Bug and water conditions on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene are making for some excellent fishing throughout in the system. Take advantage of it, because summer flows look to be dismal. The water at this time is normally high enough to prevent walking through spawning areas, so if you’re wading, take care to stay off the redds.
The 2015 Fly Fishing Film Tour will be held at the Gallery One Visual Arts Center in downtown Ellensburg on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
This is the same weekend as the Federation of Fly Fishers annual conclave at the Ellensburg Fairgrounds. There will be many giveaways during the show with Patagonia joining Troutwater as event sponsors. Tickets are available in advance for $15 at Troutwater Fly Shops in Cle Elum or at the door. Seating is limited. Tickets – Ellensburg 509-962-3474; Cle Elum 509-674-2144.
The Clark Fork is running at 11,000 cfs, just shy of the historical average for this time. Fishing has been steady.
Salmon and steelhead
At Northwest Fishing, guide Bart Jarrett said this weekend could be good for spring chinook on the Clearwater. There has been “a big blast,” he said (more than 2,200 on Tuesday alone) of salmon over Lower Granite recently and water conditions are perfect. The fishing doesn’t usually heat up until May, but the fish are way ahead of schedule. Info: nwfishing.com or call (208) 790-2277.
Chinook counts at Little Goose Dam have also taken off. More than 10,000 springers had crossed the dam by midweek and fishing was said to be excellent.
Two sections of the Yakima River will soon be opened to fishing for hatchery spring chinook. Area 1 will be open daily Saturday through June 15 from the Highway 240 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser. Area 2 will be open daily May 9 through June 30 from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam.
Those who fish the Wind River and Drano Lake for hatchery chinook and steelhead can use barbed hooks. This is in effect through June 30.
Trout and kokanee
Opening day anglers had good success last weekend despite the miserable weather. Some of the top lakes were Diamond in Pend Oreille County; Clear, Williams, Fishtrap and West Medical in Spokane County; and Waitts, Rocky, Starvation and Mudget in Stevens County. Williams, traditionally one of the top producers, was giving up smaller fish than usual with lots of 7- to 10-inch trout mixed in with the occasional 16-incher.
Waitts trollers were taking cookie-cutter 12-inch browns and some larger rainbow. At West Medical, 11- to 13-inch rainbow were the norm.
Friends who fished Loon on the opener said the kokanee were biting well in the bay by the launch. When they returned on Monday, the fish had spread out. Most of the kokes were around 10 inches, but some were as small as 8. Bass fishermen said they couldn’t keep the rainbow trout off long enough to entice the largemouth. Many of the trout were 17 inches and up.
Other opening day success stories were heard from Warden Lake in Grant County with many limits of 11- to 12-inch rainbow. Blue Lake was consistent as usual and Park Lake rainbow ran 15-19 inches.
In Lincoln County, Deer Springs rainbow ran 14-16 inches.
Jameson Lake in Douglas County was giving up limits of rainbow to 17 inches, but most were smaller than that and anglers complained of a red algae bloom and a bad smell. Conconully Lake and Conconully Reservoir in Okanogan County were good for about everyone.
Chelan Lake kokanee in the lower basin have moved up to above 70 feet and are much easier to find at that depth. Wapato Lake rainbow are providing nonstop action, hitting just about anything. The fish run from 10 inches to a hefty 15 inches.
Lake Roosevelt was at 1,252 feet above sea level on Tuesday and is expected to remain stable through the weekend. A friend fishing from shore with orange PowerBait this week near Hansen Harbor said it took him 4 hours to limit. Last week, he limited in an hour.
A report from Mirror Lake near Sagle, Idaho, said fishing was good on Saturday for rainbow to 16 inches.
Walleye fishing in the Potholes dunes was good this week, and the largemouth are also biting. Moses Lake walleye fishing has been good as long as you aren’t fishing too deep. The fish were concentrated at 8 feet of water this week. A slow death rig with green/chartreuse beads and a Silver Smile Blade has been outfishing everything. Expect to catch smallmouth with this setup.
Eloika Lake crappie have been running surprisingly large the last two weeks and the bite is good.
The walleye bite on Banks Lake has been outstanding the past couple of weeks. The fish have been deep – 35-50 feet – hitting Mack’s new Spindrift Walleye Rig behind a 2-ounce bottom bouncer. Some jumbo perch are hitting this. Banks Lake smallmouth are also hitting in less than 6 feet of water and the largemouth are turning on.
Long Lake walleye reports persist, as do reports of some decent-sized northern pike. With smallmouth and largemouth bass as well as perch, crappie, bullheads and rainbow trout, Long Lake is an excellent multispecies destination.
A lot of walleye fishermen are chasing spawning fish into the Palouse River near Lyons Ferry, but the catfish action is picking up steam and there are some big ones to be had. You’ll find the cats in 1.5-3.0 feet of water at the mouth by putting cut bait on the bottom.
Clam diggers may again harvest razor clams on a two-day dig beginning Saturday on morning tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.
Plenty of Hunters Safety courses are available this spring in Idaho. For information or to register for a course or field day, visit the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and click on Education.
Here is a list of Spokane residents I know who have shot at least one turkey so far this season: Jerry Hawkins, Mike Sweeney, Dale Moffat, Mike Selyards and Joe Biggs.
My 10th try was Wednesday morning and I’m still not on the list.
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