Opening day of fishing season isn’t what it used to be. The crowds have declined – a blessing in many ways – partly because most of the region’s waters have evolved to being open to fishing year-round. But the few hatchery-stocked lakes that open Saturday are managed specifically for trout fishing, and they have a faithful clientele.
Unlike last year, Idaho’s 2012 seasons and rules are not changing significantly for Panhandle anglers, but the fishing opportunities continue to evolve. Walleyes have gained significant ground in Lake Pend Oreille and are attracting more anglers who key on them, said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department Regional fisheries manager.
The 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour, which has been traveling across the country and revving up enthusiastic audiences since February, is coming back to the Inland Northwest. Portions of 11 films are compiled into a 2-hour show set for April 20 the Panida Theater in Sandpoint.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved a slate of new fishing regulations that take effect May 1. New rules the commission approved that affect Eastern Washington anglers include:
Here’s the best bargain around for a full-meal fishing deal: A fishing rod, t-shirt and a sure shot at catching a trout – $10 bucks.
Washington’s “selective fishery” lakes opened March 1 or April 1, offering anglers early shots at trout that have a chance to grow large because of restrictive regulations. Bait is not allowed and single barbless hooks are required at selective fishery lakes and daily limits are reduced.
With plenty of water and plenty of fish filling the region’s lakes this spring, Spokane-area anglers should have little trouble putting fish in the cooler at lowland trout lakes that will open for the season on April 28. Washington fisheries officials expect 300,000 anglers to pursue about 3 million freshly stocked trout across the state.
Eastern Washington has hundreds of fishing waters with various mixes of fish species to suit the taste of any freshwater angler. Trout priority lakes, such as Badger, Fishtrap, West Medical and Williams, are treated every 10-15 years to kill competing species such as sunfish so generous plants of trout fry will thrive.
Spoons, spinners, hooks, flies, baits and bobbers of all sizes hang like Christmas decorations in a window of the Kalispel Tribe’s fisheries office. “Every one of those lures has come out of northern pike we’ve handled in our research,” said biologist Jason Olson. “The variety of sizes and colors tell you pike will hit just about anything.”
Although they’re generally small, panfish – perch, bluegills and crappie – are among the tastiest morsels swimming in the region’s lakes. Spokane region top panfishing lakes include Eloika, Bonnie, Downs, Liberty, Newman and Bear Lake, which is off Highway 2 and open only to youth and disabled anglers.