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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 14

UPDATED: Wed., May 13, 2020

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)
Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Washington anglers are currently not allowed to buy an Idaho fishing license. Idaho waters, therefore, are being fished only by resident anglers. That said, the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is back on the drop, and though high, has pockets that can be successfully fished. A big chubby Chernobyl or Stone should get some attention.

The St. Joe River is also back on the drop. While it is on the high side, it is fishable. Bright, flashy streamers work well. The key to fishing high flows is to find back eddies, side channels and flooded brush.

The Tucannon lakes have been a bright spot for Washington fly fishermen. Blue Lake has had some huge salmon fly hatches and fishing can be amazing. Damsel flies have been prevalent at Spring Lake, and fishing there has also been good at times. Medical Lake has also been good for fly fishing. Use a sinking line.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt has been generally slow for trout fishermen in the early hours, picking up later in the day. Trollers are having moderate success with Wedding Rings and flashers with flies.

Fish Lake, near Cheney, is infested with small perch. Only a few broodstock brookies and some small tiger trout have been caught.

Waitts Lake has taken off the way it ended last fall. Trollers dragging an assortment of Wedding Rings, hoochies and flies with dodgers have experienced nonstop action since the opener. There are a lot of 9-inch rainbow near the surface with larger fish, including brown trout, (up to 4 pounds) down around 35 feet.

Deer Lake mackinaw fishermen have taken several large fish in the past week. This has been the best spring fishing there in many years. Williams Lake is producing catches of 12- to 14-inch rainbow. Loon Lake has been slow for kokanee anglers.

The most exciting trout fishery is Sprague Lake. Troll the center of the lake with a fly with some gold on it and tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. The fish are running mostly 18-20 inches. A veteran angler who fished there this week said, “If you don’t hang on to your rod or keep it in a holder, you’re going to lose it. I’ve never seen a trout hit that hard or fight that long.” At this writing, the dock at the public access had not yet been installed.

The trout at Blue Lake in Grant County have been on a tear for trollers. Nearby Park Lake has also been good with Power Bait from the docks.

Other lakes in Grant County should also provide good opportunities for anglers. Martha and Caliche lakes, near the town of George, are producing well. In addition to fingerling rainbow, both lakes received 1,000 11- to 13-inch rainbow trout in fall 2019 and these fish are around 14 inches. Martha also received 1,000 catchables in April and Caliche received 500. Quincy Lake fished well when it opened in early March with several fish caught in the 18- to 20-inch range. It has recently been stocked with nearly 1,000 rainbow of more than a pound each. Next to Quincy Lake, Burke Lake received 3,000 9- to 11-inch rainbow trout in late February and received little fishing pressure in March. It has also been planted with 1,000 rainbow weighing just more than a pound each.

Ping Pond, also known as Oasis Park Pond, located at the south end of Ephrata, is open to anglers younger than 15, 70 and older, and those with a disability who have a designated harvester companion card. WDFW hatchery staff stocked 30-40 3-pound rainbow trout and 200 12- to 14-inch catchables. Warden Lake is a popular trout lake, but it also produces excellent catches of perch. It was stocked with 3,300 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout in early spring and an additional 2,200 rainbow trout in late April. Fishing should be excellent.

Kokanee fishing is usually pretty consistent at Deep Lake in Grant County, where these landlocked sockeye are averaging about 10 inches. Trollers need to get down below the small trout feeding on the surface.

Steelhead and salmon

Chinook salmon were cooperating for anglers fishing The Wall at Little Goose Dam on the Tuesday opener. Close to three-fourths of the anglers there took home a chinook with an average weight of 8 pounds.

Spiny ray

Crappie fishing was excellent last week at Eloika Lake with most anglers taking their 10-fish limit of fish running a consistent 10 inches. It has slowed considerably since. The largemouth bite has also been off. With luck, good fishing for both species will resume shortly.

A report with pictures from a Long Lake walleye angler indicated there was a good bite there last weekend. His largest fish weighed 8 pounds.

Fishing for Lake Roosevelt smallmouth bass was slow this week for friends who are used to nonstop action this time of year. A few large fish were taken on tube jigs cast against the shoreline downriver from Porcupine Bay. Anglers said the bite is usually best when the water temperature is 55 degrees and Monday it was 51. Other friends fishing the Snake and Pend Oreille rivers reported a similarly anemic bite.

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt provided excellent walleye fishing at Buoy 3 one day this week for jiggers. Two days later, the same area was pitching a shutout.

Moses Lake is giving up big catches of smallmouth – many running 16-18 inches. Plastic lizards and worms fished in 14-20 feet of water have accounted for many fish. Walleye success was varied, with a good bite early and not much afterward. Potholes Reservoir walleye seem to be sleeping in. The morning bite has been poor, but things have picked up after noon.

Hutchinson and Shiner lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Adams County are connected lakes with quality largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie. They are best fished from a small boat, canoe or float tube/pontoon boat.


Hunters can submit special hunt applications through midnight May 21 for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep and fall turkey 2020 seasons in Washington. “The original deadline was May 18,” said Eric Gardner, WDFW wildlife program director. “Unfortunately, the printed pamphlets shipment to our dealers has been behind schedule due to COVID-19 complications, so we want to give hunters a few more days to review and submit applications.”

Contact Alan Liere

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