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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 15

Alan Liere

Fly fishing

The Clark Fork River is beginning to wake up, and there is a possibility the dry fly activity will pick up during the warming trend. So far, nymph fishing has been the most consistent. There is still a lot of snow.

Lake Lenore fly fishermen report poor water visibility and poor fishing and say the lake is a foot lower than normal for this time of year. Rocky Ford also is low, and fishing has been mediocre at best.

Amber Lake is wide open and fly fishermen are beginning to pick up a trout now and then. No word from Medical Lake, however.

Trout and kokanee

Fourth of July is wide open, but the fishing has been very slow. Bait fishermen are taking a few trout from shore, but nothing particularly large. Sprague Lake could take off at any time now. What few fish have been caught recently have been hefty.

Roosevelt trout trollers have had some dismal fishing for the last couple of weeks, but bank fishermen throwing bait are having some of the best fishing of the year. A friend who fished from shore at Ft. Spokane this week said it took him about three hours to catch his limit, despite losing several fish. He was using orange Power bait but said two gentlemen fishing next to him were doing even better on worms and marshmallows.

Rufus Woods triploid fishermen are catching a few fish, with an occasional bruiser coming to net. An 11-pounder was reported this week.

Burke and Quincy lakes in the Quincy Wildlife Area are producing good catches of rainbow that average about 11 inches. Caliche Lake is also good for rainbow and Martha Lake is too, which has some bigger fish.

WDFW District 5 Fish Biologist Mike Schmuck reports Lenice Lake fished well on the March 1 opener. Fish ranged in size from 13 to 18 inches. Lenice was stocked with 3,000 catchable trout in October and will receive another 2,250 in April.

Upper Caliche Lake is also fishing well with trout averaging 12 inches. It was stocked with 2,000 catchables in October. It is scheduled to receive another 2,000 in May.

Martha Lake is providing good trout fishing and should continue to fish well throughout the spring with fish averaging 14 inches. It will receive 4,000 catchable trout, split between March and April.

Burke and Quincy Lakes were a bit slower on this year’s opener than in previous years. Burke Lake catch rates were three fish per person and the average size was between 10-11 inches. Trout in Burke Lake are struggling due to competition from perch. Quincy Lake anglers caught two fish per angler, but they averaged 14 inches. Both lakes will receive 3,000 catchables in May.

This is prime time for rainbow fishing on Banks Lake, especially for trollers at the south end. Bank fishing from the dike at the Coulee City Marina can also be very good.

Salmon and steelhead

At Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith says the chinook are in the top 30 feet of water and the bite has been pretty good on the south end of the lake near East Point. He said a recent trip yielded two keepers over 20 inches and a half-dozen undersized fish. Trolling helmeted herring or long-lining Rapalas have been effective. Smith says the bite up high should last for another month.

Spiny ray

Lake Coeur d’Alene is still pretty low and Cougar Bay is nothing but a mud flat right now. Nevertheless, pike fishermen throwing herring or smelt on bottom or under a bobber are finding fish in Blue Creek and Wolf Lodge bays.

Anglers are doing well on walleye in Banks Lake. Some fish are being found on the back side of Steamboat Rock in deep water where a good method is to drop a bottom bouncer to 60 feet and troll slowly. The bites are so light they are difficult to detect if there is wind. Other anglers say they are catching fish all over the lake in about 65 feet of water by trolling a Slow Death Hook and nightcrawler.

A few walleye are being caught on Potholes Reservoir. Blade baiting is always popular in the early spring. Rufus Woods walleye reports are sporadic. A few fish are coming from Nespelem Flats, but nothing consistent. Friends who fished on Tuesday up the Spokane Arm on Lake Roosevelt near Buoy 3 and back down to Porcupine Bay had limited success this week in about 35 feet of water, but most of their fish were a respectable 16-18 inches. A better walleye report came from anglers who were jigging much deeper – over 120 feet down. Walleye fishermen have also been doing well launching out of Ft. Spokane and fishing Casino and Outhouse flats. They are casting on to humps and rock piles.

On Sunday, three friends and I made what was probably our last ice fishing trip to Curlew Lake this winter. Conditions were perfect – 2 feet of good ice with bright sunshine and a hard crust on top. Though it was only 14 degrees when we arrived at 8:30 a.m., the day warmed quickly and by noon we were shedding coats and gloves. The only thing wrong with the whole outing were the sunburns and the fact that though we caught a lot of small rainbow – the perch weren’t biting. A fellow who works at the state park said fishing had been off for a week, but the week before it had been on fire.

Other species

Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a two-day opening beginning Friday. The best digging will take place before sunset each night of the opening. Digging is not allowed at any beach before noon. The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

Friday: Copalis, Mocrocks; 7:03 p.m.; +0.2 feet;

Saturday, Saturday: Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks; 7:36 p.m.; +0.2 feet.

The Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival on Saturday.

Channel catfish and smallmouth bass have been moving into the Yakima and Walla Walla rivers. Both species are present in the lower mile or two of both rivers in large numbers.

Contact Alan Liere at