Fishing Report for May 18, 2012 / ODFW

May 19, 2012 10:27 am

May can be excellent month to go trout fishing


Weekend fishing opportunities

Several area lakes and ponds have been stocked this spring. Combine that with holdover trout from last season and this can be an excellent time to go trout fishing.


The steelhead season closed April 15. The Grande Ronde River will reopen for fishing on May 26.

IMNAHA RIVER: steelhead

The steelhead season closed April 15. The Imnaha River will reopen for fishing on May 26.

JOHN DAY RIVER: Trout, smallmouth bass and channel catfish

Steelhead are now spawning in the tributarie, which are closed to fishing. Fishing season above Kimberly will not open until May 26.

Below Kimberly smallmouth bass and channel cat fishing is slow right now but should improve in a few weeks, once snowmelt decreases. 

MORGAN LAKE: trout, bullheads, bass

Brown bullhead were the catch of the day at the recent opening day fishing derby.  

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

Legal and trophy-sized trout were stocked the week of May 7. As of Jan. 1, a parking permit is required to be on the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

Anglers are reporting variable catch rates as kokanee have appeared to disperse from the south end of the lake. Some anglers are also finding holdover trout, and a few nice lake trout are being reported. Surface temperatures were in the upper 40s as of last weekend. The north-end boat dock is now installed, but there is no dock on the south end at the state park.


The steelhead season closed April 15. The Wallowa River will reopen for fishing on May 26.



BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, perch, catfish, bluegill, trout

Current water level is at 2,039 feet and rising. Water has reached the bottom of the paved surface at Hewitt Park and boats are being launched. Boats are being launched at Swede’s Landing and Woodhead Park on the Idaho side. Crappie are biting in the Brownlee Arm and are quite large, averaging 12 inches.

Fishing is also good for early spawning smallmouth bass that tend to be larger. Some perch were being caught as well. Trout can usually be caught at stream mouths this time of year. Connor Creek is usually good for trout. Call the Idaho Power Co. recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites.

OXBOW RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish

Fishing has been good for early spawning smallmouth.

HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish

Trout may be picked up at stream mouths this time of year.


Steelhead season closed April 30. The Snake River upstream of Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam is currently open for spring chinook, but very few fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam. Anglers are also reminded that new for 2012, only adipose-clipped trout may be kept in the Snake River.

SNAKE RIVER (Above Brownlee Reservoir): channel catfish, flathead catfish, smallmouth bass

Fishing for catfish and smallmouth bass is slow. Flows at the Nyssa gauge averaged 17,259 cfs and flows at the Weiser gauge averaged 33,624 cfs (May 6). Water temperature of the Snake River near Weiser was 49˚F (May 6).  Boaters should continue to use caution the Snake River is high and turbid. Old debris remains in the river channel and new debris maybe enter the river from tributaries.



Weekend fishing opportunities:

With water levels on several area reservoirs at or near capacity, trout fishing has been heating up. We’re getting reports of good fishing (and big fish) at Phillips, Pilcher, Krumbo, Priday, Thief Valley and Unity reservoirs.

Mann Lake has been yielding good catches of trout averaging 15 to 16-inches.

This time of year, the Powder River below Thief Valley Reservoir can be a good place to target trout up to 20-inches long.


The water level is at 88 percent full.  Sampling on Phillips Reservoir shows nice sized trout (12-14 inches). Legal-sized trout were stocked early to mid-April. Yellow perch have spawned and moved back into deeper water.

  PILCHER RESERVOIR: trout, crappie

Water level is at 100 percent full. Gillnet samples indicate rainbows up to 16 inches are available.

POWDER RIVER: trout, spring chinook

Opened for general trout fishing on April 28. The river below Thief Valley Reservoir is a good location to catch large rainbow trout up to 20 inches this time of year. The 1,000 feet of river immediately downstream of the dam is open to public access.  Do not enter private property without permission.


Trout fishing has picked up trout 12 to 20 inches being common. Some recent sampling showed some 11- to 13-inch yellow perch in the reservoir as well.  

 UNITY RESERVOIR: trout, bass, crappie

Water level is at 98 percent full. Fishing should be good for trout.

WOLF CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, trout

Water level is at 100 percent full. Should be good for rainbow trout.