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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for April 11, 2024

By Alan Liere The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Some sections of Crab Creek near Ritzville have side eddys where a fly fisherman using a brown and olive streamer on a sink tip-line with a short tippet can catch rainbows and browns up to 20 inches if he is fit enough to do the bank climbing required to reach the fishable water.

Anglers should find good fishing at Rocky Ford Creek near Soap Lake this week. This is a catch-and-release, fly-fishing-only stream, and only fishing from the bank is allowed. There are plenty of 16- to 20-inch rainbow trout.

The past week of fishing on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene was good, Silver Bow Fly Shop reported.

There has been excellent skwala and March brown action. With the rising water, focus on the soft inside bends and back eddies. If the dries aren’t working, you can still find fish on large stonefly nymphs, San Juan Worms, hot bead attractor nymphs and streamers. Don’t let the high water scare you off. Like the Coeur d’Alene, fishing has also been good on the St. Joe.

There are still some good fishing reports coming from local lakes. Try Amber, Medical, Sprague, and the bays on Lake Roosevelt and Rock. The Clark Fork River has been good for fly fishermen throwing March browns and skwala patterns in the early afternoon.

Trout and kokanee

The I-82 Ponds near Yakima have received generous plants of catchable trout. Rotary Pond and Tims Pond have also received heavy plants of rainbow trout. Near Wenatchee, Fish Lake has been fishing well, and so has Roses Lake near Chelan.

In Douglas County, the lakes around the town of Rock Island are open year round and are loaded with rainbow. Burke and Quincy lakes, near Moses Lake, continue to provide good catches, Within the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area, Dusty is an excellent hike-in lake for anglers wanting to get away from crowds. Evening fishing along the basalt hillsides can be excellent for big browns. There are also rainbow and tiger trout. Lenice and Nunnally are fishing well for rainbow trout in the 14- to 16-inch range with some up to 20 inches. Both lakes received 3,000 catchable-sized trout in the fall of 2023 and will receive another 2,337 (Lenice) and 2,750 (Nunnally) in April. “Selective Gear Rules” apply on these waters. Lenore, just north of Soap Lake on Highway 17, has good trout fishing, especially along the lake’s north end where prespawn Lahontan cutthroat congregate. Adult Lahontan cutthroat average 18 inches.

Kokanee fishing has not taken off on Lake Coeur d’Alene. It is likely there will be good numbers of small fish later in the month. Chinook salmon are numerous but small. On Hayden Lake, the kokanee bite is good and the fish are big, averaging 15 inches with kokes as large as 23 inches reported.

Salmon and steelhead

Spring chinook and steelhead fishing in most lower Columbia River tributaries is open. Based on preseason forecasts, daily limits were reduced to one adult salmon in Drano Lake, and in the Wind, Kalama, Klickitat and Cowlitz rivers.

Spiny ray

Largemouth bass fishing continues to be good back in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir. Throw half-ounce black and blue jigs, swim jigs, jerkbaits, chatter baits, spinnerbaits and Texas rigged plastics. There have been reports of bass on beds. Smallmouth bass are also being caught. Fish at 18 to 30 feet using drop shot rigs, blade baits and tubes.

Fish the rock piles around Goose Island and along the face of the dam. Walleye fishing is fair on Potholes. Fish the humps in front of the sand dunes and near Perch Point.

Walleye fishing is picking up at Moses Lake as it gets increased flows from Crab Creek that coincide with the walleye spawning migration into the creek. Dark-colored curly tail grubs on a jig and fished on the bottom are effective.

Some bass, largemouth and smallmouth, as well as a few walleye are being caught at Long Lake. The water is still a little cold to congregate spawning crappie.

Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene has seen some decent crappie catches recently, but other Panhandle lakes need the water to warm more. Hayden and Hauser should be the next to begin providing consistent crappie fishing.

Washington’s Eloika Lake is still too cold for good crappie fishing. Downs Lake is 5 to 10 degrees away from good crappie fishing. Bonnie Lake may be the first to take off.

Other species

Clams are open again on Washington beaches Friday through Sunday. Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks are open Friday and Saturday and Long Beach and Copalis are open Sunday. Tentative clamming dates during morning low tides at some beaches will run April 23 to 29.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is still low, so the pike fishing has been an option in only a few bays. Best bets are Wolf Lodge and Harrison, and Cougar Bay if you’re able to wade out far enough to cast.


The general Washington and Idaho statewide spring wild turkey seasons begin Monday. Special youth only hunts have taken place, but success was low. Indications are the cold weather was a negative factor for both birds and hunters.

The application period for Idaho moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunts runs through April 30. Hunters can apply online, at any Fish and Game office, license vendor or by telephone by calling (800) 554-8685.

Contact Alan Liere at