May 20, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tip of the week

If the smallmouth bass you are targeting are being finicky, scale down your offering. A 2-inch Doubletail in smoke color on a one-sixteenth-ounce jig head will often crank up the bite.

Overhead

Seven sockeye salmon have already crossed Bonneville Dam – extremely early for the beginning of the run, and perhaps a good indicator of things to come.

Heads up

• Lake Roosevelt’s water level came up to 1,225 feet Thursday, which should make the Spring Canyon launch usable again. Seven Bays ramp is usable at 1,227, which should occur by Monday.

• The Lake Spokane Campground boat launch will be temporarily opened today through Sunday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Department of Natural Resources officials announced Thursday. The other two main boat launches on the lake – Riverside State Park and Nine Mile Resort – are closed as dam operators release runoff water.

• Spokane County adults (16 and older) who want to try lake fishing can learn the basics from experienced anglers during a free session June 11 at Bunker’s Resort on Williams Lake. The “Fishing 101” class coincides with Free Fishing Weekend June 11-12, so no fishing license is required. The class runs 10 a.m.-3 p.m. WDFW and Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers will instruct. Preregister for limited spaces by June 3 by emailing teamspokane@dfw.wa.gov or call 892-1001.

• The Columbia River adjacent to Ringold Springs Rearing Facility in Franklin County is closed to salmon fishing effective today because returns of spring chinook to the facility have failed to meet expectations. 

• Chinook salmon fishing opens Saturday on the Icicle River in Chelan County. Limit is three per day with night closure in effect.

Fly fishing

For at least a week, area fly fishermen must concentrate on the lowland lakes. Area trout rivers, including the Yakima, are blown out. Crab Creek maybe?

Trout and kokanee

A friend has been catching kokanee consistently at Loon Lake by trolling three-four colors of leaded line and a Wedding Ring tipped with maggots. He said the fish are not concentrated in any one area and the size varies. He has caught fish as small as 9 inches and as large as 13 3/4. Chelan Lake kokanee fishing is excellent near Lakeside. Fish have been 15-25 feet down in 25-65 feet of water. The average size fish is about 11 inches. On Lake Coeur d’Alene, the south end is producing a few small kokanee.

West Medical Lake seems to be finally turning on after a slow start. A lot of fish approach 20 inches, but not many small ones have been caught. A nightcrawler on the bottom does well.

Despite dismal preseason projections, Badger Lake cutthroat angling has been excellent. Many fish are running 12-16 inches, though there are also some 8-inchers. Trolled flies near the public launch have been productive.

Williams Lake is almost a sure thing for trollers dragging Rapalas, Wedding Rings or Needlefish down two to three colors just more than 1.5 mph. Anglers are catching a lot of 10- to 12-inch rainbow and an occasional tiger trout, but there are also carryovers approaching 20 inches. The dock fishing at Klink’s has slowed, but anglers willing to try different things will eventually take a limit of trout. I fished Williams last week with a nephew. Single red salmon eggs, usually a sure thing, were doing nothing, but we caught several fish throwing small Panther Martins, and even more with a worm 5 feet under a bobber.

Fish Lake in Spokane County has been good, even from docks and shore, for 1-pound tiger trout and larger brookies. An effective rig is a worm 5 feet under a bobber with no weight added.

Deer Lake has some large carryover rainbow. Anglers still-fishing with worms and eggs or tossing spinners are catching a lot of fish 20 inches and larger.

Waitts Lake continues to kick out rainbow and good numbers of browns. Anglers trolling Needlefish at 15-20 feet have done well this past week. The public access at Waitts now has a dock, which makes launching a lot easier. Jump-Off-Joe brown trout to 19 inches are hitting hammered brass spoons and brass-colored Panther Martins.

Diamond Lake is loaded with planted rainbow, but it isn’t receiving much attention. The lake also has brown trout.

Downs Lake, noted for bass and big perch, is producing limits of catchable-size rainbow. A green Roostertail trolled in the channel has worked well.

Jameson Lake has been good for anglers throwing spoons and spinners from shore. Just southeast of Jameson, Perch Lake has some good-sized carryovers and a lot of surface activity for the fly fisherman. Deep Lake is loaded with small rainbow, catchable from shore. Also in the Sun Lakes system, Park and Blue lakes have larger, 14- to 20-inch rainbow and the bite has been excellent.

Sprague Lake has given up some huge trout to a few anglers, but it’s far from a slam dunk. Two friends and I threw everything in our tackle boxes at the fish last Saturday and caught only two 12-inch rainbow in six hours of trolling.

The Moses Lake desert lakes are still producing trout, but on a non-windy day, mosquitoes are ferocious. Recent reports from Caliche and Warden indicated 10- to 16-inch rainbow were hitting bait and Roostertails.

Trout fishing is good in Idaho’s Twin, Hauser, Spirit and Fernan lakes. Reports are filtering in about good catches of Pend Oreille mackinaw by anglers dragging Super Bait Mini-Cut Plugs.

Salmon

The Clearwater River was going back up on Thursday, but it will probably be fishable by Saturday. The daily bag limit on the Clearwater is six chinook, only one of which may be an adult. There are a lot of fish somewhere in the system, but the high flows temporarily shut down the run. Flows at The Dalles were 498,000 cfs at midweek – absurdly high.

Chinook returns to the Clearwater, Snake and lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers may be better than forecast earlier. Beginning in June, there will be a chinook season on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers.

The Wind River salmon hatchery is expected to meet its escapement goal and surplus hatchery origin fish are available for harvest. Daily limit: six fish, up to four may be adults of which no more than two may be hatchery steelhead. Drano Lake’s limit will be the same.

Spiny ray

The Pend Oreille River is high and rising, but the smallmouth bite has begun and the pike bite continues, though somewhat erratically. Look for them up in the sloughs and hugging shorelines.

On Lake Coeur d’Alene, pike fishing is good on the south end and just beginning on the north end. The smallmouth bite has also begun on Coeur d’Alene as well as on Hayden. Crappie and pike fishing is good in the Chain Lakes.

Banks Lake smallmouth have turned on and the walleye bite is slow but consistent.

Eloika Lake largemouth are lurking in about 5 feet of water on both ends of the lake. The water temperature is still less than 60 degrees.

Potholes Reservoir smallmouth have been more cooperative than the walleye and the size is good. A lot of 3-pound fish have been caught. Plastic grubs as well as jerk baits are working. The Lind Coulee area has been good for largemouth, smallmouth, perch and bluegill near the brush. A few 12-inch crappie have shown recently from Potholes.

Long Lake (Lake Spokane) smallmouth are hitting plastics in the shallows. At Liberty Lake, largemouth are moving into the shallows to spawn.

Moses Lake’s north end has been OK for small walleye. Trolled spinners work; a jointed Rapala will generally entice larger fish in 5-15 feet of water. Water temperatures: 61-65 degrees.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus