Fly fishing

The recent heatwave sent the spring runoff into full melt mode and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers are hitting flood stages this week.

Fly fishing will be much more productive at area lakes.

Bayley Lake, located on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, is one of the best fly-fishing lakes in Eastern Washington.

It regularly produces big rainbows in the 18- to 20-inch range with some fish even larger.

McDowell Lake is another fly fishing only water on the refuge. Other northeast Washington fly fishing only opportunities include Long Lake in Ferry County and Browns Lake in Pend Oreille County.

Trout and kokanee

The Lake Pend Oreille Spring Derby standings at the end of Day 4 saw Ted Faiers leading the adult rainbow division with a fish of 16 pounds.

In the adult mackinaw division, Jeffrey Garcia had a fish of 16.70 pounds.

Williams Lake still has lots of trout.

West Medical Lake also has numerous catchable size fish, but provides a fair number of fish in the 20-inch range.

Fishtrap Lake continues to see good catches of rainbow trout.

Long Lake has good trout fishing, and fishing for walleye has also been decent. If neither is biting, you can go after, perch, crappie and smallmouth or largemouth bass.

If you haven’t taken the time to fish either lake at Conconully, you’re missing out. Spring is absolutely gorgeous in the area and you’ll find plenty of hungry trout, bass and kokanee.

In Grant County, Blue Lake anglers averaged 4.4 fish per person on opening day.

Rainbow trout averaged 14 inches.

Deep Lake anglers averaged 5.4 fish caught per person on opening day.

Rainbow trout averaged 13 inches, but one group of anglers reported catching a rainbow trout that weighed 12 pounds and another that was 9 .

Warden Lake fished well on opening day and the catch rate was 3.9 fish per angler. Warden Lake was stocked with 5,000 12- to 14-inch rainbow prior to the opener this year. As this lake warms in late-spring, anglers can also target bass and perch.

A kokanee derby on at Lake Chelan last week produced some good catches. The biggest fish was over 15 inches long and many were over 13 . Most of the fishing took place out from the Blue Roofs and off Chelan Shores.

Approximately 500,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout will be stocked throughout Idaho this month.

In the Panhandle, Cocolalla Lake will receive 3,300 rainbow trout. Fernan Lake 6,800 , Kelso Lake 5,000 , Spicer Pond 2,000 and Steamboat Pond 1,000.

Salmon and steelhead

Two areas of the Yakima River open to fishing for hatchery spring chinook this month. Area A (Highway 240 Bridge in Richland upstream to the State Route 241) opens Friday and Area B (Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF Railroad Bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam) opens May 16.

Last week on Idaho’s upper Salmon River, the majority of steelhead anglers were observed either close to the Pahsimeroi River confluence or upstream of the East Fork in location code 19.

Anglers interviewed upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 had the best average catch rate for the week at 8 hours per steelhead caught.

Spiny ray

Walleye anglers have been finding limits of fish on Lake Roosevelt scattered over flats in 15-20 feet of water down lake from Seven Bays.

Anglers fishing the Spokane Arm are catching some big spawning females and good numbers of smaller fish. The smallmouth bite has also been good.

Positive walleye reports also come from Banks Lake. Don’t overlook the bass fishing in the Pend Oreille River as the water settles down.

The crappie bite has been slow to develop on area lakes.

A few reports come in from Fernan, Hayden, Eloika and Newman, but no one is doing particularly well.

Hayden anglers are catching fish, but not many meet the 10-inch minimum. Eloika has a 9-inch minimum.

The lake is higher than it has been in recent memory. With water temperatures ranging from the low to mid-60s, the bite should begin soon.

MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir hosted the Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic tournament last weekend.

Team Priddy had six-fish bags both days for a winning bag of 21.32 pounds for 12 fish. Its efforts earned a $5,500 payout.

Participants said this was a particularly tough tournament as the fish were in the middle of the spawn.

There have been no reports of panfish being caught in Potholes Reservoir, but bass fishermen are doing well and have reported seeing crappie and bluegill posting up prespawn back in the sand dunes around the willows.

Other species

The final razor clam digs of the season will run through May 14.

On all open beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Copalis – the daily limit is 20 razor clams and there are many of them.

Not all beaches are open for every dig, so make sure your intended destination is open before heading out.

Digging is allowed from midnight until noon only through Wednesday. Since low tides on May 11-14 are near or after midnight, digging will be allowed from 4 a.m. until 4 p.m. for those specific days only.

Lingcod are open through June 15 in Marine Areas 5 through 13 except for Marine Area 12, which remains closed.

In these marine areas, anglers targeting lingcod and other bottom fish (excluding halibut) may not fish deeper than 120 feet to limit encounters with threatened yelloweye and bocaccio rockfish.

The Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Fishery Program, which pays anglers $6 to $10 for each qualifying fish, opened Monday and runs through September.

Tagged pikeminnow are worth $500 each. Last year, the top angler earned nearly $70,000. Visit the program page for more information, or watch the webinar on YouTube to get started.


If you haven’t bagged your turkey yet, the season continues through May.

There are plenty of opportunities on public land in Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties, including the Colville National Forest, the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, and WDFW’s Sherman Creek, LeClerc Creek and Rustler’s Gulch wildlife areas.

In the southeast part of WDFW’s Region 1, the Asotin Creek, Chief Joseph and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas also have good opportunities.

Contact Alan Liere at