The trout and perch on Lake Gillette are suspended over deep water, with the trout often just under the ice. Fishing this week was not particularly fast, with more trout iced than perch, particularly right out from the Beaver Lodge store. The trout are mostly around 12 inches and the perch 9 to 11 inches. A friend who fished the lake on Monday said there were at least 7 inches of ice. The forest service boat launch is plowed and no fees are required in the off-season.
Curlew Lake perch and trout fishing has been good just out from the launch at the State Park. The ice is not nearly as thick as this time last year, but at 5 inches, most fishermen say it is enough and they are jigging up many 9-to 12-inch fish. The magic depth has been right on the bottom at 38 feet.
Antilon Lake in the Chelan area has around 5 inches of good ice. There are a lot of sunfish in the lake, but also good numbers of brown trout running 12 to 14 inches.
In winter, perch are the main attraction at Patterson Lake near Winthrop, Washington. On Jan. 26, the first Patterson Lake Perch Pull will be held. Organizers will be handing out cash prizes in several categories. Registration will begin at 5:30 a.m. and the weigh-in will be a 5 p.m. The entry fee is $25 for adults and $10 for youth younger than 15. The entry fee covers the planned dinner. Info: Vern Herrst, (509) 996-3210.
I haven’t had a report from any of the winter lakes that opened after Thanksgiving, but I would think Williams and Hatch have enough ice to walk on. Fourth of July Lake probably has no ice or thin ice due to the constant wind in that area, but Hog Canyon, which is more sheltered, may have some ice fishing going on.
Round Lake in Idaho has ice, but probably not enough to walk on. Kelso is being fished, but the trout bite hasn’t been particularly strong. Spirit Lake has too much ice at the launch to get a boat in, but not enough for ice fishing. The lake is over 90 percent open. Twin Lakes – upper and lower – are covered with ice, and at midweek there were a few anglers on the ice. The south end of Hauser is mostly frozen, but there have been no ice fishing reports from there.
In Idaho, Cascade Lake perch anglers have taken a lot of fish more than 2 pounds. Reports indicate there is enough ice for safe fishing, but this may be a short season.
Fly fishermen at Rocky Ford say there seem to be a lot more big fish in the creek this winter. They suggest upping the strength of your leader to as much as 8 pound test.
Above-average air temperatures and stable water flows are making for consistent winter fishing on the Spokane River. Nymphing has been best using patterns like peacock stones with a smaller attractor-style dropper. “Get them down and keep them there,” Silver Bow Fly Shop says.
Take advantage of the warm weather if you are itching to try the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. The lower parts of the river have been decent from noon to 2:30 p.m.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead anglers are having nominal success off the mouth of the Tucannon River. On the Clearwater River, January and February have traditionally been two of the best months.
Trout and kokanee
Trollers launching at Fort Spokane on Lake Roosevelt and heading up the reservoir are finding hefty trout in multiple locations in about 50 feet of water. The fish are suspended in the top 20 feet.
Trollers out of Keller are catching some nice rainbow, but some are also netting kokanee. Most of these are about a foot in length, but a much larger fish is occasionally landed. Orange or pink Apexes tipped with corn have done well on fish from the surface down to about 20 feet.
Rock Lake anglers are taking some nice brown trout (up to 24 inches) by either throwing plugs against the shoreline or trolling along the shoreline. Planer boards make the trolling more effective.
Hayden Lake kokanee running consistently a foot and better are being caught with three colors of leaded line on the troll. The fish have been scattered and the morning bite is best.
Outhouse Flats and Casino Flats on Lake Roosevelt would be good places to begin looking for walleye. The islands up the Spokane Arm have also been productive at times, as has the Kettle River area. It’s too early for the fish to be staging, so anglers must keep moving to find the moving schools.
Several Banks Lake whitefish over 20 inches have come to net. There is no ice. This is also a good time to try for whitefish in Lake Roosevelt, where they are spawning in about 50 feet of water.
Anglers are targeting burbot at the south end of Sullivan Lake. On Lake Roosevelt, the mouth of the Colville River and the mouth of the Spokane River are good spots to fish from shore or boat. The best bite will be at night.
Burbot prefer cold water and will take over many of the walleye holes as the water temperatures drop.
The take season for mountain lions has closed in Game Management Units 70, 73, and 73A in southeast Idaho because the allotted eight females have been harvested. Dog training season will remain open in these units through March 31.
Washington upland bird hunters have a few more days to shoot pheasants, quail, gray partridge and chukars, as the season ends Jan. 21. Ducks and geese are open through Jan. 27. Unless we get some more snow, pheasant hunting will provide little but a nice walk in the country.
A nice way to give you and your dog an outing is to book a hunt at one of Washington’s shooting preserves where the seasons don’t usually end until April. The ones closest to Spokane are the Double Barrel Ranch near Rockford (270-5518) and Miller Ranch near Downs Lake (370-5535).
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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