Anglers should find good fishing at Rocky Ford Creek this month. There are plenty of 16- to 20-inch rainbow trout in this stream and a few hundred larger (4-plus pounders) that were recently stocked.
Coffee pot and Amber lakes are both producing nice catches of cutthroat trout at Amber and rainbow at Coffeepot. Bayley Lake on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best fly-fishing opportunities in Eastern Washington. It regularly produces big rainbows in the 18- to 20-inch range with some fish getting larger. McDowell Lake is another fly-fishing only water on the refuge. Other nearby fly-fishing-only opportunities include Long Lake in Ferry County and Browns Lake in Pend Oreille County.
Browns and rainbows running 14 to 16 inches have been taking small chironomids in 15 in feet of water at Liberty Lake.
Runoff has yet to arrive on Montana’s lower Clark Fork River, and dry fly fishing has been good. Daily mayfly hatches and lingering and skwalas continue to bring trout to the surface. Expect to see mayfly hatches each afternoon. Gray Drakes are also going on the Clark Fork. Try a size 12 Hare’s Ear Parachute for the big profile needed. The Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Missouri should also be good.
Trout and kokanee
The cold spring has kept angles away from area lakes, and those who do venture out are not doing that well. Fishing will improve when (or if) normal May temperatures are sustained. There was some success on the opener for big browns at Jumpoff Joe Lake, for example, but only a tiny fraction of the planted catchables and brood stock have been caught since. As spring progresses, Cedar, Rocky, Mudgett and Waitts lakes are all expected to have particularly good fishing in District 1. District 2 fishing is also expected to improve, in particular Badger, West Medical and Fishtrap lakes.
Trout fishing in the Grant County seep lakes has been good. The Hampton Lakes are showing both quantity and quality and Warden Lake has been productive as well.
The lowland lakes trout fishing opener on April 23 was better in Grant, Adams, Douglas and Chelan counties than the counties closer to Spokane. In Grant County, Park Lake anglers averaged 2.1 fish kept per angler, but Deep Lake topped all waters with 4.2 caught and 3.8 kept per angler. Warden Lake had a 4.2 average caught and 3.5 kept per angler. In Douglas County, Jameson Lake had 4.5 trout kept per angler. In Chelan County, Wapato Lake anglers caught rainbow trout and kokanee – 3.5 per angler.
Salmon and steelhead
There was a large increase in counts for chinook salmon last week over Bonneville Dam, the highest since 2015. With the low flows in the Columbia and Snake rivers, it should take about two weeks for fish to get to Idaho after they pass over Bonneville Dam . That means the peak of fish that have been passing over Bonneville Dam should start arriving in the lower Clearwater around Saturday, and in another seven to 10 days to the lower Salmon River fishery.
The Corp of Engineers is having some problems with operating the spill gates at Lower Monumental Dam. This is creating some flow issues below the dam that is slowing down fish passage. On Tuesday, 13,496 adult spring chinook were counted at Bonneville Dam. On the same date, 97 were counted at Little Goose and 41 at Lower Granite.
Hatchery spring chinook salmon fishing opened early this month along two sections of the Snake River. “Zone A” is open Tuesdays and Fridays only until further notice, from Texas Rapids boat launch to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. “Zone B” is open Wednesdays and Thursdays until further notice from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam. The fishing season in both zones could close at any time depending on harvest levels.
Eloika Lake crappie fishing has been erratic, but the fish seem to have moved into shallower water. A friend who has fished the lake several times this spring said he has been keeping crappie only 10 inches and larger. He has also caught several perch that size. A 10-inch perch is about as large as an Eloika Lake perch has grown.
Walleye fishing on Rufus Woods Reservoir’s Nespelem Bar has been decent at times recently. As always, it is best if there is a good water flow.
When the water warms up a few degrees more on Moses Lake, the walleye bite will take off. The fishing has been fair, particularly in the evening and at night.
Potholes Reservoir water temperatures are in the low 50s in the main lake and the upper 50s back in the dunes. The walleye bite is just beginning, but is good at times in the Lind Coulee. Largemouth fishing has improved as the temperatures rise. One of the top baits has been a half-ounce black and blue jig with a craw trailer. The smallmouth bite is good between Goose Island and the face of the dam. Blade baits, Senkos and tubes are doing the best.
An instructor-led hunter education course will be held in Salmon, Idaho, Friday, Monday, Wednesday and May 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm each day, followed by a field exercise May 14 from 8 am to noon. The Magic Valley Region of Idaho has two upcoming classes for both hunters and bow hunters – Friday and Saturday and May 14-15.
Contact Alan Liere [email protected]