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Monday, January 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 37° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Weekly hunting and fishing report

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports excellent fly fishing for Grande Ronde steelhead both up and down river from Boggan’s Oasis. Nymphing eggs is the ticket.

The Clearwater River around Orofino remains good for steelheaders. Nymphing eggs is also working there. Water flow is less than 2,000 cubic feet per second.

Mornings and late afternoons can be decent on the Big Spokane, particularly on the lower river. Try nymphing the slow, deep stretches. The river closes after Sunday from Riverside State Park to the Monroe Street Dam.

Coffeepot Lake can be fished from float tubes, pontoons and other small boats that can be carried, but to get to the west end of the lake, a long portage across the dry divide is necessary. Fishing is hot. Wooly Buggers fished shallow have been the best for the big rainbow.

The nice weather has attracted a lot of fly fishermen to the Yakima River. Dry flies have been good throughout the day.

Trout and kokanee

Although catch reports from the last three weeks would indicate Lake Roosevelt trout are moving toward Grand Coulee Dam, several anglers found excellent success trolling the Spokane Arm recently, and others had good luck near Lincoln. Whether using a plug, an Apex lure or a fly, orange seemed to be the color of the week.

Anglers have also reported catching “easy limits” of kokanee from Lake Roosevelt out of Spring Canyon, below Keller and even in the Hanson Harbor area, but no one is catching any hatchery fish and therefore the limit is two rather than six. Pink squid/hootchies have been the hot lure, fished from the surface down to about 20 feet. Most trollers are also using flashers.

Medical Lake, a selective fishery lake, has given up some surprisingly large rainbow trout since the opener March 1. Usually, anglers catch the big browns this time of year. Fishing for those has been slow, but the fish often exceed 20 inches.

Trolling Rock Lake for browns and rainbows has been far from fast, but most of the fish caught are more than 15 inches.

Sprague Lake is the color of coffee and fishing has been poor. Liberty has also been poor. Hog Canyon is still producing trout and a few 6- to 8-pound macks have been taken at Deer. Downs Lake is good for planted rainbow.

The Hayden Lake kokanee bite has been fairly consistent this week for fish averaging about 12 inches. The lake is seeing a lot of boats and fish are scattered from 35 to more than 100 feet down. Dodgers and red or pink trolling flies were the color of choice this week, but last week it was green.

Burke Lake in the Quincy Wildlife Area has yielded excellent numbers of 11- to 18-inch rainbow to trollers dragging small spoons such as a Dick Nite or Needlefish. Quincy Lake has been a little tougher with most of the rainbow running 10-13 inches. The south gate to the Quincy Lakes area is still closed. Use the north gate to enter the area. Waters currently open for fishing also include Martha, Upper Caliche and the Quincy walk-in lakes, as well as Blythe, Canal, Chukar, Corral, Heart, Windmill and North Windmill.

You don’t have to be a fly fishing purist to enjoy catching the huge trout in Coffee Pot Lake, as trolling a dark Wooly Bugger often results in nonstop action. As noted in the fly fishing report, be prepared to carry or drag a small boat or canoe to access the west end. Small boats can still be put in at the launch without too much effort.

Kokanee fishing remains good on Lake Chelan in the vicinity of Colyar Ledge. The fish are suspended at depths ranging from 45 to 200 feet. A few of these landlocked sockeye have measured up to 19 inches, but most are around 13. Chelan has also been good for Mackinaw in the Barrens.

Roses Lake in Chelan County is still producing relatively easy limits of planter rainbows for shore and boat anglers. 

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead fishing in the Wenatchee River above the Highway 2 Bridge is reported to be good now that the water has dropped. Fishing should also be good on the Methow and Okanogan rivers.

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook are in the top 20 feet and trollers dragging Rapalas are having a ball. The fish should stay close to the surface through April.

Spiny ray

Although I got a report from the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt on Saturday saying the walleye fishing was HOT, HOT, HOT, with a couple of fish more than 12 pounds, friends who fished the Arm on Monday said fishing was SLOW, SLOW, SLOW. Three good anglers caught six little fish. The fishing near Lincoln, which has been excellent, had also slowed by Monday.

A decent report came from the mouth of the Spokane Arm across the lake from Casino Flats where anglers dead-sticking grubs on jigs have been catching some decent-sized walleyes.

Eloika Lake largemouth fishermen are beginning to pick up a few fish. The crappie bite should be early this year.

Banks Lake walleye fishing is consistent rather than fast in the vicinity of Barker Flats. The Slow Death setup is taking fish at around 45 feet on a slow troll. The docks at Steamboat Rock are in and launching is easy.

I was prepared to make another perch run to Moses Lake this week, but a friend there called and said the bite at the I-90 Bridge had died. The walleye bite has picked up.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are off the bite a little as the lake has dropped a lot.

A 26-pounder was caught last week on a smelt and bobber. Use a steelhead setup with an 18-inch steel leader. Fernan Lake crappie have been active at times this spring.

Contact Alan Liere at

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