The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report May 17, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere May 17, 2013

Fly fishing

The best river option for fly fishermen right now is the Coeur d’Alene, which is dropping and should be in decent shape by Saturday. Finding clean, slow water is the ticket.

There is a lot of bug activity on Sprague Lake and enough 4-pound rainbow to make things very interesting. Evenings have been good.

Salmon and steelhead

Clearwater chinook fishing is poor. Fish checkers say they are seeing 1-3 fish a day, about half jacks. Chinook salmon fishing in Idaho has been expanded to include the Clearwater River main stem from the Camas Prairie railroad bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherry Lane Bridge and from the Lenore Bridge upstream to the Highway 11 Greer Bridge. The South Fork Clearwater River is open from its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Effective Saturday through July 31, anglers will be able to fish for and retain adult and jack spring chinook salmon on the Icicle River in Chelan County. The daily limit is two adipose-fin-clipped spring fish of 12 inches or larger.

Wind River boat anglers averaged nearly a chinook per every five rods last week. About 40 percent of the catch was jacks. Drano Lake boat anglers averaged almost a chinook per every four rods last week. About 30 percent of the catch was jacks.

The Yakima River from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser opened Wednesday for hatchery chinook salmon. A second area from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam opens Saturday.

Trout and kokanee

Liberty Lake trollers are taking mixed bags consisting of rainbow and brown trout as well as perch, crappie and bluegills. Rainbow are running mostly 10-11 inches, browns 16-18. A worm and Single Whammy will do the job on all species.

Williams Lake remains good for boat fishermen – either trolling or still-fishing. Troll flies or spinners, throw Roostertails, or dunk Power Bait – it doesn’t seem to matter. Most of the fish are a foot long, but there are good numbers of 16-19-inchers biting.

Downs Lake anglers are catching fair numbers of 12-14-inch rainbow in the channels between lily pads and around the resort dock. Green Roostertails are always a good bet this time of year.

Clear Lake has been steady for trollers dragging Wedding Rings or Double Whammies. Some anglers are putting Power Bait on the hooks. The rainbow are on the small side, but 15-inch browns are there for still-fishermen.

The kokanee bite on Lake Chelan continues somewhat slower than its peak but some are being caught in the trench, along the face of Mill Bay, up at the yacht club and over by the monument. The best bite is at first light. Average fishing depth is 60 feet. The “small” kokes are 12 inches long, and the biggest around 20 inches. A good average is 18 inches.

Trout fishing has been tough at Lake Roosevelt this week. The few fish taken have been near shore or rocks. A few kokanee are being taken, but there doesn’t seem to be one spot that is better than another.

Hayden Lake kokanee are becoming more difficult to catch, but the 15-inch fish are a prize if you can land one. The best bite is from 6-9 a.m.

Curlew Lake rainbow averaging 2 pounds each are being taken with relative ease from the southern end of the lake, and off the east-side islands Wedding Rings behind a dodger are doing most of the damage deep, but dock fishermen are also catching fish dunking Power Bait and worms.

Fast limits are the rule at Okanogan County’s Pearrygin Lake. Still-fishing with trout nuggets or eggs is effective.

Blue Lake in Grant County is giving up some nice rainbow, mostly between 13 and 15 inches. Troll the upper 10 feet with Needlefish and other small spoons.

Spiny ray

Loon Lake largemouth are hitting plastics worms and lipless cranks in the pads and around the docks. A lot of the fish are in the 2-pound range.

Double D’s Taxidermy and Guide Service’s Daniel Dodd says he fished the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt last weekend with “phenomenal success,” hooking large walleye “one after another” using dark-colored jigs. Info: (509) 993-5926.

Banks Lake smallmouth are on beds but not yet spawning. Tubes and grubs are catching a lot of fish.

Hayden Lake largemouth are starting to move into the shallows and both plastics and spinner baits are triggering strikes. Good-sized crappie are in structure close to shore. Hauser Lake is good for bluegill in the shallows.

Lind Coulee walleye are small, but trollers with lots of worms are sorting fish and bringing in fair numbers of 15-inchers. Bounce worm harnesses on the bottom. The Crab Creek area of Potholes can get crowded when the weather is nice, but the walleye bite has been good. Smile blades with a crawler, Slow Death, floating Rapalas, and Shadraps are all producing fish.

Coeur d’Alene pike are active in shallow water now. Many are less than 2 feet long, but the action can be fast. Smallmouth bass are beginning to bite.

South Twin Lake (near Coffeepot Lake) is booting out lots of bass. Friends caught some big crappie there Wednesday. Eloika has a lot of crappie too, but they are mostly under 9 inches.

Tip of the week

It’s not difficult to keep a supply of worms or nightcrawlers handy. Put them in a cheap Styrofoam cooler filled with wet moss or other bedding material and throw in a banana peel now and then.

Braggin’ rights

The winners of the 2013 Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club’s Spring Derby were:

Adult rainbow – Clint Nicholson of Sandpoint with an 18.16-pound fish. Adult mackinaw – Cory LaRue of Hayden with a 26.58-pounder.

Youth “A” – Hali Morlin of Sagle with a 15.88-pound mackinaw

Youth “B” – Candence Voss of Coeur d’Alene with a 7.94-pound rainbow.

Both macks and kams were taken close to the surface. Apexes and Rapalas were the best producers. On bright days, lures had to be run at least 10 feet down.

Overheard

After lagging behind much of the late winter-early spring season, the presence of California sea lions at the lower Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam has grown, and so has their consumption of salmon headed upstream. Total salmonid predation is now higher than last year at this point.

Heads up

• The second annual Sprague Lake Fishing Derby is June 8. Registration is $10, available at Valley Marine, Four Seasons Resort and Sprague Lake Resort. First-place winner will be awarded gift cards and merchandise totaling $500.

• Pike Palooza is offering more than $5,000 in cash and prizes for anglers who catch northern pike in various categories during the Friday- through-Sunday event on the Pend Oreille River. Info: href=”http://www.kalispeltribe.com/northern-pike”>www.kalispeltribe.com /northern-pike.

• Chinook fishing on the Snake has been closed Below Ice Harbor and Little Goose dams. It has been opened Sundays and Mondays only beginning Sunday from the Wawawai River Road upriver approximately 12 miles to the Washington state line.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report May 17, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Report By Dave Graybill May 17, 2013

The Quincy Valley Tourism Association’s annual Pikeminnow Derby kicks off this weekend, and if you haven’t registered for the event you still have time. Registrations will be taken at the Crescent Bar Derby Headquarters until 5:30 today. This popular event not only offers a weekend of fishing fun on the Columbia River, there are two boats being raffled and over $9,000.00 worth of cash and prizes awarded to those who participate. It also serves another important purpose. It will help remove hundreds of northern pikeminnows from the Columbia River, and they are a primary predator of salmon and steelhead smolt making their way down the river to the ocean. Anglers not only experience the fun of fishing, they get a chance to win some cash and prizes and really help out our fisheries. Everybody wins with this one. I want to remind folks that there some great fishing events for kids coming up soon. One is the annual Fishing Kids event at the National Fish Hatchery in Leavenworth. To register for the events just click on the Pepsi logo on my web site and follow the links. Don’t miss this one!

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report May 10, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere May 10, 2013

Fly fishing

Fly fishermen are catching lots of 10-11-inch rainbow as well as some 16-inch brookies on the west side of Spokane County’s Fish Lake. A Bead Head Damsel Nymph on a floating line works well for both species. The water boatman pattern is also effective.

Fishtrap Lake is another close trout destination. Reports indicate there are plenty of feisty 14-inchers available as well as the occasional 18-incher.

On May 18, Upper Wheeler Reservoir, approximately 11 miles southwest of Wenatchee, will open as a fly-fishing-only water, catch-and-release, through Sept. 14. It was previously closed to public access.

Salmon and steelhead

A few chinook have been taken from the Clearwater River in Idaho, but many crossed the dam this week and fishing should improve. The quota is low and only 22 miles of the river are actually open for the Friday through Monday fishery. Contact Andy Alldredge at Camp Cabin and Home in Lewiston for clarifications. (208) 750-1075.

Plunkers tossing sand shrimp are doing fairly well on chinook in Drano Lake on the Columbia Side.

Trout and kokanee

A friend fished Loon Lake twice this week, catching his limit both times on the west side, trolling a Wedding Ring and maggots with a 000 flasher. He says the fish were hanging between 30-35 feet and that although he did land one 13-incher, the majority were 10 inches and under.

Waitts Lake trollers seem to be having no trouble taking browns and rainbows using flies and flashers, Wedding Rings or Rip ’n Minnows. Most fish are 9-12 inches, but big carryovers, particularly browns, are not unusual.

Sprague Lake is heating up again. Anglers are catching several different sizes using a variety of methods, but still-fishermen seem to be doing best. Bill Blosser and Earl Ogden of Spokane threw worms and marshmallows last weekend between Four Seasons Resort and the island and had to quit early because their first four fish were over 20 inches with the largest going 24 inches. A pink Apex has been effective for trollers between Four Seasons and Sprague Lake Resort.

Trollers dragging Apex Lures tipped with nightcrawler are catching Clear Lake rainbow in short order. The northeast cliff area has been good at a depth of around 30 feet. Most of the fish are 11-14 inches.

West Medical rainbow fishing remains very good. Fish range from 13-22 inches with most around 17. Trolled Wedding Rings are working, but a perch-colored Rapala is also an excellent choice.

Hayden Lake in Idaho is the hot spot for kokanee now. There aren’t a lot of them, but they are running 13-20 inches. The kokanee bite on Coeur d’Alene is just getting started on the south end.

Many lakes in Okanogan County produced good catches for anglers this week and there are still lots of fish available. Conconully Reservoir and Conconully Lake both gave up trout as well as kokanee. Pearrygin Lake was also good for rainbow and triploids.

Blue Lake anglers reported excellent fishing for rainbow averaging 14 inches as well as a few larger browns. Best fishing has been on the south end near Blue Lake Resort. Wedding Rings are hard to beat, but the aggressive browns seem to prefer crankbaits. Nearby Park Lake is also providing good fishing for 13-inch rainbow and some much larger brown trout. Jameson Lake in Douglas County has been booting out limits of 9-11-inch rainbow.

Lake Roosevelt trout fishing seems to have picked up with several positive reports coming recently from downstream of Seven Bays and also Spring Canyon. Kokanee are hitting, too.

Spiny ray

Long lake anglers are catching quite a few pike. Swim baits on the outside of emerging pads will entice fish.

Eloika Lake crappie are warming up a little, but the water was still a little cold last weekend for a really strong bite. Eloika has a 9-inch minimum on crappie, and despite the occasional 13-incher, the majority of fish caught so far have been under the minimum. Bass fishermen are finding largemouth in the deeper water. Texas-rigged plastics have done best so far.

Silver Lake tiger muskies are becoming active and should become more so as the temperature approaches 60 degrees. A couple fish over 3 feet long have already been reported.

Banks Lake smallmouth are hitting just about anything, though plastics are the most popular. The Spokane Arm of Roosevelt is approaching 60 degrees and smallmouth are hitting tubes cast to rocky areas along the shore. There are a lot of 12-15-inch fish available.

Walleye anglers dunking dark-colored jigs did well at times upriver from Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt’s Spokane Arm last week. The water near Buoy 5 has been very productive, but the stronger current necessitates heavier jigs. Fish were found at around 20 feet on the edges of the main channel.

The Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes are producing small pike for anglers throwing Husky Jerks into 4-8 feet of water. Water levels on Coeur d’Alene Lake are low. As soon as it starts coming up, pike anglers will be smiling.

Potholes Reservoir walleye fishermen are bringing in some excellent catches of big walleye in addition to bass and perch. At Mar Don Resort, Mike Meseberg says there are more perch under the dock than can be counted, and crappie and bluegill are also there in good numbers.

Other species

Heading into the second weekend of the 2013 Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Program, reports indicate a potential banner year for northern pikeminnow fishing and payouts for participating anglers. The Dalles has been the red-hot spot. Anglers who catch the fish earn rewards ranging from $4 to $8 per pikeminnow that measure at least 9 inches. Special tagged fish are worth $500.

Tip of the week

A good fly-fishing technique is to lift your submerged fly as it enters the targeted trout lie. This mimics an insect making a dash for the surface and often triggers a strike.

Heads up

The Mar Don Open Bass Tournament is May 18-19. Registration is allowed until the morning of the event. Info: (800) 416-2736.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report April 12, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report April 12, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

By Dave Graybill

There is a lot of good news for fans of fishing at Jameson Lake. The lake suffered from algae blooms for a couple of years and fishing was disappointing. This is one of the region’s long-time favorites, and I have met families here that have been coming to Jameson for decades. I have seen four generations of fishing families on their annual opening weekend trip. The lake is in great shape now and not only has survival of fingerlings been very good, plants of bigger fish have been stepped up. Last fall there were 10,000 12-inch catchables placed in the lake, and they should be a solid 14 inches for the opener at the end of April. An additional 3,000 large catchables and 600 “jumbo” triploids will be in the lake just prior to the opener. There is plenty of good feed in Jameson again and fish are very fat and healthy. I am very happy to learn that Jameson Lake is back as one of the better trout lakes in the region. It is served by two resorts and has a large public camping area, so it accommodates very large numbers of anglers.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report April 12, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere April 12, 2013

Fly fishing

Hutchinson/Shiner Lake, near Othello, Wash., is a warmwater species project lake with quality crappie, bluegill, and largemouth – a great place to fly fish for warmwater species with a float tube or canoe.

Dusty Lake on the Quincy Wildlife Preserve has a lot of trout in the 14-16-inch range, and fly fishermen throwing size-12 chironomids in assorted Ice Cream Cone patterns are doing well on the south end. Because of the one-mile hike in, Dusty does not receive much pressure. Cliff Lake, just south of Dusty, is also worth a look for smaller rainbow.

Local rivers are a bit high for good fishing, but the Clark Fork is dropping and will probably be fishable by the weekend. There should be at least three weeks of decent pre-runoff fishing.
Salmon and steelhead

The North and South Fork Clearwater are still giving up steelhead to spring anglers. The catch rate has been about seven hours per fish. The Clearwater proper and the Snake from the Salmon River to the dam are also yielding a few fish.

Anglers on Banks Lake are getting the occasional chinook salmon now. These were the result of excess stocks of summer-run salmon at the hatchery and are now over 20 inches and weigh up to 4 pounds.
Trout and kokanee

Deer Lake trollers are starting to pick up a few mackinaw and rainbow. One boat checked last week had five 3-4-pound macks; another had three 1½-pound ’bows.

Lake Roosevelt trollers are finding large kokanee between Spring Canyon and the dam, but the bite has been sporadic.

Several thousand triploids were released around the net pens at Rufus Woods Reservoir and success has been high. Troll close to shore with Shad Raps and similar plugs.

With the recent winds, Rock Lake has been treacherous, but a few anglers are getting out and report amazing catches of browns and rainbow. There are a lot of small rainbow in the lake now, so a good plug is one that mimics them. Long-line mono and troll slow.

Omak Lake is providing excellent fishing for large cutthroat trout for both boat and bank anglers throwing spinners and spoons. The smallest fish have been around 16 inches.

Lake Chelan kokanee are bending rods at a fair clip with the fish coming from all over the water column around Rocky Point, which is on the north shore about a mile down from the Mill Bay launch. Most fish are at depths of 50-75 feet. The smallest are around 14 inches long, and the largest are 18 inches.

Another spot for good kokanee fishing is Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho where the kokes are running 10-11 inches. Launch at Big Eddy and fish the lower reservoir.
Spiny ray

Walleye anglers fishing the Spokane Arm expect to find cooperative fish everywhere, but such has not been the case this week. Walleyes are being landed, particularly around Porcupine Bay, but the fishing is not fast. Anglers are actually doing better at Rufus Woods, but that can sometimes be brutal with current and wind teaming up to make fishing difficult.

Washburn Island Pond, a diked oxbow lake off the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park off Highway 17, opened April 1. Anglers are making nice catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, with the occasional channel catfish. Combustible engines may now be used there.

It’s evidently still too early for Eloika Lake crappie. A friend fished Eloika all day this week without a bite.

The lower Yakima River has been decent for smallmouth bass. The I-82 ponds near Yakima are beginning to produce nice largemouth and crappie in addition to trout.

Some of the best smallmouth fishing on the Okanogan River is right now. You won’t catch a lot, but there are some bruisers available.

