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Hunting & Fishing

Ice fishing, Washington

Ice is thick enough now on most popular lakes in the Spokane region to support anglers safely. The ice is 3 to 6 inches thick.

Hog Canyon, Fourth of July and Williams lakes are good bets for trout fishing this weekend.

Biggest rainbows are in Fourth of July. Carryover fish are 14 to 20 inches. Yearlings are 10 to 11.

Rainbows in Hog Canyon are 10 to 14 inches with a few to 16.

Silver Lake is a good bet for big brown trout. Some anglers, fishing through ice at the north end of the lake, have been taking limits of 14- to 18-inch browns. Silver and Clear are open the year-round.

Anglers are fishing through several inches of ice on Williams Lake, biologist Curt Vail said. A few have been standing on ice and fishing in water kept open by an aerator. Rainbows are 10-14 inches.

Vail said Hatch, east of Colville, is covered by thick ice. Rainbow fishing will be poor this winter, but anglers should catch some 9- to 10-inch perch.

Fishermen will catch perch, bluegills, crappies and an occasional bass and walleye through the ice at Sprague Lake.

The perch population in Sprague has exploded the last couple of years. Anglers likely will catch more than any other species this winter.

Most of the perch anglers will catch are 8 inches long, but some more than 12 inches are in the lake.

Fishermen aren’t likely to catch as many bluegills as they’ve caught the last three or four winters. The bluegill population seems to have dropped significantly the last year.

Eloika and Waitts produce small perch. Vail said 250 broodstock brown trout were released into Waitts last month. Some of those fish, plus browns already in the lake, will be caught by ice fishermen.

Most of the small lakes in the Columbia Basin are ice-covered, but the ice at mid-week wasn’t thick enough to support anglers safely.

When the ice is 4 or more inches thick, fishermen will catch perch at Soda and Long lakes, as well as the Potholes Reservoir. Anglers should catch some good-sized lake whitefish at Soda.

Ice fishing, Idaho

Most of Idaho’s small lakes are covered with several inches of hard ice and anglers are taking perch and a few pike from some lakes, Ross Fister of the Fins & Feathers shop in Coeur d’Alene said.

Two popular lakes are Fernan, immediately north of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Hauser, Fister said. Anglers have been taking large numbers of perch, mostly 8 to 9 inches, from Fernan. Perch in Hauser are slightly smaller.

Small perch are plentiful in the lakes adjacent to the lower Coeur d’Alene River, Fister said, but most anglers are trying for pike. It’s legal to use as many as five tip-ups when fishing through ice at Idaho lakes, and some fishermen use that many.

Nearly all the pike caught in Killarney, Medicine and Anderson lakes have been small.

To catch big perch, Fister said, anglers must fish such lakes as Shepard, Perkins and Herman. Perch in them are 10 to 12 inches.

Chinook salmon

Trollers are continuing to catch good numbers of chinook salmon at Lake Coeur d’Alene, Fister said. Several 10- to 12-pounders were boated the last week. Anglers are trolling flashers and mini-squids in 100 to 150 feet of water.

Priest Lake

Trolling for mackinaw trout has been “fantastic” the last couple of weeks, Fister said. Although most of the macks are small, running 3 to 6 pounds, some 20-pounders have been boated.


Hottest spot has been the lower Tucannon River. Biologist Art Viola said anglers averaged 5 hours per steelhead last weekend.

Other checks: Walla Walla, 12.3 hours; Snake at Tucannon mouth, 10.4 hours; and Little Goose, 19.6.

Non-Indians no longer have to buy both a state fishing license and a Nez Perce tribal $10 license to fish the Clearwater River within the Nez Perce boundaries.

As the result of an agreement between the tribe and state, non-Indians only have to buy a state license to fish for steelhead. The agreement is similar to one between Washington and Idaho pertaining to fishing boundary waters.

Fishing has been slow along the Clearwater; consequently, few are likely to fish the river this weekend. Fishing also has been slow along the Snake above Clarkston.

Emergency regulations requiring anglers to release wild steelhead caught on 18 Western Washington streams were adopted last week by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The new regulations do not affect the taking of hatchery steelhead, which can be identified by the absence of an adipose fin on the top side of the fish near the tail.


Tens of thousands of ducks and geese that had moved to the upper Columbia Basin and the Spokane region during the recent mild weather have moved back to the Columbia and lower Snake rivers.

Best bets for ducks is in the Ringold Springs area above the Tri-Cities and the Washington portion of the Umatilla refuge.

Only a few hunted the Ringold Springs area last weekend, but those who did shot limits. One group reported taking limits of greenheads in less than 30 minutes.

Idaho’s duck season is closed, but the goose season will be open through this weekend. There are enough geese using Lake Coeur d’Alene for good shooting.

MEMO: This sidebar ran with story: LICENSE REMINDER Sportsmen must purchase 1995 hunting and fishing licenses to participate in seasons that continue through the new year.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Fishing & Hunting Report

This sidebar ran with story: LICENSE REMINDER Sportsmen must purchase 1995 hunting and fishing licenses to participate in seasons that continue through the new year.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN - Fishing & Hunting Report