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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 28

UPDATED: Wed., March 27, 2019, 5:09 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

Some of the crew at Silver Bow Fly Shop tried the St. Joe River this week and said it is fishable and productive below Marble Creek with trout hanging in slow water 4 feet or deeper. Put a Hot bead Pat’s Rubber Legs or a hot pink San Juan on the bottom, or try a streamer.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene had a lot of floating debris and clarity issues last weekend, but some wade anglers reported good fishing in spots if you could avoid the debris.

The Clark Fork River is rising and has a lot of color, but anglers are hoping for a little pre-runoff fishing before it blows out. For river conditions, contact Joe Cantrell at (406) 649-3474.

Ice fishing

The ice fishing season is about over on area lakes, as water is showing around the edges at most and there are pockets of water and thin ice over springs. At Coulee Playland on Banks Lake, Lou Nevsimal said the launch there is the only one open on the lake, but boaters can only go about a half mile south before hitting ice. That would put them short of Osborne Bay, which is usually good for walleye in the early spring.

Trout and kokanee

A friend who fished from shore at Fort Spokane said he caught a limit of 16- to 19-inch rainbow on orange Power Bait in just an hour early this week. He said anglers fishing near the bridge didn’t do as well, as he was to the left at the point of the first big bay. He added that many anglers were casting out too far, and that he caught all his fish only 50 feet from shore. Late last week, friends tried to get into Jones Bay but said there was too much snow and mud.

Trollers near Keller Ferry on Lake Roosevelt report good success on days when the sun is shining. After a slow winter, the Roosevelt trout fishery is finally waking up. Several good reports have also come in from trollers near Fort Spokane and at Hawk Creek, including one that included a 19-inch kokanee.

Steelhead and salmon

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved spring chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. Fishing will open on April 27, with a two-day-a-week season on the Clearwater River and a four-day-a-week season on the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. The season will run until sport anglers’ shares of the harvest are met (which varies by river) or Aug. 11 – whichever comes sooner.

Because of low projected returns to the Upper Snake River in Hells Canyon, fisheries managers did not propose to open a spring chinook season this year.

The Main Salmon River out of Riggins, Idaho, has been surprisingly good at times for steelhead, considering the low runs.

Spiny ray

Smallmouth fishing is starting on the Snake River, but this is when the big ones begin biting aggressively. Try a Rapala around the boulders in deeper water.

The stretch of Lake Roosevelt between Gifford and Clover Leaf campground is usually good for walleye, but it is giving up quite a few northern pike.

Lake Roosevelt has been generally challenging but pretty decent for walleye anglers who work at it. There are a lot of little fish and the larger ones haven’t maintained a consistent depth, being caught on bottom in water anywhere from 8 to 125 feet. Generally, dragging bottom walkers with nightcrawlers or jigs with a piece of nightcrawler across the flats has been most effective. The bites have been subtle. A report Wednesday said the Spokane Arm is quite muddy.

Upper Goose and Soda lakes near Moses Lake are ice-free and anglers are trying their luck on early-season walleye and other spiny ray. Upper Goose is also loaded with trout. Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake still have ice, but it should be gone in less than a week – sooner if they get a good wind.

Other species

Burbot fishing is still good on Roosevelt. The fish have moved into relatively shallow water to spawn. An orange or green plastic sweetened with a nightcrawler is a good way to start.


Turkeys are popping up everywhere this week, with sightings of big flocks from Spokane to Lake Roosevelt, above Colbert, near Suncrest, Coeur d’Alene, Priest River and everywhere in between. The youth seasons in Idaho run April 8-14. In Washington, it is April 6-7. The general season in both states begins April 15.

Contact Alan Liere at

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