Hayden Lake crappie are cooperating, but the average fish is around 8½ inches. Use bobbers and small unbaited jigs and a slow retrieve. Hayden is also producing a few nice kokanee.
Other species

Big pods of carp are showing on Scootney Lake in Franklin County as well as many spots in Moses Lake. Bow fishermen are getting all the shots they want.

Guide Toby Wyatt says there are excellent sturgeon opportunities now on the Snake from Heller Bar up. Some good sturgeon reports also come from the vicinity of Lower Granite Dam.

Braggin’ rights

Inclement weather at the Banks Lake “Are You Tough Enough?” three-species fishing tournament last weekend did indeed test the toughness of participants. Those who stuck it out, however, were rewarded with generous prizes. The first-place prize package went to Lars Larson of Grand Coulee, while Eric Braaton of Electric City, Wash., took second place. Next year’s event is planned for the third week of April in hopes of finding weather more conducive to comfortable fishing.
Overheard

Until WDFW is successful in negotiations for securing public access to Chapman Lake, it is not stocking any trout. It is, however, continuing to stock spring kokanee to sustain that fishery in the event of a reopening.
Heads up

Mardon Resort on Potholes Reservoir will be releasing 50,000 net-pen trout at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. These will weigh about a half-pound each. Mardon is providing free dock fishing for the event.

• Applications are being accepted to fill two positions on the seven-member Idaho Fish and Game Commission. One is for the Panhandle Region, the other for the Magic Valley Region. To be appointed, a candidate must be a resident of the Panhandle or the Magic Valley region and be well-informed and interested in wildlife conservation and restoration. Contact Ann Beebe in the governor’s office at (208) 334-2100 or by email at ann.beebe@gov.idaho.gov by May 10.

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WDFW Trout And kokanee Stocking

WDFW Trout Stocking

Statewide Hatchery Trout & Kokanee Stocking Plan

Note: The statewide trout stocking plan provides anglers with the earliest information on where and how many trout are planned to be stocked into lakes and streams around the state. While most of the lakes are stocked as planned, anglers can expect a few changes due to modifications in hatchery production, as well as the ability to stock excess brood fish.
To see what has been stocked in lakes check our weekly stocking report at:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/

The 2013 Statewide Trout Stocking Plan PDF contains trout stocking information on each of the state’s six regions individually and for the entire state. The locations, dates, exact numbers and times presented are based on current information, so unavoidable changes may occur.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be stocking 17,140, 634 trout and kokanee into 562 water bodies across the state in 2013. These will be comprised of “catchables”, “jumbos”, “triploids”, “put, grow and take” and “fry/fingerling” plants.

Catchable Trout Plants
For the 2013 trout fishing season, 2.39 million catchables will be stocked throughout the state. Anglers will be pleased to find that on average, the size of catchables on opening day this year will be larger than previous years. In previous years, catchables were on average eight inches in length, but this year, they will be closer to 11 inches. The catchable program will include 110,131 “jumbos”, which are fish that WDFW hatcheries raise to be 1 - 11 pounds. Jumbos, combined with the 52,000 purchased triploid trout, averaging 1.5 pounds per fish, will provide opportunities for larger trout in selected lakes. To keep track of when catchable, jumbo and triploid trout are stocked in realtime, anglers can consult http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/

Triploid Trout
In 2013, the Department will stock 114 lakes and ponds throughout the state with 52,000 triploid trout that average 1½ pounds each. These trout are purchased by the Department from private growers.

Trout and Kokanee Fry, Fingerling and Put, Grow and Take Plants
Over 14.7 million fry, fingerlings and put, grow and take fish were stocked throughout the state as 2-to-8-inch-long fish. Kokanee fry were stocked in 2011 for the 2013 fishery, while trout fry, fingerling and put, grow and take were stocked in spring and fall 2012 for this year’s catch.

Fry, fingerlings and put, grow and take are stocked in the spring and fall, when they are able to feed and grow on natural food until they are large enough to be harvested. The survival rate for these differing sizes of fish varies depending on conditions of the lake. A number of eastern Washington lakes are managed in such a way that fry survival is very good and therefore are the primary source of  trout available for harvest. Western Washington lowland lakes depend primarily on catchable-size trout plants because of relatively low fry survival.  In Western Washington, where fry plants are successful, the ones that survive supplement the catchable trout plants.

Some Tips for Catching Trout
To find when, where and how to catch trout in Washington visit our Fish Washington website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington

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WDFW Weekender Report April 2013

The Weekender Report April 2013

The latest in fish and wildlife recreational opportunities across Washington State

Statewide lake fishing opens April 27, capping off a month of outdoor fun.

For many anglers, “opening day” is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets under way April 27 this year. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians typically descend on trout-stocked lakes to kick off the state’s biggest outdoor event.

To prepare for the upcoming season, hatchery crews from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have been working since last year to stock more than 17 million fish in over 600 lakes throughout the state. Anglers can find how many went where at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.

But anglers – and hunters, too – are also looking forward to a variety of other “opening days” this month for seasons ranging from razor clam digs on ocean beaches to turkey hunting throughout the state. Many communities throughout the state are also hosting festivals this month to mark major bird migrations including sandhill cranes, waterfowl and shorebirds.

“April really marks the start of the new year for fishing, hunting, and a wide range of outdoor activities,” said Joe Stohr, WDFW deputy director. “The annual cycle is beginning again and a lot of us are glad to see it arrive.”

For most people, a valid 2013-14 fishing or hunting license will be required to participate in those activities after March 31, when all 2012-13 licenses expire. The exception is young people under age 15, who may fish for free.

Licenses and permits are avaiIable online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state. A list of license vendors (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/) is available online and from local WDFW offices around the state.

Key dates to keep in mind in April include:

April 1 – Several dozen lakes in the Columbia Basin open to fishing
April 5-7 – Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, based in Othello in Adams County; for more information see http://www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org/.
April 6-7 – A two-day spring turkey hunt for hunters age 15 and younger is scheduled statewide.
April 9-14 – A six-day morning razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
April 15 – The general spring turkey hunt opens for hunters of all ages and runs through May 31. See WDFW’s Washington Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ for more information.
April 24-30 – The month’s second morning razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
April 26-28 – The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, based in Hoquiam, celebrates shorebirds. For information, see  http://www.shorebirdfestival.com/.
April 27 – Hundreds of lakes open to trout fishing across the state for the biggest “opening day” of the year.

For more information about these and other outdoor activities coming up in the weeks ahead, see the region-by-region Weekender Reports on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month for changes in fishing rules and other developments throughout the state.

Eastern Washington
(Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens,  Walla Walla and Whitman counties)

Fishing: Some of the region’s best trout fishing will begin at the end of the month with the lowland lakes season opener on April 27.

“Some of those waters that open April 27 around Spokane that are well-stocked and where fish grow well include Williams, West Medical, Fishtrap, and Clear,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) central district fish biologist Randy Osborne in Spokane. “One that we rehabilitated last year that should be very good this season is Fish Lake near Cheney.”

Bill Baker, WDFW northeast district fish biologist, said many trout lakes in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties that open on April 27 are traditionally good bets. Those include Stevens County’s Waitts, Cedar, Rocky and Starvation lakes; Ferry County’s Ellen and Davis lakes; and Pend Oreille County’s Diamond, Marshall and Sacheen lakes.

But there’s plenty of good fishing to be had until then, too.

The daily bag limit for walleye doubles to 16 fish beginning April 1 on Lake Roosevelt, the lower San Poil River, and the lower Spokane River from the mouth at Hwy. 25 bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam. For details check the emergency fishing rule change.

Meanwhile, catch-and-release fishing for both rainbow and cutthroat trout at Amber Lake in southwest Spokane County has been good. Amber is under selective gear rules and shifts to a catch-and-keep season on April 27 when the daily limit will be two trout of at least 14 inches. Rainbows with clipped adipose fins caught at Amber must be released even after April 27.

Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County is producing rainbow trout, mostly on flies. Coffeepot is under selective gear rules (no bait, artificial flies and lures only, knotless nets), a minimum size limit of 18 inches and daily catch limit of one trout.

Liberty Lake, in eastern Spokane County, is a good bet for brown trout and, as the water warms, yellow perch and crappie.

Downs Lake in southwest Spokane County receives hatchery “catchable-size” rainbow trout, but it should also fish well this month for largemouth bass. Downs also has yellow perch and crappie.

Medical Lake, near the town of the same name in southwest Spokane County, has brown and rainbow trout.

Deer Lake in southern Stevens County, which opened March 1, is finally warming up and likely producing some catches of rainbow and lake trout, with bass, crappie, perch catches not far behind.

Rock Lake, open year-round in Whitman County, is consistently a good spot for brown and rainbow trout. Another year-round trout fishery that provides a secluded and productive experience for anglers willing to walk a mile, is Z-Lake on the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County.

In the south end of the region, anglers fishing the Tucannon River impoundments on WDFW’s Wooten Wildlife Area have been catching nice rainbow trout. Area manager Kari Dingman said Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes are all well-stocked with hatchery trout and warming up.

Anglers are reminded that all fishing rules in the 2012-2013 regulations pamphlet apply throughout the month of April. New rules take effect May 1, 2013, and will be available in pamphlets online and at license dealers later this month.

Anglers are also reminded that all 2012-2013 Washington state fishing licenses expire at midnight March 31. To keep fishing, anglers over 15 years of age must purchase a 2013-14 license. Licenses and permits are avaiIable online, by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state.

April 19 is the deadline for registration for the May 4 Kids’ Fishing Event at Clear Lake in Spokane County. For details on the registration form, see the Youth Fishing 2013 Event Calendar.

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report April 5, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Report April 5, 2013

By Dave Graybill

First of all if you think it’s too late to enter the Triple Fish Challenge at Banks Lake, you’re wrong! They will take registrations all day Friday and again on Saturday morning. If you plan to fish for kokanee this weekend, Lake Chelan is the place to find the big ones. Anglers are still catching very good numbers of kokanee to 18 inches on Chelan. If you want some really fast action for kokanee that run from 10 to 14 inches, you may want to give Palmer Lake a try. Jerrod Gibbons, Okanogan Valley Guide Service, tells me that five-fish limits come fast at Palmer. This is a place to load the boat with family and friend and go out and have a fishing party. These are as large as the ones taken a couple of years ago at Palmer, but they make up for it in numbers. This year the Department of Fish and Wildlife adipose fin clipped some of the kokanee, and they want to hear from anglers that catch them. They are considering adjusting the number of fish they plant in Palmer to get the size back up to 17 to 18 inches. Best fishing at Palmer is off the point, and they are fairly shallow so far.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report April 5, 2013

The Spokesman-Review By Alan Liere April 5, 2013

Fly fishing

Newman Lake water is very murky, but fly fishermen are hooking some solid largemouth on the edges of the flats on the northeast end. Large pike flies in a variety of colors are accounting for the action.

This is the time to hit McGinnis Lake on the Colville Indian Reservation for big brook trout. Nearby Buffalo Lake also has brookies, as well as rainbow and kokanee. Chironomids and leech patterns are best for the brookies. Licenses are available at the Exxon in Airway Heights.
Salmon and steelhead

Several marine areas of Puget Sound are still open for salmon, but anglers might want to turn their attention to the Strait of Juan de Fuca where fishing for blackmouth has recently improved, especially off Sekiu. Time is running out to hook a salmon in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), as well as Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait) as the two areas are open only through April 10.

Most steelhead sport fisheries are now closed in the Columbia, though the upper Snake is open until Thursday, as are the Clearwater and most of the Salmon River sections. The Grande Ronde closes April 15. A “bank only” fishery adjacent to WDFW’s Ringold Springs Hatchery near the Tri-Cities also runs through April 15.

Trout and kokanee

Catch-and-release fishing at Amber Lake has been good. Amber is under selective-gear rules and shifts to a catch-and-keep season on April 27 when the daily limit will be two trout of at least 14 inches. Rainbows with clipped adipose fins caught at Amber must be released even after April 27.

Coffeepot Lake is producing rainbow trout, mostly on flies. Coffeepot is under selective-gear rules. Rufus Woods and Sprague are slow.

Rock Lake has been consistently good for brown and rainbow trout. Another year-round trout fishery that provides a secluded and productive experience for anglers willing to walk a mile is Z-Lake on the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County.

Rainbow action continues for bank fisherman on Potholes Reservoir using Powerbait, salmon eggs and nightcrawler/marshmallow “sandwiches.”

April 1 openings within the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge include the Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes, which are providing fair-to-good rainbow fishing. North and South Teal lakes, south of Potholes Reservoir, are yielding 12-inch rainbow. Some of the best fishing is at Dry Falls Lake at the north end of Grant County near Coulee City, a selective-gear fishery with a one-fish daily catch limit, and no internal combustion engines.

Some year-round lakes in the Columbia Basin are producing excellent catches of rainbow. Upper Goose, Blythe and Corral are all good, with Upper Goose providing consistent limit catches of 14- to 18- inch rainbow.

Spectacle Lake, just south of Loomis in Okanogan County, opened April 1. Anglers are catching rainbow 10-14 inches. Several other Okanogan County rainbow trout fisheries shifted to catch-and-release-only fishing under selective-gear rules on April 1. These include Campbell, Cougar, Davis, Green and Lower Green, and Rat lakes. Davis Lake, near Winthrop, is still frozen, but when it is ice-free, it providers good fishing for rainbows in the 10-14 inch range.

The best bets in Okanogan County are Pearrygin Lake, near Winthrop, with 10-13-inch rainbows. Conconully Lake and Reservoir have lots of rainbow trout and kokanee. Alta Lake, just west of Pateros, provides excellent fishing for rainbow trout to 15 inches, and Wannacut Lake, near Oroville, has 10-13-inch rainbows.

The hot kokanee fishing is still going on at Lake Chelan. You can find them getting closer to Lakeside as well as on the Bar. Lake Roosevelt, too, has been good for large kokanee, though the rainbow fishing is off. Friends trolling specifically for kokes this week took limits three days in a row, the largest fish running well over 3 pounds.

Spiny ray

The Coeur d’Alene Chain lakes as well as the main lake are giving up pike and a few very nice largemouth. Hayden Lake crappie are on the bite.

Walleye anglers between Fort Spokane and Porcupine Bay have had some excellent days recently. Blade baits in 25-30 feet of water have put a lot of fish in the boat.

Walleye fishing at Lyons Ferry has been poor compared to other years. Smallmouth are beginning to bite in the Snake River, though, with the best success upriver from Lewiston.

Other species

Guide Tim Johnson of Clarkston says his first sturgeon trip of the year in Hells Canyon was a success with two clients catching four fish including one 5 feet, 6 inches long and one 8-2. All were hooked on anchovies.

Sturgeon fishing has picked up in the Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam. Boat anglers in The Dalles and John Day pool are also catching some legals.

Tip of the week

Although May is usually considered the best month for largemouth bass fishing, don’t discount April. Big bass get that way partly because they begin feeding before their kin. In April, you’ll find them shallow where bait fish are feeding in the emerging vegetation.
Braggin’ rights

Two friends, Jerry Hawkins and Brad Waines, fished Deer Lake separately this week on different days. Hawkins, trolling for kokanee, caught a 26-inch mackinaw on a Wedding Ring. Waines, trolling for rainbow, caught a 26-inch mackinaw on a small Silver Magic.
Overheard

A tremendous run of smelt is occurring in the Columbia this year, and it’s possible this accounts for the smaller number of sea lions that have shown up at Bonneville Dam.
Heads up

• Spokane Fly Fishers annual Spring Extravaganza will be Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at the St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy. In attendance will be flytiers and representatives from WDFW with lake reports, Project Healing Waters, fly shops, resorts, the Steelhead Coalition and Dry Fly Distillery. The organization’s meeting will begin at 7.

• The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt is now open to walleye fishing from the mouth (SR 25) to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam and the lower San Poil River. There is a 16-fish limit per person with no size restrictions.

• The spring chinook salmon season in the lower Columbia River got off to a slow start, but the river is warming and the run has begun. WDFW has extended the season through April 12.

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“The redband trout – the river’s canary in the mineshaft –”

The Spokesman-Review By Rich Landers MAR. 28, 2013

The Spokane River, and some of its native inhabitants, were in the spotlight Tuesday and Wednesday as a wide range of scientists, policy makers and industry leaders convened for the annual Spokane River Forum.

