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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Jan. 16

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 15, 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 Spokane River is drawing some fly fishing attention. Find the slow water, get your flies down and fish them slowly. Silver Bow Fly Shop said nymphing with tungsten Pat’s Stones and small hot bead patterns has been good under the bobber. Streamer fishing with Sculpzillas, Kreelex, lead eye leeches, and Gold Fingers has been decent.

Steelhead and salmon

As expected, the Clearwater River has been on fire since the reopen date on Jan. 1. Reel Time Fishing in Clarkston said its boats have caught over 300 steelhead since the reopening. The fish are in great shape.

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook are hitting herring and hoochies somewhere between 90 and 120 feet. Most are small – 3-8 pounds.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt bank fishermen at Keller have done well using slip sinker rigs baited with marshmallows, Power Bait, shrimp, worms, or a combination of these. The main thing is to use enough flotation material to allow your offering to float off the bottom. The trout have been large – 2 1/2 pounds and better.

Lake Roosevelt rainbow can be cooperative some days and fickle another. They also move around a lot. This was driven home when my son and I and a friend launched out of Seven Bays and had to decide whether to go uplake toward Fort Spokane or down toward Sterling Point. We chose the latter – the wrong decision. Back at the launch 4 hours later, we had two trout. A fellow taking out when we arrived had gone to the Fort Spokane area and had taken a quick limit and released “at least 15 more,” he said. The fish were so shallow they were not showing on the graph. He got his trout on a perch-pattern fly.

Mackinaw fishing on Lake Pend Oreille has been good for anglers willing to brave the elements. Fish deep.

Spiny ray

Walleye anglers are still catching a lot of fish near the Porcupine Bay launch. Most are in the 14- to 20-inch range.

Ice fishing

At Fishermen’s Cove Resort on Curlew Lake, owner Jack Beck said Tuesday that there was ice around the edges, but nothing he would walk on. He said that parts of the lake are freezing up and that the state park area, one of the best for perch fishing, was one of the first to freeze.

Although it’s a nonbait water with a two-fish limit, ice fishing at Rat Lake in the Okanogan has been excellent for anglers dropping jigs and flies into the top 20 feet of water. The ice was a solid 4 inches Wednesday.

The 16th annual Northwest Ice Fishing Festival at Molson, near Oroville, Washington, is Saturday. This is a fun fishing tournament. Visit for details.

There were several fishermen on the ice Monday at Jump-Off-Joe Lake. A few small perch and no trout had been landed. There were about 3 inches of ice. Similar reports came from Sacheen Lake, where the ice was a bit thicker. Eloika Lake was beginning to freeze up, but it has about 20 inches of snow on top of thin ice.

A herd of deer was seen crossing the lake earlier this week, but that is no gauge of ice safety as deer fall through every winter and perish. Diamond Lake also has a lot of snow on top of a thin layer of ice. Silver Lake has some ice and a lot of open water. The heavy snowfall hasn’t done ice fishermen any favors. Even with the present low temperatures, ice is slower to form under the snow. The weatherman is saying it’s going to begin warming again by the end of the week. Be careful out there.

Other species

Banks Lake whitefish are about 90% through spawning, but a lot of the fish are still near the inlet. It’s possible to catch them from shore, but a boat is an advantage as it is easier to get down without snagging in the rip-rap.

There have been no recent reports from Hog Canyon or Fourth of July. Considering the shallowness of Fourth of July and the protected waters of Hog Canyon, they could provide some ice fishing.

A friend fished Gillette Lake in the Pend Oreille Chain through good ice recently and reported catching a dozen perch of around 10 inches.

Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene said there was just a skim of ice on Fernan on Tuesday and no one was fishing. None of the other lakes near Coeur d’Alene appears to have good ice yet.


Washington goose hunters throughout Goose Management Area 4 have extra days from Monday to Jan. 26 when hunting is open all days rather than just Wednesdays and weekends. There have been a lot of honkers resting on Rock Lake.

A friend and I drove south into the Endicott area on Monday to hunt pheasants and were surprised to find almost no snow. Anticipating a banner day of hunting, we instead logged several miles and saw few birds, and the ones we did see were flushing wild. Upland bird hunters have only through Monday to get in another hunt.

The application period for Idaho spring black bear controlled hunts is open through Feb. 15. Resident Idaho hunters pay a $6.25 application fee, and nonresident applications are $14.75. You can apply by phone: (800) 554-8685.

Washington and Idaho hunters are taking advantage of the snow and cold to find a lot of coyotes in the scabland and farm country of the Palouse. Coyotes are more active in this kind of weather, and hides are said to be bringing a good price.

Idaho hunters’ safety courses are being offered. Prospective hunters have two course options to receive their certification:

Instructor-led course: 12 to 18 class hours plus an outdoor field day and written exam. All Panhandle classes are hunter/bowhunter combination courses. That way, all graduates will be able to archery hunt if they decide to do so. Cost is $9.75 to register online or $8 at the Fish and Game office.

Online course: A self-paced online instruction, online exam and outdoor field day. Outdoor field days are offered in Coeur d’Alene the first Saturday of every month. Cost is $24.50 for the online course ($30 for bowhunter) and $9.75 for the field day. Register online at

Contact Alan Liere at

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