The Coeur d’Alene River is the best local bet for river trout fishing, but the St. Joe is starting to come around.
Yocum Lake cutts to 16 inches have been hitting green Carey Specials.
Salmon and steelhead
Fishing for adult chinook salmon in the lower Salmon River from the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge upstream to the mouth of Shorts Creek will close at the end of fishing Sunday. No adult chinook, 24 or more inches in length, may be kept. But jacks less than 24 inches may be harvested. Fishing for chinook will continue in the lower Salmon downstream of the Time Zone Bridge and in the Little Salmon from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
Trout and kokanee
Coeur d’Alene kokanee are running mostly 8-10 inches, but trollers are finding good numbers. At Loon Lake, the fish are also small this year, but they appear to be growing quickly, and anglers are reporting lots of 11-inchers. Three colors of leaded line and a 1.5-1.6 trolling speed will put you in fish.
The kokanee night fishery at Loon should be starting, but the weather has been so unsettled and cold no one is trying. Daytime trolling has been good.
Kokanee fishing on Lake Pend Oreille has been excellent for the few anglers giving it a try. The fish aren’t large – 7-8 inches – but they are found almost anywhere on the lake and seem willing to hit almost anything. Guide Kurt Arnter of Pend Oreille Charters, (208) 610-8540, said he is catching macks, rainbow and bull trout in addition to the kokanee. All are on the surface, hitting Apexes in assorted colors. The lake temperature has actually gone down in the last few days, sitting at approximately 54 degrees.
Friends complained this week that the trout fishing at Waitts Lake was too good. They said they launched at the public access and trolled dodgers and flies tipped with worm down the middle and had limits before they reached the first resort. Eight of the fish were 9- to 10-inch rainbow and two were browns of 14 and 16 inches.
My grandchildren, Walker and Claire, and their mother, Leahlynn, trolled Needlefish with their other grandpa/dad, Ron Johnson, at Sprague Lake this week, keeping 10 rainbow between 12-13 inches and one of 21 inches. They said the bite was consistent.
Williams Lake is in its 11th year of good trout fishing – nearly unheard of in a put-and-take lake, said Chris Donley of WDFW. He and his two daughters have fished there often this spring, doing well each time, and he expects the fishing to hold up through the summer. The Donleys also fish Badger Lake frequently, targeting 16-inch Westslope cutthroat by motoring around until they find suspended fish, then dropping bait to the right depth. Rainbow are smaller.
Diamond Lake trollers are taking fast limits of rainbow and browns ranging from 10-18 inches. The new public launch has two ramps with a long dock between so getting a boat in and out is a breeze.
Liberty Lake is giving up small trout and some large crappie. West Medical Lake has been good for 12- to 14-inch rainbow on the troll, but bank anglers are also doing well tossing bait at the public access as well as on the north end. Downs Lake perch have not yet shown, but trout fishing has been very good in the channels. Clear Lake rainbow aren’t large, but the evening action is fast for still-fishermen. Fishtrap Lake was hot this week, giving up fast limits of small rainbow.
Rock Lake is full of 10-inch rainbow. Trolling the surface to 20 feet with any spinner will bring fast action. The larger rainbow and browns take more work, but there are some brutes available.
Lake Roosevelt rainbow have shown best recently in the vicinity of Whitestone. Kokanee (one reported more than 5 pounds) are back in Swawilla Basin, hitting Apexes and Squidders.
On Chelan, mackinaw continue to bite trolled presentations close to the bottom in water 280-340 feet deep above the Yacht Club. Worden Lures T4 Flatfish in Purple Glow and Mack’s Cha Cha Squidders as well as Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in Glow Splatterback colors continued to rack up fish. The best bite is between 6-8 a.m.
Long Lake crappie fishermen are dropping small jigs around downed trees and next to docks for fish of 9-12 inches.
Spokane Arm walleye are on and then off. Deeper water seems to be holding more fish – sometimes as deep as 50 feet. Better fishing is reported from Northport down to the area known as “The Dalles.” The river is coming up fast. All launches should be usable by the weekend.
Two friends fished Bonnie Lake this week, keeping 29 crappie and a couple of perch. The crappie were not as large as those reported a couple of weeks ago, most running 9-10 inches.
FISHING -- In recent weeks I've explored some of the fishing and hunting ramifications of water management in Washington, especially the unsustainable impacts of deep-well irrigation in central Washington. While ...