The redband trout – the river’s canary in the mineshaft – took stage at Centerplace in Spokane Valley for a couple hours among other presentations. The topics – a delicious assortment to a scientist – ranged from managing sewage overflows to setting fish consumption rates.

The redbands, a subspecies of rainbow trout, are struggling in Spokane River as it’s been altered by humans over the past 150 years despite evolutionary adaptations to everything nature threw at it for the preceding millennia.

The main limiting factors for these valuable fish involve habitat degradation, including siltation, shoreline development and barriers in the river and tributaries.

Also setting back the trout are pollution, poaching, flow and temperature variations and competition with smallmouth bass, an invasive species.

Anglers aren’t the only interests seeking a redband revival.

Native Americans consider redbands culturally essential, the last vestige of the dam-doomed salmon runs that focused the Spokane Tribe’s existence on the river.

Sean Visintainer said the Spokane River is a key resource for sales and outfitting in the eight years he’s owned Silver Bow Fly Shop.

Although he guides on other top regional fisheries, including the Clark Fork, St. Joe and Grande Ronde, he said 65 percent of his shop’s guiding last year was on the Spokane River.

An urban fishery has obvious advantages for Visintainer, who can save four to eight hours of travel time with each trip by fishing in his backyard. And every angler who fills a tank after a fishing trip to the Ronde knows how much an urban fishery saves in fuel costs.

“But it’s not good for just me,” he said.

“It’s good for the whole area to be known for a trout stream running through town. It distinguishes us.”

It’s attractive to visitors, knowing they can be fishing minutes from a downtown hotel and be off the water in time for shopping and a restaurant meal, he said.

“It’s also a good deal for a local resident, who can catch a couple hours of fishing after work.”

Visintainer would like to see a few more access sites for drift boats, a wish some independent anglers oppose in their quest to protect the struggling trout from too much pressure.

On the other hand, more legitimate anglers on the river would put more eyes out for poachers, who do significant harm to the fishery, state Fish and Wildlife officials say.

Fishing guides don’t necessarily need trophy trout to attract anglers, he said: “What they want is quality trout.”

The Spokane River fishery needs improvement but it doesn’t disappoint, he said, noting his clients average six to 15 hookups in a Spokane River float trip, and the average fish is a feisty 14 incher.

“In fact, what worries me most is that we don’t catch many small fish,” he said.

Thanks to federal dam relicensing requirements, Avista Utilities has taken on fisheries research and restoration projects to help mitigate the impact its five hydropower projects have had on fish and wildlife.

Tim Vore, who heads Avista’s fisheries research, said several years of work already is working in favor of redbands.

Studies documented 148 redband spawning beds in the 10 miles of free-flowing river downstream from Monroe Street dam in 2010, he said. Based on monitoring, the utility has a model of minimum flows to keep spawning areas covered with water during critical periods and guidelines for downramping dam flows to avoid stranding young fish.

Minimum flows also are being provided for more summer habitat.

The Spokane Conservation District is working on several fish habitat restoration projects with volunteer groups, especially in the upper river. Willows will be planted near Barker Bridge this spring and root balls will be anchored near Starr Road to provide young trout with protection from flows, a place to feed and cover from predators.

These projects also will help fish indirectly by producing aquatic insects essential to the trout’s diet.

Bugs are a big meal deal to trout that have seen their selection of groceries decline significantly in the past century. In 25 years, the number of invertebrate species found at Pine River Park has decreased from 54 to 10, according to Eastern Washington University research.

Harvey Morrison of Trout Unlimited said the local chapter has been working for five years with the Inland Northwest Land Trust and The Lands Council to plant willows along Hangman Creek to reduce the huge load of spawning bed-smothering sediment from upstream farming and shoreline abuse.

TU also has put up signs to alert anglers to fishing regulations aimed at protecting the river’s trout.

In the next few weeks, TU will be putting up signs printed in Russian to emphasize regulations to a group that’s been associated with not understanding them.

Redbands are in an upstream battle. Every little effort to help them is a step in the right direction.

Contact Rich Landers at (509) 459-5508 or email richl@spokesman.com.

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Mar. 27, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Mar. 27, 2013

By Dave Graybill

I got back up to Lake Chelan to get after the kokanee again, and this was my best trip so far. There were a lot of boats launching at Mill Bay and big packs of them off Rocky Point when we made our way down lake. We started off near Peterson’s and a very slow start. We moved further out toward the middle of the lake and things changed. All of a sudden our rods started going off in quick succession. We got doubles, triples, and even at one point had all four rods go off and we landed all four of them. I had one fish one that took a couple of nice runs before breaking my 13-pound leader! We had nine fish in the boat in no time. Then the bite died, as it often does when fishing for kokanee. We trolled and trolled without success for about 40 minutes with nothing, and then it came back on. We ended up with 16 fish ranging in size from 12 to 17 inches, and got most of them at 90 feet. Don’t forget to buy your new license before April 1st. You’ll need it for the “April Fools” opener in the Columbia Basin and to fish in the new Triple Fish Challenge Derby at Banks Lake April 6th and 7th.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Mar. 29, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere Mar. 29, 2013

Fly fishing

Omak Lake on the Colville Indian Reservation is at its peak in April. Start gearing up now for a shot at those big Lahontan cutthroat. A tribal license is required.

A reader who fished Rocky Ford this week noted that while monster rainbow were cruising everywhere, he only managed a couple of the “small” 17-inch fish on size-14 black chironomids. He said casters throwing small scuds and midges appeared to be doing better.

Water quality at Lake Lenore is murky and the fish do not appear to have schooled up on the north end where they usually are this time of year. Fishing has been slow.

The lower bottom end of the Yakima River Canyon has been good for fishermen tossing stone flies with nymph droppers, but there has also been some dry-fly action. Hatches of skwalas and March browns are evident.

The Coeur d’Alene River is in good condition. Fish dry from about noon to midafternoon. Nymphs and streamers are more reliable, however. The St. Joe is dropping and clarity is good. Fish are podded up.

Salmon and steelhead

Hatchery steelhead are concentrating in smaller rivers, making this a good time to fish. Recent angler surveys show catch rates to be 11 hours per fish caught on the Salmon River upstream of the East Fork, 17 hours per fish caught on the Little Salmon River, and 8 hours per fish caught on the South Fork Clearwater River. The spring harvest season closes March 31 on the Salmon River from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, but anglers can continue fishing through April 30 in most other steelhead waters, except the Little Salmon River, which stays open until May 15.

Other open steelhead waters include the Snake River from the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam, the Clearwater River Mainstem and Middle Fork from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek, the North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam and the Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary near Stanley.

Steelhead anglers are taking fish in the 3-6-pound range from the Grande Ronde – when the flows are down. Buck steelhead are generally dark, but the hens have a lot of silver. Good results come from drifting small Corkies and orange yarn. Call Boggan’s Oasis for a current flow report (509) 256-3372.

Trout and kokanee

Kokanee are in the spotlight this week with several lakes yielding big fish. Palmer Lake and Lake Chelan in the Okanogan are both kicking out fish running to 17 inches for anglers dragging small trout dodgers and hoochies. Lake Chelan anglers are launching at Mill Bay and fishing toward the middle of the lake. The bite is erratic, but anglers that stay with it are eventually catching fish.

Lake Roosevelt kokanee are the largest available, but the bite hasn’t been consistent. Anglers targeting them around Spring Canyon are getting one now and then. Roosevelt rainbow fishing, too, was slow this week.

On Lake Koocanusa in Montana, anglers trolling very slowly between Yarnell Island and the dam are landing 20-30 kokes a day, and these are considerably larger than last year’s crop – up to 13 inches. The daily limit is 50 with 100 in possession. At Koocanusa Resort, Randy Burch says these are the biggest kokanee he has ever seen at this time of year. The bite is from the surface down to 35 feet. Jiggers are even getting in on the action, with Swedish Pimples doing the damage. Info: (406) 293-7474.

Ice went off Curlew Lake on Wednesday. Trollers who go slow and deep should find plenty of hungry 14-17-inch rainbow, with larger fish to 25 inches.

Large rainbow trout are being taken at Banks Lake from anglers fishing off the rock jetties at the Coulee City Marina as well as up north off the Coulee Playland docks and in front of the Skydeck Hotel.

Liberty Lake trout anglers trolling Rapalas and similar plugs have their best success in front of the launch and down by the inlet. The fish have moved out a ways, and bank anglers are frustrated by shallow water near the boat ramp.

Lake Chelan mackinaw continue to bite trolled presentations in the trench. Worden Lures U20 Flatfish in purple glow and Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lites have been productive.

Roses Lake is producing easy limits of winter holdover rainbows. Fish from the bank with a slip sinker rig or cast Roostertails.

Large Potholes Reservoir trout are being caught from shore at Medicare Beach – if the wind is not blowing so hard you can’t cast. A more protected area, also with large trout, is the riprap area around Mardon Resort.

About 30 lakes open in Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge south of Moses Lake on the first of April. These offer excellent trout fishing, and some have good spiny-ray fishing as well.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing remains good for anglers fishing Banks Lake in the Barker Flats area or at the water spillway area across from Coulee Playland. The fish are at 30-50 feet. Smallmouth fishing is also good with fish now in water depths ranging from 25-40 feet.

Porcupine Bay walleye fishing has been running hot and cold. Reports of a 50-fish day are often followed by reports of a skunk. Jigging has accounted for most bites. The larger fish have been shallower.

Last weekend’s bass tournament on Liberty Lake yielded more 3-4-pound rainbow and brown trout than bass. It’s still a little cold for largemouth.

Fernan Lake in Idaho is giving up some nice pre-spawn perch, and the first reports of big Hayden Lake crappie are filtering in.

Other species

Channel Cats are biting in the Palouse River, and it will only get better as the weather warms.

Tip of the week

There is more to bank fishing than just tossing out a wad of Power Bait and waiting for a bite. If you don’t know the structure of the lake bottom, your bait might never come into the fish’s view. Leader length between bait and slip sinker is very important. On a gravel or mud bottom, a leader of 18 inches will suffice, but if there are weeds, you’ll need a longer leader to get above them. If you’re using a Power Bait or marshmallow and nightcrawler “sandwich,” experiment in shallow water to make sure the heavy nightcrawler is not keeping the offering from floating up.

Overheard

Deer Lake still has a thin coat of ice in places. The public launch is open, and boats were launching to fish on Thursday.

Heads up

• The North Idaho Fly Casters are offering Fly Fishing 101, a series of three classes geared to entry-level fly fishermen and covering all phases of fly fishing from water strategies to entomology to water reading and fly selection. Indoor classes are at Shriners’ Hall, 1250 W. Lancaster Road in Hayden, on May 7, 14 and 21. Times are 6-9 pm. Also included is a one-day “on the water” mentoring session and a barbecue. A casting class is June 22 and an “on the water” class on the Coeur d’Alene River will be June 29. Applications are available on the Web at Northidahoflycasters.org or call contact Dave Londeree (208) 946-6631. Cost is $75 with one-year membership included.

• Banks Lake is having an unusual fishing derby April 6-7. The Triple Fish Challenge gives anglers a chance to compete for biggest fish in three categories – rainbow, walleye and smallmouth bass. First prize is an Achilles inflatable boat and Yamaha motor, and there will be cash and tackle prizes awarded to biggest fish and stringer each day as well. Online registration will be through Sunday at www.grandcouleedam.org. On-site registration will begin April 5 from 5-7 p.m. and continue until boat inspection April 6 from 6-8 a.m. at Coulee Playland Resort (509) 633-2671.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Mar. 20, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Mar.20, 2013

By Dave Graybill

I made it up to Lake Chelan to see if those big kokanee were actually being caught, and yes they are. I fished last Friday with Shane Magnuson, Upper Columbia Guide Service, and while we tried for kings for a while, we got into the kokanee off Rocky Point. We got three fish right away and then it went dead. We looked all over for fish but didn’t get another one till be got back to Rocky Point. I went again on Sunday with Eric Granstrom and Gary Feil. We made one pass at Rocky Point and when I didn’t see any fish on the sounder ran over to Peterson’s on the other side. We got into fish immediately. We had four doubles on. We landed five kokanee and lost six in just over an hour. Then the fish disappeared. We kept looking but never really got into another bite when the wind blew us off. The fish were 15 to 18 inches, and we got them on small trout dodgers and hoochies on a short leader. They were all at about 75 feet. I am heading for the Yakima to do a float with the boys from Troutwater. I did a float with them last year and really had a blast. I can’t wait to get on the water with Johnny Boitano again!

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The Spokesman-Review Mar.22, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere Mar. 22, 2013

Fly fishing

Fly fishermen who make the hike into Dusty Lake are catching some big rainbow. Lenore Lake anglers are starting to catch nice-sized cutthroat on chironomids.

Quincy Lake has been good to fly fishermen throwing chironomids under a strike indicator.

Coffeepot Lake was a good place to be last Saturday for the Spokane Fly Fishers. At a club event, members caught rainbow to 21 inches, and even a 20-inch largemouth. Best success was on dark-colored Wooly Buggers and Bunny leeches. Members noted that the narrows is impassable with only 4 inches of water.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater River and all forks are fishing about the same for steelhead – approximately one fish for every 10 angler hours. The Snake River is a little slower and the Salmon River slower yet.

At Boggan’s Oasis on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail says the late run is putting new fish in the river and anglers are catching them with Corkies from both shore and boat. The river has been dropping and should be in good shape by the weekend.

Trout and Kokanee

Deer Lake still had a thin ice covering on Thursday, but residents say it is very weak and could easily be gone by Saturday. Deer has some big rainbow as well as mackinaw and the fish should be ready to feed once the ice is gone.

Liberty Lake browns and a few rainbow continue to bite and a few die-hard bass fishermen are even picking up an occasional largemouth. The crappie bite could begin any time.

Rock Lake continues to delight anglers with brown trout to 18 inches and slightly smaller rainbow bending rods for trollers. The best success is trolling near the surface with Rapalas, Flatfish, Needlefish or walleye-type spinners baited with a piece of nightcrawler.

Rainbow of 20 inches and better are being taken by bank fishermen at both Fourth of July and Hog Canyon. Both lakes close at the end of the month.

Medical Lake has been booting out some nice trout. Both fly fishermen and trollers dragging Needlefish under 2-3 colors of leaded line have done very well on browns and a few rainbow, none under 15 inches.

Lake Roosevelt trollers are not experiencing fast fishing, but some very nice kokanee have been taken recently from Spring Canyon to the dam. The trout bite is slow, but a number of 3-pound-plus fish have been taken by anglers dragging Apex lures close to the surface.

Over 30 waters in the Columbia Basin open to fishing April 1 and prospects are fair to good. With one exception, all these waters are located either within or adjacent to the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge south of Potholes Reservoir. Nice-sized trout can be found in many, including Upper and Lower Hampton lakes, North and South Teal lakes, and the Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes.

Dry Falls Lake, just northeast of Park Lake within the Sun Lakes State Park, opens April 1. This is a selective-gear lake with a one-trout daily bag limit.  The lake holds. Browns, tiger trout and rainbow.

Several Okanogan County lakes also open to fishing April 1.  Spectacle Lake, southwest of Tonasket, should be good.  Selective-gear lakes Davis and Campbell near Winthrop, Rat near Brewster and Big and Little Green near Omak, are expected to fish well. Predominant species are rainbow trout.

Lake Chelan kokanee anglers are astounded at the size of fish they have been catching lately. Anglers trolling the edges at depths of 50-100 feet are netting fish running 15-17 inches. Mackinaw anglers are also doing well trolling the trench. A Purple Glow U-20 Flatfish is popular.

Near Chelan, Rose Lake trout fishing is excellent. The lake gets hit pretty hard, but should hold up for several more weeks.

Ice is finally off Hauser Lake in Idaho, and this is the time for big trout.

Trout fishing is also going well at Idaho’s Lake Fernan. Most are around 11 inches, but there are carryovers to 20 inches. These fish are firm and red-meated.

The three Coeur d’Alene reservation ponds at Worley, Plummer and Desnet are popular these days for large triploid trout.
Spiny ray

It’s still a little early for a bass bite on Silver Lake, but tiger muskie are on the prowl. Two were reported caught this week. No muskie reports from Newman, though a few bass are being taken. Curlew Lake could be ready to bust open. Call Fishermen’s Cove Resort (509-775-3641) for an update on water conditions. Curlew has probably the largest tiger muskies in Washington State.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are still gulping suspended dead bait under a bobber in the bays.

