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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hunting and Fishing

Alan Liere, Correspondent The Spokesman-Review

Trout and kokanee

Waitts Lake is producing beautiful, big brown trout, and stocked lakes up north, many with U.S. Forest Service and other campgrounds, are coming into their own. Spokane-area anglers can find lots of good fishing at several local trout-stocked lakes.

“You can’t beat Williams, Amber, Badger, West Medical, Clear and Fishtrap lakes for great trout lake fishing,” said WDFW biologist Chris Donley.

Some of the larger Tucannon River impoundments in Columbia County are good choices as they were recently restocked with catchable-size rainbows. Blue, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes all received more fish and should produce catches through the month. Portions of several southeast rivers and streams opened for trout fishing on Wednesday, including Mill Creek, Touchet, Tucannon and Walla Walla rivers.

Loon Lake kokanee are taking Glo hooks and maggots in about 24 feet of water along the east shoreline from Granite Point to Morgan Park. Two friends and I fished Loon twice last week between 8:30 and 10 p.m., taking limits of 8- to 10-inch kokes each time. A few 13- to 15-inch rainbow were also netted. Koocanusa in Montana and Dworshak and Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho are also giving up lots of kokanee, with those in Coeur d’Alene nearing a foot in length.

Lake Chelan kokanee fishing is in full swing. Nine-inch fish are being taken by trollers, mostly from the Mack Bar and tip of Wapato Point areas.

Trout fishing on Banks has slowed some as the fish move to deeper water. Roosevelt is still producing a lot of trout and silvers, but they, too, have gone deeper. The water level is rising. On Rufus Woods, a lot of 12-inch trout are showing, but the big ones have been scarce.

Caddis imitations are fooling Coeur d’Alene trout and a few mayflies are showing, said Barry Pipella of White’s Fly Shop. He said he caught and released more than 40 fish at midweek from Teepee Creek down, a few more than 16 inches but most much smaller. The St. Joe was running at 3,190 cfs at midweek. Fishing has been fair, mostly subsurface.

The flow on the St. Regis was 777 cfs and dropping slowly. Salmonfly and Golden Stone patterns are taking a lot of fish on top. The Clark Fork was flowing at 14,700 cfs at the St. Regis gauge. Consistently good fishing should begin soon if rain doesn’t bump the flow.

The upper Spokane River, from Upriver Dam to the Idaho border, opened Wednesday for catch-and-release rainbow fishing. There should be some nice-sized wild fish.

Spiny ray

Good numbers of smallmouth bass are being caught on Roosevelt, mostly with topwater plugs and plastics, fished slowly. There are also reports of good walleye fishing on Roosevelt. Near Northport, particularly, anglers are doing well using lighter colored curly tails tipped with nightcrawlers. Diving and Countdown Rapalas No. 9 and No. 11 size in the lighter colors have been effective also. This is the best time to try the Spokane arm of Lake Roosevelt for walleye, said Donley. The lower stretch of the Spokane River at the mouth near Highway 25 Bridge opened Wednesday.

Walleye fishing on Banks Lake continues to improve all over the lake, and a lot of the fish are in the slot limit. Perch to 12 inches are being taken along with the walleye.

Sprague Lake anglers are catching walleyes and some legal-sized crappies. Most of the walleye are coming in 5 to 15 feet of water near the shorelines. Crappie are now in the shallow water, primarily around the lily pads. The limit at Sprague is 10 a day, and they must be 9 inches or longer to be retained.

Potholes water levels remain high, and though the bass fishing has been good, consistent walleye action hasn’t happened yet.

Long, Eloika, Loon, Waitts and Diamond are good close bets for a bucket of perch. Long Lake is also excellent for crappie and both smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Largemouth bass are spawning at most area lakes and are susceptible in shallow water under the lily pads and around docks. Plastics are hard to beat.


Fishing will reopen Saturday for hatchery spring chinook salmon in a portion of the Columbia River that has been closed to salmon anglers since late April because of lagging returns.

Encouraged by a late surge of chinook past Bonneville Dam, fisheries managers from Washington and Oregon agreed Thursday to reopen the fishery from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco.

Salmon fishing in Idaho will be allowed Friday through Monday and possibly next weekend also. According to reports, there are quite a few chinook in the Clearwater.

Other species

Shad fishing is expected to be worthwhile in the coming weeks. Two- to 4-pound fish are being counted at The Dalles Dam at the rate of up to 100,000 per day. Some of the best fishing spots are Pierce and Ives islands below Hamilton Boat Ramp on the Washington shore of the Columbia River. Bank fishing is best just below Bonneville Dam.

Anglers will get an extra two days to fish for halibut off the north coast of Washington. Marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will be open to halibut fishing June 16 and June 18. Fishing was excellent earlier in May when anglers caught 76,967 pounds of halibut off the north coast in seven days of fishing.

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