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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 17

Alan Liere

Fly fishing

With area rivers blown out and bass moving into the shallows of lakes, fly fishermen are plying waters such as Eloika, Long, Silver, Newman, Hayden Lower Twin and Loon for their fishing fix. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends casting big streamers along the shoreline.

“Freshwater bonefish” – the lowly carp – are also moving into the shallows as the water warms. If you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it. Carp are elusive, large and powerful – a thrilling adversary on fly gear. Standard trout flies like woolly buggers, damsel nymphs, and the San Juan Worm will catch prespawn fish. Long Lake, Moses Lake and the Snake River are good places to start.

Celebrate Rocky Mountain trout fishing at tonight’s Montana Fishing Film Fest at 7 at the Garland Theater in Spokane, There will be beer from Bitter Root Brewing and a YETI raffle. Admission is $14.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Chelan zooplankton have not moved down into the basin. As a result, the kokanee are scattered. Washington Guide Service said limits are not impossible, but they usually require a lot of time on the water. This situation should change soon. The cutthroat fishing is better than the kokanee fishing.

Anglers fishing Wapato Lake said they are finding a fast bite on rainbow averaging 14 inches.

Loon Lake kokanee anglers typically lose more of the 10-to 11-inch fish than they net, but many are still taking home 10-fish limits. Most of the fish are being caught at around 20 feet.

Trout fishing at Park and Vic Meyer Lake in Grant County is excellent. Deep Lake kokanee running 10-12 inches are hitting in the top 20 feet of water. They are running in big schools, but these are spread out.

Steelhead and salmon

A late chinook salmon return has prompted Idaho Fish and Game commissioners to postpone a decision on setting summer fishing seasons on the Clearwater, South Fork of the Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers. Spring chinook fishing is open on several rivers, but fish have been slow to return. By Monday, fewer than 800 spring chinook had crossed Lower Granite Dam. That’s less than 5 percent of the 10-year average for that date. More than 51,000 spring chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River since Tuesday. Some of those fish, and more behind them, are bound for Idaho. The preseason forecast is for enough summer chinook to return to provide for a fishing season.

Beginning Saturday, three sections of the Yakima River will be open for hatchery spring chinook salmon. Areas open are: The Highway 240 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser, about 1,000 feet downstream of Prosser Dam; The Wine Country Road Bridge in Prosser about 1,300 feet upstream of Prosser Dam, to the State Route 241 (Sunnyside – Mabton Highway; and the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF Railroad Bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam.

Chinook fishing is said to be steady in the Columbia Gorge and the water can get crowded. Anglers trolling rotating flashers and bait rigs or super baits at 1.5 mph and more are doing best.

Spiny ray

Conflicting reports come from fishermen searching for walleye on the north end of Moses Lake. Some anglers say the fish are gone, while others are having fair to good luck. The fish are in 5-10 feet of water and bite best on cloudy days.

Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are hauling in huge numbers of fish low in the Spokane Arm. Bottom bouncing and throwing jigs are effective.

Three friends who fished for smallmouth bass up the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt this week brought home a nice mess of fish, considering only one more than 14 inches is allowed. They said they kept one big one each plus 15 in the 12- to 14-inch range, releasing a half dozen others that were too big. Another fish they released was a 32-inch walleye. They said the water was beginning to clear.

Northern pike were targeted on Lake Coeur d’Alene and the chains by another friend on Sunday. After a slow start, he said he picked up five between 30 and 35 inches, noting they didn’t appear to be targeting any particular structure but rather “just milling around feeding in a shallow bay.”

Bass fishing is hot at Eloika Lake, but the crappie fishing has cooled off. At Loon Lake, the largemouth were mostly on nests last weekend but having nothing to do with anglers’ offerings. A friend who fished there Sunday said he saw a female largemouth on a nest in clear, shallow water that he swore went 10 pounds.

Dworshak smallmouth fishing is good and some big ones (up to 7 pounds) have been landed by anglers throwing tubes and crawdad imitations toward shore in shallow water.


Idaho Fish and Game Fish will offer one tag for the opportunity to hunt a grizzly bear in a controlled hunt random drawing limited to Idaho residents. The application period will be June 15 through July 15. Resident hunters who applied for any other controlled hunt in 2018 may also apply for the tag. The hunt will run Sept. 1 through Nov. 15. The tag for a successful hunters is “once in a lifetime.” Because actual implementation of the grizzly hunt may be subject to a pending lawsuit in federal court, hunters applying should be aware that the hunt could be canceled, in which case the prepaid tag fees would be refunded, but the controlled hunt application fees would not.

Contact Alan Liere at