The Chain Lakes are also giving up some smaller pike.

The crappie bite has already begun on Long Lake. The shoreline across the river at Tum Tum as well as the nearby islands is the place to be. Cast small jigs against the bank and retrieve very slowly. It is often effective to just let the offering sit without movement.
Other species

This is the time of year the channel cats begin stacking up in the Palouse River.

Elsewhere, boat and bank fishermen are already making some nice catches with bait on the bottom in deeper holes.

Tip of the week

No matter what species you are after, fish the windy side of a lake early in the spring. This is where the water is warmest, where the plankton will be stirred up and where the bait fish will be, especially on points and in coves.

Overheard

While Fish and Game biologists have been pleased to see the rebound of kokanee in Priest Lake, they caution anglers not to expect it to last.

According to Jim Fredericks, Idaho regional fishery manager, experience shows that when a lake becomes dominated by lake trout, it is virtually impossible to restore a balanced predator-prey fishery.
Heads up

• The J.H. “Red” Covey Memorial Spring Salmon Derby will run April 13-14 on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Money from the less-than-successful winter salmon derby is being added to the pot, making first place worth $1,500. Also sponsored by Fins and Feathers April 27-28 is the annual pike derby. Call Fins and Feathers at (208) 667-9304 for details.

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Fisherman’s Cove Resort, Curlew Lake, WA

Fisherman’s Cove, Curlew Lake, WA

Fisherman’s Cove Resort is a family resort, located 125 miles northwest of Spokane and 11 miles north of Republic, near the Canadian border.  Our western exposure offers spectacular sunsets and long, lazy summer evenings complimented by fragrant pine-scented air.  We are surrounded by 31 waterfront acres, towering pines and majestic mountains on beautiful Curlew Lake.

lakecurlew_deck_boat

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Chinook Run Way Down In Idaho

The Spokesman-Review Outdoors Blog By Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune Mar. 6, 2013

Jacks, the overly eager salmon that return from the ocean before they have grown to full size, could be the saving grace of spring chinook fishing on Idaho’s Clearwater River.

This year’s return of spring chinook to the Clearwater and its tributaries is predicted to be just over the threshold needed to hold a fishing season. Fisheries managers are expecting the state’s harvest share could be as low as 300 adults. For context, last year the state had a harvest share of about 5,000 adults on the Clearwater.

Because of the low return, biologists are proposing to start with conservative regulations and expand fishing opportunities if the run comes in as strong or stronger than forecasted.

“We are expecting to hold a fishery, even if it is a limited, jack-only fishery,” said Idaho Fish and Game biologist Don Whitney.

Fisheries managers are in the process of laying out a fishing proposal that will be presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission later this spring.

Whitney said the department is likely to propose the spring chinook fishing season start with a jacks-only rule and be opened to limited adult harvest if the run materializes. Because of the low harvest share, adult bag limits could be one per day, with fishing allowed only four days a week. Some areas, such as the Lochsa River, might not open at all.

If the jack run is robust, fishing for them could be allowed seven days a week. Jacks, however, are nearly impossible to predict.

The harvest share on the Salmon River is forecast at about 2,000 adults, which is about half of what it was last year.

Fishing seasons are based on the number of chinook – above and beyond those needed for spawning at hatcheries – that make it all the way up river. Known as the harvestable surplus, the number is equally divided between tribal and non-tribal anglers.

A total of about 141,000 hatchery-born spring chinook bound for the Columbia River and its tributaries above Bonneville Dam are expected to nose into the river this year. About 58,000 of those will be bound for the Snake River basin. Some of those will be caught downriver or die along the way.

Whitney said the state’s share of the Clearwater-bound fish could be as high as 750 on paper. But, biologists feel like they need to be more conservative to ensure enough spawning adults make it to collection sites high in the basin.

Those disappointed at the small run can at least look forward to fall chinook fishing. Fisheries managers are forecasting a record return of fall chinook, some of which are bound for the Snake River and its tributaries.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Mar. 8, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere Mar. 8, 2013

Heads up

The Inland Northwest Wildlife Council’s 53rd annual Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show runs March 21-24, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

• Your 2012 fishing and hunting licenses expire at the end of March. These and the Discover Pass are available online ( https://fishhunt.dfw. wa.gov/), by phone (866-320-9933) and from license dealers around the state.

Fly fishing

Between now and early June, fisheries all over Montana will serve up some of their finest moments before snowmelt runoff begins. The Bitterroot River and Rock Creek (near Missoula) start to turn on right about now.

In Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene River is a decent option. Cutthroat fishing has been very good near the Cataldo Mission – anything black. Double nymph rigs and slow moving streamers will be most consistent, but on sunny days there has been enough bug activity to get some fish looking up. Hatches are inconsistent, however, and water quality can change overnight if it rains.

The best places for late-season steelhead should be the Clearwater above Orofino, the Salmon, the Methow or the Wenatchee.

Salmon and steelhead

Despite modest run-size forecasts, this year’s spring chinook fishery is off to an early start on the lower Columbia River. Fishing will continue to ramp up through March, as the bulk of the run moves in from the ocean, said Joe Hymer, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The main stem Columbia remains open from Rock Island Dam to below Wells Dam and from the Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.

The Methow River, a selective fishery, is a favorite of fly fishermen, but bobber and jigs as well as Corky and yarn have also been productive.

The Okanogan River is open to steelhead fishing, but there are two short sections of the river that will close on March 17. See the WDFW website for the boundaries. The Wenatchee River remains open and the fishing has been very good at times. Fishing is best now in the upper reaches.

The Grande Ronde River was up a little on Thursday, but the color was good and steelhead were being taken. Area weather patterns showed a lot of sun.

Boat and bank anglers are catching some steelhead on both The Dalles Pool and the John Day Pool. The Snake River in Hells Canyon has been fair for steelhead. The Salmon River is also fair upstream from the East Fork.

Coeur d’Alene Lake chinook running up to 10 pounds are being caught on herring or plugs trolled in the top 30 feet of water. The good bite is just getting started.

Trout and kokanee

Liberty Lake trout anglers are fishing open water for browns and rainbows, but it doesn’t seem as many fish have been caught as last year at this time. Those fishing from shore are catching trout on worms and marshmallows on bottom, and trollers take an occasional brown to 19 inches.

Deer Lake ice was good on the opener, but there were very few anglers participating. Judging by the fat 13- to 20-inch rainbow being caught, Deer should delight trout anglers once the lake opens up. Ice fishing access at Deer is very limited, but there is parking available at Deer Lake Resort on Deer Lake Road.

All boat ramps on Potholes Reservoir are ice free. Bank fishermen are finding trout up to 28 inches. Reports of big trout come from the point at the Blythe Boat launch and between MarDon Resort and the Potholes State Park. A popular trolling rig for the big trout is a spinner and worm harness, much like that used for walleye. The fish are suspended from 15 feet to the surface.

Trout fishermen are still having good luck at Upper Goose Lake in Grant County. Recently opened Quincy Wildlife lakes like Caliche, Martha and Burke have been consistently good for 11-13-inch rainbow. At the Quincy Valley Tourism’s annual trout derby on Burke, Dan Sharf took first place with two trout that weighed over 8 pounds. The biggest was 6½ pounds. Many limits were recorded.

All Seven Tucannon Lakes in Columbia County fished well last weekend. The majority of rainbow were 8-9 inch plants, but there were also jumbos and carryovers caught.

Trout fishermen throwing Rapalas are having good success on Rock Lake with 12- to 20-inch browns being most common. Rock also has some nice rainbow, but a lot of smaller rainbow plants are hitting. Friends who fished the big lake over the weekend said they were surprised to catch three kokanee in addition to the trout.

Sprague Lake anglers are taking nice rainbow around the springs on the east end.

Banks Lake had only a thin layer of ice on the extreme south end at midweek and a little on the north end. Anglers targeting rainbow in shallow water are catching some big fish. Prime areas are near Coulee Playland, Barker Canyon and the riprap shorelines of the Devils Punchbowl. Crankbaits are effective this time of year.

Lake Roosevelt and Rufus Woods Triploid have been on and off. On Rufus, troll, jig, or dunk bait in shallow water, and remember these fish are lethargic. On Roosevelt, lures such as the Trout Killer in pink trolled behind a dodger have been taking fish. Friends trolled on Roosevelt out of Lincoln this week but didn’t catch any trout until they pulled the boat into a bay and fished from shore with bait. They said all five fish they caught were 3 pounds and better. Another excellent bank fishing report came from anglers throwing Power Bait at Hawk Creek.

Spiny ray

Eloika Lake is probably the best remaining bet for perch fishing as the ice remains solid at about 9 inches. Fishing was good this week in the middle of the lake out from Jerry’s Landing. Anglers are finding fish from top to bottom. There is some open water around the edges.

Silver Lake is beginning to open up near the boat launch. A friend who lives on the lake said on Thursday: “There was a perch fisherman on the lake today, but you wouldn’t catch me out there.”

Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt was slow this week just about everywhere. Jigging has been more effective than trolling as the fish are in 40-50 feet of water. Anglers have been having their best luck downstream of the Porcupine Bay launch. Some anglers speculate the upriver progression of walleye on Roosevelt may be slower this year because of the lack of drawdown.

Walleye anglers are also having limited early-season action on Potholes Reservoir.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are cruising the shallow bays. Herring under a bobber is the go-to rig. Ice fishing is pretty much over in the Panhandle.

Tip of the week

You can make those expensive salmon eggs last longer if you remove all the oxygen from the jar when you’re through fishing for the day. To do this, light a paper match, put it in the jar and screw on the lid.

Braggin’ rights

Although I drilled a hole alongside them on the March 1 opener at Deer Lake, I was outfished by lake residents Debbie Stewart and Cheryl Ring. Stewart caught more than I, and Ring caught a rainbow that weighed 3½ pounds. Supposedly, I had gone to Deer to show them how to ice fish.

Overheard

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has decided to increase the daily catch limit for walleye from eight to 16 fish in Lake Roosevelt and a portion of the Spokane River. The rule also opens that portion of the Spokane River to the harvest of walleye year-round. The commission has removed the daily catch limit for channel catfish and the daily catch and size limits for bass and walleye in portions of the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries to assist recovery efforts for salmon and steelhead.

Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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WinterTime Fishing On Lake Roosevelt Feb. 22, 2013

Winter Time Fishing On Lake Roosevelt By YJ Guide Service

Well there is snow on the ground and the air temp is cold but that doesn’t mean its not a great time to be on the water. Winter time fishing we catch Rainbow Trout, Walleye, and Burbot. The Burbot fishing this past Jan and Feb was just awesome. We fish Burbot from Nov-March. The Burbot are some of the best eating fish around, even better than Walleye. We normally catch Rainbow Trout from Oct- March. The Rainbows fight hard and range from 2-5lbs. We really start fishing Walleye hard in the middle of Feb and fish them till the middle of June. The Walleye range from 16″ to over 30″. When everyone else is putting their boats away  in the fall ours never get put away, they just get to rest a little lol. So when you are having the winter time blues and want something to do in the winter, give us a call and we’ll let you experience the joy of winter time fishing on Lake Roosevelt. Good fishing everyone

YJ Guide Service

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Burbot Fishing On Lake Roosevelt Jan. 24, 2013

Burbot Fishing On Lake Roosevelt Posted By YJ Guide Service Jan. 24, 2013

If anyone has ever eaten Burbot (Ling Cod) you know how good these fish taste. People say it tastes like Lobster and I will have to agree. We have been catching these fish in big numbers lately 30-50 fish a trip. Unfortunetly the limit is only 5 fish per person, but you can catch as many as you want till you get the bigger ones. The bigger fish are 6-8lbs. If anyone wants to catch these hard fighting fish then winter time is the time to catch them. Its cold in the winter but some of the best fishing happens this time of year. Good fishing everyone..

YJ Guide Service

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10 Tips For Proper Reel Care

10 Tips For Proper Reel Care From bassmaster.com and The Weather Channel

With a little knowledge and some time and patience, you can keep your bass fishing reels in tip-top shape

Modern fishing reels are complex pieces of equipment. Take one apart and it looks much like an old-fashioned watch — lots and lots of tiny parts whose purpose is known only to a few select engineers.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take care of them. With a little knowledge and some time and patience we can keep them in tip-top shape. Thanks to Connie and Tommy Kilpatrick of Lake Fork Tackle Repair (www.lakeforktacklerepair.com), we can get the knowledge we need from their DVD, Fishing Reel Maintenance 2.

You’re on your own when it comes to time and patience.

“Most anglers want to be able to repair and maintain their own reels. They want to know how and why they work. But let’s face it, modern reels are complicated. We relied on our years of reel repair experience to make this DVD. It’ll help the average angler keep his reel working in good condition for many years and save him money too,” says Connie.

Each reel is a little bit different, but the basics are the same. Here are the elementary steps the Kilpatricks recommend to keep your reel working properly:

1. Assemble the proper tools before you begin. “You’ll need two small screwdrivers — a slot head and a Phillips — along with a pair of tweezers and an old toothbrush. If you have the wrench and parts list that came with your reel, keep them handy, too.”

2. Assemble the proper cleaning supplies. “We recommend a pan of hot water, Simple Green cleaning compound, Ronsonol Lighter Fluid, TG’s Rocket Fuel Hi-Speed Reel Oil, Reel X and Super Lube Grease.”

3. Take your reel apart properly. “When you take your reel apart lay out the parts on a mat of some sort. Put a strip of masking tape under the line of parts and number each part as you remove it from the reel. That way you’ll be able to put everything back together without having parts leftover.”

4. Hold your reel properly while disassembling and assembling it. “We recommend anglers hold the reel in their left hand and work with their right. That way everything stays oriented. But the really important thing is to always hold it the same. That way the parts will go back together easier.”

5. Never put metal against metal. “Never put metal to metal when working on your reel. All reel parts are designed metal to fiber. Remember that.”
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6. Use tweezers to handle springs and wire clips. “That’ll keep them from flying all over the place and maybe getting lost.”

7. Remove or secure your fishing line before you remove the spool. “Either strip all the line off the spool or secure it with masking tape before you remove the spool from the reel. If you don’t, the line will get caught between the spool and the frame and make removal very difficult.”

8. Clean parts with Simple Green. “Never use gasoline or similar products to remove dirt and grease from your reel’s parts. It’ll melt plastics. Use a biodegradable product such as Simple Green and a toothbrush that won’t hurt the plastic or fiber parts of the reel.”

9. Grease gears. “Apply grease to the bottom of the teeth, not the top. Applying grease to the tops of the teeth will cause the gears to throw the grease everywhere. You want it in the bottom. Also, don’t slop the grease all over the place; a light coating is all you need. We apply it with a toothpick or a small brush.”

10. Oil bearings. “Clean bearings with lighter fluid. That’ll remove all the dirt and grunge from them. After they’re cleaned make sure they spin. That’s very important because it’ll tell you they’re clean. Oil them with TG’s Rocket Fuel — medium viscosity — one drop per bearing. Again use a toothpick.”

After all that put your reel back together; check to make sure everything is working the way it should, back the drag off and apply a little Reel Magic to the exterior to protect the finish and line. You’ll be good to go.

Spinning reels can be maintained much the same as casting reels. Just remember the basics — stay organized, clean properly, grease gears and oil bearings.

2013 B.A.S.S., All rights reserved.

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Feb. 25, 2013

The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report By Dave Graybill Feb. 25, 2013

On March 1st several lakes in the Columbia Basin open to fishing. In the Quincy Wildlife Area there are several that are popular with anglers. Quincy Lake offers very good shore access and fair to good trout fishing for 11- to 13-inch trout in most years. Quincy is shallow and is often mostly ice-covered on the opener. Next to Quincy is Burke Lake. This is the site of the Quincy Valley Tourism Association’s Derby on March 2nd, and provides excellent trout fishing. The catch of 11- to 13-inch rainbow is supplement with larger fish for the derby, including some that weigh up to 6 and 7 pounds. Dusty Lake is a popular with fly anglers and produces rainbow and brown trout to over 20 inches and tiger trout that can be even larger. To the east of the town of George is Martha Lake, and it is the most productive of all the March 1st opener lakes. Anglers take limits of 10- to 14- inch trout and a surprising number of carryover rainbow to 18 inches and larger. To the west are the Caliche lakes. I’ll bet that the largest of the three lakes will produce good catches of rainbow of 11- to 13 inches this year.
The Fishin’ Magician

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The Spokesman-Review Outdoors Blog Mar. 1, 2103

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Blog By Rich Landers Mar. 1, 2013

Lake Roosevelt Water Levels

RESERVOIRS — The level of Lake Roosevelt was 1275 today and likely will be stable for a while.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation anticipates the elevation will be in the 1275 -1276 range through the next week. Currently, Grand Coulee Dam is being operated to meet the minimum tail water requirement of 11.8 feet below Bonneville Dam for chum.

