While fly fishermen wait for area rivers to settle down, local lakes are providing good fly fishing. Williams Lake has numerous 11- to 14-inch rainbow, and chironomid patterns 6 feet under an indicator are accounting for some big triploids as well. Fish Lake tiger and brook trout have been hammering green Wooly Buggers. The brookies are running mostly 13 to 17 inches, but the tiger trout are smaller. These fish have been hitting short, so trim down the tails on your flies and speed up the retrieve. West Medical trout are hitting dry flies on top in the evening and into the night. Most of the rainbow are about 12 inches.
Steelhead and salmon
Area anglers are still waiting for the chinook to arrive. The mouth of the Wind River and Drano Lake are the shortest drive for a chance at ocean-run salmon. Both destinations are giving up about one fish for every 8.3 rods.
Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook fishing is only fair, said Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers. He said effort has been low because of the “no wake” restriction, which is now off. He recommends trolling diving Rapalas off a planer board or helmeted herring 10 to 15 feet down off a downrigger.
Trout and kokanee
Williams Lake has been fairly consistent for 11- to 14-inch rainbow, though dock anglers don’t seem to be doing as well as last year and report seeing schools of trout under 6 inches. West Medical fishermen are having fair success on larger fish. Badger Lake has been best early, and Fishtrap Lake, while not hot, is yielding fair numbers of 12- to 17-inch trout to both trollers and still-fishermen. Clear Lake has given up trout to 22 inches, both browns and rainbow.
Further north, Waitts Lake browns are biting aggressively. On Loon Lake, tiger trout are reported to be up to 20 inches in length, and there are rainbow that size also. Kokanee are running 8 ½ to 15 inches, with most between 10 and 12 inches. A friend has been limiting there consistently, but on a slow day, he nets only two fish an hour.
At Valley White Elephant, John Kallas said Sprague Lake reports are either “zero or unreal” with fish up to 7 pounds coming in when the bite is on. Long-lining Rapalas or drifting worms and marshmallows can be equally effective.
Rock Lake is down about 8 inches but still muddy. Trollers are having limited success on browns and rainbows and bank anglers aren’t getting much action at all.
A number of Lake Chelan mackinaw were caught recently by anglers trolling kokanee gear in the lower basin. Most of the fish have been 4 to 8 pounds. The kokanee bite is slow. In Idaho, Priest Lake macks are hammering pink Squidders trolled at 120 to 150 feet. Priest Lake kokanee are just beginning to hit. There was a recent report of a 20-incher.
Deer Lake mackinaw fishermen trolling the mouth of the narrows in 40 feet of water are taking a few fish to 8 pounds. Deer has also been good for large rainbow.
In Okanogan County, Alta Lake is seeing good rainbow fishing. Most are in the 9- to 12-inch range, but there are some 15 inchers as well. In Chelan County near Wenatchee, Beehive Reservoir has been excellent for rainbow to 15 inches. Nearby Clear Lake is almost as good. Wapato Lake near Manson is giving up rainbow averaging 14 to 18 inches, and Jameson Lake in Douglas County has good numbers of rainbow to 17 inches.
In Grant County, Deep Lake has a lot of 11- to 13-inch rainbow as well as much larger triploids. Warden Lake anglers are taking limits of 10- to 14-inch rainbow, and Park Lake rainbow run 12 to 16 inches with an occasional brown to 22 inches.
Eloika Lake bass fishing is improving and crappie are biting north of Jerry’s Landing. Friends who fished there recently had a dozen keepers (they must be 9 inches or better) in the two dozen landed. For bass, Senkos and Zoom Lizards fished slowly around the docks have been productive. Newman Lake has also been good.
Loon Lake largemouth are biting well around the reeds on the northeast side and the docks are yielding fish also. Plastic crawfish and lizards are doing the damage.
On Roses Lake in Chelan County, anglers can expect a mixed bag of bass, crappie and perch. Fish are numerous but not too big.
Hefty Rufus Woods walleye are biting aggressively, especially from dusk on. Spinners and jigs with nightcrawlers have been the ticket. On Moses Lake, water temperatures in the high 50s have cranked up the walleye bite, though some anglers are still going home empty-handed. Winds often make trolling difficult. Good walleye fishing is reported at Lind Coulee.
Trout anglers at Jump-Off Joe are putting aside their Rooster Tails and dunking worms for 8- to 9-inch perch. Huge schools can sometimes be seen in shallow water.
Hayden Lake anglers are having a lot of fun with large crappie. The limit at Hayden is six of fish 10 inches or better. Some large bass have also been taken recently.
Angling for shad will be allowed on most of the Columbia River beginning May 16. The Columbia River Mainstem from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/ Washington border is already open.
Lingcod and black rockfish fishing is excellent off Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. The coastal halibut fishery off Westport opened Sunday and quite a few fish averaging 18 pounds were caught. Westport is open this Sunday and on May 20 and 22. Ilwaco is open for halibut Thursdays to Saturdays each week. Fishing there so far has been fair. Anglers are excited about the short but productive halibut fishery off Neah Bay and La Push that began Thursday. Both areas are also open Saturday, and May 17 and 19.
Turkey hunting is much better now than it was when the season began. The large flocks have broken up, and it is not unusual to see two or three toms courting a single hen. With that kind of competition, the birds often get stupid.