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Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

Spokane resident Steve Moss went to Rocky Ford on Tuesday, experiencing “Chamber of Commerce” weather and cooperative fish. “The early morning consisted of a scud breakfast chased a short while later by a brief but prolific callibaetis appearance, which flowed nicely into a midge emergence,” he said. He added that then, as is often the case at Rocky Ford, the fish refused everything.

Fly fishing on Amber can be phenomenal, but it always seems best when the wind is from the southwest. Use a floating line and indicator with blood worms and small chironomids.

Blue-winged olives, midges and winter stoneflies are out in abundance on the Yakima. The March brown mayflies should be starting soon.

Salmon, steelhead

Jason Clausen at the new Camp, Cabin and Home in Orofino said the Clearwater proper is “spotty” for steelhead and the South Fork is the place to go. The river is low and clear but a lot of new, bright B-runs have arrived recently. Egg fishing is the most popular method.

Steelheading has been reportedly excellent near the mouth of the Grande Ronde and near the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, which flows into the Grande Ronde northeast of Troy, Ore.

The Upper Columbia Steelhead fishing continues to be good on Lake Pateros using baited quarter-ounce Rock Dancer jigs. The season will close March 31.

Spring chinook should be available in increasing numbers on the lower Columbia for boat and bank anglers. They have been striking in “fits and starts” said WDFW biologist Joe Hymer. Boat anglers have better odds, because the river’s so low.

Trout, kokanee

Sprague Lake rainbow are cooperating for trollers dragging plugs. The smallest are about 14 inches long.

Lake Roosevelt trout and kokanee anglers have found an erratic bite. Branditt West, Colville Tribe Creel Clerk, reported recently checking 24 anglers with 23 trout and six kokanee in Spring Canyon. Two friends who covered a lot of water earlier this week had one three-fish day followed by a 12-fish day. The kokanee are right on top. West reminds Roosevelt anglers to turn in their Floy tags soon, as the first drawing for Cabela’s gift certificates is April 1.

Rufus Woods remains consistently inconsistent. You can expect to catch big trout there, but you can’t expect to catch them every time.

Jon Petrofski of Spokane reports good trout fishing at Coffeepot Lake using Hotshots. He said his biggest was 21 inches.

The region’s winter-season fisheries in Stevens County – Williams and Hatch lakes near Colville – offer completely open-water fishing for stocked rainbows for the rest of the month. Both close March 31.

Good fishing reports continue to come out of the Quincy Wildlife Area. Quincy Lake has been one of the best lately, but Caliche is also producing a lot of 10-inch trout. In the Okanogan, Roses Lake boat anglers have had some of the best surface trolling for rainbow and tiger trout. Roostertails, Wedding Rings and green and black Wooly Buggers and Muddlers are effective. Add a quarter-ounce sinker to get just below the surface.

Spiny ray

Spokane tournament fisherman Bob Ploof launched at Fort Spokane this week, covering a lot of water but taking home a nice mess of 18- to 20-inch Lake Roosevelt walleye. Ploof said he and a partner did best on a gold Critter Gitter blade bait.

Elsewhere on Lake Roosevelt, anglers fishing the Spokane Arm were taking a lot of walleye, but they were skinny and mostly less than 15 inches. The most productive presentation has been bottom walkers with a baited Spin & Glow. This is the time the smaller male fish push into the arm to await the arrival of the larger females. The Spokane Arm closes to walleye fishing at the end of March.

Walleye fishing has been good on the Columbia River around the Tri-Cities and McNary Dam. Banks Lake anglers are beginning to find walleyes on Barker Flats in 35-40 feet of water. In Grant County, the Lind Coulee is heating up. Walleye fishing isn’t fast, but trolled crappie harnesses are taking 17- to 19-inch fish out of 20 feet of water.

Perch fishing around the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake has been “crazy,” said Mike Graham at Mike’s Bait and Tackle in Moses Lake. He said he has heard rumors of 17-inch perch and has seen a few 15-inchers.

Downs Lake is beginning to give up a few largemouth bass, despite the 41-degree water temperature.

Other species

Those hoping to catch lingcod off the south coast haven’t made it out yet. Heavy seas kept most boats at the dock for several days after marine areas 1-3 opened for lingcod fishing, said Wendy Beeghley, a WDFW fish biologist. “Based on the latest reports, they may not be able to get out for another week,” she said.

Ocean beaches are tentatively scheduled to open March 26 for a weeklong razor clam fishery.


The Washington State chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will conduct a drawing for extra wild turkey hunting tags Saturday at the Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show in Spokane. The $5 raffle tickets may be purchased at the show. The winner receives three extra turkey tags that can be used from April 1 through May 31 and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere@