The chinook bite on the Clearwater and Snake has been erratic. The rivers were rising when I fished them on Tuesday, but though I didn’t have so much as a hit, I heard of one angler who had 11 hook-ups.
There was still a lot of moss and debris in the water on Wednesday, but it should clean up with lower temperatures. WDFW biologist Chris Donley predicts 50-60,000 fish over Lower Granite, though by midweek, there had been only 30,000. He says the fish that are coming now are “really moving.” Hopefully, better angling will come later when the water drops and salmon start holding in the pools.
On the Columbia, Donley recently fished the John Day Dam area with good success. He said there are also fish to be had at Drano and Wind River, but “the fish haven’t begun to peak yet.” Most recently, anglers have been averaging a fish for every three or four rods, though Spokane angler Aaron Sears thinks it’s better than that. He says the first 2 hours of light are the best, but that if you don’t put in before daylight you’ll not only have a 2-hour wait at the launch, you’ll miss the bite.
Elsewhere, the Cowlitz River is producing some spring Chinook and summer-run steelhead. Lots of fish have been jumping at the barrier dam. Returns to the salmon hatchery have been strong.
Bank anglers at the mouth of the White Salmon River are catching a few spring chinook, and on the Klickitat River, anglers have caught some bright 5-year old fish. A WDFW biologist checked 20 fishermen with 12 fish last weekend.
In Oregon, the Willamette River is said to be red-hot for chinook and shad.
Lake Roosevelt rainbow are still biting but seem to have moved closer to shore, and Rufus Woods hogs are still on the bite. Anglers are also taking some very nice ‘bows from Sprague Lake. Clear Lake is a good mixed-species water, and there are some brown trout to 12 pounds lurking there. Badger, Williams, Silver, Loon, Waitts, and Diamond are fishing well.
Besides rainbow, Waitts Lake has some humongous brown trout, but the brown is largely a nocturnal feeder, and not many anglers stay out after dark to tempt them. West Medical has been excellent for rainbow on anything from Power Bait plunked from a dock to chronomid and damsel imitations. Amber and McDowell are good bets for the fly fisherman, says Jan Sadlo at the Blue Dunn Fly Shop in Spokane. He also said Rocky Ford and Crab Creeks, as well as the Spokane River, are decent. The Spokane is a little murky, but should be clearer by the weekend.
Beda Lake, which is south of Moses Lake, is producing 2-3-pound rainbow on dry midges, chironomids, and leech patterns, says Mike Kostel of White’s Outdoor.
Bass are fishing well this week on most area lakes, though Eloika may be peaking sooner than normal.
Walleye 16-22-inches are being fooled at Sprague Lake by anglers working the shoreline with jigs and with worm harnesses and bottom bouncers in 10-12-feet of water. Trolled Rapalas are also working, and I heard of one angler doing very well by trolling large flies near the bottom. A faster than normal troll seems to be enticing the most fish.
If you’re after channel cats, Sprague is also the place to go for fish up to 13 pounds. The mouth of the Palouse River near Starbuck is another good bet. There are also crappie.
Silver and Clear are good for bass right now, and crappie are biting too. A few large crappie are also coming from Sprague and Long Lake. The dollar pads at Long are just hitting the surface of the water, but they haven’t unfolded yet. When they do, casting is tough.
On Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers reports good post-spawn pike fishing. The Coeur d’Alene pike tournament last week had a winning weight of 62 pounds, 5 ounces. Chain lakes, too, such as Cave and Kilarney, are still producing, with lures becoming more effective.
For smallmouth, Smith suggests fishing the points with tubes and green pumpkin grubs. The south end of the lake near Harrison is best. The fish have been moving around a lot.
On the Bonneville Pool, the few boat anglers sampled last week averaged five bass per rod, and on The Dalles pool, boat anglers averaged 10 bass and a walleye per rod. Boat anglers on the John Day pool averaged over six bass and a walleye per rod.
Fishing with Snake Dancer Excursions in Hells Canyon last Monday, our boat caught a 6-foot and an 8-foot sturgeon, in addition to several small ones. The smallmouth bite, however, was barely fair. Info: 1-800-234-1941. Sturgeon also are being picked up fairly consistently near Starbuck at the Lyons Ferry elevators, above the dam, and below the fish hatchery.
On the lower Columbia from the Beacon Rock deadline downstream, boat anglers averaged a legal sturgeon per boat last week. Some were also caught from Vancouver to Cathlamet.
On the Bonneville pool, boat anglers averaged a legal sturgeon per every two rods last week.
About 2,000 10- to 12-inch white sturgeon from the Columbia Basin Fish Hatchery in Moses Lake will be released in Lake Roosevelt May 12, marking Washington’s first effort to recover declining populations of the largest and oldest freshwater fish in the upper Columbia River. The historic effort is a collaboration of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Colville Confederated Tribes.
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