Amber Lake is ice-free. Chironomids, still-water nymphs and Wooly Buggers are usually good early in the season.
Montana’s Rock Creek has been fishing well all winter. Fish the slower, deeper runs. Fishing also remains decent on the Bitterroot. The upper and middle river is seeing some skwala nymphs in the shallower water.
Lake Lenore, between Soap Lake and Coulee City along Highway 17, opened Thursday. Lahontan cutthroats are planted there, and they often exceed 8 pounds. Lenore is catch-and-release until June 1.
The Grande Ronde River steelhead fishery has been excellent, with anglers averaging fewer than five hours a fish. Keep your eye on the weather, though. If planning a trip, call ahead to Boggan’s Oasis at (509) 256-3372.
Steelhead anglers on the Little Salmon are averaging a fish every six hours. From the South Fork Salmon to the Middle Fork, the average is under five. The Clearwater steelhead bite was excellent this week from the mouth to Orofino. Upriver from Orofino was slow.
Anglers are catching a few steelhead and early spring chinook on the lower Columbia River
Trout and kokanee
Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County opened for fishing Thursday. There should be open water. Downs Lake and Medical Lake in Spokane County also opened, as did North Silver, which is still iced in. Deer Lake is still socked in with ice also, but it probably won’t last long and ice fishermen should be cautious. Deer Lake has bass, crappie, perch, rainbow, lake trout and kokanee.
This is your last day to register for the tagged trout derby at Burke Lake, which will be held Saturday from sunup to 1 p.m. Two tagged trout in the lake are worth a total of $3,000. For details, log on to quincyvalleytourism.org.
On Thursday, several other lakes in Eastern Washington opened for trout fishing. In addition to Burke, Martha, Dusty, Quincy and Upper Caliche should provide some excellent fishing for trout up to 2 pounds.
Other Columbia Basin lakes that opened Thursday in the Columbia Basin were Lenice, Merry and Nunnally. One fish per day may be kept.
Liberty Lake is ice-free and opening day anglers were fishing from shore and boat. The dock is not in place yet.
Few are taking advantage of it, but one of the best trout fisheries is Banks Lake. Much of lower Banks Lake is still frozen over, but the Northrup launch is open.
District fish biologist Bill Baker said northern Stevens County’s two winter-season rainbow trout lakes – Williams and Hatch – are still producing catches of 13- to 14-inch fish, although catch rates have slowed. Baker said anglers need to be cautious about quickly changing ice conditions. Fishing action has also slowed at the central district’s two winter-season lakes – Hog Canyon and Fourth of July. Trout are still available, but changing ice conditions are a concern.
Davis Lake near Winthrop is yielding 10- to 12-inch rainbow trout. Big and Little Green lakes near Omak and Rat Lake near Brewster also have 10- to 12-inch rainbow trout, and Bonaparte Lake near Tonasket has 10- to 12-inch eastern brook trout and kokanee. All have good ice for fishing.
Ice fishing for perch is holding up at Eloika and Silver lakes, with about 5 inches of hard ice at Silver and 10 inches at Eloika. The best fishing by far is at Silver, where anglers are taking home huge catches of 8- to 9-inch perch throughout the day.
Walleye anglers are having some success near Two Rivers. The upper end of Rufus Woods has also seen some decent days.
Another popular walleye spot this time of year is on the Columbia just above the Hydro Park boat launch near East Wenatchee. There are recent reports of some really nice walleye coming from the Columbia below the McNary Dam near Umatilla. Walleye angling is also good in The Dalles and John Day Pools.
Fish Lake in Chelan County still has lots of ice and perch fishing has been fair. Roses Lake ice is getting rotten, but ice cover is still good in most Okanogan County lakes.
Ice fishing opportunities are available at Patterson Lake near Winthrop for 7- to 8-inch perch and 10- to 11-inch kokanee. Palmer Lake near Loomis has 8- to- 10-inch perch.
Anglers fishing Lake Roosevelt’s deeper water near river mouths like the Colville and Hawk Creek are catching burbot. The Spokane Arm is also productive.