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Hunting + fishing

Fly Fishing

Blue-winged Olives were bringing trout to the surface of the Spokane River in town on Wednesday afternoon.

Yakima River anglers are connecting with stonefly nymphs.

The Clark Fork River is fairly static at 2,240 cfs at St. Regis and water temp is around 40 degrees. Surface activity is rare, but nymphing can be good in slow water near tributaries. Red or pink San Juan Worms are working. Boat ramps and access points are snow-free.

Jon Allen of Silver Bow Fly Shop fished the lower Coeur d’Alene to Cataldo recently and said the fishing was “really good” for cutthroat, mostly14-18 inches. A Golden Stone Nymph was most effective.


Last week, the Colville Tribe released 3,000 triploids at the Rufus Woods lower net pens and anglers are catching them. Fish reportedly run 2-8 pounds, but a group of three anglers checked last week had six fish totaling 50 pounds.

Lake Chelan is at its peak for big Mackinaw above the Yacht Club. Guide, Anton Jones of Darrel and Dad’s Guide Service says normally his boat gets one laker over 10 pounds for every forty fish caught over the course of the year. This week he put 49 lakers in the boat and 10 of them were over 10 pounds.

Lake Roosevelt water came up a little last week and fishing improved. Then, it began dropping again and fishing success tailed off. Pink Apexes tipped with a piece of worm have been effective for trout as well as kokanee. Orange Rapalas trolled behind 100-150 of mono right on the surface are also taking the beefy triploids. A good speed is 1.5 to 3.0 mph.

Area residents Dale Moffat and Dan Davis trolled Spring Canyon on Lake Roosevelt two days this week, catching seven kokanee, including a three and a four-pounder and seven rainbow—quality fish, but not fast by any means. Moffat said all the fish—kokanee as well as trout—were taken on the surface over deep water, making them impossible to graph. Many of the fish were caught on a green Wedding Ring-type lure with double hooks.

Rock Lake is still giving up rainbows and browns. Although a lot of these are in the 15-inch range, there have been several 6-pound browns taken recently. Shore anglers are catching fish at the access, but report the water is beginning to muddy.

Medicare Beach on the Potholes Reservoir in Grant County has been producing some big rainbow for anglers casting Power Bait from shore.

Steelhead and salmon

The Grande Ronde continues to be the hot spot place for steelhead. At Boggan’s Oasis, Bill Vail says fishing is “Unreal” and that many boats are reporting 20-fish days. The ‘Ronde has been good for quite some time now, but its current two-hours-per-fish will be hard to top anywhere. Vail says orange, pink or chartreuse in any lure selection, including flies, is the ticket.

Methow angling tends to be best in the lower river. Jig and bobber anglers also are doing well on the Wenatchee and Okanogan.

The Clearwater is not doing as well as the Snake. Good reports come from both upstream and downstream of the Salmon River. On the Salmon, anglers are averaging a fish every four hours from Whitebird Creek to the Little Salmon.

Counting fish released, steelhead fishing is excellent in The Dalles and John Day pools for boat anglers. Bank anglers are also catching fish.

Spiny ray

Rufus Woods water temperature is 40 degrees and warming. A few large walleye were reported this week.

Friends who fished the Ft. Spokane area of Lake Roosevelt for walleye this week did very well on Monday and Tuesday, but said the fishing slowed considerably on Wednesday. The majority of their fish were 15-18 inchers taken with jigs in 50 feet of water. The bite is extremely light and most have are being hooked in the mouth.

Moses Lake still had a lot of ice on Thursday, but it was melting fast. Potholes Reservoir is virtually ice free and walleye are beginning to bite off the hump at the face of the sand dunes.

Walleye anglers are taking some big fish from the Columbia River near the Tri-Cities. If you’re new to the fishery, just go on a weekend and look for a concentration of boats. Above the Blue Bridge is always popular, as is Indian Island and the water bellow Buoy 30.

Other Species

Lake Roosevelt burbot are following the walleye towards the Spokane Arm. They are prevalent now off the rock ledges across from Seven Bays. If you graph masses of fish hugging the bottom on Roosevelt, most likely you are looking at burbot—also known as freshwater ling. Although homely and tricky to clean, burbot are unsurpassed as table fare.


Unless you hunt rabbits, hunting opportunities in Washington and Idaho are about over until mid-April when the turkey season begins. If you fear your trigger finger will atrophy in the meantime, there are a number of pheasant preserves still open through April and later. Some of the closest are: Squaw Canyon Shooters near Rosalia (509) 523-4833; Double Barrel Ranch near Mica Peak (509) 995-3524; Miller Ranch near Sprague (509) 370-5535; Pheasant Valley Preserve near Lacrosse (509) 549-3912.

Contact Alan Liere via e-mail at

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