Silver Bow Fly Shop reports decent fishing on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and say there has been a pretty good hatch of March browns. Soft currents and deeper water are where the fish are.
St. Joe bug activity is light, but the fishing is good. Dry flies are working. The best fishing is on the lower half of the river.
Amber Lake is fishing very well. Chironomids like are doing best, but leeches and balanced leeches are doing well too. Fishing the west end and shoreline areas has been most productive.
Coffeepot Lake is also fishing very well. Full sink lines with leeches down deep have been working. Medical Lake fishing has been decent along the shoreline edges for big fish. Bloodworm or leech patterns have worked best.
Trout and kokanee
Randy Osborne, Region 2 Fish Biologist says that the large fish planted recently in Liberty Lake were rainbow trout brood-stock planted by the Spokane Fish Hatchery rather than triploids, as reported here. A friend who fished Liberty last week said he didn’t get a big fish until he threw a jig and bobber in the shallows. Other anglers also reported catching their only fish in 2-5 feet of water.
The ice went off Deer Lake late last week and mackinaw fishermen are already out trolling. The time immediately after ice-off is one of the most productive times of the year.
Pacific Lake in Lincoln County has been dry for a number of years, but thanks to the recent wet springs, has refilled. It was stocked last spring and fall with rainbow trout.
Lake Spokane (Long Lake) has been fishing really well for rainbow trout both for boat and bank anglers.
Lake Chelan kokanee are moving around, so where you find fish one day may be barren the next. The lake is on the rise, so the fish will be moving to the lower basin.
Dozens of lakes opened to fishing April 1, most in Adams and Grant counties of the Columbia Basin. These include lakes in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in the Pillar-Widgeon Chain (Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Gadwall, Poacher, Shoveler, Lemna, Hourglass, Sago, and Widgeon); Upper and Lower Hampton lakes and North and South Teal lakes. North Teal Lake should be especially good this year with rainbow trout in the 12- to 20-inch range. Both of the Hampton lakes should also offer good opportunity for 12-inch rainbow.
Dry Falls Lake near Coulee City should provide good fishing. That fishery is under selective gear rules. Rainbows in the 14- to 16-inch range are common, but there are also some nice brown and tiger trout.
Spectacle Lake, which just opened, is south of Loomis in Okanogan County. It holds rainbow in the 10- to 14-inch range. Other Okanogan County rainbow trout fisheries shifted to catch-and-release fishing under selective gear rules on April 1. These include Campbell, Davis and Rat lakes.
Antilon Lakes, northwest of Chelan, will produce some nice brown trout this month as the ice comes off. Lower Antilon typically fishes better than Upper Antilon, with 14- to 18-inch brown trout common.
Stan Coffin Lake, in the Quincy Wildlife Area, can be excellent fishing for largemouth bass which are targeting perch in early spring. Anglers should have good success fishing just offshore in 8- to 10-feet of water.
Steelhead and salmon
Steelhead fisheries are mostly closed in the Columbia and Snake rivers, although a “bank only” fishery near the Tri-Cities adjacent to WDFW’s Ringold Springs Hatchery is open until April 15.
Spring chinook should start arriving in area waters in mid-April, said Paul Hoffarth, a WDFW fish biologist. The Columbia River is open for spring chinook fishing from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla through May 7.
Lake Roosevelt Charters reports that walleye are not yet responding to action lures, but vertical jigging in 80-120 feet of water has been reasonably effective.
Banks Lake anglers are catching a mixed bag of walleye, smallmouth and perch, in the Barker Flats area, but none are coming easy.
Potholes largemouth are also coming on slowly. Anglers flipping jigs in the dunes are catching a few in 50 degree water. The Lind Coulee arm at the east end of Potholes is a great location for walleye in April. Pre-spawn walleye are abundant there this month and anglers trolling bottom bouncers with a night crawler should find plenty of hungry fish.
Moses Lake will soon get increased flows from Crab Creek when the local irrigation district turns on the water to the East and West Low canals. The higher flows coincide with the walleye spawning migration into Crab Creek which typically occurs in early April. “Shore fishing for walleye along Crab Creek will be hot in early to mid-April,” says fish biologist Mike Schmuck.
Schmuck also reports good shore angler success on walleye with a worm and bobber in the Cascade Valley area of Moses Lake’s extensive shoreline. “The outlets of Moses Lake, where water enters the Potholes Reservoir, can be a great place to target pre-spawn, migrating walleye this month,” Schmuck said. “This is a jig and grub drift fishing opportunity and can be especially good at night.
Hutchinson and Shiner lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Adams County opened April 1. These connected lakes have many nice-sized largemouth bass and are best fished from a small boat. Internal combustion motors are prohibited.
With Rufus Woods water temperature still under 40 degrees, walleye have been tough to come by. Anglers jigging around the island out of Seaton’s Grove say they are marking a lot of fish in about 35 feet of water, but are catching more trout than ‘eyes.
Channel cats are biting well in shallow water in the Palouse River near Lyons Ferry. They are averaging over 4 pounds, and some go as much as 10 pounds. Cut bait has worked well.
Take a kid hunting. The youth-only two-day season is this Saturday and Sunday. Adults must wait another week.
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