Area lakes have been much better for fly-fishermen than area rivers, which are high and brown. There has been good fishing at Coffeepot and on Amber, where the best action is over the weed beds. Silver Bow Fly Shop said Medical Lake is starting to turn over, making the shorelines at both ends unfishable. There are lots of recent stocker rainbows, but Medical also has some nice brown trout.
Trout and kokanee
Except for the weather, the lowland lakes opener last weekend was a good one. In Spokane County, Williams Lake anglers evidently released many fish, since the average catch was 5.5 trout per angler, including some 24- to 25-inch rainbows. Badger Lake anglers caught an average of 3.7 trout each, including some 21-inch rainbows. Anglers had slow fishing at Fish Lake, averaging less than two fish each, which included a few brown trout. Clear Lake was also a little slower, with anglers averaging less than two fish each. West Medical Lake, which is in need of rehabilitation with a goldfish invasion, saw just more than one trout per angler on the opener, but a friend who fished there from shore on Monday caught his limit of trout running 12-14 inches in 45 minutes.
In Stevens County, Rocky Lake anglers released as many fish as they kept, with an average of almost six fish each, including some 21-inch rainbows. At Mudgett Lake, anglers averaged four fish each, including several 19-inch rainbows. Anglers averaged 3.5 fish each at Cedar Lake, including some 20-inch rainbows and one tagged derby fish. Waitts Lake anglers averaged almost three trout each, including some 19-inch rainbows and one tagged derby fish. Anglers at Starvation Lake averaged 2.4 trout each, with a few 23-inch rainbows and one tagged derby fish.
Friends trolled in the bay just out from the Loon Lake public launch this week for limits of kokanee running 9-12 1/2 inches. They caught most in the top 20 feet using Wedding Rings tipped with maggots and 000 dodgers. A couple of mackinaw were reported by opening-day anglers. Jump-Off Joe anglers with stringers of 20-inch trout were conspicuous on last Saturday’s opener. A son who fished the lake with Roostertails said even the smaller fish were a foot long and hefty. A few brown trout were brought in, but the lake yielded mostly rainbow.
In Pend Oreille County, participation at Diamond Lake was down, but anglers averaged 2.6 fish each, including some 23-inch rainbows.
Ferry County’s Lake Ellen produced an average catch of just more than five trout each, including many 17-inch rainbows.
Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County saw an average of 2.6 trout per angler, including some more than 21 inches.
In Okanogan County, Pearrygin Lake anglers averaged almost four trout each. At Conconully Lake, anglers averaged 2.5 fish each, with many targeting kokanee that came in up to 17 inches. Anglers at Alta Lake, who also targeted kokanee, averaged less than one fish each with the largest rainbow measuring 14 inches.
In Douglas County, Jameson Lake saw an average of just less than four trout caught per angler, with most in the 14-inch range.
Anglers at Wapato Lake in Chelan County averaged more than one trout each, with the largest measured at 17 inches. Mackinaw and kokanee are still on the bite on Lake Chelan. Most of the macks are 3-4 pounds, but some are much larger. The kokes are a hefty 12-16 inches. Roses Lake continues to pump out limits of chunky carryover rainbow running mostly 12-14 inches. Antilon Lake, also in Chelan County, is loaded with brown trout running 8-13 inches. Dry Lake has hungry tiger trout of 10-11 inches. There are also largemouth bass.
In Grant County, Park Lake anglers averaged almost five trout each with fish up to about 15 inches. Deep Lake had an average of almost four rainbows per angler with fish up to about 13 inches. Blue Lake anglers averaged a little more than three trout each with fish up to a little more than 15 inches. Warden Lake anglers averaged just less than two trout each.
Steelhead and salmon
Chinook are being caught at Drano Lake and Wind River, even though dam counts are low. At Drano, upriver-bound fish push into the lake in concentrated number, and fishing can be good even with the small counts.
The number of spring chinook estimated to return to the Icicle River is barely enough to meet broodstock needs (1,000 spawners) at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. To avoid a potential broodstock shortage and/or reduced hatchery release in 2019, the fishery has been closed.
The chinook salmon bite is decent immediately below Bonneville Dam and is picking up at the next dam, The Dalles. At the end of the line, Little Goose and Lower Granite are only getting single-digit returns each day.
Friends who fished Lower Twin Lake near Harrington for crappie this week didn’t have any luck, but they reported other anglers there were catching a lot of bass.
Cow Lake anglers fishing from shore said they were catching largemouth and a few hefty trout by throwing plugs from shore.
Banks Lake walleye fishing was slow this week. The best success came from the north side in deep water. Rufus Woods, on the other hand, is on fire.
Moses Lake walleye action remains steady from late morning until late afternoon. Most of the fish have been 14-16 inches. Slow Death rigs in 5-10 feet of water have done well.
The lower Grande Ronde River is high, but smallmouth fishermen report decent fishing for some large bass.
Marine Area 1 (Columbia River) opens for halibut fishing today and runs three days per week until the subarea quota is taken or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first. The nearshore area opens to fishing Monday on a Monday-through-Wednesday schedule. Other halibut seasons, including Westport, LaPush and Neah Bay, begin May 11.
With only 2 feet of water in the Palouse River near Lyons Ferry, most anglers can’t get to the good catfishing water, but this may be a good thing for the walleye that are also spawning there.