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Priest River popular for mackinaw

| April 15, 2010 9:00 PM

Priest River is a hot spot for mackinaw right now, said Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service. Most are trolling mini squids behind flashers, he advised. "One thing they should watch for, usually in the spring, is getting shallow water fish," Smith said. "If they're striking out on the deep-water stuff, they should try some shallow stuff."

Priest River is a hot spot for mackinaw right now, said Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service.

Most are trolling mini squids behind flashers, he advised.

"One thing they should watch for, usually in the spring, is getting shallow water fish," Smith said. "If they're striking out on the deep-water stuff, they should try some shallow stuff."

Fernan Lake, meanwhile, is still good for catching crappies and panfish, he said, especially at the east end.

He suggested using a bobber and jib baited with a maggot.

"It's been fairly consistent down there," he said.

Rainbow trout are biting at Fernan, too, he said, usually on nightcrawlers.

Those looking to snag large mouth bass should head to Hauser Lake, he added.

"Either jerk baits or crank baits have been good," he said.

Smith reminded that Fins and Feathers' spring salmon tournament will be this weekend, ending at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 18. Registration is $20 at Fins and Feathers, and weigh-in will be at Carlin Bay.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top eight catches, with $1,000 for first place, Smith said.

"I think the fishing's going to be pretty decent," he said. "Hopefully we'll see some big ones."

•••

Spring season is spinner season.

And spinner season means big pike and bass are being pulled from area lakes at rapid rates, said Josh Kinghorn, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods.

"I use them a lot in the spring," Kinghorn said of the spinners. "A lot of people do."

Thirty-pound pike are being pulled from Lake Coeur d'Alene on spinners using bobbers with smelt or herring, especially in the Wolf Lodge area off the bank by the boat launch, while large mouth bass are being pulled from the south end of the lake from the area known as Benewah Lake.

Bass are also hitting on Hauser and Twin lakes on spinners, using jerk baits, and cinco worms.

And the fishing will only get better from here, Kinghorn said.

"We should be getting into spawning season real soon, when they get up into the shallows and into the warmer waters," he said. "Then it will be on. It will get real active, before and then after the spawn."

•••

The recent cool weather slowed action down a bit for area fly fishermen, said Mike Beard of Orvis Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d'Alene.

"It's been more smaller flies on dries and nymphing," Beard said.

But things are looking up as temperatures rise throughout the week.

Beard said the warmup should trigger some blue-winged olive and midge hatches, and bring improved nymphing to the lower- to mid-Coeur d'Alene River, and the lower St. Joe River near Avery.

St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene rivers

The water has dropped back down to solid levels on the Coeur d'Alene while the Joe has seen a small spike lately, said Mark Roush of ROW Adventures in Coeur d'Alene.

"We are headed into what looks like an extended warm spell, so it will be interesting to see exactly what the rivers do in the next week," Roush said.

Fishing has been relatively good over the past few days, Roush said.

There has been some dry fly activity and fishermen are getting rises on blue wing olives and small midges. Stones and skwalas will make more of an appearance shortly.

Most dry fly action will happen between 1-3 p.m. on most days, Roush said.

"The majority of bites are still coming on nymphs in a variety of patterns," he said. "Pheasant tails, copper johns and princes will be your best bet throughout the day."

Area lakes

Chillier temperatures this past week have kept larger lakes from reaching that prime temperature that triggers fish to start feeding aggressively, Roush said.

Highs should be between 60 and 70 degrees over the course of the next week, and that is just the push that these lakes need. Pike, crappie, bass and trout on Hayden should start to really turn the corner by next week, he said.

"Some of the shallower lakes like Fernan have seen a lot of action on certain days," Roush said. "Fishermen who target crappie, bluegill and perch in the eastern sloughs of Fernan have had some epic days. Grubs and worms under rocket bobbers usually work, and fly fishermen slowly flick small leeches or prince nymphs under an indicator."

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