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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 13

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Coffeepot Lake has seen good chironomid fishing. Black or gray chironomids have been the ticket, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Amber Lake has been fair – not big numbers, but big fish.

The season has kicked off on the lower Grande Ronde for smallmouth bass. Water is a little cold, but slowly fishing a heavy streamer along the bottom of any soft/deep pocket, eddy or pool is working.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene flows are high but fishable. You might find anything from drakes, yellow sallies, March browns, salmonflies and goldens. Dry/dropper combos, nymph rigs and streamers will all take fish.

Spring runoff on the St. Joe has been mild. There may be some bumps in levels here and there, but it should be fishable all spring, though the upper stretches aren’t prime.

Trout and kokanee

Anglers are catching fair numbers of planted trout at lakes like Williams, Badger and Jumpoff Joe. Diamond and Waitts can also be good, though the Waitts Lake fish are smaller than usual. Badger also has kokanee, but that bite, like the bite at Loon Lake, will take a little longer to turn on. Williams Lake is still good.

Deer Lake mackinaw are still biting but have gone deeper. There are reports of some nice-sized brook trout being caught near the narrows. Deer is not generally known as a bass fishing destination, but like Loon, it can produce some big fish.

Wannacut Lake in Okanogan County has been excellent for trout, most of which run 10-12 inches, but there are also good numbers of 17-inch fish. Most fish are suspended 10 feet below the surface. Park Lake in Grant County has also seen some excellent fishing for rainbow trout.

Steel head and salmon

Drano Lake opens for angling and harvest of salmon and steelhead Thursday in the waters downstream of markers on a point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery and upstream of the Highway 14 Bridge. The salmon and steelhead daily limit is two fish, but only one may be an adult hatchery chinook. Release all other salmon and wild steelhead. Anglers are reminded that Drano Lake is closed to sport fishing on Wednesdays through June 30.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing should begin to improve at Rufus Woods Reservoir as water temperatures are creeping into the high 40s. So far, anglers have had minimal success with jigs and blade baits.

Anglers are finding walleye above Buoy 5 on the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. The fish seem to be in pockets, and there is often a lot of dead time before one of these is located. Some anglers say they are catching more trout than walleye on their jigs. The drawdown on Roosevelt seems to be over, and it didn’t come close to that of other years.

Downs Lake has been giving up some large crappie, and Newman, Sacheen, Fernan and Hayden lakes are also beginning to boot out a few.

At Long Lake, the bite is just beginning as the water has been cold. Long has some of the biggest crappie around. The big attraction at Long Lake this spring is the walleye bite. Guide Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service said he and clients have had some red-letter days on good-sized fish.

Two friends and I fished Eloika Lake for crappie this week with great expectations after the frantic bite two days before, but the wind made for a difficult day and the weather system the previous evening had evidently put the fish off their feed. Long story short: Four keeper crappie and a few sunfish and bass, all released. That fishery should be taking off again.

The walleye fishing has been good to excellent on Potholes Reservoir this past week as they move into the mouth of Crab Creek and into the sand dunes. Fish the deeper channels in and on the face of the dunes in 10-18 feet of water. A trolled Slow Death rig and worm behind a bottom bouncer is a good choice. Bigger fish are being caught farther back in the dunes in 4-10 feet of water by anglers fishing swimbaits, swim jigs, chatter baits and flukes.

The largemouth bass fishing on Potholes continues to be good back in the sand dunes. The spawn is on with smallmouth and largemouth bedding up. Top baits have been jigs with a craw or swimming trailer in black and blue, hard jerkbaits, swim jigs, chatterbaits and topwater baits such as frogs and poppers.

Try for smallmouth bass along the face of the dam and the rocky area between Goose Island and the dam. Crappie reports are beginning to come in.

Look for them back in the sand dunes in the willows in 6-10 feet of water.

Other species

The harvest season for white sturgeon on Lake Roosevelt begins June 12 from Grand Coulee Dam to the China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge).

The daily limit is one sturgeon between 50 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail).

The pikeminnow reward program is again paying anglers to fish for pikeminnow in the Columbia and Snake river systems. Rewards range from $5-8 per fish, and special tagged fish are worth $500.

In 2020, the top 20 anglers caught an average of 2,351 fish per angler and averaged reward payments of $20,414 each for the five-month season.


Turkeys are still gobbling, but with less gusto than a couple of weeks ago. Most hens are on nests, and the toms that still retain their ardor should be vulnerable to the call. There are just over two weeks remaining in the season.

Contact Alan Liere at

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