The Spokane River opened Saturday. It is high but fishable. Some salmonflies will still be out as well as lots of caddis. Nymphing (bobber or Euro) has been the best tactic.
The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene is in peak spring shape, which means it is also at its busiest. Fishing has been good. Silver Bow Fly Shop reports hatches that include everything from PMDs, yellow sallies, drakes, goldens and even a few lingering salmonflies up higher. Dry fly fishing has been good.
Small callibaetis mayfly dries have been working afternoons at Badger Lake. The fish can be picky, but a tiny movement increases the catch rate.
The St. Joe River has been stable but high and fishing well. Pack some stoneflies for the mid- and upper-river stretches and run a dropper underneath. Hatches of PMDs, yellow sallies and drakes should also be on the menu.
Allen Petersen from Swede’s Fly Shop said he has been doing especially well at Coffeepot and Amber lakes using chironomid patterns like the Bionic Worm and Ice Cream Cone patterns in black and brown. He prefers to use a full fast-sinking line with a short stripping motion in water that has shallow weeds on one side and deeper water on the other.
Trout and kokanee
A friend and I sampled the night kokanee bite at Loon Lake this week. We were on the water by 7:30, as we had good luck last year in the early evening, sometimes taking our 10-fish limits before 9. This time, the first fish didn’t come aboard until just before 9, and then things went dead until 10. Between 10 and 11, however, the bite picked up considerably and we were on the way back to the dock at 11:30 with 20 kokes running 9-11 inches.
A white Glo-Hook that glows green baited with maggots did the damage in 30 feet of water on the east side of the lake. Take a coat.
Rock Lake trout, mostly rainbow, have been running 14-16 inches and the bite has been consistent for trollers.
Chelan Lake kokanee fishing has been good near the town of Chelan. The fish have been suspended at around 25 feet. An average-size Chelan koke would stretch about 12 inches.
Trout fishing on Potholes Reservoir has been good, with limits of 2- to 5-pound rainbow reported. Prime areas to target are in front of the state park and from the mouth of Lind Coulee to Perch Point. From shore, try Medicare Beach with Power Bait.
Warden Lake, Lower Hampton and the Pillar Widgeon Chain have been the top producing Seep Lakes recently in Grant County. Troll Dick Nites or small spoons behind Pop Gear. Fly fishing a black No. 10 Bead Head Leech has also been productive.
The Colville Tribal Fish Hatchery released another 20,000 triploid rainbow into Rufus Woods on May 26 that averaged about 2 pounds each and can be identified by the absence of an adipose fin. Approximately 4,000 of these fish were tagged, and anglers are asked to contact the Colville’s Fish and Wildlife Department and provide the tag number and information related to the catch.
Steelhead and salmon
Effective June 16 through June 30, sockeye, adult hatchery summer chinook and any summer chinook jack may be retained in the Columbia River from the I-182 Bridge at Richland upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. The Highway 395 Bridge to I-182 Bridge will be closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead.
Salmon fishing in Marine Area 10 will remain closed through June 15 and resume again June 16.
Reel Time Fishing said it caught numerous 6-pound smallmouth and a couple of 8-pounders from Dworshak Reservoir this spring, but the time frame for targeting them is winding down. It anticipates even bigger fish next year, however, because kokanee, the smallmouth’s primary food source, are more abundant this year.
The Potholes Reservoir walleye bite has been hit or miss. Most have retreated to the sand dunes and are in the weeds or along the weed edges, but a trolled Slow Death/Smile Blades/crawler combo in 6-12 feet of water along the weeds will find them.
Smallmouth bass have been easier to find along the face of the dam. Use a 4-inch wacky rigged Senko in 4-15 feet of water. Expect good numbers of 1–to-4-pound fish. Largemouth bass fishing is very good in the sand dunes. Top baits have been jigs with a craw or swimming trailer, swim jigs, topwater frog, 5-inch Senkos, chatter baits and spinnerbaits fished in 1-10 feet of water. Crappie and bluegill are being caught on several habitat boxes on the face of the sand dunes and also in the weeds and willows.
Eloika Lake largemouth fishing has been good. Take your weedless spoons and plastics and work the docks. Silver Lake largemouth are also hitting, and the tiger muskie have been on a tear. Anglers are also taking some good-sized largemouth from Clear Lake.
Long Lake walleye fishing is still good, but the best success comes after nightfall. Trolled perch plugs are effective in 10-15 feet of water, but you can often find them much shallower. Long is also seeing some good fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Banks Lake smallmouth are hitting small cranks and plastics in shallow, rocky water. Tube jigs are effective. Banks has produced some big crappie this spring, and there have been reports of decent ling fishing.
In Idaho, Hayden and Hauser have also been good for some large crappie, and the largemouth are smacking topwater frogs and spinnerbaits.
The shad bite below Bonneville Dam is just beginning. Anglers are having some success throwing shad darts when the current is strong.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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