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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s weekly fish and game report for March 3

Alan Liere Correspondent

Fly fishing

The weather at Amber Lake was terrible on the March 1 opener, but fishing was fast for hefty trout averaging over 13 inches. Fish sub-surface.

Another catch-and-release only fishing season opened March 1 at Lake Lenore. Big Lahontan cutthroat trout are the draw.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene is beginning to fish well. Float or wade fishing are both an option but most of the best water is still below Prichard. Silver Bow Fly Shop says Pat’s Rubber Legs or Kreelex are the flies to use.

The lower St. Joe is also an option and should pick up as the weather warms. Silver Bow says there is a small window for dry flies between noon and two.

Clark Fork fishermen who go deep with weighted nymphs in the holding water are finding success. The fish are in pods, so if you find one, stay put. Clark Fork Trout and Tackle in Superior, Montana, says the San Juan trailing a pheasant tail down deep is your best bet.

Steelhead and salmon

The Clearwater River has dropped and should remain fishable for steelhead at least through the weekend. The Orofino area has been best.

The Grande Ronde saw some excellent steelheading this week. Corkies in reds and orange have proven effective. The Boggan’s steelhead derby runs through March 19 and the river is currently in good fishing shape. The largest fish registered so far weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces. Register at Boggan’s Oasis. Info: (509) 256-3372.

Hatchery steelhead fishing continues on the mainstem Columbia River from Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam, and on portions of other northcentral region waterways, including the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Similkameen and Okanogan rivers.

An additional section of the Wenatchee River, from the Icicle River Road Bridge to 400 feet below Tumwater Dam above Leavenworth, recently opened to hatchery steelhead fishing. Retention of hatchery steelhead is mandatory at all locations open to steelhead fishing.

Fishing for steelhead in the Columbia River near Ringold Springs Hatchery usually heats up in March. Ringold Springs Access area provides easy access to the Columbia River for bank fishing and there is a primitive boat launch there as well.

Hatchery steelhead in the Columbia River and in the Snake River are open through March 31. The Columbia River is closed to fishing for steelhead upstream of the wooden powerline towers at the Old Hanford town site.

A boat angler fishing the lower Columbia River caught the first spring chinook salmon of the season in early February. Plenty more will be caught in the weeks ahead as the region’s first major salmon fishery of the year picks up speed.

Trout and kokanee

Fourth of July and Hog Canyon lakes remain open until the end of March. Fishing for trout has been fair at both lakes. You can launch a boat at Hog Canyon, and fishermen drifting flies or casting small spoons and spinners are doing quite well. Fourth of July is low. Fishing from a boat is not an option as a result of shallow water at the launch.

Hatch and Williams lakes in Stevens County usually provide some ice fishing action, but they have been more or less ice free for several weeks. Boat and bank anglers are still catching trout.

Deer Lake trollers took a few small macks on the March 1 opener but the inclement weather resulted in minimal participation.

Lake Roosevelt is dropping and many of the smaller launches are now out of the water. These include Hawk Creek, China Bend and Jones Bay. Fortunately, as boat launching becomes more difficult, bank fishing picks up.

Kokanee anglers were back into the fish this week at both Keller and Spring Canyon. Downriggers, planer boards and leaded line have all been effective as long as the offering is orange or pink and baited with white corn. Captain Dave’s Guide Service recommends a trolling speed of 1.7 mph and says the fish have been in the top 15 feet of water. Info: (509) 939-6727.

Quincy, Martha, Burke and Dusty and Caliche lakes in central Washington’s Columbia Basin were very productive for 11- to 13-inch rainbow and a few carryovers to 20 inches on the March 1 opener. Lenice and Nunnally lakes, on the Crab Creek Wildlife Area in south Grant County, are fishing well for trout ranging in size from 14 to 20 inches.

In the Okanogan area, year-round Patterson Lake near Winthrop and Bonaparte Lake near Tonasket have seen good trout fishing now that the ice is gone.

Spiny ray

Anglers fishing in and near Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt are having modest success catching medium-sized walleyes in 35 feet of water. Walleye fishing should pick up soon in the Spokane Arm, where walleye congregate to spawn March through May. The limit is 16 per day, with no size restrictions.

Banks Lake walleye are again hitting dark offerings on Barker Flats in about 50 feet of water. Anglers are also picking up a few large perch.

Some of the year’s biggest walleye will be caught soon both above and below McNary Dam, the lower Snake River and the Hanford Reach.

In March, channel catfish and smallmouth bass will begin moving into the lower mile or two of the Yakima and Walla Walla Rivers to spawn. Smallmouth in excess of 4 pounds and channel catfish over 10 pounds are not uncommon.

A friend in Moses Lake reports the spring perch bite on Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake hasn’t started yet, but he expects it to take off at any time.

Other species

Razor clam diggers will have numerous opportunities in the month of March. Digs at Copalis and Mocrocks include March 18-20 which coincides with the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival, and there are other dates available as well. Long Beach will be open on evening tides March 1-10 and March 15-23 and will be open on morning tides March 11-14 and March 24-31. A full list of low tides for all beaches in March is posted on WDFW’s razor clam webpage.

Burbot fishing appears to have fallen off on Lake Roosevelt, but dedicated fishermen are still getting a few near Ft. Spokane by fishing at night between the bridge and the swim area.

Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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