The Pillar-Widgeon Chain of walk-in lakes in Grant County is a consistent producers of quality trout. The lakes ares stocked with spring fingerling rainbows and are a popular destination for fly fishermen looking for a quiet day in a beautiful setting.
Trout and kokanee
Fishtrap Lake anglers report good fishing mostly for small trout with a smattering of 18-inchers. Spinners trolled or cast near the surface have been effective.
West Medical Lake has the usual catchables, but a few hefty rainbow and even some line-breakers have been reported.
Sprague Lake rainbow have been on a tear on the east end lately with a lot of big (4-6 pounds) fish caught. Shad Raps as well as Power Bait have been good, depending on the type of fishing you’re doing. Sprague Lake trout fillets are as red as any salmon. Until the water gets warm, they will eat well.
Loon Lake kokanee are biting for trollers dragging an assortment of hoochies and spinners sweetened with maggots or white corn. The best bite has been in the top 25 feet.
There are a lot of 6- to 9-inch trout coming from Williams Lake, but WDFW also planted some big brood stock. Anglers are getting one now and then, as they are suspended with the smaller fish in the top 20 feet.
Rock Lake trollers are finding browns and rainbows by trolling 100 yards or so out from the cliffs with an assortment of hoochies and flies tipped with worm. Most fish are 14-16 inches with a few larger browns, but there are also fish smaller than 9 inches. The best depth is around 15 feet for the larger fish.
Kokanee lakes are numerous in Okanogan County, and fishing for them is picking up. Some of these lakes are Patterson, Alta, the Conconullys, Bonaparte and Spectacle. In Grant County, North Teal Lake should be especially good this year with rainbow trout in the 12- to 20-inch range. Access is good from shore and boat, with a gravel launch suitable for small boats. Lower Hampton Lake is producing some nice carryover rainbow trout in the 14- to 16-inch range and yearlings in the 11- to 13-inch range. At this lake, shore anglers often do as well as, if not better than, boat anglers. Park and Blue lakes are two of Grant County’s top trout waters. Catch rates have been excellent. Both lakes are stocked with tiger and brown trout. Blue can be fished effectively from shore.
Deep Lake, located in Sun Lakes State Park, is a popular choice for shore and boat fishing. It is producing high catch rates of rainbow trout in the 11- to 13-inch range. There are also kokanee. Deep is scheduled to receive 5,000 additional catchable rainbows this month. A number of tagged rainbow trout were also stocked into Deep Lake for the 2019 Trout Fishing Derby.
Hutchinson and Shiner lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Adams County are connected lakes with quality largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie. They are best fished from a small boat, canoe or float tube/pontoon boat.
Jameson Lake, in Douglas County, is producing some nice catches of rainbow trout. The biggest fish checked there on opening day was a 2.8-pounder.
Steelhead and salmon
Hatchery spring chinook salmon will open two days per week (Saturday and Sunday) beginning this week in sections of the Snake River. Below Little Goose Dam, it will be open from the Texas Rapids boat launch to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. Near Clarkston, the fishery will be open from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River upstream to the Washington state line. On days and in areas open for salmon, barbless hooks are required for all species.
The number of spring chinook returning to the Icicle River is not projected to meet broodstock needs, so the fishery will be closed May 15 through July 31.
Beginning July 1, anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River basin will no longer be required to purchase an endorsement.
The Walleye bite has been good south of Hunters on Lake Roosevelt, but the fish, though larger, are a lot deeper than in the Spokane Arm and in other spots on the lake. A good starting depth is 70 feet.
A few decent-sized walleye are coming from Potholes Reservoir, but the lake is just starting to produce. Nevertheless, one angler reported a consistent bite using bright-colored Wally Pops next to weed beds. Bass fishing is good for smallmouth and largemouth. Moses Lake has been good in places for walleye, but that fishery is waiting to take off.
Some of the year’s best fishing for channel catfish will be in May in the Yakima, Palouse and Walla Walla rivers. The Palouse River just above the Snake is seeing a hot bite.
This year’s Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery in the Columbia and Snake rivers opened May 1. Northern pikeminnow experts say The Dalles is one of the best places to fish early in the season. The fishery website, www.pikeminnow.org, has details on how to register for the program or call 800-858-9015.
The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce is having its annual Pikeminnow Derby May 17-19. Anglers try to catch as many pikeminnows as they can and win cash and prizes. The top grand prize in the raffle this year will be 2017 Smokercraft Voyager boat with a 25 horsepower motor. There is a $500 cash prize for the biggest pikeminnow turned in and there will be trophies and other prizes for kids.
Register by going to the Quincy Valley Chamber website and looking under Events. All the rules, maps and other details will be found there.
State shellfish managers have tentatively scheduled a “bonus” razor clam dig on Mocrocks Beach for three days, May 18-20. Final approval will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com
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