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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for April 28

April 27, 2022 Updated Wed., April 27, 2022 at 5:20 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shops said the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene and the St. Joe have been fishing well, but the water is beginning to come up. Skwalas, March Browns, nemoura stones and BWOs are all topwater options. Nymphing and streamer fishing are best before noon, but pack some gray drakes, too. Focus on softer currents.

Amber, Medical and Coffeepot lakes are all fishing well. Balanced leeches and chironomids are working best.

Spring temperatures on the Clark Fork this week should be warm enough to bring off hatches during the day and cold enough at night to minimize runoff. Dry fly fishing is good, as trout are still rising to skwalas and have begun to target March Browns and BWOs. Pods of fish have been hunting mayflies every afternoon.

Allen Peterson at Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland said one of his favorite fly-fishing-only lakes is Aeneas Lake near Tonasket. It has boat access and a variety of rainbows, browns and tiger trout in the 12- to 15-inch range with a few surprising holdovers. He uses the signature fly pattern of his shop, the “Olive Willy”, but said the Electric Bugger is always extremely productive.

Trout and kokanee

The 2022 Washington Trout Derby, which began Saturday, is open to anyone with a valid 2022 fishing license. No entrance fee or registration required. Catch a trout with a white WDFW tag anytime by Oct. 31 and you win. Close to Spokane, Badger, Bear, Clear, Fish, Liberty, Williams, Diamond, Cedar, Loon, Waitts and Fishtrap lakes have tagged trout, but there are tagged-fish lakes all over Washington. You can claim your prize by filling out the form for a winning fish at wdfwderby.com. You’ll need the tag number, lake, date of catch and your contact information.

Last Saturday was one of the slower opening days in both Region 1 and Region 2. Catch and harvest for all waters were below expectations due to low water temperatures ranging from low- to mid-40s. Generally, temps need to hit 50 degrees before fishing turns on. Slow fishing now, however, is not reflective of how it will be in another couple of weeks. On the opener, more anglers were turning up at the lowland lakes around noon than at 8 a.m., a trend that began several years ago.

Spokane County’s Williams Lake was one of the most productive on the opener with anglers catching an average of 3.35 trout each. Diamond Lake rainbow fishing has been fair, and so has Clear Lake, where anglers are catching largemouth bass as well as trout. Fish Lake in Spokane County produced some good catches of fall-planted brook trout averaging 15 inches for anglers with boats. Shore anglers didn’t have much action.

In Grant County, anglers did well on the opener at Lower Hampton, Warden and the Pillar-Widgeon Chain.

Saturday was the general opener for all lakes that aren’t open year-round. Many anglers did well for trout in Lower Hampton, Warden Lake and the Pillar–Widgeon Chain.

Reports of some fairly consistent chinook fishing have come from Lake Chelan, and the kokanee fishing is picking up. Kokes as large as 16 inches have been reported.

Kokanee fishing at Hayden Lake is not great, but most anglers are taking home a few 12-inch fish, saying they are all over the water column. If you want to launch at Honeysuckle Beach, get there early as the lot fills quickly.

Salmon and steelhead

The Columbia River is heating up for chinook salmon. Drano Lake, Wind River and the main stem of the Columbia River will be popular. This early fishery will only last about three weeks.

Chinook counts at Lower Granite Dam indicated 56 adult spring chinook had passed through by April 19. That’s not many, but a couple have been caught recently around Lewiston.

If you are unsure of what the Idaho seasons and limits for chinook salmon are for this year, you can click on the link “chinook seasons and rules” to get all the details.

IDFG forecasts the adult return to Idaho will be better than the previous five years – around 36,000 fish.

Chinook anglers on Lake Coeur d’Alene are hoping water levels will come up soon, bringing with it a better bite. There is a fair bite from the surface to about 30 feet on the south end for salmon averaging about 8 pounds.

Spiny ray

Eloika Lake crappie anglers say they are finding the fish in deeper water at midlake rather than in the shallows … sometimes. Small tube jigs under a bobber are bringing the strikes.

Walleye are still being taken in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. Jigging has been good this week on the main river channel and in current seams.

A friend who fished Long Lake in the vicinity of Willow Bay with a bottom-walker this week said he released a 6-pounder and kept five between 17 and 20 inches.

Other species

An opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River begins May 11 and will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays through June 4 from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Wauna power lines. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.

Shellfish managers with the WDFW confirmed Friday that the final round of razor clam digging can proceed as planned from Friday through May 7 to wrap up a memorable season. A total of 432,380 diggers on 111 digging days have taken home more than 7.1 million razor clams. During digs April 16-21 the daily average on all beaches was around 19 clams per digger – and they are the largest seen in many years. On all open beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis – the daily limit from Friday through May 7 is 20 clams.

Hunting

A reminder to big game hunters that Saturday is the deadline to apply for any Idaho moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunts. You can apply for one of these three species in a year, and those who apply for a moose, sheep or goat hunt are ineligible for most deer, elk and pronghorn controlled hunt drawings.

Results from the Washington and Idaho turkey openers on April 15 were varied. Some hunters said they were overrun with birds, and others said they couldn’t buy a gobble. The birds around my property north of Spokane were concentrated in one small area, while an entire west-facing mountainside was quiet. I’m hoping better weather will heat things up.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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