The Washington State Council Fly Fishers International is again sponsoring a Fly Fishing Festival in Ellensburg to promote fly fishing to all ages. The dates are May 4 and 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. All aspects of fly fishing are demonstrated and shown to all that attend the event. As many as 100 fly tiers spend Friday and Saturday demonstrating fly tying to everyone. To register, go to www.washingtoncouncilfff.org
The north Fork Coeur d’Alene is high and will be out of commission for a while. The St. Joe is fishing well, Silver Bow Fly Shop reports. There has been a good March brown hatch at times in the afternoon, as well as nemoura stones.
The lower Clark Fork River is up and off a bit but still has some visibility, Joe Cantrell of Cantrell Outfitters in St. Regis, Montana, said. Hatches are similar to the St. Joe.
Amber, Medical Lake and Coffeepot are all fishing well. Medical Lake has the largest fish, although there are some dandies in all three lakes.
Trout and kokanee
Hayden Lake kokanee anglers are finding more 12-inch fish than the larger ones, but the bite has been good.
While kokanee are receiving most of the attention at Lake Chelan, the mackinaw bite has also been good around Wapato Point.
Roses Lake in Chelan County is booting out limits of 10-to 14-inch rainbow by anglers trolling hootchies, flies or small spoons.
Banks Lake smallmouth fishermen say it is still a little early for the bass bite with the water temperature at 42 degrees. Rainbow trout averaging about 18 inches have been cooperative in shallow water on bass gear.
Lake Roosevelt seemed to be kicking out an unusually high number of “wild” fish this week. One group of anglers fishing near Spring Canyon said it caught 30 trout in four days and all but three were unclipped. Two other boats reported a similar ratio of wild to hatchery fish.
Steelhead and salmon
Chinook salmon in Lake Coeur d’ Alene are up high and anglers using planer boards and herring or plugs are catching them. Nothing really large has been reported, and a lot of sublegal-sized fish are being caught.
The 2018-19 salmon fisheries, developed by the WDFW and treaty tribal co-managers, have been finalized. Information on recreational salmon fisheries in Washington’s ocean waters and the Columbia River is available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/ northfalcon/. The website also includes information on some notable Puget Sound sport fisheries, as well as an overview of chinook and coho fishing opportunities in the sound’s marine areas.
The walleye bite on Moses Lake has been torrid from shore at night on the south side of the Stratford Road Bridge, and some big fish are in the mix. Fishing during the day has been poor, and the area gets crowded after 6 p.m.
Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are finding fast water above Buoy 1 and are concentrating on the water from there down. The water in the arm is muddy and shallow. The elevation is expected to be in the 1,229-1,230 range by Saturday. At that level, the Gifford-Inchelium Ferry will not run and Kettle Falls will again become visible.
Coeur d’Alene Lake is coming up and pike are moving into the bays to spawn. Some big fish are caught each spring in places such as Wolf Lodge, Blue Creek and Cougar bays.
Clam diggers have one last chance to dig razor clams this season during the final opening set to begin Saturday. Mocrocks will be open for digging for four days, Saturday through Tuesday, joined by Long Beach and Twin Harbors on Saturday and Sunday. Copalis will be open only on Saturday.
The opening coincides with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on Saturday. For the first two days of the opening, digging must be completed by noon. On the last two days, low tides occur close to noon and WDFW has extended digging times.
Reel Time Fishing is reeling in the catfish on the Palouse River and said the fish are running 8-16 pounds. All cleaning and skinning are done complimentary, which can be a big deal when dealing with catfish. Reel Time is also catching walleye on the Snake River and is offering a combination catfish/walleye/Palouse Falls viewing trip for $250 per angler, lunch included. Info: (208) 790-2128. If you’re planning on a freelance trip up the Palouse, be aware that the water in places is extremely shallow. Most guides are running jet sleds.
A limited recreational retention fishery for white sturgeon in the Columbia River will be allowed in the estuary this spring. Sturgeon from 44-50 inches fork length may be retained. Effective dates are every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from May 14 to June 4. Sturgeon angling, including catch and release, will close at 2 p.m. on each open day.
White sturgeon fishing will also be allowed in the Bonneville and Dalles pools on June 15. Minimum size in the Bonneville Pool is 38 inches. Minimum in the Dalles Pool is 43 inches. Maximum size for both is 54 inches fork length.
Despite the rain, wind, hail and general lousy weather, dedicated turkey hunters are finding toms all over northeastern Washington. Three friends and my grandson all shot nice toms during the first two days of the season.
Hunting rules for the 2018-19 big game hunting seasons are available at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/ regulations/ and at WDFW offices and hunting license vendors across the state starting the last week of this month.