If the weather forecasters are right, there could be some fly fishing by the weekend. At midweek, there was too much ice and too much cold to have much fun out there. One of the exceptions is the Yakima River, which Troutwater Fly Shop and Guide Service said is low and clear. They report good rainbow fishing. Nymphs and streamers are the ticket. Info: 509-962-3474 in Ellensburg or 509-674-2144 in Cle Elum.
Salmon and steelhead
The initial 2014 chinook fishing season is set to run March 1 through April 7 on the lower Columbia River. Beginning March 1, anglers fishing downriver from Bonneville Dam may retain one marked, hatchery-reared adult spring chinook per day. The sport fishery will close in that area on two Tuesdays – March 25 and April 1 – to accommodate potential commercial fisheries. Anglers fishing above the dam will also have a one-fish daily catch limit during a season scheduled March 16 through May 9. The fishing area above Bonneville Dam extends upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line.
Chinook fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene slowed down some during the bitterly cold weather, but it is picking up again with trollers going down a hundred feet for their fish. This should be an excellent year for Coeur d’Alene chinook as the numbers are up considerably over last year.
Open water fishing
It’s a broken record, but that’s not a bad thing: Trout fishing on Lake Roosevelt remains good, though trollers had to work a little harder for their fish this week. The Orange and Perch Kekeda flies were doing well in the top 20 feet in 100 feet of water and it didn’t seem to matter which section was fished. The most consistent reports came from the Fort Spokane area. There is good bank fishing available, off beaches at Fort Spokane, Keller, Jones Bay, Lincoln and Spring Canyon.
The 4- to 5-pound triploids from the last Rufus Woods tribal plant have been thinned considerably by anglers on the upper end near Chief Joseph Dam. There is supposed to be another release of 900 triploids this week, some as large as 8 pounds.
Two friends and I fished the north end of Eloika Lake this week. While the bite was not fast, it was fairly steady. Between 8 a.m. and noon, we iced about 45 perch between 8-10 inches. The male fish, while generally smaller, actually fillet easier and have more meat than the larger, egg-laden females.
Bear Lake, just off Highway 2 heading north toward Riverside, is for juveniles 15 and younger or those with disabilities and a reduced license fee. Accompanying adults are also allowed to fish. Bear Lake is multispecies with perch, bass, sunfish, catfish and trout. It doesn’t get much use in the winter but is an excellent option. Park at the top just off the highway and walk down. Move around, as the lake depth varies greatly.
Waitts Lake is providing good trout fishing through about 9 inches of ice. Rainbow and browns are biting, some as large as 20 inches. Power Bait, corn and worms are all working, with the nod going to Power Bait.
Fourth of July Lake is giving up a lot of trout of all sizes with many only 10 inches long or less. There are still enough huge rainbow to keep interest high.
Fishing in Idaho’s upper Twin Lakes is red hot, but the majority of perch are only 5 inches long – still bigger than the majority of those being caught at Silver Lake in Washington.
Moses Lake and Lind Coulee ice anglers are enjoying a rare fishing opportunity this winter as there is a thick ice cover on both waters and fishing has ranged from fair to excellent, mostly for perch with a few bass, walleye and trout thrown in. The fishing on Lind Coulee centers around the island about halfway between the bridge over the coulee and Mardon Resort. On Moses Lake, anglers are heading onto the ice at Blue Heron Park off Westshore Drive.
Another razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled Feb. 26-28, provided marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat. For updates, check the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish.
The spring light goose season opens Saturday in southeast Idaho for blue, Ross’ and snow geese. It runs through March 10 in Area 2. The season in Area 3 is open and continues through March 10.
The 2014 Idaho turkey hunting forecast and previous season harvest statistics and drawing odds for controlled hunts are available on IDFG’s website at http://fishandgame.idaho. gov/public/hunt/?getPage=131.
Hunters can use harvest statistics and drawing odds from the past 10 years to search for similar controlled hunts for this year. The spring turkey controlled hunt application period runs through March 1.
Hunters who have an Idaho 2014 hunting license may apply for controlled hunts at any license vendor; Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5 or 1-800-824-3729; or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. The application period for spring bear controlled hunts ends Saturday.