The flood control levels are the maximum elevation for Lake Roosevelt. Other factors such as power demand or supplying water downstream for fish can result in elevations under the flood control elevations.

The flood control elevations are as follows:

March 31 - 1282.3 feet
April 30 - 1260.8 feet

These elevations can and probably will change with the March water supply forecast.

This is only a prediction and can change due to weather events, power demand or other unforeseen power emergencies.

Get daily lake level forecast by phone, updated daily at 3 p.m: (800) 824-4916.

Also, check out this new NOAA site with Roosevelt levels and a list of boat launching elevations on the same page.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Mar.1, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere Mar. 1, 2013

Fly fishing

Dusty Lake in the Quincy Wildlife Area opens today. It is popular with fly anglers and produces rainbow and brown trout to over 20 inches and tiger trout that can be even larger.

The lower Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers could provide some weekend fishing. Double nymph rigs and slow-moving streamers will be best. The St. Joe has snow around the edges but is wadeable.

The upper Clearwater River has fish, but it also sees weekend crowds. The lower river as well as the Snake have fish, too, but less commotion.
Salmon and steelhead

The Methow River opens today to fishing for steelhead and whitefish from the mouth (Highway 97 Bridge) to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop. Portions of the Mainstem Columbia River, the Wenatchee, the Okanogan and the Similkameen remain open.

Steelhead fishing has been best this week on the Salmon River, from the North Fork to the East Fork. Anglers are averaging about a fish every five hours.

The Grande Ronde River levels have been fluctuating, but steelhead are available when it settles down. At midweek, water flow was good and a few fish were being weighed at Boggan’s Oasis.

The chinook bite on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been generally good for 9-12-pound fish, but it slowed down this week. The salmon are being caught at a lot of different depths on herring or Mini Squid.

Trout and kokanee

Today is the early opening at a number of local lakes. Many of these, such as Deer are ice-covered, but Liberty is mostly open. Downs has some open water around the edges. In addition to Deer, ice fishing may be possible at Coffeepot, Amber, and Medical. North Silver has access problems and has not been stocked, but Liberty, Medical and Downs will either have been stocked with catchables and some jumbos by today or will be soon. Anglers at Liberty traditionally catch some of the largest brown trout of the year in shallow water right after the opener. Deer Lake ice anglers can expect to catch rainbow and mackinaw. If you plan on getting on the lake at the public access, take a shovel as there is a low snow berm alongside the road.

Seven Quincy Wildlife lakes in Grant County open today. All except Lenore were ice-free at midweek, and Lenore was only 60 percent covered. Several of the lakes are walk-ins, but Martha and Quincy are road-accessible. While fishing is expected to be good in all lakes, these two will probably see the most anglers. Martha rainbow are 12-13 inches and Quincy rainbow are 12-20 inches.

Next to Quincy Lake is Burke Lake, the site of the Quincy Valley Tourism Association’s Derby on Saturday. This lake should have excellent trout fishing, as the usual catch of 11-13-inch rainbow will be supplemented with larger fish for the derby, including some up to 7 pounds. Once again, Burke will have a tagged fish worth $2,000. Fishhook Pond and Pampa Pond in Whitman County and Nunnally Lake (selective gear) in Grant County also open.

Ice is melting all over the Potholes Recreation Area. Bank fishermen throwing Power Bait, salmon eggs, or nightcrawlers with marshmallows are doing well. Canal Lake, Heart Lake, Corral Lake, Medicare Beach and behind the MarDon Resort office are all producing nice rainbow for both trollers and bank anglers. A friend who fishes Upper Goose says it usually takes less than two hours to limit on 11-13-inch rainbow.

The Seven Tucannon Lakes in Columbia County also open today. At the Last Resort, Jim MacArthur says all lakes are currently being stocked with catchable and jumbo rainbow. He says that at midweek, ice was off all except Big Four.

Rainbow fishing was tough this week all over Roosevelt. Water level is holding at about 1,276 feet. Anglers from one end of the system to the other had similarly dismal reports. Rufus Woods anglers are eking out a few fish, but it can be very tough also.

The ice at Roses Lake, a popular Chelan-area trout and panfish destination, is becoming unsafe for fishing. Closer to Spokane, the ice at Hog Canyon is also starting to deteriorate. Fourth of July may have open water by the weekend.

Idaho lakes like Fernan, Hayden and Hauser are opening up. Anglers are catching trout in open water off the dock at the boat launch on Fernan, but the main body of lake is still frozen.

Spiny ray

I fished Eloika twice this week and Silver once. The ice at both was excellent, and it will take a lot of warm weather and wind to change that. On Eloika, I was skunked Saturday morning, but caught 15 perch from the same spot Sunday evening in 14 feet of water just north of Jerry’s Landing. The bite was from 4 p.m. until 4:45. At Silver, I reeled in 7-9-inch perch at about five fish per hour for four hours between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. – steady but not sensational. The fish were on the bottom in 44 feet of water.

Perch-fishing action at Upper Twin Lake in Kootenai County has been generally good early, but recent reports indicate the lake may be breaking up.

Walleye anglers launching out of Porcupine Bay are nailing “eating size” ’eyes in numerous locations. Fish are still somewhat scattered, so plan on covering a lot of water. Now and then a school is located and fishing can be fast. Jigs tipped with nightcrawlers are effective in 40-60 feet of water.

Pike are being caught in nearly all the Lake Coeur d’Alene bays and in a few spots off the shore on the Chain Lakes. Frozen smelt under a bobber in shallow water is most effective.

Other species

Effective today through May 15 the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of shad, but only during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring chinook. So far, there are few shad.

Porcupine Bay on the Spokane Arm of Roosevelt is still giving up burbot, and anglers who target whitefish there are catching some big ones.

Tip of the week

Location and presentation are about the only things a fisherman can control. Fish with lockjaw in one location usually indicate a similar inclination elsewhere. If you see noncooperative fish on your locator, you’re better off changing presentation than moving.

Overheard

Starting soon, the Kalispel Tribe Natural Resources Department will use gill nets to remove pike from Box Canyon Reservoir on the Pend Oreille River. Last year’s gill-netting effort removed 5,808 northern pike, while anglers removed another 233 pike during two fishing derbies, the total falling just short of the 87 percent reduction goal.

• Anglers wishing to cross over Lower Granite Lock and Dam may encounter traffic delays or intermittent closures through Saturday to accommodate construction activities. Call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) for the most current dam-crossing information.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Feb. 22, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report by Alan Liere Feb. 22, 2013

Fly fishing

Rock Lake has been generally good for trollers, but fly fishermen are also getting in on the action. A party fishing the west side along the rock faces reported a size-8 bead head dark-colored Wooly Buggers with Flashibou was deadly in the late morning. All fish taken from boats were browns running 14-16 inches. Anglers close to the launch say they can’t get past the planted 10-inch rainbow.

The big trout at Rocky Ford were again looking for small flies this week. A size-14 Olive Scud was perfect. Water is low and clear.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has submitted a proposal to reopen the Methow River for steelhead fishing by March 1. The river has a lot of adipose fin-clipped fish. The Methow River is a favorite with fly fisherman and has good access to very good fly water throughout its length. Keep an eye out for the official announcement.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead anglers on the South Fork Clearwater are taking fish, but say the majority are wild. Guide Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing says his clients on the Clearwater are averaging around 10 fish per day, some up to 20 pounds. He says a late push of very nice fish is showing up daily.

Spring Chinook are beginning to enter the Columbia River, while winter steelhead are migrating towards the tributary mouths.
Trout and kokanee

Eastern Washington ice-fishing destinations like Hatch, Williams, Hog Canyon and Fourth of July are still kicking out trout through the ice. The bite has slowed considerably, however. Small offerings are recommended – even as small as a single salmon egg on a size-14 hook.

Lake Roosevelt trollers long-lining pink and red K-flies behind 3/0 dodgers are taking a few fish, but the fish checker says she has not seen anyone this week with more than a couple. Bank anglers are having some success plunking Power Bait in the bays. The reservoir is projected to drop steadily through the weekend and fishing should improve.

Medicare Beach on Potholes is giving up some big rainbow for anglers fishing Power Bait from shore. There is still some ice on the lake and the only boat launch open at midweek was at the State Park.

Rufus Woods triploids are sluggish, but a friend fishing there last week landed a 16-pounder, which more than made up for an otherwise slow day of fishing. Anglers fishing from shore near the net pens say the bite is generally dead with occasional flurries of activity. Keep experimenting; some days all they want is bait, and on others, dark jigs are the ticket.

Mackinaw fishing on Lake Chelan remains good in the lower basin. The Ace Hi-Fly, the K-Lure Spoon and the T-4 Flatfish in the Purple glow have been most effective. The larger fish are being found at Mack Bar and the Yacht Club. Kokanee should start showing soon.

Spiny ray

As it has been all winter, the perch bite on Eloika is erratic with fast fishing coming in spurts followed by extended periods of nothing. Eloika perch are larger this year, some nearly 10 inches, with most around 8 inches. A few “keeper” (9 inches or larger) crappie are sometimes included in the catch. Most activity is north of Jerry’s Landing or straight out from the public access. The ice is good.

The Silver Lake perch bite is similar to that at Eloika but the fish are in 45 feet of water and the bite is generally over by 10 a.m.

Upper Twin and Lower Twin lakes in Idaho tend to hold ice longer than most area waters. There is solid ice on both, but the channel between the lakes thins out early. The bite, while fast, consists mainly of very small perch.

Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene has water around the edges, but anglers have been getting to solid ice by “walking the plank.” Perch are being caught in about 20 feet of water at midlake. Good ice has been a problem in Idaho all season, though some of the Boundary County lakes are still OK. Check conditions before every outing.

Walleye anglers are catching a few fish in The Dalles and John Day pools. On Lake Roosevelt, Porcupine Bay has been good for walleye, but it’s hard to catch one over 12 inches long.

Tip of the week

If you’re having trouble catching fish through the ice and have a two-rod endorsement, try this: Drill two holes side-by-side. Drop a baited jig in one hole and leave it alone. In the other hole, aggressively jig something with some flash—like a Needlefish or a Kastmaster spoon. It seems to get them going, though more often than not, the fish will hit the motionless presentation.

Braggin’ rights

The annual Roche Harbor Salmon Classic took place recently in the San Juan Islands and a record number of fish were weighed in. Pete Nelson had the largest—a 16.7-pound blackmouth that gave him the $10,000 first prize. There were 100 boats with 339 anglers fishing the derby.
Overheard
.
Heads up

• Thin ice has caused the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to cancel the “Take Me Fishing” fishing event planned for Saturday at Hauser Lake. An inspection of the lake by Fish and Game on Tuesday showed only two anglers on the entire 550 acre lake, and, while two individual anglers may be able to get on and off the ice successfully, an event that could attract several hundred people would not be wise at this time. With no extreme cold weather in the near forecast, the event has not been rescheduled.

You can help WDFW select a new graphical theme for its “Fish Washington” campaign by choosing a logo on the web that will identify “Fish Washington.” Voting will be open through February. Go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/vote.php.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com

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WDSTK 3 Rapier Spinner Rigs and Worm Harnesses

#FP 202 Angel’s Kiss fire polished faceted glass beads. Two 8mm, two 6mm, two 4mm beads and one 8mm rondelle gold/crystal spacer bead, #3 Indiana plain nickle spinner, #4 red octopus hook tied with a Palomar knot on 10# monofilament line (Stren Original, Stren Super Knot or Trilene XL). Approximately 35″-37″ overall length.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Feb. 15, 2013

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report By Alan Liere Feb. 15, 2013

Fly fishing

After a three-year hiatus, the Fly Fishing Show returns to Seattle Saturday and Sunday at the Lynwood Convention Center. The show is fly fishing only and features a number of expert anglers who will be providing seminars, demonstrations, and personal advice. A number of great fly-fishing opportunities for the upcoming season will be showcased. Info: Troutwater Ellensburg (509) 962-3474.

Salmon/steelhead

Anglers fishing for Clearwater River steelhead had good luck last week fishing with guide Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing. Neil Jacobs reported his group hooked nine and got seven to the boat – five keepers. Biggest was 14 pounds.

At Boggan’s Oasis on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail says steelhead fishing has been very good with anglers averaging a fish every 3-4 hours. The fish are larger than last year. All methods are working equally well and the river is in excellent shape. The 7th annual Boggan’s Steelhead Derby has begun and runs through March 23. The $35 entry fee includes a T-shirt. Weekly big-fish winner receives $50 with a $500 payout for largest fish of the derby. Biggest steelhead so far weighed in at just over 9 pounds.

On the Salmon River tributaries, the best fishing has been from the Little Salmon to Vinegar Creek with one fish landed for every 15 hours of angler effort.

Steelhead fishing on the Wenatchee River is now open from the mouth to 400 feet below the Tumwater Dam and anglers are doing pretty well in excellent water conditions. This is a selective fishery which has not been available to anglers for several years. The Icicle River is also is open, from the mouth to 500 feet below the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

Chinook fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been good recently. Herring or Mini Squid are accounting for most of the fish, which are suspended at depths of 40-75 feet over deeper water. Several 9-12-pound salmon have been taken recently, along with many smaller ones.

Trout/kokanee

Lake Roosevelt anglers have had some slow trout fishing recently, probably due to the rising water. The reservoir was to be dropped this week, so the fishing may improve. The fish trout that are being caught are coming from the top 10 feet, and many of them have been the larger 20-24-inchers. Swawilla Basin to the Spokane River has been popular with anglers using a red or orange Apex behind a dodger.

Rock Lake remains fair-to-good for anglers fortunate enough to miss the wind. Most fish are caught trolling, but debris in the water has been a problem. Although Rock has a good population of rainbow, most fish landed are brown trout running to 16 inches. The water appears to have come up a couple feet.

Columbia Basin bank fishermen report catching trout from small patches of open water from Coral, Teal, Canal and Upper Goose lakes, says Mike Meseberg at MarDon Resort.
Spiny ray

Eloika and Silver lakes still have good ice, and at times, the fishing can be red-hot. After a few days of fickleness, Silver Lake perch began biting again at midweek in 45 feet of water. An excellent lure has been a small white Rat Fink baited with maggots or a perch eye.

Walleye anglers are finding fish in 40 feet of water at Porcupine Bay in the Spokane arm of Lake Roosevelt. Most fish are running 15-22 inches. Jigging is best.

John Norisada fished the main lake recently and said the fish are starting to school in water 45-65 feet deep. He caught ’eyes on blade baits and jigs.

Fish Lake near Chelan is a good destination for a mixed bag of perch and trout. There is 5 inches of good ice under a slightly slushy cap. The best bite is before noon.

Upper and Lower Twin in Kootenai County have seen nonstop perch action this week in about 17 feet of water. The bite was best on small jigs and Swedish Pimples tipped with maggots, but you need to keep your offering moving. The ice is solid and slippery. Cleats are recommended.

The launch at Coulee Playland on Banks Lake is ice-free, but there is too much unsafe ice on the north end for safe fishing. Most of the main lake is ice-free once you reach the Million Dollar Mile. The south end still has good ice, particularly the Coulee City Boat Basin where perch fishermen are taking a few.

Coeur d’Alene pike anglers are beginning to take fish on bait and bobbers in open water along the shores. The Chain Lakes have iffy ice as the river is flowing pretty strong through them. Smaller lakes like Fernan still have ice, but one spiny-ray angler described Fernan as “goofy.” Use caution as there are thin spots.
Other species

Lake Roosevelt burbot are largely neglected, but the tasty freshwater ling cod are still biting well near Buoy five in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. Most are a skinny 2-3 pounds, but a 6-pounder is not out of the question and will provide enough tasty fillets for a couple meals. Standard walleye jigs baited with nightcrawler work as well as anything.

Tip of the week

As the majority of trout fishing at Rocky Ford near Ephrata is “sight fishing,” an effective technique is to fish a small scud on an indicator. Let the scud sink into the rocks and twitch it when a fish approaches. Fishing for trout – some nearly 3 feet long – is good on Rocky Ford right now.

