Free chinook seminar at Cabela's Sunday

Fish Tips

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Cabela's will offer a free chinook salmon fishing seminar on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the fishing department.

There is no registration. Mike Cordon of Adventure Guide Service will speak.

Rick Cokley of Cabela's said chinook salmon on Lake Coeur d'Alene is heating up.

However, fishing on the Idaho streams has been slowed due to the recent rain.

"The lower Coeur d'Alene could be fishable depending on the rain levels we get," he said.

Steelhead fishing near Orofino and Lewiston remains a popular choice, although recent rains have also hampered that.

"I'd check with someone down there before heading out," Cokley said.

Cokley went fly fishing this week on Amber Lake south of Cheney on the Washington side and said the fishing was "very good."

Rainbows of up to 23 inches were caught on small nymphs.

"The fish seem to be bigger than in past years," Cokley said. "They survived the winter pretty well."

Amber is a special regulation lake, including catch and release and requiring single-barbed hooks.

Medical Lake is also now open and should be coming into good shape, Cokley said. He said he heard West Medical had a fish dieoff over the winter.

•••

Hayden Lake and Lake Coeur d'Alene already are giving up some pike this spring, said Pat Way, of Orvis Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d'Alene.

The pike fishing is not great right now, "but it's definitely doable," he said.

"They do take flys well," Way pointed out.

Hayden does better when waters are in the 45-50 degree range, but right now it's lingering in the high 30s, he said.

If fisherman are willing to make the trip, Way said good reports have been coming back about some Eastern Washington lakes.

"They really do have something to offer over there," he said.

He recommended Amber and Coffee Pot lakes.

Rain in the forecast doesn't bode well for stream fishing, he said.

"The main issue is clarity," he said.

But that can change quickly.

He recommends fishermen check with Orvis for the latest stream-fishing conditions.

•••

Chinook continue to tempt fishermen on Lake Coeur d'Alene, said Dale Odenbaugh with Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service.

He recommended dropping lines on the south end of the lake, and fishing above 25 foot depths.

Use herring, he suggested, or the Firetiger Husky Jerk.

"They're running those from 120 to 150 feet behind the boat, sometimes with a little weight and sometimes without," Odenbaugh said.

Panfish are chomping in a number of lakes, including Fernan, Hauser and the Chain Lakes, he added.

Use jigs with maggots or Berkley Crappie Nuggets to snag panfish like bluegill, crappie and perch, he said.

Trout are becoming more active, too, he said. He advised using a nightcrawler with a marshmallow or powerbait.

He has recently weighed in some hefty pike, too, he said. Fishermen have hauled in pike as heavy as 28.9 pounds.

"Pretty much any bay on the lake," Odenbaugh said of where to find such beasts in Lake Coeur d'Alene. "There's a lot of water in the bays, so there's going to be pike."

He suggested using smelt or herring, hanging off a bobber. A spinnerbait worked slow off the bottom could work, too, as well as working a Husky Jerk very slow.

"Everything's going to be slow, because the fish aren't too quick right now," Odenbaugh said.

•••

The Strike King/Black Sheep Ice Breaker Bass Tournament is Sunday, so any tips on how and where to catch bass won't be offered this week in the name of fair play and competitive balance, according to Blake Becker, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods.

"People are being quiet right now," he said of the Sunday tournament on Lake Coeur d'Alene, which is open to the public. "It's so close."

Bass are out there, and can be caught, but so are pike.

Fish from 17 to 24 pounds are being pulled from Wolf Lodge, Mica and Sunup bays on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

"The pike in general right now are definitely the No. 1 species," Becker said.

Anglers are using Husky Jerks, or using smelt with a steel leader. Lake levels are generally rising across the region, but go after pike in 7 feet of water or less. Keep the smelt a foot off the bottom, or between the 3 or 4 feet deep.

Perch and cutthroat trout are active in Lake Fernan, too.

Smaller crappie jigs, tipped with a maggot, work best for the perch, while cutthroats are going after PowerBaits with a split shot hook dangling right off the bottom of the lake. Perch are generally striking lines about three feet below the surface.

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