Fishing Report for Idaho's Clearwater Region April 10, 2012

This report highlights a few of the best places to fish, what anglers are using and what they are catching. The information is compiled from regional Fish and Game fishery managers, local tackle shops and anglers.

Steelheading is always a mixed bag this time of year.  While fishing is slowing down on the Snake, Salmon and Lower Clearwater, anglers in other areas are still enjoying a great spring season.

Steelhead are still being caught in the upper Clearwater around Kamiah and Kooskia, and on the North Fork Clearwater at Orofino.  Anglers drifting baited jigs, corkies, and bobbers are doing the best.  Anglers fishing the South Fork Clearwater River up to and above Golden are also doing well.  The Little Salmon River at Riggins produced some great fishing last week and should stay good through the end of April, depending on the river flows. 

Spring brings some of the best fishing of the year at our lowland lakes.  By the end of April, most of these water will be stocked with catchable rainbow trout.  Winchester Lake can provide good trout, yellow perch and crappie fishing through the spring.  Spring Valley or Moose Creek are good spots for trout or bluegill.  Elk Creek Reservoir has good rainbow and brook trout fishing.  Mann Lake near Lewiston can provide some great trout, crappie, and bass fishing in the spring.

The best kokanee fishing on Dworshak Reservoir is usually in April, May and June, with most of the action occurring between the dam and Dent Bridge.  Water levels in Dworshak are usually down as far as 80 feet in the early spring but rise to nearly full pool by June.  Boat anglers trolling slowly with weighted line or 1-3oz weights with standard spinner-gear with hooks baited with maggots or corn are reporting fair catches.  Rainbow and cutthroat trout fishing will also be picking up with the onset of warmer weather, especially at mouths of tributary streams.

Remember from December 1 through Friday before Memorial Day weekend, the reservoir above Grandad Bridge is barbless hooks only and no bait allowed except for maggots. 

Fishing area rivers and streams can be very tough this time of year with fluctuating water flows.  Some smallmouth bass and channel catfish have been taken in the Snake River, mostly in the Lewiston area.  Look for this fishery to pick up as the weather warms water temperatures to the mid 50’s.  Curly tailed grubs fished in 10 to 12 feet of water near rocky structure are the mainstay for smallmouths.  Catfish in the 4-8-pound range are commonly caught on bait such as nightcrawlers, stink-bait and power-bait.

Fishing for sturgeon will also pick up as the water warms and spring flows muddy the water.  Sturgeon anglers should practice low-impact techniques that include pinching hook barbs down, using circle-hooks instead of J-hooks and never remove sturgeon from the water.  All sturgeon caught in Idaho must be released immediately.

Please check the regulations before going fishing and contact the Clearwater Region at (208) 799-5010 if you have specific questions.

Interested in helping others discover the joys of fishing? Bring your family and friends to an Idaho Fish and Game’s Take Me Fishing Trailer event. It’s free and open to everyone. Equipment, bait and instruction provided. Participants do not need a fishing license during the event. Just show up and have some fun.  These events are located in easy to reach areas, have good access to the water and restroom facilities.

    Saturday, April 14, 9am to noon at Mann Lake, Lewiston
    Sunday, April 15, 9am to noon at Robinson Pond, Kamiah
    Saturday, April 22, 9am to noon at Hordemann Pond, Moscow
    Saturday, April 28, 9am to noon at Spring Valley, Troy
    Sunday, April 29, 9am to noon at Mann Lake, Lewiston

Salmon fishing season is just around the corner with the season to begin April 22 in the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon, and Little Salmon rivers.   Remember to review a copy of the Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules brochure before casting a line.
A major goal of Idaho fishery managers is to maximize salmon fishing opportunity.   However, a variety of biological and regulatory factors make managing seasons a complicated process.  To be responsive to the changing fishery, the Department may implement inseason changes to the seasons and limits. Because of this, salmon anglers are encouraged to stay informed of season changes and be flexible in their fishing plans.  For updated information, consult a license vendor, an IDFG office, the Salmon Fishing hotline:  855-287-2702, or this website.

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