Salmon and steelhead
The Grande Ronde has been forming a little ice, but it should be no problem this week. Steelheading has been OK.
The kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan is off to a slower start than at this time last year, so some anglers are going after the chinook salmon. These have been unusually abundant this year and are being caught in the lower basin in the area of Rocky Point.
The annual steelhead derby out of Lewiston concluded Saturday and participants reported fair success with good numbers of keeper B-run fish taken. The winning derby fish weighed 18.94 pounds. Most of the fishing took place at night, but a few steelhead were caught with a jig and shrimp under a bobber.
Trout and kokanee
Hog Canyon and Fourth of July lakes opened Friday. District Fish Biologist Randy Osborne said he checked 17 anglers coming off Fourth of July Lake on the opener. They had fished an average of three hours each and averaged 2.8 trout each for fish running mostly 17-18 inches. Hog Canyon’s trout were 12-13 inches long, but the water was cold and fishing was slow. Two other winter lakes opened Friday, Williams and Hatch, but fishing was only fair, with Williams being the best. Anglers should note that the size restrictions at these lakes, as well as Sprague, have been dropped. If you choose to keep a five-fish limit of trout over 14 inches, you may.
Anglers fishing from shore are beginning to catch Lake Roosevelt rainbow, with bait on the bottom and bait suspended 7 feet under a bobber. A recent report from Hunters suggested the bobber bite was most effective, with the most action coming from dawn until about 11 a.m. Roosevelt trollers evidently had an up-and-down week, with some of the best fishing in the vicinity of Hawk Creek.
Cutthroat trout are abundant in Lake Chelan. Unlike fishing for the kokanee or mackinaw, you don’t have to go deep. They can be found all over the lake by flatlining lures from the back of the boat.
Rufus Woods Reservoir hasn’t been productive for trout lately, but it should pick up. A good place to try from shore on the upper end is below the net pens where the WDFW and Colville Tribe have partnered in improvements that include two heated restrooms with showers, an RV park and a camping area. Anglers don’t need a tribal permit to fish there.
Lake Roosevelt walleye fishermen are having decent fishing, but most are going deep – often over 100 feet. One-ounce jigs are necessary to get you down. A good report came from Lake Roosevelt Charters from a mile north of the Hunters boat launch in 80 to 120 feet of water. Anglers trolling Smile Blades with nightcrawlers in the Spokane Arm are catching a lot of small walleyes in shallower water – under 50 feet.
Coeur d’Alene Lake anglers have had to navigate some snowy roads, but the pike fishing has been good to excellent. The big fish like those caught earlier in the month seem to suffer from lockjaw. Spokane Valley angler Mark Mills said he and as friend used glide baits and soft plastic frogs to catch and release a couple of dozen fish, mostly in the 16- to 20-inch range.
The burbot (freshwater long cod) bite on Lake Roosevelt is hit or miss. Anglers fishing in 40-80 feet of water are having their best luck in the Spokane Arm, although the fish can be found in numerous places in the main lake. On some days, they can’t be found at all. Green or orange plastics remain the best offering and a nightcrawler sweetens the deal.
With modern rifle deer seasons over, hunters are turning to waterfowl and upland game. Good reports come from the Columbia and Yakima rivers. A friend in Boise had excellent success on and near the Boise River. I was surprised on a pheasant hunting venture this week to see few ducks on the little ponds to the south of Spokane. For the most part, they remain ice-free.
Until we get a snow that drops a couple of inches and sticks, pheasant hunting will be difficult. I logged 4 miles in excellent habitat on Monday without seeing a rooster, though my Brittany Lucy registered three points on hens, which was almost as much fun for me as shooting. I’m pretty sure Lucy was not of the same opinion.
There are good numbers of gray partridge in the BLM scabland south of Spokane this year. I have seen several flocks with 12-20 birds. There is a lot of BLM and state land out there.
Turkey hunters are finding large flocks north and east of Spokane in units 105-124. The season runs through Dec. 31.
With big game seasons winding down, don’t forget to report on your deer, elk and/or pronghorn tag. In Idaho, go to fishandgame.idaho.gov or call 1-877-268-9365. In Washington, go to wdfw.wa.gov/ or call 1-877-945-3492. It’s important to turn these in early, as the game commissions use the data, together with winter herd counts and other biological information, to set hunting seasons early in the new year for the fall.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com
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