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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Feb. 15

Fly Fishing

The Spokane River is too high right now for safe fishing but the North Fork Coeur d’Alene was dropping early in the week and fishing has been better than expected. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends Pat’s Rubber Legs and San Juan patterns. The Clark Fork in Montana is dropping and with a little warm weather could be fishable.

Steelhead and salmon

Higher up on the Clearwater River, the steelhead fishing is said to be good but the river is still up and running hard. The Hatchery Hole on the North Fork has been productive for anglers side-drifting yarn and eggs or beads. The morning bite is generally best but it sometimes picks up again in mid-afternoon.

A few Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook were showing up high when the weather warmed a couple weeks ago and a lot of water was coming into the lake. With the water level dropping again, the fish will probably go deeper. Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene says they wouldn’t currently trust the ice on any of the area lakes but that may change with the low temperatures predicted for the weekend.

Trout and kokanee

Rainbow fishing reports from Lake Roosevelt have been fairly gloomy all week for trollers but there were a couple of nice kokanee taken by one boat near Keller. To date, that has been the only multifish kokanee day reported. Friends who fished from shore near Hansen Harbor had good luck Tuesday throwing Power Bait for limits of 15- to 17-inch trout. Roosevelt’s water level is expected to gradually decline and be in the 1,268-1,272 range through Friday. At that level, all launches will be useable.

Rock Lake is turbid, so make some noise on the surface by trolling or casting plugs. Most of the browns caught recently have been under 16 inches in length.

The Sprague Lake bite is slow but there are a few nice-sized rainbow being taken on plugs.

If you can catch Rufus Woods on a good water-flow day the fishing can be excellent in the vicinity of the second net pens. Successful anglers are bouncing white tube jigs on bottom. There were reports this week of numerous triploids over 5 pounds.

Anglers were doing well last week on trout in some of the seep lakes in Grant County near Potholes Reservoir. Fishing is both by boat and from shore. Upper Goose Lake and Long Lake were reported as being the best. Potholes itself also has good trout fishing at times for trollers dragging Rapalas.

In Idaho, ice fishermen are still catching trout at Kelso Lake. There is open water around the edges but at last report you could access good ice by stepping off the public dock where the ice is still 10 inches thick.

Spiny ray

Y.J. Guide Service reports excellent walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt with limits the rule. Worm harnesses and blade baits have been most effective – though other anglers say it doesn’t matter what they throw and they are struggling to catch just a few.

Five friends and I headed for Curlew Lake on Sunday expecting to load up on big perch. What we loaded up on was a large dose of humility as the tasty fish were extremely elusive. This was despite the use of two fish locators and a young man with a lot of energy who didn’t mind drilling holes through 10 inches of ice all over the lake. Every time he found a stack of fish, however, they disappeared after a couple bites. The only person I talked with who did any good was a fellow who had spent Saturday night on the lake in a tent and started fishing at dawn. By 7:30 a.m., he told us, he had iced 49 perch, promising himself he would quit when he caught 50. He left the lake at 3:30, however, with 49 perch.

Eloika Lake ice has firmed up since the recent cold snap. There is still a lot of open water at the public access but further north on the lake at Jerry’s Landing the thicker ice is accessible without a board. South of Eloika at Bear Lake, the ice looks weak with open water around the edges. Silver Lake, near Cheney, is frozen to the left of the public access but wide open from there as far as you can see. There were boats on the water this week.

The Columbia River Walleye Association has two tournaments lined up. The first tournament is scheduled for Feb. 24 and is sponsored by Griggs Tackle of Richland. This “Winter Shoot-out” will feature three-man teams and is a one-day tournament launching out of the Kennewick boat ramp. The second is March 24-25 out of Umatilla and is a two-person per team event. According to Association angler Ted Beach, first place could net upwards of $7,000 or more.

Other species

Some big channel cats are coming from deep water on Potholes Reservoir. Anglers targeting the fish say bait is good but they are even catching them on blade baits.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com