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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Jan. 23

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 22, 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

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports decent winter fishing on the Spokane River. It says it’s all about having hot bead nymph patterns. Rocky Ford near Ephrata is not receiving its usual rave reviews so far this winter. The trout have been smaller than usual.

The Clearwater River is giving up an occasional steelhead to fly fishermen using sink tips and marabou flies with lots of movement. Swing them deep through slow current.

Spokane Fly Fishers Fly Fishing School begins Feb. 20. The indoor session will be held at the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council Building, 6116 N. Market St., from 6 8:30 p.m. and the three outdoor casting classes will be later at Franklin Park. A final class will be on the water April 4 at Waterfront Park on Medical Lake. For more information, contact Claude Kistler at 747 2268 or by email at

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt is projected to be at about 1,280 feet above sea level today and dropping about a foot a day. The trout bite has generally been best with dropping water, but that didn’t prevent two friends and me from being skunked on Tuesday – a first for me when trolling on the big reservoir. We fished 6 hours out of Porcupine Bay and Fort Spokane and tried everything in the tackle box. We saw only three other boats and a half-dozen bank fishermen. Three anglers from the West Side said they were on their second day in their boat and had only caught three trout.

Trout fishing on Long Lake may be on hold for boat anglers as the lake is dropping quickly and most launches are either closed or out of the water. This would be a good time to visit the launch where the Little Spokane runs in, however, so you can see where the main channel runs and form a plan for avoiding the prop-destroying rocks on either side come higher water.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt Charters reports catching a lot of small walleye by going deep. They say the fish are scattered at all depths, some as far down as 170 feet with nothing under 160 feet. Fishing is taking place south of Seven Bays and in the Gifford area.

Anglers launching at Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt said they found some good walleye fishing for decent-size fish by jigging dark jig heads with green plastics in 35 to 50 feet of water. Most of their fish were between 15 and 22 inches, and they also released two fish over 5 pounds.

Ice fishing

Hog Canyon Lake has a lot of open water. Fourth of July has patches of ice. Neither are good ice fishing destinations.

A friend said he tried Jump-Off Joe Lake on Tuesday and found 4 inches of good clear ice with 4 inches of slush on top. He said his waterproof boots weren’t and he didn’t stay long enough to see any fish caught.

The Sacheen Lake parking lot is plowed to accommodate ice fishermen, but the ice there is also sloppy on top. A friend who tried it there Tuesday said he fished six hours without a bite.

Curlew Lake is said to have ice on the shallow end by the state park and anglers are catching perch there. The deeper water elsewhere on the lake has not frozen. As a resort owner on another lake once told me when I inquired about the safety of the ice, “You can go out there if you want, mister, but leave your wallet.”

Gamble Lake has 4 inches of good ice and some perch up to 12 inches. It’s sloppy on top. You won’t catch many, but a 12-inch perch is worth waiting for.

Again this week, the Pend Oreille Chain Lakes east of Colville – Thomas, Gillette and Coffin have the best ice – about 11 inches. These all have trout and spiny ray, but fishing has been slow.

Twin Lakes in Idaho is seeing some ice fishermen who are having fair luck catching bluegills, perch and a few trout. Other Idaho Panhandle lakes are seeing the same poor/iffy conditions as those in Eastern Washington. These include popular destinations like Fernan, Hayden and Avondale. Snow on top has not allowed most lakes to form safe ice.

Other species

State shellfish managers have approved razor clam digs on evening low tides. “Weather and surf during our last opener dissuaded many from participating,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “The good news is that this means there are still a great many clams out there for this and future digs.” The remaining approved digs are for the following beaches, dates and low tides:

• Thursday, 5:53 p.m. -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Friday, 6:32 p.m. -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Saturday, 7:08 p.m. -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Sunday, 7:42 p.m. -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis


A friend and I hunted the final day of the upland season, hoping to find one last pheasant before we put away our guns. The day was mild and the dogs worked beautifully. I saw several hens and had a great opportunity to shoot a long-tailed bird. Sadly, there was an oversight on my part that I have never before experienced in 60 years of hunting, and will probably never live down – I forgot to load my gun when I first got out of the truck.

Washington duck and goose hunters in units four and five may continue to hunt through Sunday when the season closes. The Idaho Area 1 Canada goose season closes after today. The light goose season in Area 3 and 4 closes March 10.

Cottontail and snowshoe rabbits are open statewide in Washington through March 15, and through March 31 in Idaho.

The huge flocks of wild turkeys standing on and near area roads this winter have convinced nonhunters that turkey hunting is easy. In the fall and winter, it can be, although the cold weather season is over. Come the spring season, the game changes. Birds that once counted on safety in numbers have split up and are a lot more wary – just ask any April turkey hunter who woke up early in the cold and returned home empty-handed six hours later.

Contact Alan Liere at

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