Anglers at Rocky Ford Creek are catching quite a few of the big trout by rigging with a Mini Leech and Ultra Scud dropper. Reports of fish well over 20 inches are common.
Trout and kokanee
I fished with two friends from shore at Hansen Harbor on Lake Roosevelt on Monday. The bite was slow, but one friend caught his five trout, including a 22-incher and the other caught three – all about 17 inches long. The baits of choice were either orange Power Bait or a worm/marshmallow “sandwich.” You’ll notice my trout catch is not recorded here. There is a reason for that.
Lake Roosevelt trollers downstream from the confluence are doing well around areas with sandy banks. Orange or chartreuse are the go-to colors, whether in a fly pattern or a lure such as the Apex or Old Goat. Most of the fish are in the top 20 feet, but some are being caught down as much as 40 feet.
Trout fishing in the year-around Seep lakes near Potholes Reservoir has been decent this past week. Corral and Long lakes have been producing some nice catches of rainbow. Fish Power Bait or marshmallows and worms about 18 inches off the bottom with a one-eighth- to one-fourth-ounce egg sinker.
A friend who fished Rufus Woods last week said the parking lot at Seaton Grove was a zoo with nearly a hundred boat trailers by the time he got there at 9:30 a.m. Most of the boats, he said, were anchored in the vicinity of the net pens – some not more than 20 feet apart. Rufus Woods has been good for large triploids the past two months.
Lake Chelan kokanee have been stacked between 75-125 feet on the edges of deeper water. A good trolling speed is 1.1 mph.
Ice fishing, Idaho
Most Idaho lakes will have good fishing ice by the weekend. Exceptions may be Avondale and Fernan, where the ice was still thin on Tuesday. Spirit Lake is yielding a few small kokanee through the ice over deep water near Maiden Rock, but so far, the chinook have lockjaw. Hauser Lake has ice in places, but pike anglers are not venturing out far with their tip-ups, and there are areas of open water. Trout and perch are being caught on lower Twin at the Par-3 access.
Ice fishing, Washington
You have numerous opportunities if you want to ice fish in Eastern Washington this weekend. Diamond, Sacheen, Newman and Jumpoff Joe have had decent perch fishing at times, but Curlew Lake has the largest perch. The best fishing there has gravitated to the north from the state park, but access is difficult unless you’re renting a cabin at one of the resorts. Silver Lake ice may be ready to go by Saturday, but until then, there is no news about the size of the perch, which have been small the past three or more years. Silver was still showing some open water early in the week.
Waitts, Fourth of July, Hog Canyon and Williams lakes present good trout options for hard water anglers. Davis Lake may have safe ice in the bays by the weekend. Davis has kokanee as well as rainbow and brook trout, and anglers who go deep enough with bait may be surprised to crank up a burbot or even a lake trout.
Steelhead and salmon
Approximately 7,000 hatchery steelhead will be returning to the South Fork Clearwater River this year. Idaho Department of Fish and Game is looking for volunteers to help them collect these fish to develop a localized steelhead broodstock for the South Fork. In theory, these fish will develop adaptations that will allow them to return at a higher rate to the South Fork Clearwater River compared to steelhead collected downstream at Dworshak Hatchery. Through early April, IDFG staff will be out on the river each day, distributing holding tubes at popular fishing holes and signing up anglers interested in participating in the program. Steelhead will be placed by anglers in these tubes, collected each day and taken to the hatchery.
Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are finding fish on the edge of the flats and on the points around the confluence of the Spokane Arm. At times, it has been a fast fishery, but most of the fish are small. Target 30-40 feet of water. A friend said he found a few small walleyes in Porcupine Bay earlier this week. The larger eyes are heading toward the Spokane Arm, and fishing for these should pick up soon.
When the water level starts down and continues to drop, Roosevelt walleye fishing gets good. Jigs with small swimbaits are effective.
Walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County can still be good in the cold weather. To target them, start looking in the 35- to 45-foot depths. Move around until you start marking fish in an area then vertical jig these fish with a one-half-ounce blade bait, a Whistle Pig, or 4- to 5-inch fluke type baits on a three-eighths-ounce jig head. Fish the humps in front of the sand dunes, around the mouth of Crab Creek.
A few burbot reports came in this week, but no one has found the mother lode. There have been more caught in the main lake than in the Spokane Arm, where they usually congregate.
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