Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Rocky Ford has been excellent for anglers throwing a two-fly rig with an intermediate sinking line. A small leech pattern with a scud dropper has been effective if you can keep the dropper out of the weeds.

Trout and kokanee

Rock Lake is a good destination for anglers tired of looking at ice. It has been kicking out good numbers of rainbow for anglers trolling the cliffs or tossing spinners, but the far end where the creek enters has been best. Bait anglers aren’t doing much from shore. Ice is off the launching area and the water is high.

Sprague Lake is slow, with anglers averaging about a trout each. Most of the recent activity is taking place on the freeway side of the big island. A drive to Hog Canyon on Monday was fruitless. The snow depth has diminished considerably and a four-wheel drive vehicle could probably get in and out if the gate was opened.

Rufus Woods has been tough the last couple of weeks, but nearby Roses Lake is good for 12-inch rainbow and even a few large perch through the ice.

Lake Roosevelt is dropping – good news for bank anglers. Trout are being caught in the bays on either side of net pens at Seven Bays. Hawk Creek has also been good at times, particularly in the evening.

Patterson Lake in the Methow Valley has a good 18 inches of ice and a lot of cooperative rainbow and perch. Trout limits are the rule.

Rainbow trout are also being caught through the ice at other lakes in Okanogan County. Rat Lake near Brewster, Big Green Lake near Omak, Sidley Lake near Oroville and Davis Lake near Winthrop are all producing catches of rainbow trout in the 10- to 13-inch range, plus some larger fish.

Steelhead and salmon

Steelhead fishing has been so good on the Clearwater that some anglers are describing it as “ridiculous.” The best fishing has been from Orofino up. The North and South Fork are also productive. The Grande Ronde is in excellent shape and fishing well.

Steelhead fishing has been slow in open waters on the Columbia River and its tributaries above Wells Dam. Increases in water temperature in February should improve the situation.

Blackmouth fishing in the San Juans (Marine Area 7) is off to a good start, according to Steve Thiesfeld, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Four more areas of Puget Sound will open to fishing for resident chinook on Feb. 14, including marine areas 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 11 (Tacoma-Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal).

There are more native steelhead starting to work their way into the Skagit River. Drifting eggs is most effective out of Rockport.

Spiny ray

Kettle Falls walleye are still on the bite, with reports of many 19- to 22-inch fish as well as some larger ones to 7-8 pounds. Most bites are coming on jigs, but blade baits seem to catch the most fish. Try the Bradbury/Colville Flats area.

The hard water brigades aren’t catching nearly as many perch close to Spokane, but Eloika, Waitts and Silver have good populations that turn on periodically and provide crazy action before shutting down again. Silver Lake is especially excellent at times, though the fish are seldom longer than 8 inches.

Perch fishing on Patterson Lake in the Winthrop area continues to be good, but again, the fish have a tendency to turn on and off quickly. The average size is 7-8 inches, but some are up to 11 inches.

Palmer Lake, north of Loomis, has been good for perch. Palmer also has burbot (freshwater ling cod) and catches of that species are slowly picking up.

Pike fishing at Rose Lake in Idaho has been slow. Water levels are falling in the chain lakes and the ice along the edges is breaking up, reported Spokane resident Greg Cozza. He said ice is only about 5 inches thick, and with the current, he didn’t feel comfortable. Hayden Lake ice is thicker than that on the chain lakes, but the pike bite isn’t any better. The sportsman’s access is still snowed in and you have to walk down from the top road. Hayden was good several weeks ago and should pick up as the weather warms.

Bass and crappie are being caught on Idaho’s upper Twin, across the lake from the access on the far shoreline. Ice is thick and slick.

Other species

A few Bead Lake anglers are finding a good burbot bite beginning in late afternoon and going into the night. Fish are coming from water ranging from 60-90 feet. The 3- to 8-pound fish are hitting large baited jigs, which are also taking an incidental mackinaw, some in the teens. Sullivan Lake burbot anglers are finding fish at similar depths.

Evening razor clam digs are scheduled for today and this weekend at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Long Beach is scheduled for digs Saturday and Sunday.

Digging will be allowed only between noon and midnight, but low tides will be early enough to dig during daylight hours. There are many clams available.

You can contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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