Most area rivers are still running high, and your best bet for some fly fishing action will be on the lakes.
Any of the northeast lakes in Washington are good bets for fly fishing, but fly fishing-only Bayley Lake, on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, is one of the best. It regularly produces rainbows in the 18- to- 20-inch range with some fish that get even larger.
McDowell Lake, another fly fishing–only water located on the refuge, was rehabilitated last fall and restocked with trout prior to the April 24 opener. Other fly fishing-only opportunities include Long Lake in Ferry County and Browns Lake in Pend Oreille County.
Trout and kokanee
Lakes around Spokane that should be particularly good are Badger in south Spokane County and Fishtrap, on the Lincoln/Spokane County line. Long Lake is again heating up for trout fishermen.
In northeast Washington, several waters in the Colville area – Starvation, Rocky, Cedar, and Mudgett – received annual stockings of fry or fingerling-sized fish prior to the April 24 opener.
“While the fry are small this year, they will make nice catches next spring,” District 1 fish biologist Bill Baker said. “Last year’s fry plants are now around 11 inches and carryovers from past years are up to 14 inches or so.”
Thousands of catchable trout were planted in northeast Washington’s year-round lakes, including Diamond, Waitts and Jumpoff Joe. The same goes for the Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes, although fishing typically picks up there a little later due to higher elevation. A friend who fishes Waitts said the browns are running 12-14 inches but are kind of skinny.
May is prime fishing time in Okanogan County. Conconully Lake, Pearrygin Lake and Alta Lake are good, but smaller waters with more secluded settings like Round and Long lakes, east of Tonasket; Big Beaver and Beth lakes in northeast Okanogan County; and Wanacutt, west of Oroville, are also good. Productive kokanee lakes in Okanogan County include Patterson, Alta, Conconullys and Bonaparte
In Grant County, Deep Lake, located in the Sun Lakes State Park, produced excellent fishing on opening day with anglers reporting large fish. Deep Lake should provide excellent fishing for the remainder of spring. Vic Meyers (Rainbow Lake) should also provide great fishing this year. Warden Lake fished well on opening day and catch rates for anglers were the highest for all lakes surveyed in Grant County at 3.5 fish per angler.
The Pillar-Widgeon Chain of walk-in lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is a consistent producer of quality rainbow trout.
The Hampton Lakes have fished well over recent years. Lower Hampton Lake receives more angler effort and while catch rates are somewhat lower than on Upper Hampton, the fish caught there are larger.
The Teal Lakes, located along the Seep Lakes Road on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, are a popular fishery for anglers looking to catch good-sized trout. Both lakes, while managed for trout, have carp, bass and sunfish. South Teal Lake receives little fishing pressure, likely due to abundant aquatic weed growth and limited access to most of the shoreline.
Trout fishing has been good on Potholes Reservoir with rainbow 2-5 pounds being caught on the face of the sand dunes, along Medicare Beach, in front of the Potholes State Park and at the mouth of Lind Coulee to Perch Point.
Jameson Lake in Douglas County, as well as Wapato Lake, Fish Lake and Beehive Reservoir, will continue to provide good fishing for rainbow trout throughout May.
Fishing for brown trout at the Antilon Lakes in Chelan County should continue to improve and be good throughout the month of May. Anglers can expect most of the brown trout to be 12-14 inches with the occasional larger fish.
At Lake Chelan, May is typically the best month for anglers targeting kokanee in the lower basin. Although the fishing has been slow, anglers can usually expect to catch plump Kokanee in the 10- to 14-inch range.
As temperatures warm, Wapato and Roses lakes in Douglas County will continue to improve for anglers targeting warm water fish such as bass and panfish.
The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt above Buoy 5 has been good at times for walleye fishermen trolling bottom walkers and Smile Blades with Slow Death hooks baited with nightcrawlers. Banks Lake has also been good at times and the walleyes have been larger.
Walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir has improved as they move into the mouth of Crab Creek and the sand dunes. Fish the deeper channels in and on the face of the dunes in 10-18 feet of water.
Larger fish are being caught farther back in the dunes in 4-10 feet of water. The largemouth bass fishing continues to be good back in the sand dunes. Crappie reports are beginning to come in from back in the sand dunes around the willows.
Dworshak Reservoir smallmouth fishing is heating up. Multiple football-shaped fish over 6 pounds have been reported. Reel Time Fishing said the next two weeks will be the best for big fish.
Eloika Lake crappie are on their beds and fishing has been excellent.
Friends and I fished the lake twice last week, catching limits both times.
Many of the fish were pushing 10 inches. Small jigs 3-4 feet under a bobber were deadly.
Turkey hunters have until the end of May to fill their tags. The birds aren’t quite as vocal, but there are still lots of toms out there.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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