Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for February 24

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Open water fishing

Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt has been baffling as spots that hold good numbers one day are devoid of fish the next. Most of the fish are caught from buoy 1 downstream. If you are fishing above buoy 5, keep your boat in the channel or you risk getting stuck on a sandbar.

Even rainbow trout have been hard to find on Lake Roosevelt at times, and trollers report catching smaller trout around Sterling. As the reservoir continues to drop, shore fishing will become more popular in places like Spring Canyon, Keller, Lincoln, Jones Bay, Hawk Creek, and Fort Spokane.

The triploid rainbow fishing on the Rufus Woods Reservoir was fair. Baitcasters catch big fish near the second set of net enclosures and trollers find success along the “bobbin line” of Chief Joseph Dam.

Ice Fishing, Washington

This is the time of year when ice can leave a lake quickly, but with our current cold snap, hardwater anglers will find more options than usual for the last week of February and the first week Of March.

Tuesday marks the opening of the Tucannon River impoundments in Columbia County, but while the lakes have been ice-free for the past week, it remains to be seen if they will stay that way. These lakes had to be planted before they opened, but the ice might push that back. For current conditions, call The Last Resort at 843-1556.

Spokane County’s Fourth of July and Hog Canyon lakes are open through late March. The 4th of July usually separates first.

Amber Lake in Spokane County opens Tuesday for catch-and-release fishing until the general fishing season opens in late April. Anglers can expect to catch Cutthroats and Rainbows, but this may be an ice fishing event for a while. Other openings near Spokane on Tuesday are Liberty, Deer, Medical and Downs, all of which have ice.

Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County is another open on Tuesday, but it too is covered in ice. There are big rainbows at Coffeepot, as well as perch, bass, and bullhead. Coffeepot is a selective gear lake.

Small Grant County lakes scheduled to open Tuesday have ice, as do Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir. Quincy Lake will be good. Also open are Upper and Lower Caliche, Cascade, Chrystal, Cup, Dry Falls, Dusty, Lenice, Lenore, Martha, Merry, Nunnally, and Spring lakes. Crystal, Cup, and Spring lakes have been the most consistent over the years, and Martha and Upper Caliche are generally the best spring producers. Dry Falls has a great rainbow and browns. Ice fishing may be a possibility for all lakes when they open on Tuesday.

Dusty, a hiking lake, offers a good number of great rainbows and some are huge. There are also tiger trout and brown trout. This is a selective gear fishery with a limit of one fish over 18 inches.

Lenice and Nunnally lakes have triploid rainbow and some brown and tiger trout. Selective fishing regulations are in effect on both lakes. Lake Lenore has plenty of cutthroats and many of them weigh over 4 pounds. Large numbers of pre-spawning Lahontan cutthroats will be caught at the north end of the lake if the ice has cleared. From March to May, it is a selective gear lake.

Sacheen Lake remains one of the best spots in eastern Washington besides Curlew for decent-sized perch, but you probably won’t find them in the first big bay from public access. Fishing has been generally slower lately.

There was quite a bit of fishing activity at the lower end of Banks Lake and also near Coulee Playland at the upper end. The ice in these places looks good, but there are areas of open water elsewhere. Most recent efforts have been on lake whitefish, although a friend fishing these fish also caught walleye.

Anglers still catch a good number of fish on the frozen lakes in the northern part of the Okanogan. Patterson Lake, near Winthrop, produces rainbow trout and perch.

Fishermen from Lac Bonaparte (east of Tonasket) catch brook trout and kokanee. Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee still sees decent ice fishing for perch and trout.

Ice fishing, Idaho

Bronze Bay on Spirit Lake saw a few kokanee caught but was not as productive as in years past.

There is no parking at the boat launch, but anglers park on the road and take a short walk to the water. Kokes are usually small.

Granite Lake has good ice and sometimes the trout bite is good. When it dies down, however, there is usually a long wait before the bite resumes. Blue Lake has 14 inches of hard ice and a similar bite to Granite.

Recent cold temperatures likely won’t do much for ice conditions on Priest Lake, especially at the south end. Cavanaugh Bay has ice, but it doesn’t look good. Northern berries might be better. Mackinaw fishing has sometimes been fair.

Other species

WDFW has confirmed that the next round of knife digs can go ahead as planned from Saturday to March 4. State shell managers also tentatively scheduled 25 knife digs at ocean beaches in March and April.

“After great fall and winter clams, we still have plenty of harvestable clams ready to dig just as well during spring low tides,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW Coastal Shellfish Manager. “Diggers can expect abundant populations of nice-sized clams on all beaches.” From March 21 and until April, the excavations will take place at low tide in the morning.

Shellfish and seafood lovers can start planning to attend the Ocean Shores Razor Clam and Seafood Festival from March 18-20 and the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival from April 16-17.

Both of these long-running events celebrate the knives’ unique contribution to Washington’s coastal culture and communities.

Contact Alan Liere at [email protected]

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