Fishing for whitefish on both the Similkameen and Methow rivers is good. Anglers using small weighted nymphs under a strike indicator do best.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt bank and boat fishing is still excellent for rainbow running 15 inches and up. A group of anglers fishing from shore in a bay near Lincoln reported excellent results with marshmallows on slip bobbers just off the bottom. Overall, the lower basin, from Keller Ferry down, has been best for trout and some large kokanee. All are in the top 10 feet of the water column. Pink has been the color of choice for the kokes.
Friends who visited Hog Canyon this week said they caught some nice rainbow on white crappie tube-jigs tipped with a mealworm. A 9-inch bullhead was an unexpected and unwelcome addition to their catch. They also noted the ice was 7 inches thick but that water is running out the end.
The northern winter lakes, Williams and Hatch, still have good ice and plenty of fish. Anglers there recently report good catches of 14-inch rainbow.
Banks Lake is an excellent spot to catch large non-triploid rainbow trout. The northern basin of the lake has been best, with a 10-pounder landed recently.
Rufus Woods has been good for bait fishing, but trolling has been less productive. Another 4,000 triploids were recently released near the net pens. These are typically 2- to 3-pound fish.
Chelan Lake mackinaw fishing is as good as it gets from the trench up to the Yacht Club. Most fish being caught are 3-6 pounds.
Steelhead and salmon
The Clearwater has been busy and good steelhead catches are being made. Guide Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing reported double-digit catches every day last week. He said the Clearwater is better than it has been this time of year for several years.
The Salmon River and the Little Salmon are also heating up for steelhead with angler success running about a fish every 11 hours. The Grande Ronde is back down to near normal and is beginning to produce again.
Boat anglers in the lower Hanford Reach have fared much better with steelhead than shore anglers. The Upper Reach is seeing relatively little angler effort, but boat anglers are averaging a steelhead for each five hours of fishing.
Little-utilized Bear Lake north of Spokane provided some excellent multispecies ice fishing this week for a group of anglers once they moved into shallow water on the south end. Their catch consisted of several channel cats to 24 inches, bass, decent-sized perch and some rainbow trout to 18 inches. Bear Lake is reserved for youth and handicapped anglers and those accompanying them, as well as for seniors older than 70.
Winter walleye angling in the John Day pool is beginning to produce a few fish. Anglers targeting walleye with a vertical presentation in water 30 to 50 feet have taken some large fish.
Cocolalla Lake in Idaho is a good spot to catch a mess of small perch. Go south of the public access. Twin and Hauser lakes have been slow for pike, but some decent-sized bluegills are coming out of Hauser.
Perch fishing is off and on at Eloika, though a few bass of nearly 20 inches have been taken recently through the ice, which is in excellent shape. The north end has provided the most consistent action and the Rat Fink in glow colors baited with either perch eyes or maggots has been effective.
Silver Lake near Cheney has turned on again, but the early-morning bite is still best and the bigger perch are coming from the deep water to the right of the public access.
Night fishing for Lake Roosevelt’s 3- to 5-pound burbot is ramping up, with decent catches already reported at the mouth of the Colville River. Even bigger burbot, up to 10 pounds, are being caught in Sullivan Lake in Pend Oreille County. Night fishing is most effective.
Twin Harbors Beach will open for razor-clam digging Thursday through Feb. 19 and four other ocean beaches will open Feb. 18-19.
Sturgeon angling is good for boat anglers in the Bonneville Pool. Sturgeon anglers in The Dalles and John Day Pools are also catching some fish.
If you haven’t tried jigging for squid, you’re missing out on a fun social event as well as some good eating. Winter is prime time to fish for squid from piers on Puget Sound. Good spots include the Elliott Bay Pier in Seattle and the Edmonds Pier.
The application period for Idaho spring turkey and black bear controlled hunts ends Tuesday. Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; or online at fishandgame.idaho.gov /apps/ch/apply.cfm.