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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 5

March 4, 2020 Updated Wed., March 4, 2020 at 6:19 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

Silver Bow Fly Shop said fishing has been decent on the Spokane River, with most fish caught on either Euro or bobber rigs, with hot bead patterns being the top producers. Fly fishing is also reported to be decent on The North Fork Coeur d’Alene, mostly on nymphs or streamers. Slow, deep pools, eddies or tailouts will be best locations until we get into spring. The Prichard areas and below have the best water.

Coffeepot Lake was said to have fished well on Sunday’s opener. Balanced leeches were effective. Lake levels were good, and the far end had plenty of water to get through the narrows after a thin layer of ice melted off midday.

Trout and kokanee

Two friends and I fished from shore with Power Bait and slip sinkers this week near Hanson Harbor on Lake Roosevelt. After a slow start beginning at about 9 a.m., we finally found the sweet spot and had all limited on mostly 16- to 18-inch rainbow by 1 p.m. According to another friend who fished the same spot on Tuesday, the bite was still on much earlier.

Liberty Lake trollers have been doing well on 14- to 17-inch brown trout. Liberty has been planted with 4,000 rainbow catchables. Hog Canyon and Fourth of July lakes are said to be kicking out some sizable rainbow trout.

Downs Lake is ice-free, and 5,000 catchable-size rainbow have been planted. Fishing on Sunday’s opener was said to be slow. As the lake warms, fishing will improve for the trout and largemouth bass.

On Sunday’s opener for the Quincy lakes, Caliche and Martha gave up the best numbers, but Quincy Lake had the biggest fish. Lenore and Nunnally produced trout running mostly 14-16 inches, with some even larger. District 5 biologist Mike Schmuck said with all the good fishing nearby, anglers would be better off leaving Burke Lake alone until next year. Burke was rehabilitated and just recently planted with small trout.

Rock Lake continues to reward trollers with nice catches of 14- to 16-inch rainbow, a few browns and even the occasional kokanee. The early bite has been best, but you can catch fish all day long trolling Rapalas, Old Goat lures or spinners at just under 2 mph.

Pampas Pond, 4 miles southwest of LaCrosse, Washington, along Highway SR-26, opened Sunday and anglers are catching some nice rainbow.

Floating devices are not allowed on this 2-acre body of water.

The water level on Billy Clapp Lake is low, making it all but impossible to launch a large boat, but the bite from 14- to 18-inch rainbow has been fair to good around the big basalt island.

Priest Lake mackinaw fishing has been good for anglers working Mac Alley close to Fourmile Island, Eightmile Island and along the west shore line.

Salmon and steelhead

The spring chinook salmon season started Sunday on the lower Columbia River with a preseason forecast similar to the 2019 actual return. Fishing conditions are slowly improving.

Washington fishery managers say the coming year may be another tough one for anglers, with low salmon returns expected again in 2020. The 2020 preseason forecast for Columbia River spring chinook is estimated to be 81,700 upriver adults (135,800 upriver and lower river combined), the lowest prediction since 1999. Forecasts for tributaries below Bonneville Dam – and in the Bonneville pool – show similar trends.

Fishing for steelhead is again open on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the river upstream to the McNary Dam. Steelhead fishing remains closed through March from McNary Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge. It also remains closed through April 15 from the Hwy. 395 Bridge upstream to the old Hanford town site.

Steelhead anglers’ chances for success will likely improve this month on tributaries like the Walla Walla, Touchet, Tucannon and the lower Grand Ronde rivers. The daily limit in the Snake River and tributaries is one hatchery steelhead this year.

Cold temperatures on Idaho’s upper Salmon River resulted in low steelhead angler effort last week. Weather conditions began to improve by Friday, and angler effort increased, especially downstream of Panther Creek in location code 15. Over the weekend, anglers interviewed downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14 averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed downstream of North Fork in location code 15 averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught.

Spiny ray

An angler on Long Lake this week was pleased to catch a few decent walleyes, but the fish that excited him was the 1-pound, 10-ounce perch he caught. Long Lake has also given up a few large walleye.

Casino Flats, Outhouse Flats and the flat across from Seven Bays have all produced walleye this week in 25-50 feet of water. The best luck has come from slowly dragging a green-colored jig, but anglers who fish Roosevelt a lot say it’s probably time to begin looking for walleye up the Spokane Arm.

Ice fishing

Trout and perch anglers were still finding good ice and a fair bite at Sacheen Lake this week. Curlew Lake was producing some big catches of perch at the state park. The boat launch at Deer Lake was iced in at midweek – too much ice to launch but not enough to walk on. In the Okanogan, ice fishing is still an option at Leader Lake near the town of Okanogan, with catches of 8- to 10-inch yellow perch and occasional black crappie and bluegill. Patterson Lake near Winthrop is giving up catches of yellow perch and kokanee through the ice. Ice fishing at Bonaparte Lake near Tonasket is traditionally productive for rainbow and kokanee. Palmer Lake near Loomis usually has decent perch ice fishing through March.

Other species

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved razor clam digs on evening low tides after recent marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

The approved digs are for the following beaches, dates and low tides:

Friday, 4:11 p.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Saturday, 4:59 p.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Sunday, 6:43 p.m., -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Monday, 7:25 p.m., -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Tuesday, 8:06 p.m., -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Wednesday, 8:46 p.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Contact Alan Liere at

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