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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 12

UPDATED: Wed., May 11, 2022

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River has been out of commission from warm weather and rain. It’s on the drop but probably won’t be an option this week. The St. Joe River has similar conditions but may be somewhat fishable by the weekend. Area lakes are fishing well, but fly fishing-only Bayley Lake, on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, is one of the best. Rainbow to 20 inches are fairly common.

Trout and kokanee

Wapato Lake, 2 miles north of Manson, Washington, is booting out some beautiful 16- to 18-inch kokanee for anglers trolling slowly at about 20 feet along the south shore. Wapato also has good trout fishing.

Diamond Lake is a good bet for trout. Still-fishing and trolling are both effective near the public access in about 40 feet of water. Williams Lake is still giving up decent catches of rainbow trout, and some tiger trout and a few brookies are being caught at Fish Lake

Fishing at other put-and-take lakes around Spokane is beginning to improve. West Medical, Fishtrap, Badger, Waitts and Jumpoff Joe have been decent for trout, and a few 10-inch kokanee have been reported caught by Loon Lake trollers. Deer Lake trollers have been netting some decent mackinaw.

Long Lake remains a consistent source of good trout fishing. Trollers are doing well almost anywhere on the lake, but most effort is from Willow Bay through the Tum Tum area.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater River should see somewhere around a 5,000 harvest share of spring chinook this year. The season is set at seven days a week with a one fish limit and with luck will last at least three weeks. Reel Time Fishing said to expect fishable numbers to start showing up around Sunday.

The Columbia Gorge spring chinook season has been good and will continue through May. Trolling with baits and flashers has been most effective.

The WDFW reduced the adult salmon daily limit in Drano Lake earlier this year to help ensure that broodstock collection at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery would be achieved in 2022. Returns of adult spring chinook to the hatchery have been good and the broodstock collection goal was recently achieved, so fisheries can be reopened under permanent rules.

Two areas of the Yakima River will be open to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon. Area A (open through June 15) is from the Highway 240 Bridge in Richland upstream to the State Route 241 (Sunnyside-Mabton) Bridge. Area B (open Tuesday through June 30) is from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam.

The Icicle River in Chelan County will be open to the retention of hatchery spring chinook from Monday, to one hour after official sunset on June 30 with a daily limit of two chinook, adult or jack.

Spiny ray

May and June are prime time months for catching Hells Canyon sturgeon and smallmouth bass. Both fisheries have fired up the past week.

Dworshak Reservoir smallmouth bass are in their prime spawn time and some huge fish have been taken.

Smallmouth bass are beginning to bite all over Washington and Idaho. The lower Yakima has been good, as has Banks Lake, Moses Lake and the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers. Lake Roosevelt is getting good, and launching options are becoming more numerous as the lake is rising quickly. Popular launches that are not ready, however, are China Bend, Jones Bay and Hawk Creek.

Walleye in Lake Pend Oreille were concentrated around spawning locations in the lake and the adjoining rivers throughout April. The greatest concentration of acoustic-tagged walleye was at the Highway 95 long bridge/railroad bridge area near Sandpoint. This area and the southern shoreline toward Contest Point may be good areas to try as the water warms and postspawn fish look to start feeding more aggressively.

The Fisherman’s Island and Sunnyside area at the north end of the lake was another walleye hot spot, as was the Clark Fork Delta and lower section of the Clark Fork River. These fish are still prespawn and will likely remain in the river until spawning is over.

Walleye fishing is picking up on the Potholes Reservoir. As the fish finish up their spawn they move to the humps and to the sand dunes to recover and feed. Fish from the island up stream above M Road in Lind Coulee in 15-25 feet of water with a Slow Death rig and nightcrawler on a bottom walker.

A friend reports excellent success for walleye on Long Lake and said he is also catching some large crappie. Most of his fishing is in the vicinity of Willow Bay. Downs Lake has given up some large crappie and bass, and Newman, Sacheen, Fernan and Hayden lakes are also beginning to heat up for crappie. Eloika Lake crappie have been biting for almost a month, and are moving in closer to shore.

Curlew Lake perch are coming off the spawn and can be found in shallower water than they were in this winter. May and June are excellent times to catch buckets of the tasty fish.

Other species

The Quincy Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Pikeminnow Derby runs Friday through Sunday at Crescent Bar on the Columbia River where two launches and camping and RV hookups provide for easy access and convenient accommodations. Generous cash rewards and prizes will be provided by local sponsors.

Get the derby rules and register for the event online by googling Quincy Pikeminnow Derby.

Hunting

The Idaho application period for fall 2022 deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear and turkey controlled hunts runs through June 5. Hunters may also apply for the first Super Hunt drawing through May 31. Hunters with a valid 2022 Idaho hunting license may apply for controlled hunts at any license vendor, fish and game office, or with a credit card online at license.gooutdoorsidaho.com or by calling 1-800-554-8685. There is an additional fee for online and phone orders.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com.

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