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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Feb. 21

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019, 4:52 p.m.

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

The Spokane River is probably the only river in the immediate area where you’ll have a chance of catching a trout, and it is definitely a nymph game right now. Rocky Ford is always an option during a winter freeze. Scuds and midge pupa sight-fished to feeding rainbow will be the best bet. The Grande Ronde steelhead bite will hopefully return when the ice is gone.

Ice fishing

Sacheen Lake has caught on as the latest Eastern Washington hot spot for perch. Anglers there have reported fish up to 11 inches, but a friend who fished Sacheen on the weekend said the ones he caught didn’t exceed 9 inches, and he noted that the bite was extremely soft. He was fishing in 33 feet of water, but said other anglers were farther out and closer in. As with most winter fishing lakes, the access had not been plowed, but 20 or so cars had found room to park nearby along the road.

Diamond Lake continues to draw ice fishing interest, particularly for decent-sized perch, although a lot of trout have been caught. The lake access at the public launch is unplowed and there is limited parking.

A friend who fished Davis Lake this week caught a few small trout and perch and three 10- to 11-inch kokanee. That is the first Davis Lake report I’ve had.

Eloika Lake perch have been elusive this winter, and I have yet to speak to anyone who has had a banner day. Most anglers are catching more largemouth bass than perch. That said, I have had good perch fishing there late in February in other years.

You can probably catch all the 5- to 7-inch perch you want from Silver Lake. The best bite has been in about 40 feet of water.

Curlew Lake ice fishermen have been looking, with minimal success, for ways to access the lake somewhere other than the state park, which has gone dead for perch. Friends fished all around the island this week. Alhough they caught at least 25 trout, they didn’t get any perch. Whether the bite will resume before spring is anyone’s guess.

Waitts Lake ice is good and ice fishermen are catching some nice-sized rainbows and browns and an occasional perch. Power Bait has been the most effective for the trout.

I keep thinking Bear Lake will get good, but the anglers I have talked with are catching only a few small perch. I remember the excellent perch fishing when Bear first opened to the public many years ago and anyone could fish there. That first summer, a friend and I caught dozens of fat 10-inch perch every time we went out.

The ice on Moses Lake is 4-5 inches thick, but the perch fishing at Blue Heron Park has not been particularly good. A friend who fished there last weekend caught a single 12-incher. Lind Coulee also has ice and a lone angler was spotted quite a distance out there on Sunday. Potholes Reservoir is iced up, but no one has been out, which would suggest unsafe conditions.

Most Banks Lake bays have enough good ice for fishing and fishermen are taking a mixed bag of spiny ray. The rest of the lake is also covered with ice, but it was not thick a week ago and is covered with snow. At Coulee Playland, Lou Nevsimal said anglers went out in front of the store a week ago but found only an inch of ice.

Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, has been a popular ice fishing destinations recently with perch and rainbow trout being caught. Patterson Lake, near Winthrop, has also been producing good catches of perch, trout and kokanee.

The perch on Idaho’s Cocolalla Lake are usually in about 40 feet of water this time of year. The bite has been sporadic, but it’s beginning to pick up and some nice catches have been made. It should get better later in the month.

An Idaho friend said Fernan Lake has been a waste of time. There is little room to park and the few wide spots have snow berms. Early in the week, he said the lake had 6 inches of slush on top of 5 1/2 inches of ice and just enough crust to break through on every step. He fished an hour with no bites. Hauser Lake is yielding perch and bass.

Mirror Lake is reported to have lots of kokanee biting, but the biggest are only 8 inches long. Spirit Lake kokanee are just a little larger. The best ice fishing has been in Bronze Bay.

Priest Lake has not developed good ice this winter, and it probably won’t. Anglers hoping to fish for mackinaw will have to wait until spring.

They’re still catching some big perch from Cascade Lake, but access has become difficult with the amount of unplowed snow. Without a snowmobile, you could be out of luck. Walking on the lake has become an ordeal. You’ll probably want to wear rubber boots as there is up to 5 inches of water on top of the ice in places.

Steelhead

Steelhead angler effort on the upper Salmon River over the past week was light, with the most activity near Salmon in location codes 16 and 17. Downstream of the Lemhi River in location code 16, anglers averaged eight hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged five hours per steelhead caught. Current river conditions vary greatly depending on location.

Spiny ray

The best fishing for decent-sized walleye on Lake Roosevelt has been in the main lake in 35-55 feet of water for anglers dragging jigs on bottom. The ramp at Fort Spokane has been kept plowed. The larger walleyes should start up the Spokane Arm soon. The water level on Wednesday was 1,274 feet and dropping.

Hunting

The 2018 Idaho elk harvest was about 15.4 percent above the 10-year average. The overall deer harvest was less than 1 percent below the 10-year average. Although white-tailed deer harvest dipped in 2018 compared to 2017, gains in the mule deer harvest – largely from spike and two-point bucks – brought the overall deer harvest for 2018 above that of 2017.

Hunters must purchase and submit their 2019 spring black bear special hunt applications by midnight on Feb. 28. Hunts will occur in specific areas of western and eastern Washington. More information about hunts scheduled on both sides of the state is available on the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/ hunting/permits/ spring_bear/.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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