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.
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.
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.
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.
• 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.