Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for February 17

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Fly fishing

The Rocky Ford area is snow free, the road has been graded and anglers are experiencing near spring conditions. Fly anglers will also find opportunities for rainbows on Crab Creek, and Clark Fork in Montana is a decent option. The Clark Fork is also a good bet for some lake whitefish.

The Spokane River and North Fork Coeur d’Alene yield a few trout to anglers who cast nymphs and streamers. There was even a little surface activity in the afternoon. The boat ramps on the North Fork are mostly snow covered.

Steelhead and salmon

Salmon fishing will reopen from February 24 to March 31 in the Seattle/Bremerton area (Marine Area 10) and will be permitted on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with a retention limit of one salmon per angler. Also known as blackmouth, these resident chinooks are known to be aggressive feeders and delicious table food. Other species of salmon such as coho may also be encountered during this fishery and are legal to keep.

Gear fishermen catch plenty of rainbow trout both upstream and downstream from Boggan Oasis on the Grande Ronde, and the river is in very good condition. Racing generally continues until March, although the season ends on April 15. The fish may be a little bigger this year than last. A 14-pounder was caught this year, although a fish of this size from the Grande Ronde is a rarity.

Open water fishing

Lake Roosevelt trout has spread and the fishing isn’t the best, but anglers who stick around will usually catch a few big rainbows while dragging a fly on a lead line. Shore anglers were also experiencing a slow bite this week. A friend who had hoped to fish from shore at Jones Bay said he turned back when he encountered ‘a bobsled track’ on the road to the campground. He ended up in Hansen Harbor where he caught a trout.

The Spokane Arm was spotted this week, but walleye anglers were putting fish in the boat. A few fish over 5 pounds were caught. Most anglers release these females. This is a good time to catch burbot on Lake Roosevelt. Fish near creeks like the mouth of Colville and Hawk Creek, or anchor near one of the net pens or in the Spokane Arm near buoy 5. Fishing is usually best at night or early morning.

The south side of Rock Lake and some of the creeks sometimes produce good trout fishing for rainbows and browns. An orange Rapala with a broken back, dragged or thrown, was effective. Jerk baits also produce fast recovery.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is about as low as it gets and there are few places to launch a boat. Anglers baiting herring from shore find action in bays like Cougar, Wolf Lodge and Blue Creek – anywhere there is public access. Few anglers seek Coeur d’Alene chinook, but the usual hoochies and flashers or helmeted herring and flashers catch a few legal-sized fish. Most are deep, but one boat this week reported catching two fish just below the surface.

Ice Fishing, Washington

Most lakes in Washington and Idaho remain covered in good ice despite recent warm days. The bass fishing has generally slowed down, but there are usually short bursts where it is possible to land a dozen before the hole goes out again. In Washington, try Bear, Sacheen, Diamond, Waitts, Jumpoff Joe, Silver, Thomas, and Curlew. Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, produces 9-inch perch catches for ice anglers. To start perching on all lakes, hammer the bottom to start, then settle into a gentle jigging motion.

Ice fishing at the south end of Lake Eloika produces more largemouth bass and grass pickerel than perch. Anglers with depth finders say the best bite has been where shallow water quickly turns into deeper water. As Eloika is quite shallow, this would mean fishing the edge between 7 and 15 feet. If you pull the weeds through the hole, you’re probably in the right place once the weeds are cleared.

Hog Canyon Lake still drops a few rainbow trout through the ice. Yellow-dough baits have been popular, and a single sockeye salmon egg will often attract strikes when nothing else will.

Some Bead Lake ice anglers park in the small lot with public access and fish all night. Good catches of burbot and lake trout have been reported.

Lac Bonaparte has good ice and anglers catch kokanee, rainbow and tiger trout.

Some tiger trout barely fit through a 6 inch hole in the ice.

Ice fishing, Idaho

There was 9 inches of good ice in Bronze Bay on Spirit Lake this week and anglers were catching a few kokanee.

Lower Twin and Upper Twin both have lots of ice, but water is starting to show up on top. Thorny ray fishing was slow. It’s also slow on Blue Lake, although the ice is still good.

Lake Cocolalla has a solid 9 inches of ice, but the fishing hasn’t been great. Mirror Lake fishing reports are the same.

The kokanee caught this week are only about 7 inches long. The round lake ice is about 10 inches thick and the fishing was good for some nice sized perch and a few rainbows.

Contact Alan Liere at [email protected]

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