Because of consistent insect hatches in April and May, West Medical Lake would be an excellent choice for fly fishermen on the Saturday opener.
Upper Wheeler Reservoir, 11 miles southwest of Wenatchee, will be open Saturday through June 30 for fly fishing only, catch and release. The reservoir is owned and operated by the Wenatchee Heights Reclamation District and has been closed to public access. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife made arrangements with the reclamation district and the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers to grant public access to recreational anglers.
The spring chinook salmon fishing season will open Saturday on parts of the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and Snake rivers. As of Monday, more than 13,000 chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 305 fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.
Trout and kokanee
Upper Twin Lake (near Coffeepot) received a healthy plant of catchable rainbow recently. Friends casting small Hot Shots had nonstop action for fish 11-14 inches.
Deer Lake trout anglers are finding easy pickings for 10- to 13-inch rainbow near the public access. Rooster Tails and small gold spoons trolled or cast near the docks have also taken trout as large as 18 inches.
Some anglers at Sprague Lake report catching steelhead as small as 9 inches, but the majority of reports say fish are running 16-18 inches. Three-pound Sprague Lake rainbows are coming from the west end. Apexes are effective for all.
Bear Lake is open year-round to juveniles and adults accompanied by a juvenile and anglers with disabilities. It was planted with 1,400 catchables on April 14, which followed a March planting of 150 big broodstock.
Some of the region’s best trout fishing will begin with the lowland lakes season opener on Saturday. Randy Osborne, WDFW central district fish biologist, said most waters in Spokane County will be well-stocked and ready to go, including Fish, Williams, West Medical, Fishtrap and Clear lakes. West Medical is generally one of the best-producing opening-day trout lakes in the state. The fish grow rapidly and it is not uncommon to see rainbow and brown trout to 24 inches.
Williams Lake should provide excellent fishing for planted rainbow and cutthroat trout up to 18 inches. This lake is always a popular and productive opening day fishery.
Fish Lake should be good Saturday, offering anglers brook trout, brown trout and a few carry-over rainbows.
There is a Horseshoe Lake in Spokane and Pend Oreille counties. The one in Spokane County is 10 miles west of the town of Nine Mile Falls. Car-top boats can be launched from an unimproved launch area. This lake receives a plant of put-grow-and-take rainbow trout each year and trout fishing can be fair in the spring. The Horseshoe Lake in Pend Oreille County will have catchable-size rainbow trout, but kokanee, crappie, largemouth bass, perch, sunfish, catfish and lake trout are also available.
Badger Lake has been planted with a thousand catchables as well as a hundred trout weighing about a pound.
In Stevens County, rainbow and brown trout plants should provide decent action at Jump-Off Joe. More than 4,000 catchables were released recently. Largemouth bass and yellow perch are present.
Loon Lake was planted with about a thousand rainbow running 1.5 pounds each, but most trollers will be looking for either mackinaw or kokanee. Usually, the kokanee wake up later in the spring, but the warm weather should have them on the prowl.
Waitts Lake was planted with rainbow trout catchables and net-pen-reared rainbow and brown trout, along with brown trout fingerlings, plus some brood fish. The increase of rainbow and brown trout plants from the net-pen project has created good carryover potential.
Mudgett Lake is stocked with rainbow trout fry annually and usually provides good opportunities on the opener. Other Stevens County lakes that should provide good fishing are Gillette with 2,200 catchables; Lake Sherry with 1,203 catchables; McDowell, which received 2,000 2-pounders; Starvation with 2,000 catchables; and Rigley, which was planted with 500 catchables and 100 big broodstock.
Diamond Lake in Pend Oreille County has a cooperative net-pen project that releases 12,500 rainbow trout in addition to the stocked catchable-size rainbows and browns. This year, more than 1,000 larger triploid and broodstock rainbows were added.
Fan Lake gets an annual plant of rainbow trout catchables but will probably provide only fair fishing, as there are too many competing species in the lake.
Sacheen Lake has received hefty plants of catchable-size rainbow trout in addition to tiger trout fry and eastern brook.
In Lincoln County, Fishtrap Lake is typically good for fry-planted rainbow trout. These rainbow plants have a decent carryover rate, which equates to good numbers of larger fish for anglers. In addition, WDFW stocks Fishtrap with broodstock and triploid rainbows.
In Okanogan County, best bets may be Pearrygin Lake, near Winthrop; Conconully Lake and Reservoir, within the town of Conconully; Alta Lake, just west of Pateros; and Wannacut Lake, near Oroville.
In Chelan County, Wapato and the Wenatchee Heights lakes, as well as Clear, Black, Lilly and Beehive have been stocked with mostly rainbow trout and should provide fast fishing for trout in the 12-inch range. On Wapato, good largemouth bass fishing can be found around the submerged logs along the northeast side of the lake.
In Douglas County, Jameson Lake is still a popular fishery and there should be some good size carryovers available.
Deer Lake largemouth aren’t hitting yet, but the smallmouth bite gets better each week. Long Lake is also producing some smallmouth and northern pike and Eloika Lake crappie are beginning to cooperate.
The Rufus Woods walleye bite is fair rather than fast, but the fish are generally larger than those being caught in Lake Roosevelt. I fished the Porcupine Bay area with friends this week and the walleye were consistently 14-16 inches. Most anglers are jigging or using blade baits.
Potholes Reservoir is difficult when the wind is blowing, but walleye anglers who move into Lind Coulee are catching some quality fish.
Coeur d’Alene Lake pike fishermen are taking a few small pike and some decent bass on jerk baits.
Smallmouth bass fishermen report a lot of large fish from Dworshak Reservoir. All boat ramps are open and the reservoir is only 12 feet from full pool.
Indications are this is and will continue to be a banner year for Merriams turkey hunters in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. After going out three times without success, I woke up Wednesday morning to find my pasture alive with strutting gobblers and their harems.
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