Anglers should find good fishing at Rocky Ford Creek near Soap Lake. There are a lot of 16- to 20-inch rainbow available.
Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene said fly fishermen had a good weekend on the lower Coeur d’Alene. Streamers and nymphs are the best, but there were some fish up eating midges Sunday afternoon. They also say these are nice winter conditions for steelhead – flows are good and there are fish around. The Grande Ronde is back down as well as the Clearwater.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt anglers have done well on 17- to 21-inch trout from boat and shore this week. Casting Power Bait from shore at Fort Spokane has been spectacular at times, but two friends who fished there Tuesday put in about 6 hours for seven keepers. They said fishing picked up when they switched from orange Power Bait to the rainbow color.
Rock Lake trout fishing has surpassed the Lake Roosevelt fishery at times. The fish aren’t as large on average, but the bite doesn’t usually go dead as it sometimes does on Roosevelt. Rock has browns and rainbow. Trolled Rapalas at about 1.3 mph have been effective at several depths.
Rainbow fishing is good at Potholes Reservoir. Fish along Perch Point, just up from the mouth of the Lind Coulee Arm, with a slip bobber and a 3- to 4-foot leader with Power Bait or a miniature marshmallow.
Hog Canyon, Fourth of July and Williams lakes have ice and fishing for rainbow has been decent. Waitts Lake has given up some large trout just out from the public access and Jumpoff Joe and Sacheen are good some days for perch.
The Little Pend Oreille chain’s Gillette and Thomas lakes also have perch as well as crappie. Eloika Lake has been a puzzle. Big catches of perch reported in years past have not materialized this winter. Curlew Lake anglers are having to leave the state park and go north for their fish. The bite will probably not be as good until after the spawn.
Ice fishing is going well on Patterson Lake near Winthrop, Leader Lake near Omak, Bonaparte Lake near Tonasket, and Sidley and Molson lakes near Oroville.
Patterson Lake has fair tiger and rainbow trout fishing. Leader Lake also has rainbow trout, as well as crappie and bluegill. Bonaparte Lake has brook and tiger trout and kokanee, and Roses Lake has good fishing for perch and rainbow trout. The same is true for Fish Lake, where the ice is at least 6 inches thick. Look for 30 feet of water and bait up with a perch eye.
In Idaho, Cocolalla has a foot of ice and fast action for 7- to 9-inch perch. Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene has marginal ice and so far the perch fishing has been slow. Hauser Lake has decent ice close to shore, but fishing has been slow. Hayden Lake pike anglers are catching quite a few through the ice. Spirit Lake has a lot of slush on top of the ice and fishing conditions are miserable. A few kokanee have been reported.
Perch anglers on Pend Oreille Lake are catching their fish near the Long Bridge in Sandpoint. Many of these are around 8 inches, but a few are stretching to a foot. A Priest Lake ice fishermen reported jigging up a couple of mackinaw just out from Hills Resort, but overall, the lake has a lot of open water and going out more than a few feet from shore could be risky.
Freeman Lake, near Oldtown, Idaho, is yielding some nice rainbow as well as bass and bluegill. Lower Twin has about 5 inches of ice and is seeing quite a few ice anglers, though fishing has been slow.
Mirror has good ice. Kokanee are only about 6 inches long, but there are a lot of them. Jewel Lake in Bonner County has good ice but not many anglers. A few smallish largemouth bass were reported. Avondale Lake does not have safe ice.
Salmon and steelhead
Fishing for steelhead is closed upstream of the Interstate 182 Bridge at Richland. Anglers can continue to fish for steelhead downstream of the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco through March 31. Daily limit is one hatchery steelhead.
The Snake River from the mouth (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge) upstream to Lower Granite Dam, and the Touchet, Walla Walla and Tucannon rivers remain open until further notice. Daily limit is one hatchery steelhead. The Snake River above Lower Granite and the lower Grand Ronde River are also open with a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead.
If you’re looking for prespawn walleye on Moses Lake, troll just north of the I-90 Bridge. ‘Eyes congregate in this area before heading up Crab Creek in April to spawn. The walleye bite should also be picking up in the Lind Coulee, which flows into Potholes Reservoir.
February is the final month of the whitefish season on the Little Spokane and Kettle rivers in Ferry County. Fishing for whitefish in the Methow, Similkameen and Entiat rivers will also close at the end of February for the first time since the rule simplification. The fishery is open through Feb. 28 on the Naches River (mouth to Tieton River) and on the Yakima River (Sunnyside Dam to 3,500 feet below Roza Dam and from Roza Dam to Easton Dam). Anglers must release all fish except whitefish.
The John Day Pool (Lake Umatilla) remains open for retention of white sturgeon measuring 43-54 inches from their snout to the fork in their tail. The fishery will remain open until the quota is reached. The Columbia River upstream of McNary Dam and the Snake River are restricted to catch-and-release only during open season.
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