Anglers are having moderate success fishing the lower pens at Rufus Woods with black mirabeau jigs at 25 feet. The edge of the hump west of the pens has also been productive for trollers pulling Rippin’ Minnows and 21/2 colors of leaded line into the current. There have been numerous reports of 8- to 12-pound triploids.
Rock Lake is good for trollers dragging a variety of lures. Perch Rapalas and Wedding Rings sweetened with ’crawler have been enticing browns and rainbows. Don’t be afraid to experiment on Rock. There are days when plastics thrown toward shore are all that trigger a strike.
Ten anglers in four boats accompanied “Skipper” Bill Bongers to Lake Roosevelt last Saturday, trolling between Whitestone and the mouth of the San Poil. Limits came quickly and included one kokanee. The triploid trout ranged from 16 inches to almost 24. A pink Mini Apex was the hot item, tipped with either corn, a small piece of worm or maggots. Fish were 7-11 feet beneath the surface.
Bank anglers fishing out of Fort Spokane, Spring Canyon and Seven Bays are also making good catches of red-meated triploids. “Sandwiches” of worm, marshmallow and Powerbait are popular.
Ice fishing in the Okanogan’s Roses Lake has been good for trout and perch. Powerbait just off the bottom can produce limits of 10- to 13-inch rainbows in less than an hour.
Steelhead and salmon
Steelhead fishing is still decent, if not good, on the Snake River. Bank anglers at Wawawai were doing nothing at midweek and the water was slightly colored. But guide Tim Johnson said his three boat clients on Jan. 7 hooked 11, landed eight and had six keepers. He said there is a lot of weekend traffic on the river and many of the good holes are quickly occupied.
The Clearwater River is improving some above Orofino, but the fishing is not great. Elsewhere in Washington and Idaho, tributaries are running high and dark and fishing is not good. There is an exceptionally strong run of winter steelhead piling into Washington and Oregon coastal streams, but as of this writing, water conditions were not optimum. Good reports have come recently from the Bogachiel near the hatchery. A small red spin-n-glow with a trailing red Corky and yarn is an effective setup.
On the Olympic Peninsula, anglers may retain one wild steelhead per season if it is caught in designated waters of 11 state rivers. The waters are the Bogachiel, Calawah, Clearwater, Dickey, Goodman, Hoh, Hoko, Pysht, Quillayute, Quinault and Sol Duc rivers
Steelhead fishing below Chief Joseph Dam is said to be good. Quarter-ounce Rock Dancer jigs with purple shrimp are the ticket.
Spokane-area ice fishermen are having their most consistent luck at Silver Lake, with numerous reports of 100 or more perch per angler. Of these, perhaps a quarter are deemed worthy of cleaning. Anglers who move around and try deeper water say it is not impossible to find 9-inch perch, and there are random reports of fish pushing 13 inches. Black Shrimpo jigs tipped with maggot, perch eyes or worms are popular at Silver. Despite warming weather, the ice is still a solid 7 inches.
Waitts Lake perch anglers have to fish longer for their bites, but there have been reports of 11-inch fish. Most access the lake at the public access and spread out in all directions. Brown trout are sometimes more numerous than perch in angler buckets.
Eloika Lake is somewhere between Waitts and Silver in productivity. The best bite is north of the public access. Try to find water more than 8 feet deep, drill a lot of holes and keep moving. On a midweek morning trip, a friend and I caught 25 perch and released almost that many sunfish and grass pickerel – not fast, but interesting. Both of us used the smaller Swedish Pimple. Replacing the treble hook with a single hook makes it easier to release fish.
There have been numerous reports of large crappie caught from Eloika north of Jerry’s Landing near dusk. Though bass were prevalent last year, no one I know has caught one this winter. Eloika ice is at least a foot thick.
Aerators around the Mardon docks on Potholes Reservoir near Moses Lake are keeping the water open. Several large walleye have been taken there recently. Elsewhere in the Columbia Basin, anglers are still ice fishing on Moses Lake, but with the warm, wet weather, the ice could deteriorate quickly.
In northern Idaho, there are many ice fishing opportunities for spiny ray species. A few are Avondale (small perch, fair crappie, occasional largemouth bass, sunfish and bullhead); Blue in Bonner County (small perch, crappie, bass and an occasional channel catfish); Cocolalla (lots of 6- to 8-inch perch and a few crappie); Dawson (perch 7-9 inches, with occasional crappie, bluegill and bass); Fernan (perch 7-10 inches, with occasional crappie, bass and northern pike); Gamble (perch 8-12 inches, but not numerous, occasional bass, sunfish and crappie); Hauser (perch 7-10 inches, occasional crappie, sunfish, and bass) and Hayden (northern pike and Some perch). There are many more.
This will be the last weekend for Washington hunters to bag a pheasant, chukar, grey partridge or quail. I hunted chukars in Wawawai Canyon this week, just to remind myself it is a young man’s game. A friend and I bumped two coveys of quail and shot a handful, but we saw none of the red-footed birds. A nephew in Yakima has talked me into one last chukar hunt near Yakima this weekend. He said he is flushing six coveys a trip. I reminded him that his legs are 35 years younger than mine, but he has guaranteed some shooting.
There have been reports of huge flocks of Canada geese in the Medical Lake/Airway Heights area, but they have been difficult to pattern. It appears some ducks have moved back into the area.
In Moses Lake, guide Gary Russell of Quackers Guide Service said duck hunting the past 10 days has ranged from tough to phenomenal. On Wednesday, he reported “huge feeder flocks of mallards” that were difficult to decoy. Russell said that on different days last week there were a lot of gadwalls and a lot of bluebills in his clients’ bag of ducks.
It is doubtful that any new Canadian ducks have entered the area, but reports from the Umatilla area say that on some days, there are lots of mallards and they act as if they had never seen a decoy.