Fish active in area lakes - Coeur d'Alene Press: Outdoors

Fish active in area lakes

Fish Tips

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Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:15 am

Fishing is going well, as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike and crappie are all active right now, said Blake Becker, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods.

Largemouth are chasing everything in Lake Coeur d'Alene, so anglers can use a variety of crank and Jerkbaits or any type of plastic patterns.

"There's not a specific thing they're on more than the other," Becker said. "It's kind of a mixed bag of baits right now."

When the sun is out, largemouth swim shallower than when its overcast.

Hayden and Fernan lakes are good spots for them, too.

Crappie fish are really active in Hayden Lake. Use a 1/32 ounce jig head, with either a tube skirt or screw grub from white to red in color in 10 feet of water or less.

Pike fishing is "as great as it can be right now," Becker said, so anglers should use Jerkbaits, smelt, any aggressive Spinnerbait or a Lipless Crankbait on any of the good pike waters like Coeur d'Alene, Hayden and Fernan lakes.

Smallmouth bass fishing is finally starting to heat up as well.

They're a bit deeper than their largemouth counterparts, sometimes 40-50 feet deep, but anglers should use deep-diving Crankbaits, like a 3 XD or Repala DT10.

"Both of those would be good ones to go and just bang the shoreline, bang the rocks," Becker said. "Still, a slower presentation might not hurt you."


Mike Beard, of Orvis Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d'Alene, said lakes like Hauser, Hayden, Fernan and Chain continue to fish well.

There are crappie, bass and pike to be had, he said.

He recommended a woolly bugger in black, olive, with some changes to brighter red, white or chartreuse.

"Evenings have been the best, but mornings should be turning on," Beard said. "Midday has been least productive."

If fisherman want to target pike, he recommended the Chain Lakes, and Rose and Killarney in particular.

"Big streamer type stuff for the pike, with some kind of bite guard," he said.

Trout fishing on the Coeur d'Alene River remains about three weeks away, he said.

Higher elevations snowmelt and recent rains have rivers in the area flowing too high.

If somebody has to have trout, he said they could land some in Eastern Washington.

Coffee Pot and Amber lakes are productive, as is Lower Crab Creek, he said.

Lake fishing best option with high rivers

Lake fishing is the best bet with the rivers roaring from snowmelt and rain, said Bud Frasca of North West Classic Tackle in Hayden.

"The rivers are outrageously high," Frasca said. "I wouldn't even recommend fishing from the bank right now. If you want to fish for trout on the river, you'll have to wait awhile I'm afraid."

The area lakes, meanwhile, offer promising outings.

"The crappie are biting in all of the lakes," Frasca said, mentioning Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, Fernan and Cocolalla. "The bluegill, perch and bass fishing is also pretty good. The bays are the best bet for bluegill."

Frasca said the north end of lakes warm up faster, so those areas are typically better fishing than the southern part.

If anglers want to fish for trout, Frasca said the best bet may be trying several lakes in Eastern Washington, including Amber or Lake Lenore.

Smaller trout - in the 6- to 10-inch range - can be caught in Kelso and Fernan on power bait or worms.


The smaller lakes are bustin' over with trout, said Dale Odenbaugh with Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service.

Lakes like Hauser, Fernan and Cocolalla are all freshly stocked with the fish, Odenbaugh said.

"They generally stock them anywhere from up to six times," he said of hatchery trout released by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. "They stock them pretty good this time of year."

Shore fishermen are snagging trout on powerbait or nightcrawlers with a marshmallow, Odenbaugh said. Others are using rooster tails.

On Lake Coeur d'Alene, chinook salmon are still lingering at shallower depths.

"They're caught on plugs, deep diving plugs," he said. "Herring has been the best."

Pike in the lake are going to be lively, Odenbaugh added, because the majority are out of spawn.

He recommended using spinnerbaits or the Boowah Boogee bait.

"That's a good one," Odenbaugh said.

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