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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for April 18

UPDATED: Wed., April 17, 2019

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

The St. Joe has been fishing well this week. A lot of snow is gone and the road above Avery was passable, Silver Bow Fly Shop said.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River has been back on the drop and kicking out a few fish.

A skwala with a dropper is a good searching pattern if you are looking to get a few fish on the surface.

All of the Missoula-area rivers are high and dirty from recent rain storms.

Trout and kokanee

The Washington statewide lowland lakes season begins April 27. Most waters around Spokane should be stocked with rainbow trout by then. This includes Badger, Williams, Fish and Clear lakes. WDFW central district fish biologist Randy Osborne said Badger and Williams should fish particularly well with plenty of fish, including rainbows, westslope cutthroat and kokanee at Badger. Fishtrap Lake, on the Lincoln/Spokane county line, should also fish decent this year. Spokane County’s popular West Medical Lake should fish a lot better than in recent years following last fall’s rehabilitation.

Lakes in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties are also good bets on opening day, including Waitts, Cedar and Starvation lakes in Stevens County, Ellen Lake in Ferry County and Diamond and Sacheen lakes in Pend Oreille County. More information on many Washington lakes will be provided in the April 25 Fishing and Hunting Report. See the 2019 Statewide Hatchery Trout and Kokanee Stocking Plan for details on numbers and sizes of trout stocked by county and fishing water.

Trollers are starting to catch a few kokanee at Davis Lake, but the bite is far from fast. Lake Roosevelt kokes are showing a little better, but that fishery is far from fast. On Hayden Lake, the kokanee bite is fair, but it’s the crappie bite that is attracting the most attention. Hayden has some good-sized crappie.

Sprague Lake isn’t giving up a lot of big trout, but some of those caught went has heavy as 7 pounds. There are also good numbers of 10- to 12-inchers. A Gold/perch Rippin’ Minnow has been a good producer trolled at 2.5 mph.

Friends who fished Coffeepot Lake said the lake was somewhat muddy but fishable. They trolled plugs for several rainbow trout between 18 and 20 inches.

Anglers participating the Something Fishy Derby on Lake Chelan last week had limited success catching kokanee, partly because of poor weather, but said some nice cutthroat were reeled in. They said the larger kokanee were caught in the upper lake.

Billy Clapp Lake, near Soap Lake, has excellent trout fishing and the fish are averaging a fat 16 inches, with some larger. Trolling Rapalas right on top is the way to get them.

Trout anglers should also consider a trip to Burke Lake in the Quincy Wildlife Area. The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce always puts some big fish in the lake prior to the derby, which took place last week. There should still be some big ones waiting for anglers.

Spiny ray

Pre-spawn Columbia River walleye fishing has been good, but the water is high and muddy. The trick is to fish slowly.

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt is muddy and the few fish caught have been small. Reports from the Kettle Falls area have been conflicting. Some anglers have had good luck on decent-sized walleyes, and others are drawing a skunk. Anglers fishing north of Gifford report a decent walleye bite, but the fish are deep – up to 130 feet.

Rufus Woods was frustrating for friends who fished there this week. They said the reservoir dropped 2 1/2 feet in less than an hour. Rufus Woods is notoriously poor for fishing of any kind if there is little current.

At Coulee Playland Resort on Banks Lake, Lou Nevsimal said the water is still cold, but anglers who know what they’re doing are taking some nice walleye in 30 to 50 feet of water.

The Ice-Breaker Tournament in early April saw a lot of 3-pound fish caught.

Other species

Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a three-day opening beginning Saturday and extending through Monday. The Long Beach Razor Clam festival on Saturday features clam digging, chowder contests, clam digging lessons and live music.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and low tides:

Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis;

Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Monday, 9:25 a.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Anglers fishing for halibut in Washington waters will have more halibut to catch during the 2019 season. The Washington statewide quota is up by an average of 19% over the past three years. There will be a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction.


Turkey hunters on Monday’s opener reported seeing lots of birds, but many were still in large flocks and reluctant to come to the call. The season in Washington and Idaho runs through May 31.

I took my Brittany, Lucy, for a spring tune-up at Double Barrel Shooting Preserve on Tuesday. Spring birds are usually reluctant to stay in one place, and these were no exception.

Nevertheless, it was a nice diversion from sitting in a turkey blind. There should be pheasants available at Double Barrel through the end of April.

Contact Alan Liere at

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