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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Omak Lake cutthroat are providing action for fly fishermen throwing leech patterns toward the bank. Sight fishing is most effective for fish up to 24 inches.

Steelhead and salmon

The Idaho spring steelhead fishing season closed Monday in most waters. The Little Salmon, from its mouth upstream to the U.S. 95 Bridge at Smokey Boulder Road, remains open until May 15. The Snake River from Hells Canyon Dam to Oxbow Dam stays open until May 30.

Chinook fishing above Bonneville Dam has been slow, with the bulk of the run yet to arrive. As a result, anglers will be allowed to fish at least through Sunday for hatchery-reared spring chinook on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163 miles upstream from Bonneville Dam.

Trout and kokanee

Three of the top 10 opening-day trout lakes in Washington were Ellen Lake in Ferry County (five fish kept per angler), Warden Lake in Grant County (five fish kept per angler) and Mudgett Lake in Stevens County (4.1 fish kept per angler). There were many other lakes with higher catch rates, though fewer fish were retained. Some of these were Williams and West Medical in Spokane County, Cedar and Waitts in Stevens County, and Warden and Deep in Grant County. The largest fish checked by WDFW in the region on the opener were a 22-inch brown trout at Waitts Lake in Stevens County, a 21.7-inch tiger trout in Fish Lake in Spokane County and a 20-inch brown trout in Clear Lake in Spokane County.

Other eastern Washington opening-day destinations yielding more than three fish per angler were Fish, Clear, Starvation, Park and Diamond. At Fish Lake in Spokane County, most of the take were small tiger trout. Diamond Lake was also loaded with planters, but anglers managed a few large carryovers. Jump-Off Joe was good to a group of family and friends who caught numerous browns in the 18-inch range as well as a lot of smaller rainbow.

At West Medical, trollers and spin-casters did better than the bait dunkers. The largest fish reported were around 17 inches with most smaller. Williams Lake rainbow ran a consistent 13 inches with a few to 16 inches. Loon Lake trollers took a lot of tiger trout and rainbow 17-20 inches, and two friends had good luck trolling for kokanee just out from the launch. They said that fish of varying sizes were holding at about 15 feet. Marshall Lake anglers reported excellent cutthroat fishing.

Ice hasn’t been off Twin Lakes near Inchelium long and it has not been stocked, but anglers are dragging flies and spoons for 15- to 18-inch carryover rainbow and a few brook trout.

Deer Lake anglers are catching a few rainbow to 25 inches. The lake is full of recently planted trout of around 10 inches.

Potholes rainbow are packed in shallow water spawning. Small ones are about 14 inches and the larger ones will go 5 pounds. On Upper Goose Lake in the Columbia Basin, trollers are still putting 15-inch rainbow in the boat by dragging Wedding Rings on the southwest end. Blue Lake in Grant County was spotty on the opener. Most fish were 12-14 inches. Park Lake anglers had only fair success.

Rufus Woods is somewhat slow. One angler reported only two bites all day, but both fish were more than 10 pounds. Others did well casting to rising fish in the morning. Jigs are good.

Rainbow and Spring lakes in the Tucannon system are still good for small rainbow.

Spiny ray

Moses Lake bass fishermen are beginning to take both largemouth and smallmouth on tube jigs. Stan Coffin Lake is reported to be fishing well for both bass and crappie in the upper section.

Banks Lake crappie are turning on, and many of them are more than 1½ pounds. Look for cattails along the shore where the water slopes to about 6 feet.

White and green spinnerbaits are taking largemouth in Newman Lake bays where water temperatures have reached 60 degrees. Eloika Lake has given up a number of 2-pound largemouth recently. Fish the edges of emerging pads.

Two Rivers walleye fishing is improving, as is that in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir and in the Crab Creek Channel.

Idaho Waters

Winchester, Waha and Mann lakes were stocked in April with catchable rainbow trout. Most other area lakes and reservoirs will be stocked before the Memorial Day weekend. Winchester can also provide good yellow perch, bluegill and crappie fishing, while Spring Valley and Moose Creek reservoirs are good spots for trout or bluegill. Mann Lake near Lewiston has some great trout, crappie, and bass fishing, while Elk Creek Reservoir is known for good rainbow and brook trout fishing.

As the weather warms, more boat anglers are trying their luck for kokanee and smallmouth bass on Dworshak Reservoir. Recent reports have the kokanee sizes ranging from 8 to about 10½ inches. The best spot now is in the Reeds Creek area and near the forebay of the dam. Smallmouth bass anglers are concentrating on the lower end of Dworshak.

Idaho Fish and Game’s Take Me Fishing Trailer event will be in Kiwanis Park in Lewiston from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday. It’s free, open to everyone and no license is required. Equipment, bait and instruction are provided.


Spring turkey hunting season continues through May. Dana Base, WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist, said turkeys seem to be widely spread at this point. Many large flocks have broken into small groups, typically found in short grass fields near forest edges. In the southeast district of the region, WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman reports fewer hunters than in years past. Turkey hunters are reminded to file hunting activity and harvest reports by phone or online as soon as possible, unless they plan to hunt turkeys this fall.

Contact Alan Liere at


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