March 11, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
Tip of the week

When water is ice-out cold, fish a scented bait by allowing it to sink to the bottom. Pro angler Dean Capra of Minnesota says to leave it there for all of 2 minutes while the scent does its work. If a fish doesn’t hit after 2 minutes, reel it in and cast it to a new spot.

Braggin’ rights

The first annual Trout Derby held by Quincy Valley Tourism came off in fine style Saturday with 537 anglers registered for the adult and youth divisions. Just one tagged trout was landed, by Kellie Shultz of Everett, who has been fishing the opening weekend at Burke for 20 years. She was awarded an envelope full of prizes, including a $100 in cash.

Heads up

• The Spokane Bighorn Outdoor Adventure Show runs Thursday through March 20 at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds. Gates open at noon Thursday.

• The lower Spokane River from the upstream boundary of Plese Flats to Monroe Street Dam closes Wednesday until June 1. The upper river from Upriver Dam to the state line closes Wednesday until the first Saturday in June. WDFW and others will be doing emphasis patrols during the closed seasons.

• Idaho Fish and Game has identified several errors in the 2011-2012 Fishing Seasons and Rules for the Panhandle, Magic Valley and Upper Snake regions. In the Idaho Panhandle, the highest-profile error was omitting Chase Lake. It should have been included in the list of Special Rule Waters on Page 7. The following rules apply to Chase: electric motors only; bass limit is six, only two may be largemouth bass, no largemouth under 16 inches. Also, the section for the lower reach of the Coeur d’Alene River (to the confluence of the North Fork and South Fork) on Page 7 is incorrect. There are no special gear restrictions on this section. The trout limit is six and there is no harvest of cutthroat trout.

• The Two Rivers Spring Fishing Derby will be April 16 and 17. The Fall Derby will be Sept. 17 and 18. Tickets can be purchased at White Elephant stores, Tobler’s and Two Rivers RV Park. For more information call (509) 722-4029 or (509) 215-0202.


• The entire prairie region, from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Edmonton, Alberta, seems to be heading for one of the wettest springs on record, which bodes well for duck production. In some prairie regions, soil moisture is at a 50-year high.

• If Lake Chelan sonar sightings of big schools of fish in the mid-depths are any indication, anglers should be in for a much better kokanee season this year.

Fly fishing

Lenice Lake cutthroat have been active. Fly casters tossing green or black chironomids are finding action on the north side in 8 feet of water. Fish, including a few tiger trout, are mostly running 14-20 inches.

Quincy Lake in Grant County is generally good for fly casters early in the year, and this year is no different. It is a short drive from there to Rocky Ford, which has been excellent for outsized rainbow

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt reports are mixed, with some anglers doing well and others drawing blanks. Three friends who trolled near the dam this week caught trout limits and several kokanee one day but only managed seven trout the next. Wedding Rings trolled with a 4/0 dodger have been effective in the top 20 feet of water. Kokanee are running 3-5 pounds. The pool is low.

Guide Ray Bailey said the Roosevelt fish have moved down the reservoir and are concentrated between Swawilla and the dam. He said broken back Rapalas in genuine fish patterns aren’t working as well as “oddball colors” like plain orange, yellow or tan.

Rock Lake is high and as cold as it was in December. Rainbows and browns are hitting spinners. As soon as it warms up a little and stays that way, the fishing will light up.

Anglers fishing Rufus Woods with slip weights and Power Bait are catching trout limits by drifting with the current and bouncing the bottom in 20-25 feet of water. Shore anglers are doing fairly well on 2- to 3-pound fish at the net pens.

Burke and Quincy lakes in the Quincy Wildlife Area in Grant County are fishing well from shore for trout 10 inches to 21 inches. Martha Lake has been good with most of the trout running 11-13 inches.

Upper Caliche Lake has been slow and trout are small.

Sprague Lake is fishable by boat, but there has been little effort and no reports. In the other direction, Deer Lake still has ice and a couple of anglers were observed out from the public access this week. Liberty Lake has some floating ice but is fishable. No catches have been reported, but shortly after ice-off, big browns are cruising the shallows.

Amber Lake had 4 feet of open water around the edges at midweek and ice is thin. It could be fishable by the weekend. It is doubtful that Coffeepot will be ready.

Downs Lake near Sprague has lost about half its ice. Anglers wishing to fish from a boat need to bring their own, as rental boats won’t be ready for a couple of weeks. That coincides with the projected release of 6,000 catchable rainbow and 2,500 tiger trout.

All trout lakes that opened March 1 in the Wooten Wildlife area in Columbia County are free of ice, but only three had been stocked as of midweek. Blue, Rainbow and Spring are providing decent fishing for rainbow trout, and the other lakes are scheduled for planting by this weekend.

Some ice is still hanging on at Roses Lake in the Okanogan, but it should clear this week and provide good spring fishing. WDFW has stocked catchable rainbow as well as browns, bigger triploids and even some tiger trout.

It seems as if Lake Chelan maintains a consistent mackinaw fishery throughout the year. Anglers are loading up on 3- to 8-pound lakers. It’s not easy fishing, though, as the fish are deep, and going with a guide the first time out is money well spent.

Steelhead and salmon

The South Fork Clearwater saw the most steelhead effort last week, but success didn’t come easily. Although some anglers had phenomenal success, the average was a fish landed for every 13 hours of effort. The North Fork Clearwater didn’t see as many anglers, but the ratio was a fish every 11 hours.

Corkies and yarn have been the favored Grande Ronde offering this week.

Fishing by the hatchery has been decent, the evening bite better than the morning.

Seven adult spring chinook went through Bonneville Dam on Monday, bringing the total to 29. The recent 10-year average for that date is 127.

Spiny ray

Potholes Reservoir in Grant County has provided some good walleye fishing. Anglers blade-baiting in 20-30 feet of water are taking fish 16-24 inches. Water temperature is around 37 degrees.

Lake Roosevelt is giving up a lot of eating-size walleye as well as some large prespawn females that are being released. The best reports are coming out of the Fort Spokane vicinity. The Spokane arm closes March 31.

Ice fishing for perch is becoming a rather cautious endeavor at Silver Lake where the ice is pulling away from shore. Nevertheless, there is still fishing going on and the ice, though sloppy on top, seems to be holding up.

The frantic perch bite at Silver appears to have ended, or at least is not as predictable as it was in early February.

Eloika Lake anglers say the ice is still more than a foot thick and of decent quality. Eloika perch are smaller than usual this winter, but there appears to be an excellent population of largemouth bass. A 6-pounder was hauled through the ice recently.

Don’t ignore the Snake River near Lewiston or Dworshak Reservoir. Some of the largest smallmouth bass of the year will come from these waters in March.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email