The water level in Merwin Reservoir was dropped on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, leaving the ramp at Speelyai Bay too low to launch boats.

That forced at least five boats that I’m aware of to divert to Yale Reservoir. Fishermen in those five boats caught a whopping one kokanee.

On Thursday, it was snowing on Yale.

Merwin’s water level is supposed to be back to elevation 228 feet, which is down 12 feet and about enough water to launch most boats, at 2 p.m. Friday.

Yale Reservoir rarely is worth fishing before mid-May. The water at Yale normally is only about a degree cooler than Merwin, but the bite seems to ramp up six weeks to two months later.

Go figure.

WALLEYE: For a column regarding northern pike showing up in the Pend Oreille River system, I asked the state Department of Fish and Wildlife how walleyes got to the Columbia River.

I remember early in my career how walleye were mostly in the Lake Roosevelt area, then they started showing in the early 1980s downstream of John Day Dam.

Here’s the response I got from Bruce Bolding, warmwater program manager for the department:

“Walleye were first identified in Washington around 1960 in Banks Lake.  No one knows for certain how they got there but most likely, it was a ‘bucket biologist’ bringing them from out of state.  From Banks Lake, they spread both upstream into Lake Roosevelt, again, probably as a result of illegal stocking, and downstream, probably from illegal stocking and entrainment through the Columbia Basin irrigation system: from Banks to Billy Clapp to Moses Lake, Potholes, Scooteney Reservoir and into the Columbia River.  They have continued to spread downstream and natural production has created a large population in the main stem of the river, from Canada to Portland/Vancouver.”

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