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Young Christopher Salinas enrolled in the short course of becoming a fisherman Saturday at Fishtrap Lake. The lessons nearly wore out his uncle, Ted Urban, of Spokane, as they joined the cast of thousands for the opening day of fishing at many of Washington’s trout lakes.
Idaho and Washington have numerous fishing seasons geared to different waters and fisheries — too many to even summarize here. Always check current regulations for specific waters before going fishing. There’s talk of more changes starting next year in both states. Meantime, here are some opening dates to note: Washington
Lenice Lake in Grant County has been a star attraction among Washington’s quality waters this year. Listed in Washington’s fishing regulations pamphlet as “selective fisheries,” these waters are prized by catch-and-release anglers. They have special rules and often have longer seasons.
Many families have made traditions of venturing to Spokane region lakes that open to fishing on the last Saturday of April. About 20 lakes in Spokane County are stocked with trout, plus about 65 in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties.
Eastern Washington has numerous stream-fishing experiences to try. Among them: The Spokane River has a good rainbow trout fishery in certain stretches. Some of the best trout fishing is in the catch-and-release section upstream from Upriver Dam to the Idaho stateline. Check rules carefully.
Upcoming trout/salmon fishing derbies include: •Red Covey Memorial Spring Salmon Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene, April 17-18.
Panfish are a prize even though they might not match bass and pike for size. Perch, crappie and bluegills are fun for kids to catch, adults too, and delicious on the table.
The 2010-2011 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet will list numerous modifications to seasons or regulations, most of which take effect May 1. Changes affecting Inland Northwest anglers include:
Coffeepot Lake west of Harrington has a well-deserved reputation for producing big rainbow trout for anglers casting lures and flies. The scablands lake has several different twists for a “selective fishery.” The 3,000-acre lake is stocked with only 5,000 rainbows. (For comparison, the put-and-take fishery at West Medical Lake is managed for about 800 fish per acre). But Coffeepot has some natural trout spawning.
Most adults find that helping a kid catch a fish is more satisfying that fishing on their own. Following are 10 time-proven tips to make the magic happen. 1
Although there’s a threat of low summer flows and fish stress owing to a dismal snowpack, the cutthroat fisheries in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers are going into the season in prime condition. “We’re finally at a comparable level to where we were before the floods of 1996 and 97,” said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manger.
Dworshak Reservoir is emerging as a top destination for kokanee anglers this year. More than a million fish are in the current two-year-old year class targeted by anglers – that’s five times more than last year.
For the first time in three years, ice was NOT clogging most of the trout fishing lakes in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties in early April. Water temperatures are still chilly, but hatchery trucks appear to be on schedule for trout deliveries this month. Starvation Lake southeast of Colville usually ranks among the highest in the state for catch rates on the last Saturday in April general season opener.
Anglers will have new rules to observe after May 1 as they pursue the still-developing fishery at Sprague Lake. Surviving rainbow trout stocked after the 2007 lake rehabilitation have grown and weigh around 6 pounds.
Most Inland Northwest lakes, big and small, hold bass, but some waters provide outstanding late-spring and summer fisheries for largemouth and/or smallmouth. Among them. Banks and Moses Lakes as well as Potholes Reservoir in Grant County are popular tournament destination for good reason.
Spring chinook salmon have started their run up the Columbia and Snake river systems in what could be the biggest numbers since 1938. Or maybe not quite that big.