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Hunting and fishing

Fri., March 18, 2011

Fly fishing

There has been a significant amount of Skwala stonefly nymph activity throughout the day on the Yakima River.  Most success has been using a dropper system with a Skwala stone as the lead fly and a San Juan worm or beadhead as the dropper fly.  The river has been flowing at a good level for wading or floating.  Cool temperatures are predicted for the week, setting the stage for a slow snow melt and good river conditions.

I’ve had no reports from Sprague Lake fly fishermen yet, but a troller dragging Rapalas down the middle had a great day on 17- to 23-inch fish at midweek and reported seeing “tons of bugs” in the shallows.

Trout and kokanee

Three friends and I fished Lake Roosevelt from shore near Hansen Harbor this week and experienced the fastest bite ever. Four limits were beached in less than two hours, all trout running between 16 and 19 inches.

Friends who fished Amber Lake last weekend said the water was 37 degrees. Though they caught two large rainbow, most of their fish were recent plants.

Burke Lake is still one of the most productive of the lakes in the Quincy Wildlife Area in Grant County. The 10- to 13-inch rainbow are hitting Power Bait on a slip sinker thrown from shore. There is no need to fish too far out.

The early-season brown trout bite is on at Liberty Lake. WDFW personnel report checking anglers with limits last week. Flatfish and Roostertails trolled about 80 yards out along the shore have proven effective.

Brave ice-fishermen are still catching fish through weak ice at Hog Canyon. Limits of trout, mostly browns in the 15-inch range, are being caught by boat anglers at Rock Lake.

Trolling for lake trout on Lake Chelan offers “easy pickings for fish from 15-21 inches,” says Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service (866-360-1523). He suggests trolling the face of Manson Bay at depths between 175 and 200 feet. Jones says you can troll along for five minutes without seeing a fish on your sonar, and then your screen will be covered with fish.

 The shoreline is ice-free on Roses Lake in Chelan County.  Pretty soon the boat ramp will be usable. 

Ice on the Idaho Panhandle lakes is mostly unsafe. There is enough open water around the edges of Fernan to fish from shore for trout.

Steelhead and salmon

There are still a lot of steelhead to be had above Orofino if the water isn’t too muddy.  The South Fork Clearwater hit 1,000 cfs on Wednesday, and the Clearwater itself was running at about 30,000 cfs. Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River was much better than anywhere on the Clearwater last week.

The Grande Ronde has been up and down all winter. At midweek, it was raging at 7,000 cfs. When it comes down – as it always does – the Hatchery Hole and the Pear Tree Hole will be good. Before the blowout, a chartreuse corky and red yarn would consistently take fish.

On a more positive note, ice is now off the Methow and conditions are said to be “perfect.” The Okanogan, too, is fishing well, taking some of the pressure off the main stem of the Columbia, which will be closing at the end of the month.

The Wind River and Drano Lake opened for spring chinook on Wednesday with a limit of two chinook per day. Fishing success will be slow at first, as only 49 fish had crossed Bonneville Dam through Tuesday.

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook are hitting herring and deep diver plugs in the top 35 feet of water.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing has been hit and miss on the Columbia near Brewster. This is the pre-spawn period, which supposedly makes them easier to catch, and several fish more than 10 pounds have been caught and released.

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been more consistent. Anglers are also beginning to pick up a few smallmouth. A number of burbot have been taken on walleye gear near Fort Spokane.

Eloika Lake still had 4 inches of good ice at midweek, but it was covered with slop. The bite has picked up but still remains inconsistent. A friend caught more than a hundred perch on Sunday and only a few dinks on Tuesday.

Fish Lake in Chelan County is a mess on top, but reports indicate there is still good ice under all the slush and the perch bite has been fast.

Other species

Four ocean beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks – will open for razor clam digging at noon Saturday. Because of a seasonal shift in the tides, digging will be restricted to the hours before noon Sunday-Tuesday. The dig will start at four beaches Saturday and Sunday, then continue at two beaches – Long Beach and Twin Harbors – Monday and Tuesday.


Wild hogs have been reported in Idaho where the Bruneau River enters C.J. Strike Reservoir. Idaho does not classify these feral pigs as protected wildlife or game, and they may be taken in any number, at any time and in any manner not prohibited by state or federal law – and not in violation of state, county, or city laws, ordinances or regulations. An Idaho hunting or trapping license is required; no tag is needed.

Entries in Idaho’s first Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at the Fish and Game headquarters by May 31. Winners will be notified by June 10. The proceeds from the drawing go to Fish and Game’s Access Yes! program, which compensates willing landowners for providing access to or across private lands to hunters and anglers. Entries are available at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices, or via the Internet at cms/hunt/superhunt and on the phone at 800-824-3729 or 800-554-8685.

Contact Alan Liere at

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