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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for April 22

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Fly fishing on the Tucannon lakes has been good. Many of the fish are around 11 inches, but they’ll go as large as 15 .

At Swede’s Fly Shop, Allen Petersen said his choice for opening day fly fishing would be 30-acre Dusty Lake in Grant County. You’ll need a float tube and fast full sinking line fished as deep as possible with patterns such as the Olive Willy, the Electric Bugger, Swede’s Caddis Emerger and scud patterns. The larger fish will be from 1 to 2 feet off the bottom in most opening day lakes.

Water levels are up on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene and the St. Joe, so although fishable water is limited, there are still good spots to try. Nymph rigs and streamer rigs will be effective.

Trout and kokanee

Curlew Lake is known for its trout, big perch and tiger musky, but it has been receiving about 25,000 kokanee a year for several years. That should be a viable fishery for anglers who target them in the deeper parts of the lake.

Some sizable Lake Roosevelt kokanee have been taken this week. They have been high in the water column early, going deeper well before noon. Rainbow have been hard to locate at times.

WDFW fish biologist Randy Osborne had some good things to say about opening day prospects in Region 2. Despite perch and sunfish infestations at several lakes, Osborne was optimistic that recent plants would provide opening day success, particularly at Badger, Clear, Fishtrap and Fish.

Fishtrap Lake recently received 8,500 rainbow running 9-11 inches, and 72,000 fry planted last May will measure about 10 inches. It also received 500 jumbos. Clear Lake received 9,000 catchable rainbow, 9,000 brown trout of about 8 inches, 15,000 rainbow running 7-9 inches and 450 jumbos. About 12,000 tiger trout were planted there last year.

Fish Lake is full of perch, but 10,000 brook trout fingerlings and 10,000 tiger trout fingerlings were planted last year and are about 9 inches long now. Last October, 1,200 big brook brood trout were planted in Fish, and they should be much larger.

Another popular opening day fishery is Williams Lake. It received 5,000 catchable rainbow and 500 jumbos this year and another 7,000 rainbow classified as “grow and take” fish, which will be pretty small at this time. Shortly after the opener, 5,000 rainbow weighing one-half pound each will be put in the lake.

West Medical Lake has a lot of goldfish, which has made it difficult to maintain a quality fishery, but it has been sweetened with 450 jumbos as well as catchables.

Badger Lake didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved last year. It has plenty of rainbow, cutthroat and kokanee. You can fish from a boat or along the shore at the WDFW access site.

Pacific Lake has lost so much water it is just three big puddles surrounded by dry land. It was not stocked this year, but the largest of the “puddles” still has some depth, and anyone willing to do some walking will likely find rainbow trout there running 15-18 inches.

To the north of Spokane, Rocky and Cedar lakes should be two of the best, with Cedar getting a particularly nice review from District 1 biologist Bill Baker. Starvation Lake may not be as good as hoped but will have decent fishing.

Baker said lakes that have been open all year like Waitts, Jumpoff Joe and Diamond all have new plants of catchables and should also fish well. Deer opened March 1 and has also been planted. Loon, Starvation, Cedar, Diamond, Waitts and Curlew are designated derby lakes where anglers have a chance of catching a tagged fish worth prizes in WDFW’s fishing derby.

Spectacle Lake in Okanogan County opened April 1. It has been fishing well for kokanee, but you have to cover a lot of water to find the schools. Trout are feeding in the upper 10 feet of the water column and a few scattered kokanee are feeding high, but the best kokanee bite has been on the bottom in about 45 feet of water.

The two Conconully lakes in Okanogan County are always good for rainbow and often kokanee, too. Spectacle Lake, which opened April 1, has had outstanding fishing for rainbow trout and big kokanee the past couple of seasons.

Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, offers good fishing for planted rainbow trout and receives sporadic plants of big triploid rainbow. In recent years, the largemouth bass population has boomed, and it is also popular for its perch fishing.

Jameson Lake in Douglas County has been an opening weekend favorite for decades. Rainbow trout fishing should be spectacular this year.

Kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan is good.

Limits of fish to 13 inches have been taken all winter long above the Yacht Club and the fish will be moving down into the lower basin. Soon they will be available off Chelan Shores and Lakeside Park.

Steelhead and salmon

One section of the lower Snake River is slated to open for spring chinook fishing later this spring, but the Yakima River will not have a salmon season.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been good for some anglers between Buoy 3 and 5. Some are trolling Slow Death rigs and some are jigging.

Munden’s Rising Son Adventures reports the post spawn walleye bite on the Columbia is excellent for 15- to 18-inch fish. Info: 509-492-8852.

Stan Coffin Lake, in the Quincy Wildlife Area of Grant County, often has excellent fishing for largemouth bass and other spiny ray species as well as channel cats in spring.

Anglers should have good success fishing just offshore in 8-10 feet of water.

The Walleye bite has improved slightly on Potholes Reservoir. Lind Coulee and the mouth of Crab Creek are beginning to produce. Troll Slow Death rigs or jig marked fish with blade baits. The smallmouth bass bite is turning on along the face of the dam, and the rocky area between Goose Island and the dam and largemouth fishing is still good back in the sand dunes. Top waters should draw some attention now.

Other species

Recreational Dungeness crab fisheries on the Washington coast from areas south of Point Chehalis have reopened to crab fishing, including the popular waters of Willapa Bay. Inside the Columbia River, inside Grays Harbor and coastal areas north to Cape Flattery also remain open for crabbing. WDFW has determined domoic acid levels in crab met standards for safe consumption in these areas.


From all accounts, it was a fairly successful opening day for turkeys, although the birds were not responding well to the call. The warmer weather has definitely triggered more gobbling as the flocks break up.

I shot a 20-pound 2-year-old not far from my house a few miles north of Wandermere, and two friends also took Saturday birds near Greenbluff. All were patterned and intercepted rather than called in.

Contact Alan Liere at

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