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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for April 1

UPDATED: Wed., March 31, 2021

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Allen Petersen at Swede’s Fly Shop said low water temperatures are affecting emerging insects such as the midge pupae or chironomid, which are hugely popular fly patterns for the spring of the year due to their sheer numbers, as seen on lakes like Amber, Coffeepot, Lenice, Nunnally and Lenore. Don’t forget the amphipods or fresh water shrimp (scuds) that live in the vegetation and sediment in lake bottoms. Trout will actively search for these insects as waters warm. Use a full fast-sinking fly line to get as deep as possible for these searching trout as they scour the weed beds and deeper water. Two of the most effective fly patterns, Petersen said, are the Olive Willy and the Electric Bugger, both proven to be outstanding patterns for trout.

Crab Creek is getting some attention just west of the Harrington road toward Rocky Ford Bridge. The rainbows are small, but there is that occasional upper teens surprise that will give your three weight a workout. Check out the back eddies.

There have been good reports from the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River lately, especially streamer fishing. Some dry fly fishing at midday can consist of BWOs, midges, nemoura stones and possibly a skwala. Nymphing is always good now.

The lower St. Joe is a great option for pre-runoff fishing, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. The water is still cold, but hatches are starting to happen.

Midges, BWOs, nemoura stones and even possibly a skwala on the warmest of days can get fish up to the surface during midday.

Definitely plan on some nymphing and streamer fishing.

Trout and kokanee

Deer Lake in Stevens County has been busy at times for trout and mackinaw anglers. Slow-trolling Roostertails in 10 feet of water is taking rainbow and brook trout. A few large macks have also been reported.

Rock Lake is still good for rainbow if you can find a day when the wind isn’t bad. Trollers are finding their best fishing on the north end in the top 20 feet of water. Fishing has been good along the rock walls as well as the middle of the lake. Some bigger brown trout have been caught on Rapalas thrown toward shore.

A few good trout reports have come in from Sprague Lake. Anglers are not taking big numbers, but they are catching some huge fish. One fish I saw last week weighed more than 6 pounds.

Trout fishing on Lake Roosevelt has been good from shore and boat throughout the system, and kokanee trollers are also taking an occasional fish. The largest of these have stretched to 24 inches. A pink hoochie trolled in the top 10 feet off a planer board will give you the best chance to catch either species. Most launches are still good to go at this time with water levels at around 1,270 feet or slightly less. The sandy shorelines are getting steeper as the water recedes, making for some tricky walking for those fishing from shore. A friend lost his balance on one of these recently and ended up in the drink.

Trout fishing has picked up on Potholes Reservoir. Troll a No. 7 Flicker Shads in front of the Potholes State Park and from the mouth of Lind Coulee to Perch Point. From shore, fish Medicare Beach with Berkley Power Bait or Marshmallows and worms.

The Dworshak Reservoir kokanee bite has begun. Trollers are taking fair numbers of 9-inch fish. Most of the action has been between the dam and Dent Bridge. Rainbow and cutthroat trout are being caught at the mouths of tributary streams.

Spiny ray

The water temperatures on the Potholes Reservoir continue to warm with main lake temperatures in the mid-40s and the low 50s back in the dunes. Walleye fishing has been fair around Goose Island and in the Lind Coulee. Largemouth bass are moving into the sand dunes with a lot of 3– to 5-pound fish being reported. It’s a little early for good panfishing.

Consistent Eloika Lake crappie fishing is still a couple of weeks into April, but scattered reports indicate it is not impossible to find a few fish at midlake. Eloika perch fishing, which has been poor since last winter, is worse as the fish are either at the end of the spawn or just coming off it.

Despite the cold water, Tiger musky at Newman Lake will occasionally smack a lure. Silver Lake gets similar reviews, and the early largemouth bite has been on the low end of fair.

Anglers trolling downstream of Lake Roosevelt’s Porcupine launch have been catching a lot of walleye, but many of them aren’t big enough to make a decent fish taco.

Fishing pressure for big walleye on the John Day Pool has been high, but the bite has been tougher this spring due to the lack of flow in the Columbia. As soon as the big snowpack starts melting, the runoff will begin and fishing will improve. A few really large female walleyes have been taken, but the smaller eating-size males have been scarce.

Near Coeur d’Alene, Fernan Lake has given up a few crappie recently. Hayden and Hauser should pick up soon.

Other species

Anglers on the Snake River in the Lewiston/Clarkston area are beginning to catch channel catfish averaging 4 pounds.

Channel cats are also becoming more active in the Palouse River by Lyons Ferry, although better shallow water fishing is a few weeks off.


Idaho’s general season youth turkey hunt runs April 8-14. It’s an opportunity for kids to get an early shot at turkey hunting, and a way for parents and other adults to mentor a young hunter. Licensed youth who are 10 to 17 years old on April 8 may participate in this hunt.

The application period for Idaho moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunts runs through April 30. Hunters can apply online or at any fish and game office, license vendor or by telephone by calling (800) 554-8685.

Contact Alan Liere at

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