Eastern Washington: April 23-opening waters: May is prime fishing month throughout the region with action heating up on waters that opened April 23, along with those that opened earlier in the year. WDFW staff made creel checks on the April 23 opener and the average catch rates they tallied are a good indication of how fishing will continue at least through this month.
In Spokane County, WDFW district fish biologist Randy Osborne reported anglers did well at many traditionally popular spots. Williams Lake produced 7.3 fish caught per angler, including a 23.5-inch rainbow trout. Clear Lake anglers caught an average of almost 6 fish each, including a 17.5-inch rainbow trout. Anglers at Fish Lake averaged 3.4 fish, including an 18.5-inch brook trout, and West Medical Lake averaged 3.3 fish, including a 20-inch rainbow. Badger Lake produced a three-fish-per-angler average, with the largest fish a 20-inch rainbow.
In Stevens County, WDFW district fish biologist Bill Baker called fishing at Cedar Lake "spectacular," with anglers averaging 8.3 fish each, including a 17.4-inch rainbow. Waitts Lake anglers averaged a little over six trout each, including rainbows up to 19.5 inches and one prize-tagged fishing derby trout. Anglers at Starvation Lake averaged 2.8 trout each, with the largest measured at 16.5 inches; most Starvation fish are running smaller but there are also nice, fat winter carryovers. Rocky Lake produced an average of 2.3 fish, including a 20-inch rainbow. At Mudgett Lake, creel checkers only measured a one-trout average, including a 19.5-inch rainbow, but Baker says that doesn't reflect the better fishing available there since there were many incomplete fishing trips that day.
In Pend Oreille County, anglers at Diamond Lake averaged 4.5 fish each, with the largest measured rainbow a 20-incher. Yokum Lake wasn't creel checked on the opener because more and better fishing is coming this month; earlier sampling at Yokum showed lots of nice cutthroat trout.
In Ferry County, Lake Ellen produced an average catch of 2.2 trout, including a 15-inch rainbow.
In Lincoln County, only one angler was checked at the Fishtrap Lake access site with one fish, but many others out on the lake in boats were observed catching.
Other open trout waters: All of the Tucannon River impoundments (man-made lakes) on the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County that opened March 1 have been re-stocked with hatchery rainbow trout and anglers are catching fish. Curl Lake normally doesn't open until the fourth Saturday in April for trout fishing to first allow its use as an acclimation pond for spring chinook salmon. But this year Curl opens even later, on May 15, to allow acclimation use for steelhead, too, before rainbow trout are stocked.
Rock Lake, open year-round in Whitman County, continues to be a good spot for catches of both brown and rainbow trout, some of pretty good size.
Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County, which has been open since March 1, now has boat launching available at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site. Low water conditions had kept the launch closed until recently, and boat anglers are enjoying rainbow trout catches. Coffeepot is under selective gear rules, with a minimum size limit of 18 inches and a daily catch limit of one trout.
Year-round-open Long Lake (Lake Spokane) on the Stevens-Spokane county line continues to yield catches of 13- to 15-inch rainbows. Anglers are also still catching rainbow trout and kokanee in year-round-open Lake Roosevelt.
Deer Lake in southern Stevens County has warmed up since the March 1 opener and is producing catches of rainbow and lake trout.
Snake River spring chinook: By Emergency Rule Change, three sections of the Snake River are open two days a week for spring chinook salmon fishing until further notice. The area below Ice Harbor Dam is open only on Fridays and Saturdays each week, and the areas below Little Goose Dam and near Clarkston are open only on Sundays and Mondays each week.
Warmwater fish species: Opportunities for catches of warmwater species are improving with May weather. Eastern Spokane County's Liberty Lake has yellow perch and crappie, and Newman Lake has largemouth bass, crappie, and tiger muskie. Southwest Spokane County's Silver Lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, and tiger muskie. Downs Lake, east of Sprague in southwest Spokane County, has largemouth bass, yellow perch, and crappie.
Fishing for walleye in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt can be prime in May. Long Lake (Lake Spokane) on the Spokane-Stevens county line produces both smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, and crappie this month and next. Southern Stevens County's Deer Lake has bass, crappie and perch coming on.
Box Canyon Reservoir and Boundary Reservoir on the Pend Oreille River in Pend Oreille County have nice smallmouth bass. Recent surveys on Boundary turned up smallmouth up to 5.6 pounds. WDFW northeast district assistant fish biologist Brian Walker says anglers should work the shoreline areas of Boundary for a chance to catch some great bass.