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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene River got big in a hurry. Fly fishermen would best wait awhile. A few decent fly-fishing reports are coming from Amber Lake and Coffee Pot. Mostly anglers are throwing chironomids under an indicator, but stripping a Wooly Bugger or leach has been producing as well. Rocky Ford is still the best place to catch some nice trout this time of year. Scuds, midges, and streamers are best.

Steelhead and salmon

Steelhead anglers on the North and South forks of the Clearwater River averaged a fish every 7 hours last week – the best Idaho steelheading still available except for the Salmon River from the North Fork to the Lemhi River where anglers averaged a fish every 3 hours.

Chinook salmon fishing will open in the Clearwater River, Snake River, Little Salmon and lower Salmon River on April 22. The season is based on forecasts that an estimated 83,600 adult hatchery origin fish will cross Lower Granite Dam.

There has been no recent fishing action on Drano Lake, which has been turbid, the Klickitat, which is at flood stage, or the Wind, which is high.

Trout and kokanee

At Sprague Lake Resort, Monika Metz said anglers are beginning to catch a few large rainbow off the dock. Friends and I who fished Cow and Sprague lakes from shore on Tuesday only caught one, however, and boat anglers who came in reported marking lots of fish but catching none. Sprague typically is on and off, but when it’s “on,” the 16-inch plus rainbow make one forget the fishless trips.

Liberty Lake brown trout are feeding closer to the bottom these days and bait fishermen are taking more fish than trollers or spin-fishermen.

Dozens of lakes opened to fishing Sunday, most in Adams and Grant counties of the Columbia Basin, many within the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. Overall, participation was low because of inclement weather. Dry Falls Lake had the best fishing with anglers catching and releasing approximately five fish each, ranging in size from 10 to 20 inches. Small black chironomids at depths between 15 to 25 feet were most effective.

The trout-production waters (Hamptons and Teals) fished poorly on the opener, averaging one to two trout per angler. Most of these, however, ranged 14-18 inches. No anglers were observed fishing the Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes.

April is still prime time to hit Banks Lake for rainbow trout. Bank fishermen are finding success on both ends of the lake using Power Bait in a wide assortment of colors.

Triploids are still being taken at Rufus Woods by anglers fishing tight to shore in back eddies. Rip-N-Minnows in 6-12 feet of water have been good. Others have been scoring on triploids using spinner/crawler harnesses or bouncing white Gitzit Tubes on the bottom. Power Bait, shrimp or marshmallows are most popular with bank fishermen.

A few rainbow were taken last week by anglers plunking bait from shore at Spring Canyon on Lake Roosevelt.

The I-82 ponds near Yakima have provided good trout fishing for anglers trolling Wedding Rings or Double Whammies tipped with worm.

Upper Goose Lake in Grant County continues to produce quality Rainbow for boaters. Bank fishing for rainbows on Potholes Reservoir has been producing fish more than 4 pounds.

Pend Oreille Lake has been fishing well for those who know it. Macks are coming on Apex’s and Lymans from 75 to 110 feet. Rainbows are being caught on top with flies off planer boards. Anglers should include some pink in their presentations.

Palmer Lake anglers say the kokanee are much smaller this year, but the 10- to 12-inch fish seem to be plentiful.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing is pretty good, but most fish taken recently run no larger than 17 inches. Fish jigs and stay in contact with the bottom. Outhouse Flats has been mentioned in a couple of reports, but most anglers say that elsewhere they had to go as deep as 100 feet to find fish.

Banks Lake walleye fishing has been tough with the wind and rain. Most fish are being taken at 40 feet near Barker Flats. A few smallmouth have been caught in midlake areas. Water temperatures range from 30 to 40 degrees.

Moses Lake is booting out some huge smallmouth for anglers throwing spinnerbaits or jigging. A few largemouth are also showing in the dunes. Largemouth fishing is heating up quickly in sloughs off Frenchman Hills and Winchester wasteways.

The Pend Oreille River is turbid with only a few inches of visibility. Pike are moving into the shallows, but the water needs to clear a little bit for better fishing. Gillnets are averaging about 10 pike each, mostly small.

Walleye anglers have been producing quality walleye with blade baits on the face of the sand dunes and the north side of Goose Island and in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir. Spinners are working the best. The bite will improve dramatically with warmer weather.

Walleye fishing is excellent in The Dalles and John Day Pools.


The Idaho general season youth turkey hunt runs Sunday through April 14. In some areas, the large flocks have not yet broken up, so calling in a tom could be difficult.

The general turkey season opens April 15 in Washington and Idaho. In Washington, the turkey harvest in the northeastern game management units (101-136) has been down somewhat in recent years, but still accounts for more than half of all the gobblers taken during the spring season statewide. “If I had to choose just one area to hunt this spring based on our winter transect data on turkey densities, it would be somewhere near the Inchelium Highway in game management unit 101 in Ferry County,” said Dana Base, WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist. “But there are plenty of good places to try to bag a bird in Stevens County, too.”

Contact Alan Liere at