Silver Bow Fly Shop said stonefly nymphs are a must this time of the year on the Spokane River. The fishing hasn’t been hot, but fishermen can usually expect to raise a couple of fish an hour. The same is true on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Stay below Prichard and nymph the slow, deep water.
Rocky Ford has been best with streamers, stripped fast. Try patterns like Sculpzillas, Sheila sculpin, Sparkle Minnows and Lead Eye Leeches. Small tailwater-style flies are always a good idea.
I fished Jump-Off-Joe last Thursday morning with two friends, finding the ice a solid 5 inches. We fished in the middle of the lake in 18 feet of water with a little success. One friend caught a 17-inch brown trout and the other a 12-inch perch. I had two light bites. We tried everything from white 2-inch Gulp Minnows on a drop shot to marabou jigs tipped with a meal worm, as well as my favorite, a small Swedish Pimple and maggot.
There is plenty of ice at Eloika Lake for safe fishing, but the catching has been poor this week. Two other friends fished the north end of Eloika Lake the day I was on Jump-Off-Joe. They said fishing was “not good,” considering the time spent. They caught four small perch, one tiny bass and a sunfish. A trip to Eloika for three of us Tuesday afternoon resulted in three 12-inch largemouth and an 8-inch perch.
One angler hoping to catch some of the big Sprague Lake rainbow found the lake still iced up this week but unsafe for fishing. Waitts Lake has a similar situation. There is thin ice around the shore and thicker ice farther out, but the middle of the lake is open.
A fishing trip to the Upper and Lower Twin Lakes near Harrington this week was a long drive for nothing. There is ice, but also open water and places where the water looked as if had just skimmed over.
Hatch Lake is still a good bet for trout and fishing has been good. A number of small perch have also been iced.
Earlier this month, Avondale Lake in Idaho had a fire department crew working on rescue training near the launch and the ice there is only 2 1/2 inches thick. Past that there is a good 3 1/2 inches on the rest of the lake.
Idaho’s Upper and Lower Twin each have about 7 inches of good ice. Fishing hasn’t been particularly good, but fishermen who stay with it are taking home a mixed bag of spiny ray species. Round Lake has 8 inches of ice with snow and slush on top. Fishing has been slow for perch.
The small lakes north of Coeur d’Alene have ice and are mostly fishable.
Though there have been anglers out, Fernan ice is iffy. Cocolalla Lake has just recently become fishable.
Salmon and steelhead
There have been a few excellent reports coming from anglers drifting bobbers and small jigs for steelhead on the Clearwater River near Ahsahka and the Dworshak hatchery. Most of these have been the big “B runs” averaging in the teens.
Hammer Down River Excursions in Idaho has experienced some good steelhead fishing on the Salmon River. Most of these fish, too, are “B runs.” Info: (208) 839-999.
The Grande Ronde River has been cloudy, but it was sitting at 1,820 feet and dropping on Monday. The best fishing is yet to come. At Boggan’s Oasis, they are predicting new fish in two weeks or less, just in time for the annual steelhead derby that runs Friday to March 29. Big fish in the derby wins $500. The $45 entry fee includes a T-shirt and dinner at the awards banquet.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt has been puzzling the last three weeks with the trout bite ranging from nonexistent to torrid. Recent reports from Keller, Hunters, Lincoln, Fort Spokane and Spring Canyon have been consistently gloomy.
Banks Lake trout reports have been better than those at Roosevelt, with trollers catching 15- to 22-inch fish by trolling worm-tipped flies near the surface.
Rock Lake is probably the best trout option around with big browns and “cookie-cutter” rainbow of about 13 inches. The browns are still hitting Rapalas cast toward the shore. Bank fishermen are taking a few from the launch area with baits, flies and plugs.
Some of the nicest fish around are bright, firm Hayden Lake kokanee. At 12-14 inches, they are numerous enough to make launching a boat worth the trouble. If you’re hoping to ice fish at Hayden, you’ll probably have to wait. The ice at the sportsman’s access is only 1-2 inches thick.
Depending on who you talk to, Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been poor … or good. An angler fishing from a boat near Hawk Creek said that although the fish were scattered and he had to move a lot, the bite was consistent when dragging jigs in 30-50 feet of water. Most of the fish were 15-20 inches. Other anglers reported being skunked.
State shellfish managers with the WDFW have approved a Friday through Sunday razor clam dig on evening low tides. The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:
- Friday: 4:48 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis;
- Saturday: 5:28 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Sunday: 6:04 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results. This will allow digging while there is still some light. WDFW has tentatively scheduled another dig for Feb. 15-21, pending results of future toxin tests.
While walleye fishing has been fair up the Spokane Arm, it was the burbot that attracted more attention this week near Buoy 5. Anglers were finding them in 70 feet of water.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere @yahoo.com
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