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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 16

UPDATED: Wed., May 15, 2019

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

Lakes south of Spokane, including Clear, Badger, West Medical and Williams, are taking up some of the slack for fly fishermen who would probably rather be fishing the Spokane River, which will not reopen until May 25, or the St. Joe, which is rising. Fishing is reported to be good at the lakes, with the larger trout coming from Clear and Amber on balanced leeches or chironomids.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River has been better in the midstretches than the upper stretches recently, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. A fair number of PMDs are coming off midday and afternoon with a mix of salmon flies, skwalas and drakes.

Trout and kokanee

Both browns and rainbow trout fishing have been good at Liberty Lake this week, and anglers are also taking some decent largemouth.

Waitts Lake is loaded with trout. Trollers are catching a lot of 10-to 11-inch rainbow and some much larger browns by trolling flies or Wedding Rings in the top 15 feet.

A Loon Lake kokanee angler reported “no problem” trolling up a limit of kokanee on the north end, but said the fish were only 7-8 inches long. A report last week said the majority of kokes were in the 10-inch range.

Many Sprague Lake rainbow are huge (over 4 pounds), but they aren’t always cooperative. One angler who trolled the lake with Old Goat lures this week had a cooler with four fish that weighed over 15 pounds. Flies trolled close to the bottom have also done well.

Rock Lake remains excellent for rainbow and browns. Most anglers are content to troll the deep water for the planted rainbow, but anglers who throw diving Rapalas toward the cliffs are catching much larger rainbows and browns.

Lake Roosevelt has been good for rainbow for bank fishermen plunking Power Bait above Keller. Kokanee reports are few.

Conconully Reservoir has produced some kokanee pushing 17 inches. They’re not all that big, but all fish there are getting some shoulders. Kokanee fishing is also going well at Conconully and Patterson lakes.

Lake Chelan is providing plenty of kokanee action for trollers. Pink hootchies and red or pink Old Goat lures have been mentioned several times recently. Good reports recently come from the area off Lakeside Park.

Lake Pend Oreille has been kicking out some big rainbow since the spring derby began two weeks ago. There have been recent reports of several fish pushing 15 pounds. Most anglers are trolling flies on the surface.

Hayden Lake kokanee are not as numerous as those in Loon Lake, but their 12- to 16-inch size make up for the lack of constant action. Most are caught between 40 and 50 feet. Coeur d’Alene Lake appears to have a lot of 10-inch kokanee. The best luck has been at Powder Horn, Beauty Bay and Spokane Point.

Spiny ray

Friends who went up the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt reported good walleye fishing in 40 feet of water near Blue Crick. They were dragging bottom walkers and nightcrawlers with a Smile Blade.

Lake Roosevelt Charters continues to catch walleye in the Hunters area in the morning, moving up west of Gifford in the afternoon for more walleye and burbot. They are finding decent-sized walleyes by jigging green jigs and nightcrawlers in 70 to 115 feet of water. Info: (509) 464-9657.

The crappie bite on Eloika continues. My son Evan and I fished there Sunday for two hours. Although we never found a sustained bite, we picked up keeper-size fish in a half-dozen spots and wondered if we would have caught more had we been able to keep the sunfish off. Friends who fished the lake Monday caught 20 keeper crappie and few sunfish, releasing almost as many crappie that were barely undersized. They also caught some perch that exceeded 9 inches. The weeds are reaching for the surface in Eloika, but there should be at least a week before they become overly bothersome.

Some big crappie are coming from Long Lake – slabs up to 15 inches, but some days they are hard to find. The walleye bite has been good toward the dam.

The smallmouth bite is on up the Spokane Arm at Lake Roosevelt. Anglers targeting these fish say they are catching a lot of fish over 14 inches by throwing tube jigs toward shore in the rocky stretches. Anglers are allowed only one smallmouth of 14 inches or better in their daily bag of 10 with no minimum size restriction. The Snake River from Wawawai to Clarkston is also good for smallmouth.

The Grande Ronde is high, but the smallmouth bass fishing is good. The river is open year-round up to the Oregon state line for bass. If you’re a fly fisherman, minnow/smolt patterns are good. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat a tube jig.

Coeur d’Alene Lake pike are done spawning and fishing has been good.

Other species

State shellfish managers with the WDFW have approved a razor clam dig on morning low tides at Mocrocks on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. All three days will feature minus tides.


Turkey hunters in Washington and Idaho have 15 more days to harvest a bird. Breeding is over for the most part, but a few toms are still displaying for small groups of hens that haven’t nested.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@

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