The North Fork Coeur d’Alene blew out last week but is dropping again and should be fishable now. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends March browns, gray drakes and bwos on the cold, rainy days and skwalas and salmon flies when it warms up. The salmon flies have been on the lower end – the higher up you go, the colder it gets with fewer bug hatches.
The St. Joe also blew out last week, but like the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, is back on the drop – high but fishable. Lots of the best water will be along the banks and flooded brush. The Clark Fork is very high and will probably be unfishable for quite a while.
Badger, Amber and Coffeepot lakes have provided some good fly fishing with balanced leeches, and some of the rainbow are pushing 20 inches.
Trout and Kokanee
In Spokane County, Badger Lake anglers are still catching a lot of 11-inch rainbow and cutthroat. Clear Lake anglers are getting considerably fewer fish, but there are some nice browns in the mix. Anglers at Fish Lake averaged about three fish each on opening day, and have maintained that average ever since. West Medical anglers averaged only a fish each on opening day, many of them large broodstock, but fishing for catchables is improving. Williams Lake is still producing around four fish per angler, including some very large rainbow.
The northern lakes are warming slowly and so is the catching. The best fishing in that area is Cedar Lake where this year’s catchables as well as a lot of 14- to 15-inch carryovers are being taken. Starvation Lake is good, but Rocky Lake is not, as it is overrun with shiners. Mudgett Lake, which is near Fruitland, has the usual catchables but also a lot of 16- to 18-inch carryovers.
Waitts, Jump-Off Joe, Loon and Marshall all received catchable rainbow, but fishing for them has been slow. A friend who fished Loon recently said the best bite came in only 20 feet of water on a Wedding Ring trolled on two colors of leaded line. If the weather stays warm, the kokes will begin to spread out. Most of the fish were 10-11 inches in length.
Anglers at Diamond Lake are averaging roughly two fish each, including a few large rainbow. In Ferry County, Lake Ellen is giving up roughly two trout per angler. Trout fishermen at Curlew Lake are doing very well on rainbow in a variety of sizes, but most over 14 inches. Perch are also biting. In Lincoln County, anglers at Fishtrap are averaging around two trout each.
In Grant County, Blue, Deep and Park lakes all remain good, for trout running 11-13 inches. Perch Lake anglers are reeling in over four trout each, Warden Lake anglers almost three trout each, and at Vic Meyer about two trout per fisherman.
In Douglas County, Wapato Lake gave up an average of 3.39 trout per angler on the opener. Jameson Lake’s trout are mostly 12-14 inches long and limits have been common.
Lake Chelan kokanee are running in three sizes – 9-10 inches, 12 inches and 14-15 inches. Anglers are saying they have never seen the number of large schools. Fishing has been excellent 55 feet and up in the water column within a mile of Wapato Point. Fish just above the schools. An occasional chinook salmon is sometimes a nice bonus for kokanee anglers. Lake trout are being caught near the bottom in the State Park area. Nearby, Roses Lake is providing excellent fishing for 11- to 14-inch planter rainbow in the state access area.
Conconully Lake is yielding limits of fat 13-inchers. Orange hootchie flies behind a dodger are doing well. Palmer Lake kokes are still missing in action.
Hayden Lake in Idaho is another good spot for 13-inch kokanee. The best bite recently has been at the north end.
The rainbow trout bite for bank anglers on Lake Roosevelt has been good. Anglers plopping Power Bait have been limiting on 15- to 18-inch fish in short order. Rufus Woods triploids continue to keep anglers smiling. Most are between 1.5 and 3 pounds. Crankbaits have been effective. Kokanee anglers on Lake Roosevelt are finally finding some fish. Dave Grove of Captain Dave’s Guide Service says both trout and kokanee have been caught between 5-11 feet while trolling near the shoreline. Info: (509) 939-6727.
Anglers on the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt are finding a lot of walleye. In addition, the smallmouth bite is good. Jigs and drop-shot rigs have been effective for the walleye, crawdad tubes for the bass. If unfamiliar with the Arm, take it easy. The water is low and there are some prop-grinding gravel bars just under the surface. Anglers on Tuesday reported a lot of debris in the water from Porcupine Bay downstream. Three friends made it through and fished the Arm, keeping 20 15- to 16-inch walleye and about that many smallmouth. Crappie are biting at area lakes Eloika, Long, Newman, Hayden and Fernan. There are lots of little ones at Eloika, but the occasional 9-inch keeper, as well as perch, sunfish and bass keep things interesting. Throw a small curlytail jig 4 feet under a bobber close to shore. Crappie are generally larger at the other lakes.
Walleye fishing is still slow on Banks, Potholes and Moses Lake. The smallmouth bite has been on for about two weeks at all three waters. Most walleye fishermen at Banks are staying in the Barker Flats vicinity and say they are also picking up some decent perch.
State shellfish managers have closed Mocrocks beach to razor clam digging due to elevated marine toxin levels, bringing Washington’s razor clam season to an end. An initial toxin test last week indicated clams at Mocrocks were safe to eat, a second set of clams tested this week found that domoic acid levels now exceed the state public health threshold. Last week, the WDFW closed both Long Beach and Twin Harbors beaches because of elevated levels of domoic acid.
The warmer weather should make turkey hunting more pleasant, but you’re going to have to work harder the last couple weeks to lure in a tom. Without the constant gobbling of two weeks ago, the big birds are much harder to locate, and their ardor seems to have diminished. Hunters who got out early in the season had excellent success.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere @ yahoo.com