With winter fishing in full effect around the region, Rocky Ford and the Spokane River are two of the top options. On the Spokane, it’s a nymph or streamer game, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Patterns like jig stones, hot bead stones or smaller hot beads, squirmy wormies and attractor nymphs can be productive.
Spokane Fly Fishers will have guest speakers at its annual club meeting on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. in the St. Francis of Assisi Church basement at 1104 W. Heroy in Spokane. Ladin Langeman and Steve Ronholt of the TV show “Fishing with Ladin” will talk about fishing the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Montana.
Trout and kokanee
The cliff area south of the Keller Launch has been giving up some nice lake Roosevelt rainbow this week, but trollers who go south to the mouth of the San Poil are also netting a few big kokanee. Orange flies, spinners and lures in the top 10 feet are taking the rainbow, but the kokanee have been anywhere from the surface down to 30 feet.
Rainbow trout of various sizes, but mostly over 16 inches, are biting well on Lake Spokane. Anglers fishing with Power Bait from shore had some nice fish when I stopped by there on Friday.
Potholes Reservoir can be good for big rainbow. Successful anglers are casting bait from shore at Medicare Beach or from public access sites along Lynn Coulee.
Bank anglers had some big trout in their cooler when I pulled over at the Tum Tum siding this week. They were casting Power Bait and letting it sit on the bottom. There are several locations along the highway through Tum Tum where anglers can pull over and fish from shore.
The Hunters area seems to be consistent for eating-size walleye if you don’t mind jigging deep water. The fish are said to be biting light. Lake Roosevelt water has been going up this week, and the bite should get better when it starts dropping again.
Deep water jigs are taking some decent-sized burbot from the Hunters area this week. Be prepared to go down as deep as 150 feet.
Ice fishing: Idaho
With the current weather conditions, safe ice fishing seems to be a long way off. When (if) we get our usual January freeze, these are some of the Idaho Panhandle lakes expected to provide good fishing:
Avondale Lake: Located in Hayden, this small lake is one of the first to freeze. It is a great ice fishing destination for family adventures because warm food or a cup of hot cocoa is never far away. Fisheries staff has stocked catchable-sized rainbow trout every August since 2015, so anglers will have plenty of fish available during ice fishing season. Panfish are also abundant in Avondale. Public access is available on the southwest side of the lake off of Avondale
Twin Lakes: The Twin Lakes host a wide variety of fish species from bluegill, northern pike and crappie to rainbow trout. Anglers have even caught kokanee through the ice on Lower Twin. Public access is plentiful, with two Kootenai County boat launches available plus Fish and Game’s Sportsmen’s Access site, located on the north side of the channel between the lakes.
Dawson Lake: Dawson is a scenic lake nestled in the Kaniksu National Forest north of Bonners Ferry. This lake has productive ice fishing for spiny ray. It is also only one of four lakes in the Panhandle stocked with a small number of tiger muskie each year. Due to its small size and high latitude, this lake freezes earlier than many lakes in the region.
Cocolalla Lake: This popular ice-fishing destination is located along Idaho 95 between Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. Ice anglers access the lake on the north end at the Fish and Game boat launch, which includes a large parking area and outhouse. The lake supports a diverse fishery for warmwater and coldwater fish species. Yellow perch are the most common target during the ice fishing season, but other panfish, bass and channel catfish are present. Cocolalla Lake has brook trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout and rainbow trout.
Fernan Lake: This lowland lake offers easy ice-fishing access for anglers. Located just east of Interstate 90 near Coeur d’Alene, developed access sites with outhouses exist at the county boat launches on the west and northeast ends of the lake. Numerous pullouts along the Fernan Lake Road also provide good access. Fernan offers a diverse fishery for rainbow trout, panfish, bass and channel catfish.
Ice fishing: Washington
In Washington, anglers are hoping to get out on Fourth of July (big rainbow); Hog Canyon (rainbow to 16 inches); Williams (rainbow to 18 inches); Jump-Off-Joe (rainbow, big browns and good-sized perch); Sacheen (mostly perch, bass and a some rainbow trout); Diamond (rainbow, browns and perch); Waitts (14-inch rainbow and browns and medium-sized perch); Eloika (mostly small- to medium-sized perch and a lot of largemouth bass); Upper and Lower Twin near Coffeepot Lake (big perch and crappie as well as some large rainbow); and Curlew (mostly large perch but good numbers of rainbow too.)
Most Washington and Idaho bird hunters are hoping for a little snow to give them a better shot at late-season pheasants, but with the current low numbers available, it sometimes doesn’t feel right to even be chasing them. Such was the case this week when, after 3 hours of hard hiking, two friends and I tracked down and shot a big rooster near Davenport, Washington, one of only three we saw. Afterward, we almost wished we had let it go. I don’t know how I’ll explain those sentiments to my hard-working Brittany, however.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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