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Weekly hunting and fishing report

Fly Fishing

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene continues to be very good with trailers under big bugs getting the most looks. Drakes, PMDs, and yellow sallies are the best dries to fish. Fish are bigger on the tributaries. The St. Joe is at a good level and fishing has been excellent both high and low.

Caddis are the name of the game lately on the Spokane River. Fish are mostly along the current seams. Nymphing dominates. Both the upper and lower river are good for rainbow, and smallmouth bass fishing on the upper has also taken off.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt anglers report debris in the water is making trolling difficult. They are taking more 10-inch planters than carryovers recently.

The 8-inch rainbow WDFW and Avista planted in Long Lake are beginning to show up. Most anglers fishing for crappie and perch catch them inadvertently. There will be an annual stocking over the next 10 years of 155,000 sterile rainbow trout which are expected to grow quickly, boosting what has been only a fair trout fishery. 

West Medical bank anglers throwing PowerBait are limiting quickly early in the morning, and trollers and spin fishermen are also doing well from both boat and shore. Williams Lake’s Tree 11 is still the place for still-fishermen dunking PowerBait.

Clear Lake rainbow of about 12 inches are hitting both bait and lures. Even shore fishermen are getting in on the action throwing spinners or worms under a bobber.

Loon Lake night fishermen pretty much stayed away this week during the rainy weather, but as soon as things warm again, kokanee anglers will once again be hammering fish in about 32 feet of water. Last week, limits were coming quickly.

Diamond Lake anglers trolling Apex lures tipped with worms are catching browns and rainbow and competition is minimal. The Waitts Lake report is almost identical, but a flasher and fly will take as many.

The recently planted steelhead smolts in Sprague Lake have become bothersome for bait anglers, but the big trout are still hitting too.

Kokanee are striking Wedding Rings in the lower basin of Lake Chelan. Use a slow troll at about 60 feet to locate the big biters.

Curlew Lake trout fishing, says Jack Beck at Fisherman’s Cove Resort, is “fabulous.” He says anglers have to go no further than the resort dock for limits of 10- to 14-inch rainbow. Still fishermen in boats are taking larger fish in deeper water.

 Omak Lake is producing tremendous numbers of Lahontan cutts for trollers using Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in the glow green color.  While some fish are 12 to 14 inches, many are much larger.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game continues to stock the small Panhandle lakes with 9- to 11-inch rainbow. Additional plants are scheduled for Monday. The most fish will be going into Kelso and Lower Twin, each receiving 1,800 trout.

The kokanee on Coeur d’Alene have been mostly small so far this spring – 6 to 9 inches. The best bite has been towards Harrison at a depth of 25 feet.

Salmon and steelhead

Harvest of adult chinook in the entire Clearwater drainage (including the Middle Fork, South Fork and Lochsa) will end on Sunday at 9:15 p.m. Harvest of all chinook, including jacks (those under 24 inches), will be off-limits in the main stem Clearwater and the North Fork Clearwater after Sunday. Harvest of jack salmon will continue to be allowed on the Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater and Lochsa River until further notice.

Salmon fishing on the South Fork Salmon River and upper Salmon River opens Saturday. The South Fork will be open from the bridge on Forest Service Road 48 (Lick Creek Road) upstream approximately 32 river miles to a posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the IDFG weir. The Upper Salmon will be open from a posted boundary 100 yards upstream from the mouth of the North Fork Salmon River to a posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Fish and Game weir at Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley.

The chinook bite on Lake Coeur d’Alene has remained surprisingly good and the fish are still only down 35 to 55 feet. A number of 15- to 18-pound fish were weighed in this week.

Coho activity was very good this week near Westport and anglers report also seeing a lot of whales.

Spiny ray

A friend near Northport said this week’s walleye fishing was a bust.

Blue Lake in Grant County is scheduled for rehabilitation next year, but anglers are nevertheless making fast limit catches of 13- to 14-inch rainbow. The lake is full of smallmouth bass, too, and that action often surpasses the trout fishing.

The Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes bass and pike are now retreating to the weedlines and feeding actively. The hot offering is a spinnerbait. Some nice fish of both species have been taken this week.

Eloika Lake weeds are already a hassle, but the bass fishing is good. Weedless top-waters are about your only chance.

Banks Lake largemouth bass have been holding at the edge of the green cattails and along the reed grass. Large dark-colored plastic worms are drawing the most strikes.

The walleye bite on Banks Lake is cranking up again. The Poplar Bay area and along the Rose Bush have been productive for anglers pulling crankbaits, but chartreuse spinners with a Slow Death hook and a piece of nightcrawler are preferred by many. A few reports have trickled in from the Pend Oreille River. The pike fishing near Newport has been poor, but there are lots of largemouth bass.

Other species

The sturgeon bite near Lower Granite Dam is picking up, but the considerable debris in the water makes landing one difficult. To date, around two million shad have been counted crossing Bonneville Dam.

The Northern Pikeminnow Sports-Reward Program for 2014 began May 1 and will end September 30. The 2014 Sport reward payment schedule for pikeminnow 9 inches and larger is as follows: 1-100 fish, $4 per fish; 101-400 fish, $5 per fish; 401 and above, $8 per fish. In addition, tagged fish are worth $500. There are 18 check-in stations on the Columbia and three on the Snake – at Boyer Park, Lyons Ferry and at Greenbelt near Clarkston. Of these three, the most fish are checked in at Boyer Park each week.

Contact Alan Liere by email at

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