An ideal time to fish some area lakes
Pat Way at Orvis Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d'Alene suggests river anglers in need of a fix this week try pulling fish from some of the area's lakes.
"Rivers, as they stand right now, are well above normal flows," Way said. "It is now turned into a still water game."
He expects flows to be down by the weekend.
"It will be fishable, but it won't be ideal," Way said.
Trout fishing at some of Eastern Washington's lakes is a good alternative, he said. He suggests Amber or Coffeepot lakes.
"Also, Hayden Lake has been fishing well," Way said.
He suggests small woolly buggers to catch crappie and both species of bass.
Pike fishing is big on the Chain Lakes right now, as well as on Lake Coeur d'Alene and Hayden Lake, said Dan Pierce with Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service.
"All the area lakes are doing pretty good for pike," Pierce said.
Most fishermen are snagging them with husky jerks and spinnerbaits, he said.
Many are also headed to the St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene rivers for trout fishing, he added.
"Most if it is catch and release - they're all cutthroats. But it's still fun to go out and spend a day," Pierce said, adding that dry flies are popular for catching the fish.
Folks are also catching their limits of blueback herring on Twin Lakes and Spirit Lake, he said, using maggots or corn with a wedding ring and spinners.
Smallmouth bass are starting to bite on Hayden Lake and Lake Coeur d'Alene, too, Pierce said.
He suggested using soft plastics or plugs, or lipless crankbaits.
"It's going pretty good right now," he said. "They should (catch a lot), as long as the weather holds up."
This time of year, it's just a matter of picking which fishing hole where you want to catch your fish.
"Pretty much everything's on right now," said Brad Zierer, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods. "We're in the season."
So anglers, choose your catch.
Blueback fish are chasing jig lines, maggots and weights out on Spirit Lake, and largemouth bass are hitting pretty much everywhere. They're especially active on Hauser Lake using spinner baits. Anglers cast by the docks and rocks or can fish from a boat for them. They're beginning their pre-spawning cycle on Lake Coeur d'Alene, so Senko worms, or plastic lizards 5 to 8 inches in length are working there 20 feet from shore.
The Coeur d'Alene River is still running high and fast, so fishing can be a little difficult there, but crappie are chasing bobbers and jig on the Twin Lakes.
St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene rivers
Water levels have been extremely high this past week and the fishing has been tough on both the St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene rivers, said Mark Roush of ROW Adventures in Coeur d'Alene.
"Water levels are dropping now, so the fishing should start picking up," he said. "It looks as though we have some rain in the forecast, but it should not be enough rain to cause the rivers to spike heavily again."
With increased clarity fish should start keying in on the surface, he said.
Be sure to pack plenty of pale morning duns and drakes. Parachute adams and other very small mayflies have also been working well for many anglers. Peak fishing season is nearly here and we are all excited about starting to see big trout rising on hoppers and beetles.
Area lakes are continuing to fish well, Roush said.
Largemouth are being caught on light-colored spinners and small crank baits. Smallies are finally starting to eat more aggressively. Crankbaits, Yamamoto grubs and Senko worms are all solid baits for smallmouth.
Pike are chasing husky jerks on Hayden, Coeur d'Alene and most of the Chain Lakes. The shores of Fernan are usually active on the weekends and people are pulling out trout, bluegill and perch with regularity.