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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Feb. 22

Fly Fishing

Area rivers are high and cold but dropping. As temperatures start to warm up again this weekend the slow inside bends, back eddies, and tailouts should hold fish. Streamers and nymphing will do best. The Grande Ronde is getting back into fishable range and nymphing will run the show.

Silver Bow Fly Shop is offering a coed entry-level fly fishing class on March 3 from 10 a.m.-1:00 pm. which will provide some basics to help demystify fly fishing. It will provide just the right amount of information and hands-on instruction to get you on the water. The class is held in Spokane at the shop and includes all the equipment for the day. Cost is $50. To sign up, call (509) 924-9998.

Salmon and steelhead

Coeur d’Alene chinook anglers say the fish came up last week and were being caught in the upper 50 feet of water on helmeted herring. Fish, including a couple of keepers, were reported recently from Powderhorn and Carlin Bay. The cold weather this week may have sent the chinook deep again.

Open water fishing

Roosevelt trout fishing has been hot and cold. The fish seem to be moving around in large schools and bank fishermen have periods of nothing interrupted by a frantic 10-minute bite.

Walleye anglers launching out of Ft. Spokane are finding fish in 40 feet of water and deeper by jigging on the downstream humps and flats. Casino Flats and Outhouse Flats have been mentioned lately. Most of the ’eyes are under 19 inches.

The cold water and wind don’t seem to affect the Rock Lake bite. Anglers are catching trout – mostly rainbow from shore and boat. The fish range from 11-16 inches.

Sprague Lake was wide open on Monday but the wind quit blowing and the temperatures dropped. By Tuesday morning it was capped with about one-half inch of clear ice. There is a chance it will continue to add ice this week, but I wouldn’t test it just yet. There is a similar situation on Fourth of July.

Banks Lake still has open water and will probably not freeze up again this year as water temperatures are currently around 35 degrees. Walleye fishing is slow, with the best success coming in the main basin in front of Steamboat Rock, starting at about 40 feet, but going much deeper on some days. Dragging a worm harness very slow (0.5 mph) will be most effective. Banks rainbow are hitting jointed minnow plugs in the top 15 feet of water.

Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake were still ice-free on Tuesday. Nearby Upper Goose Lake has seen some good rainbow fishing recently in open water.

One end of Roses Lake in Chelan County is still open, though thin ice covers the rest of the lake. Fishing for trout in the open water has been good.

Ice fishing

What a strange year! Just when many ice fishermen were putting away their augers and sleds, the current cold snap offers hope for a few more weeks of hard water angling. Be wary however, where snow covers the lake as the extra insulation can keep solid ice from forming.

Kelso Lake in Idaho has good ice and you don’t have to walk far from the public access dock to find some decent trout fishing.

Avondale has ice again and anglers are catching perch and trout through 10 inches of ice. Fernan Lake, on the other hand, may not have safe ice by the weekend as only half the lake was frozen and the other half had only 2 inches of ice on Tuesday. Twin Lake and Spirit Lake are said to be fishable through the ice for kokanee. Twin also has perch.

Eloika Lake anglers were catching more bass than perch this week. All the fish were within a foot of the bottom, but a few suspended crappie have been iced. Early is best. Anglers at Eloika must release all bass between 12-17 inches but may keep one over 17. Crappie must be at least 9 inches to be retained.

Close to Eloika off Highway 2 is Bear Lake, a juvenile and disabled angler fishery. Accompanying adults are also allowed to fish. Bear Lake perch are quite a bit larger than those in Eloika, and there are also a fair number of 10- to 12-inch rainbow. Two weeks ago, Bear Lake ice was unsafe – especially around the edges. This week has seen it firm up again.

Further north in Washington, Waitts Lake has good ice and anglers are catching rainbow. Hatch Lake is still fishable for trout through the ice. Further north yet, Curlew Lake is still solid, though the perch bite has been more erratic this month than in January. The State Park is still the only access point for fishermen.


Hunters don’t have many options now, but the snow goose (light goose) season in southern Idaho’s Areas 3 and 4 will run through March 10. Migrating snow goose populations in Idaho and Washington have increased substantially in the last few years.

Rabbits present another reason to take your shotgun out of the safe. In Idaho, the season for cottontails runs through Wednesday and snowshoes through March 31. In Washington, you can hunt both cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares until March 15.

Contact Alan Liere at

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