Consistent temperatures on the Grande Ronde have thawed the river and most of the shelf ice is gone. The river is flowing “steelhead green.” Nymphing is the way to go. Fish the slower water.
The Snake River is in pretty good shape. Fish a marabou pattern in the slower runs. Swinging is most effective now.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead fishing continues to be slow in the Hanford Reach. WDFW staff interviewed 14 anglers this past week at the Snyder and Ringold boat launches. Anglers who fished a total of 45 hours released two wild steelhead and 11 whitefish.
Steelhead anglers on the Clearwater River were hopeful that the spring opening, which began January 1 on portions of the Snake, Little Salmon, main fork Clearwater and the North and South Fork Clearwater, would bring with it a change in the one-fish, adipose clipped, nothing-over- 28- inches limitations. Unfortunately, nothing has changed, though a new license is required. The Clearwater remains low and clear, and the fishing remains decent.
If you’re not fly fishing the Grande Ronde, use a slow presentation and drift Corkies and yarn. The river has not been affected by the rainy weather around Spokane.
Steelhead fishing has been slow at Pateros.
Chinook fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene remains steady if not fast. Most anglers trolling herring or Mini-squids are getting a fish or two in 80-100 feet of water.
Two friends and I put in at the Ft. Spokane launch on Lake Roosevelt on Wednesday and found the fishing to be as good as reported. We had our best luck on a Roosevelt Muddler tipped with nightcrawler on four colors of leaded line, though we caught fish at depths from 5-16 feet and also caught fish on small Apex lures in either orange or silver. Trolling speed was around 1.5 mph. There were no bank fishermen at Ft Spokane Wednesday, but one of my friends told me the shore was lined with anglers the day before.
The consensus is you can catch the beautiful Lake Roosevelt rainbow anywhere on the lake trolling nearly anything. Flies, hootchies, Apexes, Rapalas and Rip’n Minnows are all catching the fish which are mostly in the 17-inch range.
Rufus Woods is gaining steam each week. The fishing isn’t as fast and the fish aren’t consistently as large as years past, but Rufus is known for being fickle, and a shutout one day can be followed by fantastic fishing the next. Some of the best action has been near the dam by anglers trolling a flasher and Needlefish or fly at about 15 feet.
Rock Lake is a great winter destination for rainbow and browns, and if you have a boat and the wind isn’t blowing, you’ll wonder why you bothered to fish anywhere else. If the wind is blowing – stay off the lake.
Walleye fishing has been slow out of Fort Spokane, but the Kettle River area has been good at times. It is too early for the fish to be staging, so anglers must keep moving to find the moving pods.
Trolling the trench for lake trout on Lake Chelan remains good. Bait fishing off the docks and trolling the lower basin of Lake Chelan has also been very good for rainbow trout.
Waitts Lake anglers are having a tough time locating schools of perch, but the brown and rainbow bite has been decent around the lake. Most anglers go no further than straight out from the public access, but the fish can be found on bottom almost anywhere in water over 25 feet deep.
Eloika Lake is surprising anglers this winter with quite a few perch to 9 1/2 inches coming from the vicinity of Jerry’s Landing. Silver Lake perch, on the other hand, are numerous but only 4-6 inches long. Just three years ago, it was possible to catch all the 8-10-inch perch you wanted from Silver.
Sprague Lake anglers are finding a few large rainbow. The bite shifted this week from the island vicinity to a spot just to the left of the launch and about 25 yards out where the water is eight feet deep. Nearby Cow Lake is also good at times for a rainbow or two, though neither spot offers fast fishing.
Anglers are finding the best Fourth of July trout fishing on the back side away from the access. Jigs and worms are taking fish around 14 inches with the occasional 6-pounder thrown in to keep interest high.
Hog Canyon has not been as good as Fourth of July, but it has been fair at times. An angler there was surprised this week to catch a yellow bullhead over 12 inches long.
The Lind Coulee Arm of Potholes Reservoir is very popular these days with walleye and perch fishermen. The bite has been best in late morning in 40-45 feet of water. Lind Coulee walleye are small – around 13 inches with some to 18 inches, and the perch run mostly 8-9 inches and smaller with an occasional fish to a foot. The largest Moses Lake-area perch are near the I-90 Bridge, but that fishery has become inconsistent.
In the Okanogan, Roses Lake ice is marginal, but there have been a few anglers out all week. Fishing is fairly slow for planter rainbows.
The Coulee City Boat Basin is well iced, but anglers are catching mostly small perch by day and whitefish after dark. Banks Lake is open in the middle, but launching a boat is difficult because of shore ice. There is a usable launch on the south side of the Million Dollar Mile.
In Idaho, Spirit Lake anglers are catching lots of small – very small – kokanee. Trout are a little larger. Mirror Lake, too, has yielded catches of kokanee around 7 inches long. Fernan Lake perch and trout are cooperating with Idaho anglers, with perch to 10 inches and rainbow to 13.
Idaho’s Twin Lake is good for smallish perch, Gamble ( Gamlin) Lake for fewer but larger perch, Round for both trout and perch and Avondale for perch running anywhere from 4 inches (numerous) to 12-inches (occasionally). The Ratso and Swedish Pimple both work well. Crappie fishing at night is said to be good at Avondale. The Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes have all been good for ice anglers looking for pike. A 24-pounder was caught last week.
The Yakima canyon has seen excellent whitefish action in the afternoon. Chartreuse or white flies and jigs work well. Whitefish rival kokanee when smoked.
Burbot fishing remains good on Lake Roosevelt near Buoy 5 and near Neighborly in the big bay near the meadow where the log cabin sits. The water there is 50-60 feet deep. Walleye jigs, blade baits, or just a gob of nightcrawlers will take burbot.
With the Washington pheasant season closing soon, bird hunters are hoping the recent snow will give them one last legitimate chance to shoot a rooster. This has been the poorest pheasant season in recent memory for most hunters.
It’s tough to find a duck now, but geese seem to be everywhere. Huge flocks are holding on areas of open water on Potholes Reservoir, Moses Lake, Coffeepot Lake and the Columbia Basin wasteways.