May 17, 2013 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
Tip of the week

It’s not difficult to keep a supply of worms or nightcrawlers handy. Put them in a cheap Styrofoam cooler filled with wet moss or other bedding material and throw in a banana peel now and then.

Braggin’ rights

The winners of the 2013 Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club’s Spring Derby were:

Adult rainbow – Clint Nicholson of Sandpoint with an 18.16-pound fish. Adult mackinaw – Cory LaRue of Hayden with a 26.58-pounder.

Youth “A” – Hali Morlin of Sagle with a 15.88-pound mackinaw

Youth “B” – Candence Voss of Coeur d’Alene with a 7.94-pound rainbow.

Both macks and kams were taken close to the surface. Apexes and Rapalas were the best producers. On bright days, lures had to be run at least 10 feet down.


After lagging behind much of the late winter-early spring season, the presence of California sea lions at the lower Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam has grown, and so has their consumption of salmon headed upstream. Total salmonid predation is now higher than last year at this point.

Heads up

• The second annual Sprague Lake Fishing Derby is June 8. Registration is $10, available at Valley Marine, Four Seasons Resort and Sprague Lake Resort. First-place winner will be awarded gift cards and merchandise totaling $500.

• Pike Palooza is offering more than $5,000 in cash and prizes for anglers who catch northern pike in various categories during the Friday- through-Sunday event on the Pend Oreille River. Info: href=””> /northern-pike.

• Chinook fishing on the Snake has been closed Below Ice Harbor and Little Goose dams. It has been opened Sundays and Mondays only beginning Sunday from the Wawawai River Road upriver approximately 12 miles to the Washington state line.

Fly fishing

The best river option for fly fishermen right now is the Coeur d’Alene, which is dropping and should be in decent shape by Saturday. Finding clean, slow water is the ticket.

There is a lot of bug activity on Sprague Lake and enough 4-pound rainbow to make things very interesting. Evenings have been good.

Salmon and steelhead

Clearwater chinook fishing is poor. Fish checkers say they are seeing 1-3 fish a day, about half jacks. Chinook salmon fishing in Idaho has been expanded to include the Clearwater River main stem from the Camas Prairie railroad bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherry Lane Bridge and from the Lenore Bridge upstream to the Highway 11 Greer Bridge. The South Fork Clearwater River is open from its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Effective Saturday through July 31, anglers will be able to fish for and retain adult and jack spring chinook salmon on the Icicle River in Chelan County. The daily limit is two adipose-fin-clipped spring fish of 12 inches or larger.

Wind River boat anglers averaged nearly a chinook per every five rods last week. About 40 percent of the catch was jacks. Drano Lake boat anglers averaged almost a chinook per every four rods last week. About 30 percent of the catch was jacks.

The Yakima River from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser opened Wednesday for hatchery chinook salmon. A second area from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam opens Saturday.

Trout and kokanee

Liberty Lake trollers are taking mixed bags consisting of rainbow and brown trout as well as perch, crappie and bluegills. Rainbow are running mostly 10-11 inches, browns 16-18. A worm and Single Whammy will do the job on all species.

Williams Lake remains good for boat fishermen – either trolling or still-fishing. Troll flies or spinners, throw Roostertails, or dunk Power Bait – it doesn’t seem to matter. Most of the fish are a foot long, but there are good numbers of 16-19-inchers biting.

Downs Lake anglers are catching fair numbers of 12-14-inch rainbow in the channels between lily pads and around the resort dock. Green Roostertails are always a good bet this time of year.

Clear Lake has been steady for trollers dragging Wedding Rings or Double Whammies. Some anglers are putting Power Bait on the hooks. The rainbow are on the small side, but 15-inch browns are there for still-fishermen.

The kokanee bite on Lake Chelan continues somewhat slower than its peak but some are being caught in the trench, along the face of Mill Bay, up at the yacht club and over by the monument. The best bite is at first light. Average fishing depth is 60 feet. The “small” kokes are 12 inches long, and the biggest around 20 inches. A good average is 18 inches.

Trout fishing has been tough at Lake Roosevelt this week. The few fish taken have been near shore or rocks. A few kokanee are being taken, but there doesn’t seem to be one spot that is better than another.

Hayden Lake kokanee are becoming more difficult to catch, but the 15-inch fish are a prize if you can land one. The best bite is from 6-9 a.m.

Curlew Lake rainbow averaging 2 pounds each are being taken with relative ease from the southern end of the lake, and off the east-side islands Wedding Rings behind a dodger are doing most of the damage deep, but dock fishermen are also catching fish dunking Power Bait and worms.

Fast limits are the rule at Okanogan County’s Pearrygin Lake. Still-fishing with trout nuggets or eggs is effective.

Blue Lake in Grant County is giving up some nice rainbow, mostly between 13 and 15 inches. Troll the upper 10 feet with Needlefish and other small spoons.

Spiny ray

Loon Lake largemouth are hitting plastics worms and lipless cranks in the pads and around the docks. A lot of the fish are in the 2-pound range.

Double D’s Taxidermy and Guide Service’s Daniel Dodd says he fished the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt last weekend with “phenomenal success,” hooking large walleye “one after another” using dark-colored jigs. Info: (509) 993-5926.

Banks Lake smallmouth are on beds but not yet spawning. Tubes and grubs are catching a lot of fish.

Hayden Lake largemouth are starting to move into the shallows and both plastics and spinner baits are triggering strikes. Good-sized crappie are in structure close to shore. Hauser Lake is good for bluegill in the shallows.

Lind Coulee walleye are small, but trollers with lots of worms are sorting fish and bringing in fair numbers of 15-inchers. Bounce worm harnesses on the bottom. The Crab Creek area of Potholes can get crowded when the weather is nice, but the walleye bite has been good. Smile blades with a crawler, Slow Death, floating Rapalas, and Shadraps are all producing fish.

Coeur d’Alene pike are active in shallow water now. Many are less than 2 feet long, but the action can be fast. Smallmouth bass are beginning to bite.

South Twin Lake (near Coffeepot Lake) is booting out lots of bass. Friends caught some big crappie there Wednesday. Eloika has a lot of crappie too, but they are mostly under 9 inches.

Contact Alan Liere at

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