With fly fishing slow in most rivers and ice forming on the lakes, the Spokane River and Rocky Ford are the best bets for catching a trout on a fly. A more productive endeavor would be to stay home and tie flies or sign up for one of the fly tying classes offered by Silver Bow Fly Shop. There are still a few openings for level one classes on Jan. 5 and 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 924-9998 to register. Cost is $40.
Last week, Hatch Lake had a half-inch of clear ice – just enough to mess up the fishing and not enough to walk on. Waitts Lake was wide open with no ice around the edges. Jump-Off-Joe had a half-inch of clear ice with open water in front of the resort. Eloika Lake had skim ice over most of the lake. Sprague and Fourth of July were mostly open on Sunday. Some safe ice has formed on some of the mountain lakes like Lyman in Okanogan County, which has a good population of hungry brook trout. A report from North Idaho said two of the first lowland lakes to form ice – Avondale and Twin don’t have enough to get excited about yet. With the warmer temperatures this week, ice formation may now be starting from scratch again.
Salmon and steelhead
Snake River trollers are finding steelhead between Asotin and Lower Granite Dam, but they are putting in a lot of hours for their one fish. Lighted lures at night account for many of the fish.
Near Little Goose Dam, long-lining off the lower wall has proven effective at times for steelhead, but plunkers from shore have done better above the dam near the fish ladder.
Trout and kokanee
Three friends trolled Waitts Lake last week, catching numerous trout on a variety of lures and flies. Most fish were about 11 inches long, but a perch Shad Rap accounted for two rainbow over 14 inches.
Trollers working the water of Lake Roosevelt from the Spring Canyon launch down toward the dam have been catching a lot of 16-inch trout and a few small kokanee. Bank fishermen soaking worms and marshmallows or Power Bait nuggets on the bottom near the Fort Spokane Bridge have done well at times, but the fish can be fickle. Some anglers do well and others, just a few yards away, draw a skunk. A good report came from shore fishermen at Hawk Creek this week. The fishing wasn’t fast, but a couple of the trout were over 2 pounds. The angler I spoke with said you shouldn’t toss your bait out as far as you can cast. The reservoir drops off quickly, and you don’t need to be in water over 15 feet deep.
There are reports of big trout being caught at Rufus Woods. Some of these are the “footballs” of years past, weighing 5 pounds or more.
Washington Guide Services (509) 881-9052 reports kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan has been slow but is picking up. They say they are targeting fish in the 50- to 120-foot depths, but the fish are scattered and can be caught almost anywhere. There have also been a lot of cutthroat trout caught on kokanee gear, but overall, the kokanee are smaller than last year.
Lake Roosevelt was at 1,272 feet on Tuesday and dropping quickly, but all major launches are usable and the walleye fishing in the Spokane Arm has been good. The fish are deep, so weighted jigs have been the most effective.
The burbot bite on Lake Roosevelt is decent near Hawk Creek, in Porcupine Bay and farther up the Spokane Arm. These “fresh water ling cod” are ugly, but don’t knock them until you have eaten one fried or prepared as imitation halibut by boiling them in salt and sugar and dipping them in melted butter. They are best eaten fresh.
Big game hunting season is winding down in Idaho and Washington, but Fish and Game still needs help from hunters who haven’t filed their hunter reports. By early December, only about 25 percent of Idaho hunters had filed their reports. Fish and Game would like all reports filed by Dec. 31. In Idaho, you can submit your hunter reports online at idfg.idaho.gov or by calling (877) 268-9365. The phone option is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Have your hunting tag number when calling. In Washington, the easiest way to file your report is online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov or call 1-877-945-3492.
As noted in “Braggin’ rights,” the ducks were thick on the Columbia River near Patterson last weekend. Making the drive from Spokane is a lesson in optimism, as the birds move in and out of the area depending on the weather. When it turns cold and the ponds freeze up, the duck and goose hunting can be phenomenal, but a limit day on Saturday can be a skunk on Sunday.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com
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