Overheard

• Stocked with fishing tackle, Idaho Fish and Game’s “Take Me Fishing” trailers are traveling the state to promote fishing opportunities. The Panhandle Region trailer will be ready to go for a “Take Me Ice Fishing” event on Feb. 23, at Hauser Lake from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Fishing equipment and bait can be checked out free during this event on a first-come, first-served basis, but bring your own gear if you can so there is no waiting. There is no age limit, and participants will not need a license to fish during the hours of the event if they sign in at the fish trailer.

• Spokane Fly Fishers annual fly fishing school begins March 7 and continues for seven Thursday evenings, with three casting classes and two on-the-water safety classes on Saturdays. Learn about equipment, how to tie knots, how to assemble your line and attach flies, where and how to fish in still or moving waters. Also addressed are entomology and pontoon safety. The nonmember fee is $125 and includes a 15-month membership in the club. Info: Mike Berube at 999-8235.

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Feb.8, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

By Dave Graybill

Big news in our region is the report that a possible new state record lake trout (mackinaw) has been taken from Lake Chelan. Phil Colyar, owner of Colyar Jewelers in Wenatchee, was fishing at Lake Chelan on Monday, February 4th when he landed a whopper lake trout. He knew he could have a new record and headed for the dock. When he arrived Anton Jones, of Darrell and Dads Family Guide Service was there. Jones saw the fish and called the Chelan Hospital to tell them Colyar was on his way to have the fish weighed on a certified scale. The scale read 35 pounds, ten ounces, which beat the old record of 35 pounds, point 44 ounces, taken in 2001. Colyar was fishing with an old U-20 Flatfish when he hooked the big lake trout. I want to remind people February 17th is the 9th Annual Ice Fishing Festival in Molson. Fishing should be better this year, with some 2– to 3-pound trout taken already this season from Sidley Lake. Also, the 3rd Annual Tagged Trout Derby at Burke and Quincy lakes is happening on Saturday, March 2nd. Learn more about this clicking on Something Fish in Quincy on my Home Page at FishingMagician.com.

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The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report August 10, 2012

The Fishin’ Magician Fishing Report Posted By Dave Graybill August 10, 2012

By Dave Graybill

Sockeye salmon fishing continues to be big news in our region. The forecast for Lake Wenatchee is now even higher than the initial expectation of 30,000 fish. Those that monitor this fishery believe that the final number of sockeye to reach Lake Wenatchee could be as high as 40,000. Anglers should be watching the Department of Fish and Wildlife web site for some potential changes in bag limits on the lake. There should be as many as 40,000 more sockeye passing over Wells Dam and into the Brewster Pool as well. While there are still anglers targeting the sockeye in the Brewster Pool many are now focusing on the Chinook, with good results. I fished the Brewster Pool myself recently and only got one fish for four hits, but I plan to do better. Fish to 30 pounds are being taken there and I would sure like to put one in my cooler. Anglers fishing below Wells Dam should be aware that there will be heavy flows here the week of August 20th, due to maintenance at the dam. Fortunately there are plenty of options out there for anglers to take Chinook and sockeye during this period.

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Southern Oregon Fishing Report August 10, 2012

Posted By Southern Oregon Fishing Report August 10, 2012

With another week of steady heat ahead of us, things are looking much like the past week. Fish are spread throughout the Rogue, while the ocean is producing lights out fishing.

Salmon & Steelhead

Upper Rogue - Summer steelhead fishing is still holding on strong from the hatchery all the way down to Gold Hill. Small plugs continue to outproduce everything else, however spinners, spoons, and flies all are working as well. Mornings and evenings are best with the hot August afternoons generally putting the fish off the bite. For those still seeking salmon, only the stretch below Dodge Bridge is currently open. A few kings are still being caught, mostly by plug fishermen, but eggs are producing as well. As of August 9th 1,747 summer steelhead have entered the collection pond at the hatchery and over 1,000 have been recycled back down to Gold Hill.
Daily catch of summer steelhead from the upper Rogue by guide Charlie Brown

Guide Charlie “Steelhead” Brown has been catching multiple summer steelhead almost everyday on the Upper Rogue

Middle Rogue - Early fall salmon are starting to show up from Gold Hill down to Graves Creek. Catches still remain very light, but there are fresh fish around. With the hot weather all the action has been in the early mornings, with large Kwikfish outproducing roe. Summer steelhead are also being caught, with the Gold Hill area being best for them. As we start to get later in the month things will start to pick up and be more consistent.
Middle Rogue Fall salmon by guide Rob Yuen

A few early middle Rogue fall kings are being caught on Kwikfish like this one by guide Rob Yuen.

Lower Rogue - Despite a few good days, fall salmon fishing remains on the slow side in the Rogue Bay. There seem to be plenty of fish around, however, they just aren’t biting. Anglers are spending a lot of time on the water to be there when the bite does pick up for that particular day. The bite window has generally been in the afternoons, and has only lasted a couple of hours. There were some reports of a morning bite this week though. Rogue Bait Rigs with an anchovy and straight spinners are both producing fairly well. Reports of Half-pounders have also started to come in.

Brookings - When conditions allow, anglers are experiencing great fishing. Salmon are being caught everywhere from the Chetco jetties out to 5 miles. The forecast this week is calling for a lot of wind which could effect the catches.

Lower Umpqua - Fall salmon have started to be caught in the tidewater sections of the Umpqua. Fishing has still been on the slow side, but a few decent bites have been reported with a couple of boats catching up to 3 fish. Most of the action has come to those trolling herring or anchovies. Look for things to pick up dramatically over the next couple of weeks.

Coos / Coquille - The fall salmon season has kicked off on both the lower Coquille and in Coos Bay. Fishing has still been slow, but fish are starting to show up and be caught.

Trout

Diamond Lake - The August heat has taken its toll on the lake and the already slow fishing has slowed down even more. A few trout are still being caught though, with a few fish over 20 inches in the mix. Night crawlers fished on the south end or in deeper water have been producing the best.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report August 10, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere August 10, 2012
Fly fishing

This is a good time to fly fish the smaller tributaries within the Methow River drainage. Boulder, Falls, and Eightmile creeks are all within easy driving distance from Winthrop and provide good fishing for eastern brook trout and generous limits. Northcentral Washington’s small creeks are generally underused and most have an abundance of small trout that hit on bushy dry flies.

In Idaho, fly fishing remains good on both the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers.
Trout and kokanee

Fishing has picked up for trout and kokanee on Lake Roosevelt. Hit areas from Swawilla Basin all the way up to the Spokane Arm using a Dodger and an Apex Kokanee Killer.

Some of the high-elevation lakes on U.S. Forest Service property in northeast Washington are stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout and should be good fishing destinations. In Ferry County, try Davis, Ellen, Empire Swan and Trout lakes. In Stevens County, try Gillette, Heritage, Sherry, Summit, and Thomas lakes. In Pend Oreille County, try Carl’s, Cook’s, Frater, Halfmoon, Leo, Mystic, Nile, No-Name, Petit, South and North Skookums and Yokum lakes.

Sprague Lake fishing has picked up again. No large trout were reported this week, but a lot of fish between 12-16 inches were caught.

Dworshak Reservoir kokanee fishing has been excellent up around Grandad. The Canyon Creek bite is not as fast, but it’s a lot closer. Most fish caught are fat and healthy in the 12- to 13-inch range. There are also smaller fish that should provide good fishing into the fall when the larger fish begin spawning. Most fish are in the 12- to 20-foot range, and the bite is best in the morning.

Loon Lake kokanee both delighted and perplexed night fishermen this week. For some, it was fast limits, but others scrambled to find a couple of fish. Kokanee fishing has been steady on Lake Coeur d’Alene with the best action on the south end of the lake. The kokanee are around 10 inches. Kokanee fishing has also been good at Spirit Lake with plenty in the 9- to 10-inch range.

A report out of the Priest Lake area indicates that mackinaw have been responding enthusiastically to jigging, drop-shotting and trolling.
Salmon and steelhead

A thermal barrier apparently is stalling summer-run steelhead from moving up the Snake and over Lower Granite Dam. Counts over the dam have been dismal in the past 10 days, but many more are poised to come when conditions are right.

The fall steelhead harvest season opened Wednesday on a 2-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston. The limits on these waters are two per day and six in possession. The rest of the Clearwater and the Middle Fork, North Fork and South Fork rivers are open for catch-and-release only until Oct. 15. So far, steelhead counts at Lower Granite Dam are low.

The Clearwater River main stem, and the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork Clearwater and the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam will close to chinook salmon fishing Sunday. The Upper Salmon River in the Ellis area and near Stanley close to chinook harvest the same day.

Summer steelhead are abundant in the lower Columbia River and fall chinook opened Wednesday from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/ Washington border above McNary Dam.
Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt smallmouth are in the shallows early. Rattletraps and swimbaits are effective there, then move deeper with tubes and drop shot rigs once the sun is high.

Banks Lake remains high and water temperatures fluctuated wildly this week, which makes fishing harder. Stick close to the weed lines. Smallmouth are scattered in various depths and are relating to multiple structure types. Smallmouth in the south end of the lake are relating to rocks where they can pick off crawdads. Up north, they seek out deeper weed lines and feed on perch fry. They seem to prefer smaller baits.

Anglers are finding walleye scattered throughout Banks Lake in water as shallow as 5 feet and as deep as 40 feet. Areas to target walleye include the south end near Highway 2, Goose Island, Million Dollar Mile and Barker Flats.

Reports from Idaho Panhandle tackle shops indicate pike fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene is good, especially in the bays around the lake. Spinnerbaits are the most popular lures. Look for the fish in the deeper weeds. Hayden Lake is good for both largemouth and smallmouth. Use crankbaits.

Bass anglers are taking a lot of smallmouth bass at Dworshak Reservoir by throwing jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits along rocky shorelines. Go deep with jigs for larger bass – right on the bottom in water as deep as 60 feet.

The Coeur d’Alene chain lakes (especially Cave, Killarney and Medicine lakes) are hot for panfish – including perch, bluegill and crappie. Most Inland Northwest lakes with multiple species are equally good. Fish close to shore, but expect to catch fish in deeper water. Instead of just a hook and worm, tip a small lure such as a Ratso with worm to keep the fish from swallowing the hook.

Tip of the week

Thousands of chinook salmon continue to move into Puget Sound from the ocean, lighting up fisheries from Sekiu to Kingston. This is the time to go.
Braggin’ rights

Clarkston fishing guide Tim Johnson recently made up for an earlier sturgeon trip when his boat was skunked. Fishing in Hells Canyon last Saturday, his clients landed seven sturgeon, including three with a total length of nearly 22 feet.
Overheard

The 2012 season has witnessed a sockeye salmon return of modern-day record proportions. Sockeye counts this year at Bonneville Dam had reached 515,255 by last Thursday when the daily count had dwindled to 65 fish. The run obliterates the previous high annual count of 386,355 in 2010.
Heads up

Opening Saturday: A sockeye fishery on Lake Wenatchee and a chinook fishery on the Wenatchee River for adipose-fin-clipped adult and jack summer chinook salmon.

• The season’s second Pikepalooza fishing derby on the Pend Oreille River begins today and runs through Sunday. There is no entry fee and prizes will be awarded in several categories, including smallest fish. Register at check-in stations at Oldtown boat launch, Cusick boat launch, or Metaline Waterfront Park. Details: www.kalispeltribe.com/ northern-pike

• A health advisory has been issued for Fernan Lake in Idaho. Water samples confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.

• Salmon Creek in Okanogan County from the Okanogan Irrigation District diversion to Conconully Reservoir Dam has been opened to fishing for smallmouth bass, brook trout and adipose-clipped rainbow, with no size restriction and a limit of 10 of each species. Increased competition and predation of these species is making steelhead recovery efforts difficult.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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The Fishin’Magician Report August 3, 2012

Fishin’ Magician Report August 3, 2012

By Dave Graybill

As many of you know, one of my favorite things to take my light weight fly rod and wade the upper Icicle outside of Leavenworth. The fish are small, but the water is cool on a hot summer day, and the solitude and scenery is something special. I made quick trip to one of the stretches I often fish and found the river still high and running hard. I was able to fish the edges along the bank, but scrambling from boulder to boulder is hard work. When the river is down I am able to wade and hit the pockets below the large rocks and catch amazing numbers of little rainbow and few cutthroat in an afternoon. I did catch some fish, and did pretty good in a large pool below a falls. I was drifting my fly over rocks that I am usually wading past in this spot, though. I am going to give the Icicle another week or two before I go back. Then the wading will be easy and I will be able to get to all the water I like to fish. I talked to a friend that was going to fish the Entiat River, but he turned back at Silver Falls, well below the open to fishing water above Entiat Falls.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report August 3, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere August 3, 2012

Fly fishing

This is a good time to fly fish the smaller tributaries within the Methow River drainage. Boulder, Falls, and Eightmile creeks are all within easy driving distance from Winthrop and provide good fishing for eastern brook trout and generous limits. Northcentral Washington’s small creeks are generally underused and most have an abundance of small trout that hit on bushy dry flies.

In Idaho, fly fishing remains good on both the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers.
Trout and kokanee

Fishing has picked up for trout and kokanee on Lake Roosevelt. Hit areas from Swawilla Basin all the way up to the Spokane Arm using a Dodger and an Apex Kokanee Killer.

Some of the high-elevation lakes on U.S. Forest Service property in northeast Washington are stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout and should be good fishing destinations. In Ferry County, try Davis, Ellen, Empire Swan and Trout lakes. In Stevens County, try Gillette, Heritage, Sherry, Summit, and Thomas lakes. In Pend Oreille County, try Carl’s, Cook’s, Frater, Halfmoon, Leo, Mystic, Nile, No-Name, Petit, South and North Skookums and Yokum lakes.

Sprague Lake fishing has picked up again. No large trout were reported this week, but a lot of fish between 12-16 inches were caught.

Dworshak Reservoir kokanee fishing has been excellent up around Grandad. The Canyon Creek bite is not as fast, but it’s a lot closer. Most fish caught are fat and healthy in the 12- to 13-inch range. There are also smaller fish that should provide good fishing into the fall when the larger fish begin spawning. Most fish are in the 12- to 20-foot range, and the bite is best in the morning.

Loon Lake kokanee both delighted and perplexed night fishermen this week. For some, it was fast limits, but others scrambled to find a couple of fish. Kokanee fishing has been steady on Lake Coeur d’Alene with the best action on the south end of the lake. The kokanee are around 10 inches. Kokanee fishing has also been good at Spirit Lake with plenty in the 9- to 10-inch range.

A report out of the Priest Lake area indicates that mackinaw have been responding enthusiastically to jigging, drop-shotting and trolling.
Salmon and steelhead

A thermal barrier apparently is stalling summer-run steelhead from moving up the Snake and over Lower Granite Dam. Counts over the dam have been dismal in the past 10 days, but many more are poised to come when conditions are right.

The fall steelhead harvest season opened Wednesday on a 2-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston. The limits on these waters are two per day and six in possession. The rest of the Clearwater and the Middle Fork, North Fork and South Fork rivers are open for catch-and-release only until Oct. 15. So far, steelhead counts at Lower Granite Dam are low.

The Clearwater River main stem, and the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork Clearwater and the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam will close to chinook salmon fishing Sunday. The Upper Salmon River in the Ellis area and near Stanley close to chinook harvest the same day.

Summer steelhead are abundant in the lower Columbia River and fall chinook opened Wednesday from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/ Washington border above McNary Dam.
Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt smallmouth are in the shallows early. Rattletraps and swimbaits are effective there, then move deeper with tubes and drop shot rigs once the sun is high.

Banks Lake remains high and water temperatures fluctuated wildly this week, which makes fishing harder. Stick close to the weed lines. Smallmouth are scattered in various depths and are relating to multiple structure types. Smallmouth in the south end of the lake are relating to rocks where they can pick off crawdads. Up north, they seek out deeper weed lines and feed on perch fry. They seem to prefer smaller baits.

Anglers are finding walleye scattered throughout Banks Lake in water as shallow as 5 feet and as deep as 40 feet. Areas to target walleye include the south end near Highway 2, Goose Island, Million Dollar Mile and Barker Flats.

Reports from Idaho Panhandle tackle shops indicate pike fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene is good, especially in the bays around the lake. Spinnerbaits are the most popular lures. Look for the fish in the deeper weeds. Hayden Lake is good for both largemouth and smallmouth. Use crankbaits.

