Hutchinson/Shiner Lake, near Othello, Wash., is a warmwater species project lake with quality crappie, bluegill, and largemouth – a great place to fly fish for warmwater species with a float tube or canoe.
Dusty Lake on the Quincy Wildlife Preserve has a lot of trout in the 14-16-inch range, and fly fishermen throwing size-12 chironomids in assorted Ice Cream Cone patterns are doing well on the south end. Because of the one-mile hike in, Dusty does not receive much pressure. Cliff Lake, just south of Dusty, is also worth a look for smaller rainbow.
Local rivers are a bit high for good fishing, but the Clark Fork is dropping and will probably be fishable by the weekend. There should be at least three weeks of decent pre-runoff fishing.
Salmon and steelhead
The North and South Fork Clearwater are still giving up steelhead to spring anglers. The catch rate has been about seven hours per fish. The Clearwater proper and the Snake from the Salmon River to the dam are also yielding a few fish.
Anglers on Banks Lake are getting the occasional chinook salmon now. These were the result of excess stocks of summer-run salmon at the hatchery and are now over 20 inches and weigh up to 4 pounds.
Trout and kokanee
Deer Lake trollers are starting to pick up a few mackinaw and rainbow. One boat checked last week had five 3-4-pound macks; another had three 1½-pound ’bows.
Lake Roosevelt trollers are finding large kokanee between Spring Canyon and the dam, but the bite has been sporadic.
Several thousand triploids were released around the net pens at Rufus Woods Reservoir and success has been high. Troll close to shore with Shad Raps and similar plugs.
With the recent winds, Rock Lake has been treacherous, but a few anglers are getting out and report amazing catches of browns and rainbow. There are a lot of small rainbow in the lake now, so a good plug is one that mimics them. Long-line mono and troll slow.
Omak Lake is providing excellent fishing for large cutthroat trout for both boat and bank anglers throwing spinners and spoons. The smallest fish have been around 16 inches.
Lake Chelan kokanee are bending rods at a fair clip with the fish coming from all over the water column around Rocky Point, which is on the north shore about a mile down from the Mill Bay launch. Most fish are at depths of 50-75 feet. The smallest are around 14 inches long, and the largest are 18 inches.
Another spot for good kokanee fishing is Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho where the kokes are running 10-11 inches. Launch at Big Eddy and fish the lower reservoir.
Walleye anglers fishing the Spokane Arm expect to find cooperative fish everywhere, but such has not been the case this week. Walleyes are being landed, particularly around Porcupine Bay, but the fishing is not fast. Anglers are actually doing better at Rufus Woods, but that can sometimes be brutal with current and wind teaming up to make fishing difficult.
Washburn Island Pond, a diked oxbow lake off the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park off Highway 17, opened April 1. Anglers are making nice catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, with the occasional channel catfish. Combustible engines may now be used there.
It’s evidently still too early for Eloika Lake crappie. A friend fished Eloika all day this week without a bite.
The lower Yakima River has been decent for smallmouth bass. The I-82 ponds near Yakima are beginning to produce nice largemouth and crappie in addition to trout.
Some of the best smallmouth fishing on the Okanogan River is right now. You won’t catch a lot, but there are some bruisers available.
Hayden Lake crappie are cooperating, but the average fish is around 8½ inches. Use bobbers and small unbaited jigs and a slow retrieve. Hayden is also producing a few nice kokanee.
Big pods of carp are showing on Scootney Lake in Franklin County as well as many spots in Moses Lake. Bow fishermen are getting all the shots they want.
Guide Toby Wyatt says there are excellent sturgeon opportunities now on the Snake from Heller Bar up. Some good sturgeon reports also come from the vicinity of Lower Granite Dam.
The general turkey season begins Monday in Washington. Over the past decade, an average of nearly 70 percent of the spring harvest of turkeys has come from the northeast game management units 101-136. The highest turkey densities most recently surveyed were in the Chewelah area of Game Management Unit 117, and in the Inchelium area of GMU 101.
The southeast Washington units 139-186 have averaged nearly 15 percent of the statewide turkey harvest. WDFW’s Asotin Creek, Chief Joseph, and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas provide good hunting
The Idaho general spring turkey and black bear hunts open Monday. Montana’s spring black bear hunting season also opens Monday. Montana spring black bear hunters must purchase their licenses on or before Sunday. If purchased after that, hunters must wait 24 hours before hunting a black bear. All black bear hunters in Montana must successfully complete Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ bear identification test before purchasing a black bear license.
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