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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Fly fishermen are finding their action on the lakes. The area’s only fishable stream is Crab Creek, but the public-access water is getting hammered.

Bailey Lake on the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge is full of water for the first time in years and anglers are doing fairly well. McDowell also is a good bet.

The desert lakes, such as Quincy and Burke in the Colombia Basin, have a lot of bug activity and are providing some excellent fishing.

Some Washington streams open Wednesday while others open June 4. Check regs.

Trout and kokanee

The Spring Canyon launch on Lake Roosevelt was in service this week and trollers in the Sanpoil Arm took up where they left off when the water went down. Limits of rainbow 15-18 inches were the rule. Lake level should be at about 1,243 on Saturday and the ramps at Keller, Seven Bays, Hunters and Kettle Falls should be usable, with Porcupine Bay a possibility.

Loon Lake kokanee fishermen are delighted with the size and numbers of the fish. A friend and I trolled three hours early in the week for limits. Eight of the 20 fish were just more than 9 inches, but the remainder were more than 12. We marked most of the fish at around 25 feet and didn’t go far from the public launch to find them.

A friend who fished Horseshoe Lake on Monday caught several kokanee 9-11 inches trolling a Wedding Ring and maggots. He said there was a good mayfly hatch while he was there and trout were making the surface boil.

Another friend fished from shore at the public access on Sprague this week and was on his way back home in an hour with his limit – two rainbow well more than 20 inches. He caught one on Power Bait and one on a worm/marshmallow sandwich.

Lake Chelan continues to fish well for kokanee near Lakeside and the lake trout bite has been fairly consistent. Grimes Lake opens Wednesday. Anglers can expect to catch big Lahontan cutthroat.

Clear Lake in Spokane County is producing a lot of small rainbow, but there are a fair number of much larger fish. Badger Lake cutts to 16 inches are still biting well, but West Medical Lake has been a mystery. Normally, the bite gets hot and stays that way after the opener, but this year has been inconsistent. Rock Lake anglers report good catches of 3-pound browns.


Chuck Thompson of Lewiston caught a chinook in the Clearwater River Sunday that weighed 35 pounds 15 ounces a few hours after it had be caught and bled. Big fish are well represented in this run.

Washington and Oregon have agreed to expand or reopen spring chinook fisheries in several areas. Beginning today, boat anglers as well as bank anglers will be allowed to fish from Beacon Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Starting Saturday the boat and bank fishery will reopen through Thursday from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Bonneville Dam upriver to the power lines below The Dalles Dam.

The Snake River spring chinook fishery will reopen Saturday through Thursday in the Little Goose area from the Railroad Bridge about one-half mile downstream from the mouth of the Tucannon River, upriver about 9 miles to the Corps of Engineers boat launch. Also open will be the Snake River from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with Highway 193 in Whitman County, upriver to the Idaho state line.

Spiny ray

Bonnie Lake access is easy, even for larger boats, because of the high water. Bass anglers are beginning to find a few fish along shorelines, but the crappie and perch bite hasn’t developed.

Lower Twin Lake is producing bass, but not crazy numbers. Nearby Coffeepot Lake has seen some good popper fishing for largemouth.

Despite high water, the Pend Oreille River sloughs have been good for pike. Most days, anglers throwing spoons against the shoreline can expect to boat a few, and on some days, for no apparent reason, the bite is phenomenal. An angler this week said he and a partner netted at least 50 pike in one day, ranging from 3 pounds to more than 20.

Hayden Lake has been fishing well for pike. Coeur d’Alene Lake is seeing good numbers and some big fish.

Potholes Reservoir anglers are working hard for their walleye. The Lind Coulee has been fair. Largemouth bass are hitting in the dunes and off of points. Stained (not muddy) water seems to hold the most fish. Some large slab crappie have been taken from Potholes. Suspended fish were caught on micro jigs.

Banks Lake smallmouth are biting aggressively, and the walleye bite can be good at times. Rubber crawdads and jointed Crawdad Rapalas have been effective.

Newman Lake largemouth fishing has been slow, but the tiger muskies are starting to awaken. Several large fish were caught and released last week. The recent Curlew Lake Spring Fling had only one tiger musky recorded – a 32-inch fish – but several were seen.

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Snake has picked up, but the high water and debris have made fishing tough.

The lily pads on the west and south end of Eloika Lake are producing bass for anglers throwing plastics, and there has also been some spinnerbait action.

Liberty Lake smallmouth are on beds and hitting throughout the day. Largemouth are patrolling their beds, but the bite has been less consistent.

The Inland Empire Bass Club Long Lake tournament saw 488 pounds of bass weighed in by 31 anglers last weekend. The big fish for the tournament was an 8.48-pound largemouth. The biggest smallmouth caught for the weekend weighed in at 6.17 pounds.

Other species

Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and LaPush) will reopen for halibut Thursday and June 4.

Anglers dunking cut bait are catching 20-inch channel cats from shore at Stan Coffin Lake in the Colombia Basin.


The spring gobbler season runs through May. Birds are still plentiful; hunting pressure has dropped considerably.