Outdoors

Idaho anglers have good choices even during winter


Shawn Mayer, 15, waits for a bite Thursday afternoon while ice fishing on Fernan Lake. Mayer is visiting the area from central Florida and enjoys fishing, so he went out with his uncle to try his luck. Although rain and mild temperatures have left water on the surface of the lake, the ice was still about 6 inches thick. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Shawn Mayer, 15, waits for a bite Thursday afternoon while ice fishing on Fernan Lake. Mayer is visiting the area from central Florida and enjoys fishing, so he went out with his uncle to try his luck. Although rain and mild temperatures have left water on the surface of the lake, the ice was still about 6 inches thick. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING — Drier- and warmer-than-average weather is providing plenty of good fishing opportunities in Idaho this winter, Idaho Fish and Game officials say.

There’s ice-fishing in many parts of the state, but most rivers and streams are open year round, and the lack of snow makes access easy.

Here are a few regional options to consider:

In the Clearwater Region, steelhead fishing is still going strong. Fish responded to the warmer weather and rain last week and moved out of Lower Granite Reservoir, and the fishing picked up. The higher temperatures have also kept the sturgeon biting, and people have reported catching some nice fish over the past three weeks.

The two best ice-fishing spots usually are Winchester Lake and Spring Valley Reservoir, but the ice conditions are hampered by the warmer weather.

In the Panhandle Region, fishing the big lakes – Priest, Pend Oreille, and Coeur d’Alene – continues to be good. Boat launching is easy, the weather has been mild, and anglers have been doing well on lake trout in Priest, Chinook in Coeur d’Alene and rainbows in Pend Oreille.

Colder weather this week should start forming ice on some of the most popular lakes closer to Coeur d’Alene. Until four inches of ice forms in the CdA area, look to Bonner and Boundary counties for lakes with good ice and fishing for perch, bluegill and trout. These would include Kelso, Hauser, Twin, and Round, Smith, Brush, Bonner, Dawson, Perkins and Robinson Lakes.

Popular ice-fishing lakes that needed a bit more ice for ice-fishing before this cold snap are Cocolalla for perch and Spirit Lake for kokanee.

Click here to find out when and where fish have been stocked.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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