Bass anglers are taking a lot of smallmouth bass at Dworshak Reservoir by throwing jigs, crankbaits and spinnerbaits along rocky shorelines. Go deep with jigs for larger bass – right on the bottom in water as deep as 60 feet.

The Coeur d’Alene chain lakes (especially Cave, Killarney and Medicine lakes) are hot for panfish – including perch, bluegill and crappie. Most Inland Northwest lakes with multiple species are equally good. Fish close to shore, but expect to catch fish in deeper water. Instead of just a hook and worm, tip a small lure such as a Ratso with worm to keep the fish from swallowing the hook.

Tip of the week

Thousands of chinook salmon continue to move into Puget Sound from the ocean, lighting up fisheries from Sekiu to Kingston. This is the time to go.
Braggin’ rights

Clarkston fishing guide Tim Johnson recently made up for an earlier sturgeon trip when his boat was skunked. Fishing in Hells Canyon last Saturday, his clients landed seven sturgeon, including three with a total length of nearly 22 feet.
Overheard

The 2012 season has witnessed a sockeye salmon return of modern-day record proportions. Sockeye counts this year at Bonneville Dam had reached 515,255 by last Thursday when the daily count had dwindled to 65 fish. The run obliterates the previous high annual count of 386,355 in 2010.
Heads up

Opening Saturday: A sockeye fishery on Lake Wenatchee and a chinook fishery on the Wenatchee River for adipose-fin-clipped adult and jack summer chinook salmon.

• The season’s second Pikepalooza fishing derby on the Pend Oreille River begins today and runs through Sunday. There is no entry fee and prizes will be awarded in several categories, including smallest fish. Register at check-in stations at Oldtown boat launch, Cusick boat launch, or Metaline Waterfront Park. Details: www.kalispeltribe.com/ northern-pike

• A health advisory has been issued for Fernan Lake in Idaho. Water samples confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals.

• Salmon Creek in Okanogan County from the Okanogan Irrigation District diversion to Conconully Reservoir Dam has been opened to fishing for smallmouth bass, brook trout and adipose-clipped rainbow, with no size restriction and a limit of 10 of each species. Increased competition and predation of these species is making steelhead recovery efforts difficult.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report July 27, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report Posted By Alan Liere July 27, 2012

Fly fishing

Idaho rivers are fishing well, particularly the Coeur d’Alene and the St. Joe. The Clearwater is good but not perfect, but some of its tributaries are fishing well. Current conditions are excellent now on the Lochsa River in Idaho, and fishing can be good following an afternoon thunderstorm. A dead-drift through shady water is a good bet.

Kelly Creek doesn’t get pounded because no matter whether you approach from the Idaho side or the Montana side, there will be 50 miles of Forest Service gravel roads to travel. The Selway River should be another consideration. Big dry flies with orange or yellow work well. Caddis are also present, especially in the evening. A size 14-16 tan or olive Elk Hair Caddis will bring strikes.

Closer to Spokane, Marshall Lake levels have stabilized and cutthroat are taking flies on top in the evening. The fish are mostly 11-12 inches, but run as large as 16 inches.
Trout, kokanee

Coeur d’Alene kokanee have been harder to find this week as they seem to be in large schools rather than spread out. Idaho anglers are catching some larger kokanee – up to 14 inches in Twin Lake. Spirit Lake has a good number of smaller fish.

Loon Lake kokes are back on the bite after some downtime during the recent unsettled weather. Three friends and I caught 40 11-12-inch fish in two hours one night recently. We used Glo-Hooks and Rat Finkies sweetened with maggots in 32 feet of water.

There are still plenty of trout in Washington and Idaho put-and-take lakes, but the bite has been erratic recently. Pressure systems probably account for the on-and-off fishing. Go deep early and late for best results in lakes such as Waitts, Diamond, Williams, Badger, Fishtrap, West Medical, Fernan, Kelso and Hauser.

Salmon, steelhead

The Clearwater River main stem, and the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork Clearwater and the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam will close to chinook salmon fishing at the end of fishing Aug. 5. Open until further notice is the Upper Salmon River in the Ellis Area and near Stanley.

Sockeye fishing has slowed at Wanapum Dam, but is still good in the Brewster Pool along the channel below the Okanogan River mouth and right up to where the river enters the Columbia. Early is best. Trolling upstream at a depth of 20 feet seems to be most effective, but in either direction, go slow. Drag a flasher followed by a 15-inch leader with a pink or orange hootchie tipped with shrimp.

Just in time for the Budweiser-Lowrance King Salmon Derby in Brewster Aug. 3-5, the water temperature in the Okanogan River has warmed up forming the thermal barrier that makes for excellent chinook fishing off the mouth.

Boat anglers had the best success in the Columbia gorge for steelhead last week with anglers averaging over three fish per boat.
Spiny ray

Snake River smallmouth fishermen are taking good numbers of fish along the rip-rap at Lyons Ferry, and just about anywhere else the big rocks enter the river. The stretch along the railroad tracks from Lower Granite Dam to Lewiston can be excellent with crawdad imitations, either plugs or plastics. The Columbia River from The Dalles to McNary has also been excellent for smallmouth.

Loon Lake largemouth are all over the lake, from deep to shallow, but the docks are usually best. Smallmouth bass at Potholes, Moses Lake and Banks have gone deeper and are more difficult to find, but the Yakima River smallmouth near Prosser are biting aggressively. The smallmouth action on Blue Lake in Grant County has been phenomenal recently.
Other species

Night fishing for ling cod has been good recently at Bead Lake. The most popular spot is under the power lines in 100 feet of water. A gob of nightcrawlers on a treble hook under a 4-ounce banana weight is popular. Jig slowly, letting the weight bounce on the bottom.

Hot summer nights are well spent fishing for yellow-bellied bullheads at a number of local lakes. The fish generally come into shallower water after the sun goes down. Try Eloika, Loon, Deer, Newman, Long, Fernan or Hauser, to name just a few.

Tip of the week

For some really big “bull” bluegills as well as jumbo perch, fish Chelan County’s Wapato Lake near the weed lines with a worm under a bobber.
Braggin’ rights

Fishing with his son and grandson recently, Bob Bullis of Spokane impressed both his kin by landing a 25-inch rainbow on the west end of Sprague Lake. The fish, which was not weighed, was estimated to be 6 or 7 pounds. Bullis was trolling a Rapala.
Overheard

A few anglers say they are catching kokanee as large as 17 inches by still-fishing the south end of Deer Lake out from the public access at night in 40 feet of water. WDFW biologist Bill Baker of Colville says he can neither confirm nor discount the report, but Deer Lake trout are often reported as kokanee, and there are a lot of big rainbow in the lake.
Heads up

The Coeur d’Alene Lake Big One Chinook Derby runs Aug. 2-5 with a top prize of $5,000 and daily prizes as well. Registration is $25, available at Fins and Feathers, Black Sheep and Tobler’s Marine in Idaho and Elephant Boys in Washington. On a related note, Tobler’s Marine, just outside of Hayden on Highway 95, is conducting a pre-derby seminar Saturday at 5 p.m.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo .com

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The Spokesman Review Fishing Report July 20, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere July 20, 2012

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene River is full of recreational floaters when the weather is good, but storms and cooler weather could work well for fly fishermen. Use big attractor patterns with a dropper in the riffles and break out the small dries for flat-water evening fishing.

The St. Joe is still high but is becoming more wadeable each day. Use big attractors with a small nymph (or even two) as a dropper.

With cooler temperatures, the Clark Fork should fish well with dry flies. If the sun stays out, go to small streamers.

Chopaka Lake in Okanogan County has been good for dries on top, particularly blue damsels.
Trout and kokanee

Local trout lakes, including Sprague, and notably Williams, are producing fish for anglers still fishing with bait on the bottom. Badger Lake is still giving up some nice cutthroat despite the growing bass population.

An angler night-fishing Loon Lake for kokanee this week caught a 27-inch tiger trout. Lake Roosevelt anglers are beginning to catch some of the trout released from the net pens this spring. Trollers are taking 10- to 12-inch fish on Wedding Rings, but not as many as one would think.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is good for fish averaging 10 inches. Priest Lake kokanee are running up to 16 inches, but there are not a lot of them. On Pend Oreille, anglers trolling along the road by Cavanaugh Bay are catching lots of small mackinaws.
Salmon and steelhead

The Brewster sockeye fishery is going well. Anglers dragging red hooks and flashers, pink Hootchies or 3.0 pink Brad’s Mini Cut-Plug with a piece of shrimp are taking limits of fish averaging just more than 3 pounds. Few chinook have been landed.

At Wanapum Pool, sockeye fishing is also good and more chinook have been taken recently.

Salmon fishing remains open seven days a week in Marine Area 4, as well as in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 3 (LaPush). Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open for salmon fishing Sundays through Thursdays. The daily catch limit is two salmon for all areas of the ocean fishery. Anglers fishing in marine areas 1, 2 and 4 can retain one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

Those fishing in marine areas 3 are allowed to retain two chinook per day.

Steelhead anglers had the best success in the Columbia Gorge last week with boat anglers averaging 1.64 steelhead caught per boat and bank anglers averaging 0.27 steelhead caught per angler.

The South Fork Salmon River is closed to fishing for chinook salmon. The Upper Salmon and Clearwater rivers are still open.
Spiny ray

A friend and I fished the lower half mile of the Kettle River this week, landing nine eating-sized walleye and one good-sized smallmouth in 8-14 feet of water along weed lines paralleling the shore. We were jigging. Walleye anglers fishing the eddies upriver from China Bend have done well dragging bottom walkers and nightcrawlers. Blade-baiting has also been popular. Should you catch a tagged Roosevelt walleye, call 509-359-7498.

Banks Lake walleye anglers are doing well early and late. There does not seem to be a consistent producer, so experiment until you find something they like. Banks Lake walleyes have been larger than those in Roosevelt.

Soda Lake in the Columbia Basin continues to produce excellent walleye fishing with fish up to 7 pounds reported. For such a good fishery, Soda sees few anglers.

Deer Lake is overpopulated with smallmouth bass.

Persistent anglers say it is possible to catch dozens each day, but the fish appear to be seriously underweight. Largemouth are also available at Deer as well as nearby Loon Lake.

On Loon, target the northeast weeds, the docks and the lily pads.

Sacheen Lake has been better than either Loon or Deer for largemouth.

Long Lake bass anglers are finding lots of fish, largemouth and smallmouth, by targeting submerged trees and stumps in a number of different locations. Long has some huge crappie, but with the big ones, it is difficult to find more than an isolated fish or two.

Coeur d’Alene pike are hitting along the weed lines in nearly every bay. At least one 20-pounder is taken each week. Smaller pike are abundant in the Chain lakes.

The late June Pend Oreille River Pike Palooza fishing derby from the Idaho state line to the Boundary Dam had less than 50 entries. They caught 81 fish, including a 25-pounder.

Tip of the week

Nice-sized bluegill are hitting at many areas lakes. In Washington, Loon and Silver have been good for hand-sized fish; in Idaho, Fernan, Hayden, Cocolalla and Hauser. Small skirted plastics tipped with worm seem to always catch fish. Look for bluegill beds – washtub-sized circles of clean sand. Ultralight spinning gear or a fly rod will provide the most fun.
Braggin’ rights

The first annual CCA Salmon Derby between Rock Island and Rocky Reach Dam on the Columbia was hampered by high flows, but about 40 chinook were weighed in by the 70 derby participants. First place went to Stuart Hurd, with a 31-pound, 4-ounce king. Hurd also won third place for total weight with 88 pounds. Second place for big fish was won by Austin Moser, and third place was taken by Shane Magnuson, who also claimed second place for total weight. Winning the total weight category was Brandon Collins, with 100 pounds even.
Overheard

The bulk of the water coming out of the Okanogan River is about 70 degrees, while the main Columbia is 59 degrees. If that pattern holds, chinook should hang out at the mouth for a while, providing good fishing.
Heads up

• Register now for the Mountain Muskie Chapter 60 Open Muskie Tournament to be held Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Newman Lake. To register, contact Doug at (509) 263-7235 or email douglasjwood@gmail.com. Seehttp://MountainMuskies.com for rules. Registration is also available Saturday at Newman Lake Resort beginning at 6 a.m. with a mandatory meeting at 6:30.

• Shane Magnuson of Upper Columbia Guide Service will share his techniques for catching summer run salmon, and Ron Oules of Reel-Lentless Guide Service will talk about methods for catching sockeye at a free a salmon fishing seminar at Town Ford in East Wenatchee at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

• The 28th annual Coeur d’Alene Lake Big One Chinook Tournament will run Aug. 2-3. Registration forms: The Elephant Boys in Spokane Valley.

• The annual Budweiser-Lowrance King Salmon Derby in Brewster will run Aug. 3-5. Get details at brewstersalmonderby.com.

• State fishery managers will host a public meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday at the WDFW Region 1 office to discuss proposals to treat three lakes in eastern Washington with rotenone. These are Fish in Spokane County, Little Beaver in Okanogan County and Burke in Grant County.

• With a two-pole endorsement, anglers who fish the area around the mouth of the Okanogan River and up to the first Highway 97 Bridge can use two poles through Aug. 31.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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Dave Law’s Fishing Reports And Forecast, Spokane, WA

KHQ6’s Dave Law has regular reports, videos and forecast for fishing the  Lakes and Rivers in the Inland Empire area.

Check out his blog, The b’LAWg - Dave Law’s Fish Stories on the KHQ6 website.

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report July 13, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere July 13, 2012

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene River is fishable from one end to the other and the fish are spread out. The big pools get hammered, so get away from the road and fish the water between them.

St. Joe flows are still high but becoming more manageable. A big bushy dry in the fast water can be productive. Flows on the Clark Fork at St. Regis are around 8,000 cfs and fish have been feeding throughout the day. The evening caddis hatch has been huge.

Trout and kokanee

Deer Lake rainbow trout averaging about a foot in length have been hitting fairly consistently at the end of The Narrows at a depth of 12-20 feet.

West Medical Lake has been good, despite the heat, with the smaller fish averaging 11 inches and the larger fish 13-15 inches. Flatfish are popular. The lake is warming up quickly and algae is starting to grow, so to avoid the “weedy” or muddy taste of the fish, clean them immediately and put them on ice. Fishing in most of the other southern put-and-take lakes is holding up in the hot weather. Excellent reports come from Badger and Williams, fair reports from Fishtrap and Sprague.

To the north, Jump-Off Joe has been fair for 12- to 14-inch browns and Waitts Lake remains consistent for browns and rainbow.

Rainbow trout fishing at Potholes Reservoir in Grant County remains excellent with many, fat 20-inch trout being taken. Trolling plugs along the sand dunes, Frenchman’s Wasteway and Medicare Beach has nailed numerous 2- to 4-pound fish with 6- to 7-pound monsters showing up. One family group hauled in 13 fish weighing 52 pounds.

Kokanee running 12-14 inches have been biting well at Dworshak Reservoir. Two colors of lead core line or 12 feet on the downrigger will put you in the zone.

If you’re trolling for kokanee at Loon Lake, go early, as the bite tails off after 9 a.m. Still-fishing at night has been mostly good for 11-inch fish, but as friends and I discovered, it is not a sure thing. Following back-to back limits at night, we drew a skunk the third time out. Lots of fish showed on the graph, but they weren’t biting.

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee trollers have been limiting consistently on 9- to 10-inch fish.

Roosevelt trout anglers are catching many smaller fish, most likely this spring’s release from the net pens, which were dumped sooner than usual because of low water.

Grimes Lake is pumping out nice numbers of Lahontan Cutthroat trout with many more than 20 inches.

Use either chironomids or Wooly Buggers for best success. As the surface temperature warms, presentation must be deeper in the water column.
Salmon and steelhead

The Salmon bite is mostly over in the Snake, including at Riggins. Many stretches of river are still open, but seasons and limits may change on short notice. Check the salmon hotline at 855-287-2702 or the online salmon seasons and limits page at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ public/fish/?getPage=110.

Friends who fished for chinook in the Columbia early in the week said the river was blown out at Bridgeport. At Brewster, water conditions were better, but the fish hadn’t arrived. The launch at Wells Dam was under water. There was a little chinook action near Confluence Park in Wenatchee. Anglers are hoping the water at the confluence of the Okanogan cools enough to keep the fish from a quick sprint up the river. Water temperatures are on the cusp.

