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

Alan Liere’s fish and game report for Jan. 26

Fly fishing

The Spokane River is at a good level for fly fishing. There is some color to the water on the lower river below Hangman Creek, but it’s not unfishable. Silver Bow Fly Shop says fishing on the trout spey is a great way to cover the water right now. Fast sink-tips and streamers like Kreelex, Zirdles and Sparkle minnows are good fished slow and deep.

It’s no secret that if you want a shot at really big rainbow in the winter, Rocky Ford is the place to be. A friend from Moses Lake fished the stream early this week and caught two trout over 2 feet long.

The 2017 Fly Fishing Film Tour is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane. The two-hour show includes edited versions of nine films featuring fly fishing around the world. Women anglers are prominent in three of these. Tickets are $17 online or at the door and $14 in advance at Silver Bow Fly Shop and North 40 Outfitters in Spokane and Northwest Outfitters and Castaway Fly Shop in Coeur d’Alene.

Salmon and steelhead

The Snake River is probably the best bet now for steelhead fishermen. The Grande Ronde is still frozen except for a few pockets that might be fishable. The Clearwater has dropped some since the rain last week and color is good. Anglers side drifting pegged beads are finding success below the North Fork. The upper river still has a lot of ice.

Ice Fishing

This has been the best ice fishing I can remember at Eloika Lake, with good ice and a fairly consistent bite of larger than normal perch and lots of bass. Two friends and I did very well several times this week without even drilling a second hole. There was a fair amount of slush on the ice, but it hasn’t been terrible.

Curlew Lake has produced a lot of big perch for ice anglers this winter, and that fishery is still relatively unknown. It’s a three-hour drive from Spokane over Boulder Pass, but a bucket of 12-inch perch is worth the trip. Most anglers are going straight out from the State Park and fishing in 12 feet of water. Curlew has 16 inches of ice.

The ice is good, but there haven’t been many anglers on the ice at Blue Heron Park in Moses Lake. Action has been better on Lind Coulee, but the big perch haven’t showed up. Most perch being caught are 8-9 inches.

Friends who fished Waitts Lake this week said the bite was very slow. They caught small perch and no trout, but noted that a nearby angler caught a trout and a large perch.

Round Lake in Idaho is still fishing well for perch and a few trout. There is a lot of slush on the surface, but anglers there say it is easier to walk on than the knee deep powder that was there before. The ice is over a foot thick.

Idaho’s Fernan Lake has been slow for perch. There are layers of frozen slush and roughly 9 inches of good ice. Avondale has been fair to good for planted rainbow and 8- to 12-inch perch.

Open water fishing

With several Lake Roosevelt ramps frozen up and unusable, the lake is seeing more bank fishermen than usual for this time of year. Trout fishing is reported to be slow. Kokanee trollers who have put in at Spring Canyon are picking up some very large kokes, as well as some nice trout, in Swawilla Basin. Those who have had success with the kokes say they seem to be shallower than the rainbow.

Trollers are also finding kokanee, though not as large, in Lake Chelan. Try the water off the state park, but don’t be afraid to venture further down lake.

Bank fishermen at Rock Lake are having fair luck at the primitive launch. Boat fishermen are doing even better, catching a few browns and quite a few rainbow up to 16 inches, the slimness of which would indicate they are the steelhead planted a couple years ago.

Other species

Razor clam diggers can look forward to a five-day opening beginning Friday at Copalis beach, overlapping with three days of digging at Mocrocks. Only Copalis beach is open the first two days of the dig, and all digs are on evening tides.


A friend in Moses Lake tells me there are a lot of geese in the area, but not many ducks. Field shooters have had some good days.

Hunters have through Feb. 15 to apply for Idaho’s spring black bear controlled hunts, with controlled hunt applications for spring turkey accepted Feb. 1-March 1. Controlled hunts for black bear begin April 1, with some spring controlled turkey hunts beginning as early as April 8.

Mountain lion harvest in parts of southern Idaho is managed by limiting the number of females that may be harvested. The quota has not been met in many units.

The take season in these units will remain open for either sex until the female quota is reached or the take season ends. After the female quota has been reached, the take season in these units will remain open for males only. For example, the female quota in unit 39 is 10. Six females have been taken, so there are four more available until March 31. A total of 52 of the 126 quota have been shot.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere @

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