May 13, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

Fishing just above or at the bottoms of the schools of kokanee you see on your sonar will get you into the bigger, more aggressive fish.

Braggin’ rights

After a slow start to the turkey season, everyone I know who has hunted more than once has a turkey or two. Wednesday, on my 13th early morning in the woods, I finally put a big tom in the truck. Better yet, so did my 14-year-old nephew, Ian Walton, from Sparks, Nev.

Heads up

• Snake River spring chinook fishing closes Saturday below Ice Harbor Dam and Monday in the Little Goose and Clarkston areas.

• Idaho Fish and Game Commission will hold a public comment hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Clearwater Region office, 3316 16th St. in Lewiston.

Fly fishing

The Clark Fork River was at 17,700 cfs on Wednesday and rising steadily. Other possible river destinations for fly fishermen in Washington, Idaho and Montana are likewise high and unfishable, with the possible exception of the Yakima. Better to find a lake such as Amber or West Medical where you can find big rainbow, 13- to 20-inch brookies or fan for a trout/spiny ray mix.

Trout and kokanee

Jim Kujala and Dave Ross fished Sprague Lake this week and had a good day trolling dodgers and flies. Included in the trout catch were Lahontan cutthroats of 17 and 21 inches. Their largest rainbow went 4.5 pounds, but Four Seasons Resort recently weighed one at 7.5 pounds. The duo had three break-offs on 10-pound leader. Sprague water temperatures were 54 degrees on Wednesday. Chris Donley, WDFW fisheries biologist, said 55 degrees is the point that kicks rainbow into their most active feeding behavior.

The put-and-take lakes near Spokane still have a lot of trout. Williams, as usual, has been the best for trout from 10-16 inches, but Fishtrap has also been good. A friend who fished there this week said there was a good bite from 5-6:30 p.m., though for the five hours before that, there was little action. He was trolling a fly.

Waitts Lake anglers are finding larger fish by trolling deep, but even the rainbow near the surface have been 14 inches with the browns a little smaller. Diamond Lake is warming up and so is the fishing.

Kokanee trollers are finding limits of 9- to 13-inch Loon Lake kokanee in the bays on the north end. Best luck has been at about 15 feet. Some 16-inch tiger trout are also coming in.

The kokanee bite has begun on the lower end of Lake Chelan for 10-inch fish. The lake level is low, so be careful when motoring out of Mill Bay. Only the launch farthest up the lake will accommodate a large boat.

On Lake Coeur d’Alene, kokanee are just starting to bite on the south end, Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers said. He said another week will make a big difference.

Warden Lake near Othello is still a good spot to take a mess of 13- to 14-inch yearling trout, as well as some 17-inchers. In Okanogan County, Wannacut Lake is giving up lots of 9- to 10-inch rainbow. Pearrygin Lake is producing rainbow 9-11 inches as well as some 17-inch triploids. Park and Blue lakes have large trout, with rainbow running mostly 12-13 inches and up to 18 inches.

Salmon

The long cool spring delayed the chinook return to Idaho and the lateness of the run had managers concerned the return would be less than preseason forecasts. Now, however, it appears the run will at least match the preseason forecast, and it is expected to have more large fish than in years past. The fish are probably at least two weeks out from reaching the Riggins area of the Salmon River, but they are showing in good numbers in the lower Clearwater River. Watch the water level, as the Clearwater is due for a spike.

Boat anglers averaged nearly two-thirds a chinook per rod on the Wind River this week.  Effort has been heavy.  A sea lion has been reported at the mouth of the Wind.  Drano Lake boat anglers are averaging about the same. Bank anglers are averaging a fish per every three rods. No chinook have entered the Ringold Hatchery trap.

Bonneville Pool has been excellent for spring chinook just outside the mouth of Drano.  The John Day Pool saw a good weekend of spring chinook fishing.

Spiny ray

Newman Lake has warmed into the upper 50s and the bass bite has begun in water less than 12 feet deep. Anglers are catching mostly largemouth, but smallmouth are also available.

Rufus Lake walleye are biting near the upper net pens out of Seaton Grove. Bottom bouncers and spinners baited with nightcrawlers are the ticket in about 25 feet of water. Lake Roosevelt anglers are frustrated by the inability to launch. The water level will be at approximately 1,217 this weekend, about 5 feet lower than the launch minimum at Spring Canyon. Banks walleye fishing is reported to be slow, but the smallmouth fishery has kicked in.

The Dalles Pool boat anglers are averaging nearly four walleye per rod.  Bank anglers are catching some bass. The John Day Pool is slightly slower.

The Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes are high but fishable, and pike angling is picking up for smaller fish. Bass fishing is improving. Cave, Thompson and Black are a good bet for crappie, and Hayden has some big ones.

Pike on Lake Coeur d‘Alene have finished spawning on the south end and are susceptible to weedless spoons and floating plugs in shallow water. The north end spawn is not over, but the fishing should be good in a week. In Washington, the Pend Oreille River is also up, but pike fishing remains decent. Pike fishermen casting spoons in the Usk area did well Thursday on 3- to 6-pound fish anywhere they could find a grassy bottom in about 5 feet of water.

Other species

Snake River sturgeon anglers are making good catches in the Almota area. Sturgeon fishing has also picked up in the Hells Canyon stretch of the Snake. Small, whole trout have been the most popular bait.

Hunting

Gray wolves in Idaho are under state management and considered a big game animal. Wolf tags went on sale May 5, at $11.50 for resident hunters and $186 for nonresidents, vendor fees included.

With more than two weeks of the spring turkey season left, hunters who haven’t found success say the birds begin gobbling on the roost as early as 4:30 a.m. but are clamming up once they’re on the ground.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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