monday evening.

Remember to file harvest reports.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at

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