Joe Rotter, of Red’s Fly Shop on the Yakima River, will be at the Spokane Fly Fishers monthly meeting on Tuesday at St. Francis School (1104 W Heroy) discussing Central Washington Steelhead Fishing.
Silver Bow Fly Shop has two steelhead fly tying classes scheduled for February – one on Feb. 1 with Bob Newman, and one on Feb. 4 with Dave Tucker. Call the shop at (509) 924-9998 to sign up.
Silver Bow says stripped streamers are a favorite tactic for Spokane River rainbow, but keep your offering slow and deep. Nymphs will also be effective fished in the same water. If you tie your own flies, try adding some hot beads to patterns such as Princes, Pat’s, Buggers and Copper Johns.
As always, Rocky Ford is ice free and fishable. Scuds are a primary food source.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead fishing above McNary Dam continues to produce for anglers slow-trolling plugs or throwing bobber and bait. Finding the correct depth is imperative as the fish are lethargic and not likely to chase your offering far.
Clearwater steelheaders from the mouth to the Orofino Bridge are averaging a fish every 8 hours. On the North Fork Clearwater from the mouth up to Dworshak Dam, the average is one fish every 7 hours. Reel Time Fishing in Clarkston reports “fantastic” fishing on the Clearwater, noting they are catching a good number of keepers by side-drifting eggs and corkies.
Marine Area 9 will not reopen for salmon fishing on Jan. 16 as scheduled. Delaying the opening to mid-February or early March will allow the state time to determine a reopening date that will give anglers opportunity later into the spring.
Friends and I have been fishing Eloika Lake just north of Jerry’s Landing and doing very well. Overall, the perch are larger than usual and there are good numbers of bass, as well as some keeper crappie. Small spoons and tear drop jigs tipped with perch eyes have worked so far.
Eloika crappie must be at least 9 inches and only bass under 12 inches and over 17 inches may be retained. You can access the lake at the public launch on the south end, but the better fishing is out of Jerry’s Landing ($3 parking fee) at mid-lake.
Hog Canyon Lake has not been very productive lately, and there are reports of small perch being caught. Fourth of July is very fishable all over the lake but the trout bite has been slow.
Near Moses Lake, the Lind Coulee, Soda Lake and Long Lake have safe ice for fishing. Lind Coulee has a variety of fish, with perch and walleye being the most commonly caught. Info: MarDon Resort (509) 346-2651.
Roses Lake in Chelan County has good ice now, and anglers are taking a lot of rainbow ranging from 12 inches up by jigging small spoons such as Macks Sonic Baitfish. Fish Lake, near Wenatchee, has a lot of 9-inch perch and fishing has been good early.
Winchester Lake near Lewiston has good ice, but the fishing hasn’t been great. Anglers there are catching perch and crappie, but they are very small. Mann Lake has been gated off by the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District and IDFG due to “an influx of warm well water creating unsafe conditions.”
Spirit Lake in Idaho has been disappointing so far this year for kokanee, and Twin Lakes perch seem to be smaller than usual, though more cooperative. The few anglers on Spirit have been mostly in the vicinity of Nautical Loop.
Avondale Lake in has good ice and anglers are catching mostly perch. The middle of the lake out from the public access seems to be the most popular spot.
Fernan Lake has provided non-stop action at times on perch running up to a foot in length. The best fishing is in roughly 25 feet of water.
Idaho’s Jewel Lake has good ice and some nice crappie, and so does Gamble Lake. Round and Cocolalla also have good ice and some decent-sized perch. The Chain Lakes have been fair for small northern pike and there are bays on Lake Coeur d’Alene where the ice is thick enough to be out. Anglers there are finding some larger pike.
Open water fishing
All Lake Roosevelt boat launches except the one at Lincoln were frozen shut on Tuesday, and that one was expected to freeze soon. YJ Guide Service’s trout/walleye/burbot tournament scheduled for Saturday has been postponed until Feb. 4. The narrows in the Spokane Arm out of Porcupine Bay have frozen across.
There is a very good walleye bite now above McNary Dam, and keeper sturgeon are still available. Info: Munden’s Rising Son Adventures (509) 492-8852.
Washington’s upland bird season is over after Monday, but there is still a lot of hunting going on in Idaho in January and beyond. Some upland bird seasons last through January. Duck and Canada goose seasons close at different times during the month depending on which part of the state you’re in, and the white-fronted goose season goes until Feb. 19 in Area 2, which includes Southwest Idaho and portions of the Magic Valley. It extends into March depending on the area.
Idaho hunters can also extend their season by taking on the challenge of predator hunting. Mountain lion and wolf hunting are open and continue through March in most parts of the state, and beyond March in some areas. As in Washington, coyote hunting is open year-round. You can find details in the big game rules booklet.
Brant goose hunting season in Skagit County will still be open Jan. 14-15, 18, 21-22. Recent aerial surveys of Padilla, Samish, and Fidalgo bays resulted in counts of more than 6,000 brant.
Hunters wanting to participate in Idaho’s spring controlled hunts for black bear can apply from Sunday through Feb. 15 by calling (800) 554-8685, or visit IDFG online. The nonrefundable application fee is $6.25 per person for residents and $14.75 per person for nonresidents.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere @ yahoo.com
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