The Grande Ronde is loaded with fish now, and with good visibility, fly fishermen are doing well. The Methow is fair. Try egg patterns.
Rocky Ford near Ephrata is good still for big trout. Sean Visintainer at Silver Bow Fly Shop says midges and blue-winged olives are most effective.
The lower North Fork Coeur d’Alene and the Clark Fork are giving up a few trout to anglers throwing nymphs.
Rufus Woods has been spotty but is picking up. One of the most effective methods of late is to drift the shoreline casting Roostertails or Rapalas.
For the first time in many weeks, anglers are returning from Lake Roosevelt without limiting the boat. Water is dropping and plankton is moving down the lake. This would be a good time to concentrate efforts from Keller down. Triploid anglers are finding the big trout in Swawilla Basin, but kokanee have been tough to come by.
Rock Lake has been fair of late. Brown trout comprise most of the catch. Sprague Lake ice looks dark and there were no anglers out when I drove by this week. Sprague Lake should provide dazzling trout fishing on top when the ice goes out. Catchable-sized spiny ray should be available this year.
Up north, Williams and Hatch are still producing 9- to 10-inch fish, but there aren’t many anglers on the ice.
Priest and Pend Oreille are both easily fishable and both lakes are producing good catches of lake trout.
Steelhead and salmon
The Idaho spring steelhead season has begun. Don’t forget to buy a 2010 fishing license and steelhead permit before heading out. Clearwater River steelheading is being described as “awesome” and “the best so far.” Anglers are catching fish from the Memorial Bridge up, with excellent fishing near the mill. There has been some good bank fishing near Lenore and Peck.
The Snake River is still fishing pretty well. Some of the guides are saying a huge wad of fish that have been loitering in the pool above Lower Granite have become active again and are moving through the system. Best luck has been from Asotin up.
Though the Columbia is slow, ice is off the Methow and Okanogan and steelhead fishing has picked up.
Olympic Peninsula steelheaders report a shot of fresh fish. “There is a lot of steelhead in the rivers for this time of year,” said one. WDFW announced that the entire Skagit system will be closing for all fishing starting Feb. 16.
This is the beginning of the walleye bite on the Columbia near the Tri-Cities. There were reports of an 18-pounder caught last week.
Bonneville, The Dalles and the John Day pools are seeing very few walleye anglers. Of the three, The Dalles seems best. Lake Roosevelt walleyes should be moving toward the Spokane Arm. Anglers are taking large fish shallow and the smaller ones deep.
The last first-hand Silver Lake ice fishing report came in on Jan. 22. At that time, there was only about four inches of good ice – not enough for my 220 pounds. The bigger fish were in 35-45 feet of water and the best bite was early.
Other area ice fishing destinations are iffy. Eloika and Waitts are probably good for another week, but boards may be needed to get to solid ice, which substantially lowers my level of enthusiasm.
Sturgeon anglers are catching legal-sized fish from the Bonneville Pool. Success for boat anglers has been more than 50 percent.
Bead Lake ling cod have been biting at night under the power lines. There have also been reports of some big ling cod coming from Lake Roosevelt by anglers fishing after dark between Hawk Creek and Lincoln.
The application dates for the Idaho spring turkey controlled hunts have been pushed back and will be from Monday through March 1. The application period for spring black bear controlled hunts already has started and runs through Feb. 15. Spring turkey and spring black bear seasons start April 15. Some controlled hunts open later. Leftover tags for spring turkey and bear controlled hunts go on sale April 1. Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game offices; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5 or 1-800-824-3729; or online at fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Washington waterfowlers may hunt ducks and geese every day of the week for the rest of the season, which ends Sunday. There are tons of geese in the Columbia Basin, and quite a few birds are beginning to trickle back onto flooded fields closer to home.