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Hunting and fishing

Fri., May 25, 2012

Fly fishing

The early-summer Lahontan cutthroat bonanza begins June 1 on Grimes Lake. Grimes is best fished with chironomids.

With area rivers still high and discolored, fly fishermen are looking for options. The lakes can be good for trout, and bluegills and crappie will readily take a fly in any number of Washington and Idaho waters, but for some real fun, try fly fishing for pike. Many Idaho lakes have good populations of these toothy fish. A reader said his most successful pattern is a large white/red streamer, but also had good luck with perch and sunfish imitations. A medium-long slow strip with a pause just long enough to let the tip of the fly start to drop brings strikes. Holding the rod tip high and pumping the wrist sharply is also effective as it causes the fly to simulate a wounded bait fish.

Steelhead and salmon

All of the Snake River in Washington is closed to chinook fishing. “The majority of the fish were taken in the lower Snake River, but the catch guidelines apply to the river as a whole,” said Cindy LeFleur, WDFW Columbia River policy coordinator. “For that reason, we had to close the upriver fisheries sooner than expected.”

Toby Wyatt said the Clearwater River in Idaho is providing the best spring salmon fishing in his guiding career. Info: Reel Time Fishing (208) 790-2128. With the Icicle River opened for spring chinook, anglers are reminded that the regulation allowing two-pole angling on the Columbia River does not apply to the Icicle.

The lower Yakima River from the Interstate 182 bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue bridge in Prosser, and the upper Yakima from the I-82 bridge at Union Gap to the railroad bridge below Roza Dam opened to fishing for hatchery spring chinook this week.

Trout and kokanee

Williams Lake rainbow ranging 12-16 inches were biting for this week from both boat and dock.

Deer Lake continues to kick out rainbow limits from relatively shallow water around the docks. The fish range from 10 to 19 inches. On nearby Loon Lake, the kokanee bite is good for trollers using Wedding Rings and maggots on 3-4 colors of leaded line. A lot of the fish have been the smaller 8- to 11-inchers. On Lake Coeur d’Alene, a few kokanee are beginning to show.

Rufus Woods Reservoir hasn’t kicked out anything terribly large recently, but anglers pitching spoons and spinners can still catch fish running 2 and 3 pounds and up to 5 pounds.

Omak Lake in Okanogan County is on fire for cutthroat fishermen. The average fish is 21 inches, but fish more than 5 pounds are not unheard of. The boat ramp in Mission Bay reopens June 1.

Spiny ray

Throwing watermelon-colored split-tail frogs, Valley Pawn 1 employees Evan Johnson and Brandon DeChenne took advantage of their midweek day off and burned up Eloika Lake largemouth. The duo took dozens of 2- to 3-pound fish as well as some more than 4. They said fishing was best from Jerry’s Landing north.

Good largemouth fishing is also available at Diamond Lake and at Horseshoe Lake in Pend Oreille County. Fish are consistently less than 3 pounds, but they appear to be plentiful. Senkos work well there.

Although the trout fishing has been excellent, anglers on Sprague Lake are complaining about the nonexistent panfish bite. The lake should be producing a few bluegill and crappie, but no one has found them. Now and then, a big largemouth is caught.

Moses Lake is beginning to come on for walleye anglers. There have been numerous reports of 16- to 21-inch fish caught bouncing Walleye Killers and Walleye Poppers in 12 feet of water.

Lake Roosevelt has been better for smallmouth than walleye this week, but that may change when the Spokane Arm opens June 1. For bass, throw tight to boulders in shallow water and don’t be afraid to keep a limit of fat 13-inchers for the frying pan. Watch out for partially submerged logs.

Crappie and bluegill are biting at Newman Lake. The bluegill bite will continue to improve and in other Washington waters such as Loon, Sacheen and Liberty and in the small North Idaho lakes.

Banks Lake smallmouth are coming into the shorelines and biting aggressively. Make fast retrieves with crankbaits such as the Luhr Jensen Crystal Craw Speed trap. Banks Lake walleye anglers are also experiencing good fishing for 18- to 20-inch fish.

Other species

The recreational halibut fishery off the north coast of Washington at LaPush and Neah Bay will reopen Thursday and June 2.


The deadline to enter the first Idaho Super Hunt drawing is Thursday. A second drawing will be in August. Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose, including general hunts and controlled hunts, in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold.

Turkey season ends Thursday.

Contact Alan Liere at

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