Eastern Washington: May is a prime fishing month throughout the region, where action is heating up both on waters that just opened and those that opened earlier this year. WDFW staff made creel checks on the April 25 opener and the average catch rates they tallied can be a good indication of how fishing will continue at least through this month.
In Spokane County, where conditions were mostly cold, wet and blustery, WDFW district fish biologist Randy Osborne reported anglers did well at many traditionally popular spots. Williams Lake produced 6.2 fish per angler, including a 21.5-inch rainbow and a couple of winter-carryover 20.5-inch tiger trout. Clear Lake anglers also averaged 6.2 fish each, including a 17.5-inch rainbow trout. Anglers at West Medical Lake averaged 4.6 fish each, including a 22-inch rainbow. Badger Lake produced an average of 1.4 fish per angler, with the largest fish a 21-inch rainbow. Fish Lake anglers averaged 1.3 fish each, including a 17-inch rainbow.
In Stevens County, Rocky Lake anglers averaged 5.7 fish each, and as WDFW district fish biologist Bill Baker said, every angler who wanted to keep fish limited out. Some anglers were strictly catch-and-releasing the rainbow trout that mostly ran 11-12 inches with carryovers of 14-18 inches. Waitts Lake anglers averaged six trout each, including rainbows up to 22 inches and brown trout up to 14 inches. Anglers at Starvation Lake averaged 4.7 trout each, with the largest measured at 16 inches. At Mudgett Lake, the average catch was 4.5 trout per angler, including carryover rainbows up to 19.5 inches. Deep Lake anglers averaged a limit of five trout each, most 11-inch rainbows and kokanee. At Cedar Lake, catch rates were lower at 2.9 fish apiece, but Baker said the fish were nice, with 15-17-inch carryovers.
In Pend Oreille County, anglers at Diamond Lake averaged 4.2 fish each, with the largest measured rainbow an 18-incher. Creel checks were made at Yocum and Crescent Lakes, but snow and cold kept participation down and short, so catch averages were around one fish per angler.
The only creel checks made in Ferry County on the April 25 opener were at Ellen Lake, where anglers averaged 5.6 trout each, including lots of 8-12-inch rainbows and some 14-21-inch winter carryovers.
The only creel checks made in Lincoln County were at Fishtrap Lake, a perennial favorite that did not disappoint this year. Osborne reported a 5.2 trout per angler average at Fishtrap, including a 19-inch rainbow.
For those planning fishing vacations this spring or summer, WDFWs Great Washington Getaways webpage showcases some of the state's best family travel and fishing opportunities. Featured in this region are Beyond Opening Day: Cheney-area trout lakes; Hells Canyon Country in Washington: Grande Ronde River bass and trout; A tale of two fisheries: The Tucannon and Snake rivers; Washingtons biggest summertime playground: Lake Roosevelt; Washingtons wildest mountains: Camping and fishing in the Selkirks; and Adrenalin-anglers bliss: Chasing tiger muskies and rainbows at Curlew Lake.