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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for April 8

UPDATED: Wed., April 7, 2021

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Trout and kokanee

Deer Lake trollers are taking a few macks and there are reports of fish in the teens. Waitts Lake is heating up. Trollers are catching rainbow and browns in the top 20 feet.

Although the Washington general fishing opener is not until April 24, there are a lot of open waters that provide good fishing. Amber Lake in southwest Spokane County continues to be a popular selective gear fishery. Anglers are allowed to keep one trout over 18 inches each day.

Another ready-to-fish Eastern Washington water is Medical Lake in southwest Spokane County, which has rainbow and brown trout. This lake is also under selective gear rules with a daily limit of two trout of at least 14 inches. The use of bait is strictly prohibited on all lakes managed under selective gear rules. Coffeepot Lake is another selective gear lake. It is producing rainbow trout. It has a minimum size limit of 18 inches with a daily catch limit of one.

Downs Lake has received hatchery “catchable-size” rainbow trout, and should also fish well this month for largemouth bass, perch and crappie.

Liberty Lake is offering decent catches of brown and rainbow trout. As the water warms, Liberty provides some of the earliest perch and crappie fishing in the area.

Sprague Lake is expected to fish well for big rainbow. As it warms, Sprague also has good largemouth bass fishing.

Once water levels on Long Lake rise enough to use the main boat ramps, boat anglers should find good fishing for not only rainbows but perch, crappie and bass.

Antilon Lakes, open year-round northwest of Chelan, will produce some nice brown trout this month as the ice melts. Lower Antilon typically fishes better than Upper Antilon, with 14- to 18-inch brown trout common.

Salmon and steelhead

Tributary fisheries in the Touchet, Walla Walla and Tucannon rivers remain open through April 15 for steelhead with a daily limit of one hatchery adult. The Grande Ronde River also is open through April 15 with a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead.

The spring chinook season continues on the Columbia River this month, although the river closes below Bonneville Dam in early April. Fishing is scheduled to continue through May 5 farther upstream. Drano Lake is open with a salmon and steelhead daily limit of two hatchery fish, but only one can be an adult chinook. Drano Lake will also close on May 6.

The Ringold Springs on the Franklin County shoreline will be open to bank fishing for steelhead through April 15 from one-fourth mile downstream of the Ringold wasteway outlet to a half-mile upstream of Ringold Springs Hatchery Creek. Retention is restricted to Ringold Springs Hatchery origin steelhead with both adipose and ventral fins clipped. Minimum size is 20 inches with a two-fish daily limit.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye are where you find them with no one spot providing consistent fishing. Some good reports continue to trickle in from Porcupine Bay and up the Spokane Arm. Some big fish are being caught, but most are on the small side. Some days the fish want jigs, and on others, nothing will work but a Slow Death rig and Smile Blade with a piece of nightcrawler.

Rufus Woods walleye fishing is picking up as the weather warms. Walleye fishing will also pick up this month at Moses Lake as the lake gets increased flows from Crab Creek when the local irrigation district turns on the water to the East and West Low canals. The higher flows coincide with the walleye spawning migration into Crab Creek.

Other species

This is a good time to start fishing the Yakima, Palouse and Walla Walla rivers for channel catfish and smallmouth. Start fishing near the river mouths and move upstream as the fish push upriver.

The Washington Department of Health has determined Dungeness crab are safe for human consumption in that portion of Marine Area 2 north of Point Chehalis and in Marine Area 2-2 (Grays Harbor). The season is open.

Hunting

The Washington spring turkey season runs April 15 through May 31 statewide. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Turkey Takeover blog series can help you find birds, with information on turkey populations in Washington, how to find turkeys, how to find a “mentored hunt” if you are a newbie and gear you will need to be successful.

In Northeast Washington, an area known for great turkey hunting, WDFW northeast district wildlife biologist Annemarie Prince has some tips. “Turkeys are moving to higher elevations as the snow recedes,” she said. “LeClerc Creek and Rustlers Gulch wildlife areas in the northeast district usually have a good number of gobblers. The winter closure gates on the Bisbee Mountain and Trout Lake roads on the Sherman Creek Wildlife Area reopened April 1.”

Turkeys are abundant on private land, especially in Stevens County and in the central district of the region. Some private landowners have registered agreements for access and can be found at WDFW’s Private Lands Hunting Access webpage. The Public Lands Turkey Hunting Map can help hunters looking for public land opportunities to locate good areas for turkey hunting.

WDFW’s Asotin Creek, Chief Joseph and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas also provide good turkey hunting each year.

Idaho’s youth turkey season opens Thursday, and the general turkey season and many controlled hunts open April 15. The outlook looks good for spring turkey hunting in the Idaho Panhandle and the Clearwater regions . The highest concentrations of turkeys in the Panhandle will be found in the lower elevations of GMUs 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Hunters may want to look toward the lower Priest River and lower Coeur d’Alene River drainages, as well as the lower elevations adjacent to the Kootenai River for higher densities of turkeys. Units 2 and 5 also provide for good opportunities.

In the Clearwater region, good opportunities for turkey hunting are found on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area south of Lewiston, state and federal property, private property and corporate timber land. The entire region is open to general turkey hunting.

Idaho’s Fish and Game Large Tracts Program offers public access to thousands of acres of prime turkey hunting lands. These are great places to start your pursuit. For more information, visit idfg.idaho.gov/access/large-tracts or find properties to hunt on Fish and Game’s Hunt Planner.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com.

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