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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Feb. 13

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 12, 2020

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 North Fork Coeur d’Alene has settled down from its recent bump in flows. Silver Bow Fly Shop said there have been no reports since it last went up, but it is definitely fishable. It will be a nymph game, for sure, with stones, worms and hot bead patterns. If you intend to fish streamers, go a little bigger and a little flashier. Get them down, keep them down, and fish them slowly.

Fly casters of all abilities can learn from the masters of the craft May 2 at the Fly Casting Fair at the Luther Burbank park off I-90 on Mercer Island, Washington. The day-long fair is hosted by the Washington Council of Fly Fishers and will conclude with the council’s annual banquet at 5 p.m. at the Mercer Island Community Center located in the park. To register for the fair and reserve space in the many workshops, go to The fair will be open to all at no charge, but there will be fees for specific casting workshops and the dinner banquet.


The Idaho Department of Fish and Game needs to recruit volunteer anglers to catch adult steelhead from the South Fork Clearwater River to collect broodstock for hatchery needs. Until quotas are met, IDFG will be on the river from dawn to dusk seven days a week distributing tubes at popular fishing holes and signing up anglers interested in participating in the program.

Trout and kokanee

Billy Clapp Lake in the Columbia Basin has been good for rainbow trout measuring a consistent 14 inches. Floating Rapala jointed plugs, flatlined, have been good.

Fishing from shore at Fort Spokane on Monday, it took a friend less than 2 1/2 hours to catch a limit of beautiful Lake Roosevelt rainbow. He said the smallest was 17 inches and the other four ran from 19 to 23 inches. Despite throwing orange Power Bait as far out as he could, he doubted the water was over 6 feet deep. He went back Tuesday, hoping for similar results, but caught only two, though the man standing next to him quickly caught a limit and went home.

Spiny ray

Shades of green seem to be the best color for Lake Roosevelt walleye this week. Anglers fishing around Outhouse Flats and McCoys in 35-55 feet of water report decent action. Casino Flats, which was good last week, was slow this week. Action has been best in the afternoon. The water in the lower narrows of the Spokane Arm is said to be muddy, but the main reservoir has good clarity.

Ice fishermen at the State Park on Curlew have been catching some big perch. Curlew has been an enigma this winter – freezing, thawing, refreezing. In my opinion, it is a little late in the year to count on good ice. As much as I’d like to get a big mess of perch, I think I’ll wait until April. If the current weather patterns persist, this will be the first winter in at least eight that I haven’t done any ice fishing.

Other species

There has been no smelt fishery on the Cowlitz River since 2017, but WDFW has approved a one-day opening Friday for dip nets from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp. Columbia River smelt – also known as eulachon – were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2010

Only nine bodies of water in Washington are said to have burbot – Bead Lake, Sullivan Lake, Banks Lake, Lake Chelan, Cle Elum Lake, Kachess Lake, Keechelus Lake, Palmer Lake and Lake Roosevelt. Last winter, however, friends caught burbot through the ice on Davis Lake, and it would not be a huge surprise to find them in other waters. In Idaho, burbot are being caught in the Kootenai River, and that fishery has been good this year after many years with no season because of low numbers. Burbot feed primarily at night, tracking down their prey with their great sense of smell and by picking up sound vibrations. The best time to fish for them is late afternoon until way after dark. They are normally found in water over 100 feet deep, but between January and March they move into the shallows to spawn and are more accessible.

Some big whitefish have come from open water on Banks Lake recently. The most popular area is by Coulee City.


For hunters looking to continue waterfowl hunting, seasons for white-fronted and light geese are available in portions of southern Idaho during February and March. In Area 3, which encompasses southwest and south-central Idaho, hunters have until Monday to hunt for white-fronted (specklebelly) geese. The season for light geese (including snow, Ross’s, and blue geese) is also open and runs through March 10. In Area 4, which includes all of Butte, Oneida and Franklin counties, and portions of Clark, Jefferson, Bingham and Power counties, the light goose season reopened on Saturday and also runs through March 10. The white-fronted goose season is already closed in this area. More information and area maps are available in the Idaho Migratory Game Bird 2019-20 Seasons and Rules brochure at

Contact Alan Liere at

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