The sockeye are in below Wanapum Dam and trollers are limiting on 20-inch fish. Best luck comes with a moderately slow troll 5-15 feet down. Use a size 0 silver dodger and a 15-inch leader to a pink squid baited with shrimp.

Steelhead counts over Lower Granite Dam are low. The catch-and-release season on the Clearwater River has been nothing to get excited about.

Anglers averaged nearly a salmon per rod last week at Ilwaco, split evenly between chinook and coho.
Spiny ray

Perch fishing on Spokane (Long) Lake has been excellent in the Suncrest area just off the big field. Most anglers are still-fishing with worms, but trollers have done well at times dragging small crankbaits on bottom in 15 feet of water. Most fish are 9-10 inches long, but a fair number of 12- to 13-inchers have been reported.

Sacheen Lake has had some excellent largemouth days, giving up several bass in the 4- to 6-pound range. Plastic grubs are working. Some big bass were also caught at Fan Lake using the same lure.

Lake Coeur d’Alene and the connecting chain lakes are good for pike with the larger fish coming from the main lake. The fish are aggressive and easy to find, as the cabbage beds are starting to show and the pike are congregating there. Don’t overlook fallen trees.

Tiger muskie have been hitting spinner baits and jerk baits at Newman Lake, but they are especially fond of soft plastic white frogs. Curlew Lake tiger muskie are more abundant, but they also seem to be more fickle. Anglers report seeing as many as a half dozen big fish at a time, but getting them to bite is difficult.

Water levels remains high on Banks Lake. Although it is cloudy in places, the walleye bite remains strong. Focus on the 20- to 35-foot depth range with bottom bouncers and spinner rigs. Banks Lake smallmouth can be found at all depths, so adjust your fishing methods – topwater plugs and spinnerbaits to tubes and grubs. For largemouth, get in shallow and throw topwaters into cover.

Most Walleye anglers on Potholes Reservoir are still struggling with the high water which has fostered weed growth throughout the dunes.

On Lake Roosevelt, walleye fishing is still decent, but becoming less predictable. Anglers are having to look harder and experiment to find the key. Fish have been small.

Tip of the week

The more than 50 seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam have some excellent untouched fishing. Trout anglers fishing from shore do well with Power Bait at Warden Lake. Hutchinson and Shiner lakes, on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, are producing perch, bluegill and largemouth bass. The Potholes canal system – Soda, Long and Crescent lakes, have been kicking out Rainbow trout to 6 pounds as well as nice smallmouth and largemouth bass. The fishing pressure on these lakes is low.
Overheard

The sockeye run on the Columbia is larger than the forecast. Shane Magnuson of Upper Columbia Guide Service (509 630-5433) said the smallest sockeye he’s catching this year are larger than the biggest fish he got last season. They are pouring over Priest Rapids Dam and should be above Rocky Reach, below Wells and at the Brewster Pool soon.
Heads up

Retention of sockeye in the mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco is prohibited, though the area remains open through July for hatchery summer chinook. The Snake River portion of the sockeye run is listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act and non-Indian fisheries are limited to a 1 percent harvest rate on these fish, which has already been reached.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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Ax Tackle Has Moved!

Seth Burrill (Ax Tackle, Angler’s Xperience, Ax Fishing) has moved from Roundy’s on Hwy 2 North of Spokane to 6037 W. Seltice Way, Post Falls, ID 83854

Easy to find…going east or west on Seltice Way,  it’s about 1 block east of the street going in to Walmart and Cabela’s.  Be sure and stop by.  Seth carries one of the largest inventories of baits and tackle for freshwater fishing found in the Inland Empire including rigs made by WDSTK3 Handcrafted Lures.

AX Tackle

The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report July 6, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere July 6, 2012

Fly fishing

The Clark Fork River has come into shape with good visibility and hungry cutthroat. Big goldens are getting a lot of action, as are PMDs.

Fish Lake near Cheney is a good place for smallish tiger, fished from shore or boat. A sinking fly line with a black minnow pattern works well.

The Catch-and-release season on the Clearwater River began Sunday, including sections of the North Fork and South Fork. Fish are being caught.

Smaller tributaries in the Methow area, such as Beaver Creek (Methow River tributary) and Boulder Creek (Chewuch River tributary) are providing good fishing for brook trout. In Beaver Creek, the limit is five a day, no minimum size, and in Boulder Creek, it’s 10 brook trout per day, no minimum size.

Fly fishermen have been taking some huge rainbow from Potholes Reservoir without even putting in a boat or float tube. Reports say there is good fly fishing available right off the Mar Don Resort dock.
Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee seem to be moving toward the south end of the lake. Trollers are finding them suspended at about 35 feet over deeper water. Night fishermen are finding a good bite late on 10-to 12-inch fish. If the weather holds, look for kokes just off the bottom in 32-36 feet of water. The standard white, green, or pink Glo-hook is hard to beat.

In the Okanogan, Palmer Lake also has a good population of kokanee in the 11- to 13-inch range and Patterson Lakes has kokanee in the 10- to 11-inch range.

The Lake Chelan kokanee fishery has slowed down a bit from earlier in June, though anglers still continue to catch some of the nicest kokanee Lake Chelan has offered in recent memory. Many of the fish have been in the 14- to 16-inch range and occasionally larger. Anglers should focus their efforts between Wapato Point and the Narrows during the first half of July.

Good kokanee fishing is available on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The fish are spread out and running 9-10 inches.

West Medical Lake anglers are taking limits of trout up to 16 inches. The fish have not taken on the muddy taste common to summer West Medical trout.

Sprague Lake trollers have come in with nice stringers. The standard Wedding Ring has been the hot lure.

Omak Lake in Okanogan County is giving up big cutthroat to trollers dragging spoons in deep water. The south end of the lake has been particularly good.

WDFW recently planted hundreds of 1.5-pound jumbo trout in three popular “drive to” high-mountain lakes near Yakima. Those lakes include Leech and Dog lakes near White Pass, and Lost Lake near Snoqualmie Pass. Cooper Lake, in the upper Cle Elum River basin, also received a planting of 765 jumbos along with 8,160 catchable rainbows (11-13 inches) planted in mid-to-late June.
Salmon and steelhead

The Icicle River spring chinook fishery opened June 2 and continues through July 31. It has been consistently producing a few fish each day. As groups of salmon move out of the Wenatchee River into the Icicle, that action will continue. It seems to occur with water temperature and river discharge fluctuations, so it’s a timing game, and not exact science. Most anglers are using a Spin ‘n Glo and herring.

Citing the late arrival of this year’s run, WDFW has extended spring chinook fishing through July 31 on the 20-mile stretch of the Yakima River between the Interstate 82 Bridge in Union Gap to the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge 500 feet downstream from Roza Dam. Fishing has been good for springers in that stretch.
Spiny ray

Bluegill fishermen are having a ball casting along the shore at lakes such as Silver, Loon, Fernan, Hayden and Waitts. Almost every Inland Empire and north Idaho lake not managed as a put-and-take trout water has a good population of bluegill and fishing is just now getting good. For perch, go a little deeper, and also try lakes such as Diamond, Jump-Off-Joe, Sacheen and Silver.

Deer Lake bass are still active but have moved out from the docks into the shallow weeds nearby.

Walleye anglers are having some excellent days between China Bend and the Northport campground on Lake Roosevelt, though the fish aren’t real big. Jigging has been best, but the Norisada Blade Bait is also popular. The current is strong and fish are holding in about 36 feet of water. Other sections of Roosevelt have also been productive, with good reports coming from Kettle Falls, Keller and Porcupine Bay.

Chad Jackson, WDFW Columbia Basin district fish biologist, said fishing for walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass is good at Moses Lake, Banks Lake and Potholes. All three also have populations of bluegill, crappie and perch.

Evergreen Reservoir on the Quincy Wildlife Area in Grant County is another good July fishery in the Basin, with walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill and other species. Lower Goose Lake, one of the Seep lakes south of Potholes Reservoir, is a good crappie and bluegill fishery. Hutchinson and Shiner lakes, on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are heating up for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and perch.

Potholes Reservoir is still high, but it will be dropping quickly. As the weather warms, bass fishing should be easier and more predictable. Walleye fishing has been fair, and it, too, will improve as the water level drops.

The mouth of the Yakima River is a good smallmouth destination. A few walleye are also being taken.
Other species

Ocean crabbing reports out of units 8-1 and 8-2 have been good with most fishermen noting that limits were easy to come by. The season started with a two-day opening (last Sunday and Monday), and has since moved to a regular Thursday-Monday schedule.

For a mess of nice catfish, hit the Palouse River near Lyons Ferry. Most fish are running 2-3 pounds. The Yakima River just out of Richland is also good for channel cats, some as large as 10 pounds.
Tip of the week

Mack’s Lures has combined its Smile Blades with a special Mustad hook with a curved shank. It’s called The Smile Blade Slow Death Rig and it’s ready to go right out of the package. When rigged with a nightcrawler and fished slowly, it produces a wild action that walleye love.
Overheard

A recently completed dock at the public access on Deer Lake makes launching a boat much easier this year.
Heads up

Idaho Fish and Game has opened another section of the upper Salmon River to Chinook salmon fishing. The Ellis area is open from the posted boundary about 100 yards upstream of the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River upstream to the Highway 75 Salmon River bridge about 250 yards upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River.

Several new and changed Idaho laws took effect Sunday that will affect the state’s hunters and anglers. The legislation adds a wolf tag to the sportsman’s pack, increasing the price from $117.25 to $124.25. It also incorporates a nonresident three-day fishing license into the adult nonresident hunting license with no change in the current license fee.

Chinook salmon fishing on parts of the lower Salmon River will close at the end of fishing Sunday. The sections to close are from the mouth of Shorts Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek and from the Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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The Spokesman-Review Fishing Report June 29, 2012

The Spokesman-Review Posted By Alan Liere June 29, 2012

Fly fishing

At midweek, friends fishing for walleye between Northport and China Bend reported a huge mayfly hatch and a lot of trout activity.

Clark Fork River guides are hoping for a continued drop in flows through the weekend. Fish are eating on top. Concentrate on soft pockets behind the willows. Any big, golden stone imitation on top with a pheasant tail dropper should put you in fish.

The St. Regis is a good option, but wading is tough as it is still big. It has seen little pressure. The Coeur d’Alene may be back in shape by the weekend. PMDs on the lower river have been the best hatch. The Coeur d’Alene River has been crowded.

Gold Pass, the popular access route from St. Regis, Mont., to the St. Joe River is open. The Joe is still high, but fishing has been fair.
Steelhead/salmon

A record 462,000 sockeye are expected to run up the Columbia, and of those, 431,300 are expected to be headed to the Okanogan River. It won’t be long before both summer-run chinook and sockeye are pouring into the area. There should be plenty of fish for those who plan to participate in the first annual CCA Salmon Derby, July 13-15.

All chinook salmon sport fisheries in Idaho will remain open through the Fourth of July. A closure shortly after then is most likely for the fishery in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, where anglers already have harvested more than 70 percent of the sport fishery share.
Trout/kokanee

With so much wind and rain, Loon Lake anglers have been staying away in droves. A friend who sneaks out to troll during the infrequent sun breaks said there are still plenty of kokanee at around 35 feet, but they are spread out and the bite is light. Night fishermen are almost nonexistent. Friends and I have spent many Fourth of July nights successfully still-fishing for kokanee and watching fireworks on Loon.

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are biting well throughout the lake. Most are around 10 inches.

This season’s nice-sized kokanee on Lake Chelan are getting more difficult to locate as they move in big schools all over the lower basin. Anglers have been catching them off of Rocky Point and around Wapato Point, but it has been inconsistent.

Rainbow fishing has been good on the east side of Clear Lake. The fish are averaging about 13 inches and are cooperating with boat baiters and trollers. West Medical baiters are doing well. Williams Lake remains good, especially for trollers. Cookie-cutter 10-inch rainbow are plentiful at Diamond Lake.

The Sprague Lake rainbow bite has been inconsistent, but fish to 7 pounds have been reported. There are good numbers of 14-inchers.

Trout fishing has been extraordinary for 2- to 6-pound fish on Potholes Reservoir, specifically in Lind Coulee and off Medicare Beach and in Frenchman’s Wasteway. Troll a Rapala Shad Rap crankbait in 10-20 feet of water.

Conditions have improved for the special triploid fishery below Chief Joseph Dam, and better catches are being reported. Good catches of triploids have also been taken at the upper net pens on Rufus Woods Reservoir.
Spiny ray

Near Potholes Reservoir, Winchester Wasteway and Crab Creek walleye fishing is heating up. Troll bottom-walker rigs with nightcrawlers in 10-15 feet of water. Bass fishing is also good. Another walleye option is Soda Lake with good reports coming from the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge water.

Rufus Woods is moving fast, but walleye anglers are finding nice fish stacked up in the eddies. On Roosevelt, walleye fishermen are dodging driftwood but catching fish. The winners of the Kettle Falls Governor’s Cup last weekend were trolling plugs on planers near shorelines and in shallows.

Friends fishing Roosevelt north of China Bend say the walleye are smaller this week than last but the bite is still decent. In the Spokane Arm, the bite has been either red-hot or dead. A few positive reports came from Hawk Creek.

Bass fishing for largemouths is still good at Eloika, Loon and Deer lakes and has also been good at lesser-known bass destinations like Jump-Off-Joe, Waitts, Diamond and Sacheen. For smallmouth, it would be hard to beat Newman, Long Lake, Lake Roosevelt, or Banks, which has been excellent for walleye and has yielded a few perch more than a foot in length.

Idaho chain lakes have been good for northern pike. The fish aren’t normally large, but there are a lot of 24-inchers and they are beginning to hit spinner baits.

Anglers report numerous tiger muskie sightings on Curlew Lake. That doesn’t necessarily translate to catching, but the big fish seem to be everywhere at times.
Other species

The crab fishery in all marine areas of Puget Sound will open on Sunday. Crabbers should note that the season begins next week with a two-day opening Sunday and Monday, and will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday before reopening on its regular weekly schedule (Thursday through Monday) on Thursday. The crab population remains abundant.

Tip of the week

Crank baits such as the Hot ‘n’ Tot or Shad Raps with a little more side-to-side action put out more vibration and are the ticket to catching summer walleyes. Summer fish have choices. Make your lure stand out.
Braggin’ rights

Greg and Cathy Goodnight won last weekend’s Governor’s Cup at Kettle Falls, weighing in a two-day total of 30.96 pounds of walleye and besting second-place finishers Don Ghramm and Craig Bircher by a meager .02 of a pound. The final event on the Washington Walleye Tournament Circuit this year will be the Spokane Walleye Club’s Washington State Walleye Championship at Kettle Falls, July 28-29.

Five-year-old Luke Marcellus shared action last weekend on Badger Lake with his father, Jared. “There were three of us bottom fishing at Badger Lake,” Jared said. “It took 3 hours, but we limited – mostly small rainbows with one larger rainbow and a 22½-inch cutthroat.”
Overheard

High water has resulted in no-wake restrictions in several northern Washington lakes and rivers. Included are the Pend Oreille River, Bead Lake and Diamond Lake.
Heads up

• If your Independence Day plans include a road trip to the opposite side of the lower Snake River, keep in mind that most U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams are closed to cross-dam public vehicle traffic on federal holidays. Open on the Fourth of July, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be Lower Granite Lock and Dam, near Pomeroy, Wash.

• The Pend Oreille River Pike Palooza begins today and runs through Sunday from the Idaho state line to the Boundary Dam forebay. Sponsored by the Kalispel Tribe, the event offers prizes up to $1,000 in a variety of categories, and each fish caught gives the participant a ticket for raffle drawings. There is no entry fee, but participants must preregister at check stations before they start fishing. Anglers must check in their catch between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. at Oldtown boat launch, Cusick boat launch, or Metaline Waterfront Park. A second Pike Palooza is set for Aug. 3-5.

• Sturgeon anglers fishing in the Columbia and Snake River reservoirs above McNary Dam are asked to watch for and return special yellow spaghetti tags found in the dorsal fin of some of the fish. Mail tags and pertinent information to the Sturgeon Tag Reward Program, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 17330 SE Evelyn St., Clackamas, Ore., 97015. Respondents who include their name, mailing address and telephone number will be sent a complimentary “Columbia Basin Sturgeon Conservationist” baseball cap.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo. com

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