Beda Lake in Grant County has been good for fly fishermen throwing or trolling chironomids just off the bottom in the deepest areas in the middle of the lake. The trout aren’t particularly large and some are downright dinky. Heart Lake has bigger fish.
The middle stretch of the Spokane River and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River are blown out and will probably not be fishable for at least a week.
Silver Bow Fly Shop said the St. Joe River levels are on the rise, but the river is still fishable. Dries are working, but streamers will sometimes do better. The Washington lakes that opened March 1 continue to fish well.
Trout and kokanee
Anglers launching at the Lake Spokane campground and trolling flies within 10 feet of the surface have been taking quick limits of beautiful 12- to 14-inch rainbow towardLong Lake Dam. You don’t have to go that far to find fish, as they are spread throughout the system.
The annual Lake Chelan Kokanee Derby will be held on April 21 and 22. There will be lots of cash and prizes. If things continue as they have all winter and spring, there should be plenty of 14- to 16-inch kokanee. To learn more, www.somethingcatchy.org. Be advised that the Old Mill Park launch is closed until May.
Rufus Woods has seen some good trout fishing lately, as long as there is a current. The fishing dies when the reservoir goes flat.
Two friends who fished Hayden Lake this week said they had to fish hard and long for 15 kokanee running 10-13 inches.
Windmill Lake in Grant County seems to have mostly small trout, but 10-inch fish are the norm and once in a while a lunker is landed. Windmill, South Hampton and several other lakes that opened April 1 have been slow at times, but Canal Lake and Heart Lake have been consistently good. The Medicare Beach vicinity of Potholes Reservoir is booting out steelhead-sized rainbow.
Steelhead and salmon
The lower Yakima River will likely open for chinook salmon in late April or early May (as soon as the fish arrive in good numbers). The lower Snake River is also slated to open for spring chinook fishing later this spring.
The Columbia River below Bonneville Dam is closed to salmon fishing, but as the fish move upriver, fishing will continue in destinations such as Drano Lake and Wind River.
Eloika, Downs, Silver and Newman lakes are beginning to kick out a few largemouth bass. So far, no fish more than 3 pounds has been reported.
Some walleye anglers on Lake Roosevelt report finding fish as deep as 120 feet, but others fishing around Buoy 1 have gone much shallower for their fish. The Spokane Arm is muddy down low but improves the closer you get to Buoy 5. The water level is way down, so keep it slow or you’ll be pricing a new lower unit. There is a lot of current, so heavy jigs are necessary. The good news is, a lot of fish are coming from 12-15 feet of water and shallower.
Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir walleye fishing has been good at times, but it’s been hard to find one more than 16 inches. Last week, successful anglers were trolling Slow Death rigs with gold Smile Blades in 15-25 feet of water on Moses. This week, the lake has risen almost to full pool, the water temperature has dropped and fish have left last week’s haunts and are rumored to be hanging out in Crab Creek and near the Alder Street Fill. On Potholes, the bite has begun at the mouth of the Lind Coulee.
Banks Lake walleye are sometimes difficult to find, and the incessant wind has made things difficult. Nevertheless, bottom Bouncers and Slow Death rigs are taking both walleye and some decent perch in the southern end of Barker Flats in 40-50 feet of water.
Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service said last weekend was the best he had seen for Palouse River channel cats, and this week was as good or better. Each week, he and his two clients have boated more than 60 cats between 6-14 pounds, releasing all the big females to spawn. Info: 509-999-0717.
Between April 29 and Sept. 1, recreational anglers will again have an opportunity to harvest hatchery sturgeon from Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs. Sturgeon caught in these reservoirs will not count toward an angler’s annual limit for sturgeon, and anglers will not be required to record them on their catch record cards. Closer to home, the much-anticipated Lake Roosevelt sturgeon opener is June 15.
Idaho and Washington general turkey seasons begin Sunday. As has been the case of several years, there appear to be more birds than ever. Inclement weather last week made the youth season in both states tough, and those that got out said the flocks had not broken up much.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to approve new hunting seasons through 2020 for deer, elk, waterfowl and other game species during a public meeting Thursday through Saturday. A complete agenda is available at wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.
With the grizzly bear population in eastern Idaho fully recovered and removed from federal protection, Idaho Fish and Game proposes to offer a tag for one grizzly bear for the fall season of 2018. You can comment online at idfg.idaho.gov starting on Monday.
The Idaho spring black bear season opens Saturday in many hunting units that are not open. Many parts of the state offer general hunting seasons for black bears, but hunters can not take any female bear with young.