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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 20

UPDATED: Wed., May 19, 2021

By Alan Liere For the Spokesman-Review

Trout and kokanee

Hundreds of thousands of rainbow trout will be released from net pens and fish hatcheries into Lake Roosevelt over the next two weeks by WDFW, the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Lake Roosevelt Net Pen Project.

This week, over 475,000 triploid rainbow trout running 8-12 inches will be released from net pens. There will also be a release of 10,000 triploids into the lower third of the lake. These fish are approximately 1 pound each.

Sprague Lake has fished well at times this spring, but the 6-pounders reported last fall are not showing yet. Anglers are finding their best luck by trolling the west end close to shore or by throwing Power Bait from shore.

Long Lake (Lake Spokane) is continuing where it left off last fall with chunky rainbow trout running 14-17 inches. Most are about 15-25 feet under the surface, but an angler this week who said he graphed deeper fish and dropped down to them, caught a silvery chinook salmon of about 18 inches.

The Loon Lake night bite is just a week or so away, but anglers trolling shallow are putting a few of the 9-inch fish in the boat. The water just out from the public access and to the east is one of the first areas to heat up.

Warden Lake, Lower Hampton, Windmill and Corral Lake are the top producing Seep Lakes in Grant County. Fish on the bottom with Power Bait, marshmallows, eggs or worms, or cast Rooster Tails from shore. Corral and Blythe lakes have continued to produce keeper-sized trout and a few holdovers from boat and shore.

Upper Conconully Lake has been good for rainbows less than a foot long and kokanee up to 17 inches. Chelan kokanee are running a bit bigger this year with a few up to 13 inches and 11 inches a good average. For now, fish the lower basin near town. Fish have been about 30 feet down in 70 feet of water. Try the east end first, trolling about 15-20 feet down.

The kokanee bite on Lake Coeur d’Alene is heating up on the south end of the lake in the vicinity of Powderhorn Bay and East Point. Troll in the top 15 feet.

Steelhead and salmon

All spring chinook salmon fishing on the Snake River has been closed as harvest allotments have been reached.

Spiny ray

Some big walleye have been taken below and above Buoy 5 in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. The fish are in pockets that take some exploring to find. Some nice walleyes have also been caught above French Rocks on spinners and Slow Death rigs.

If you haven’t tried the Eloika Lake crappie fishing this spring, you may have waited too long. The bite began at the end of April and was hot for the first two weeks of May. Now that the weeds are beginning to show on the surface, fishing has become difficult in the shallow water where the fish have been preparing to spawn. Another crappie water to try would be Newman Lake, where surface weeds are not so much of a problem. Long Lake is a little behind Eloika, and that crappie fishery should be just beginning. In Idaho, crappie fishermen are finding some slabs on Hauser Lake, and Fernan Lake anglers are catching some smaller ones.

Walleye fishing success has been erratic on Potholes Reservoir. They are moving 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 trolling a Slow Death rig and worm behind a bottom bouncer. 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 continues to be good back in the Potholes sand dunes. The spawn is on with smallmouth and largemouth bedding up. Good numbers of 1- to 3-pound fish are being reported. Top baits have been jigs with a craw or swimming trailer in black and blue, hard jerkbaits, swim jigs and chatterbaits and topwater baits such as frogs and poppers.

Largemouth fishing is also going well on Long Lake. There have been several reports this week of fish over 5 pounds, and some good-sized smallmouth have been taken. The Pend Oreille River smallmouth fishery has taken off with enthusiastic reports from stretches of river in Washington and Idaho. Lake Roosevelt smallmouth are in the shallows, as are those almost anywhere in the Snake River.

The perch are biting at Curlew Lake. They are in shallow water near the shorelines, and anglers who target them are doing well. Trout fishing is also good at Curlew for rainbow running about 13 inches.

Other species

May and June are when the common carp comes into shallow bays to spawn. Fishermen are targeting them in the Snake River and in lakes like Moses, Banks and Long, either by fly fishing or soaking canned corn or dough balls. Bow fishermen are finding plenty of targets in shallow, weedy bays throughout Washington. Look for water with overhanging tree branches, weed edges or logs.


The Idaho spring turkey season ends almost a week earlier than that in Washington on Tuesday. The Washington season goes through the end of May.

Contact Alan Liere at

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