Realistically, Rocky Ford and Crab Creek are the only good fly fishing options until Monday’s opening of lakes in Grant and Adams counties.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt trout reports have varied this week from lights-out to an occasional skunk. Trollers looking for kokanee near Spring Canyon are getting one now and then, but the majority of fish there have been wild rainbow trout.
Downstream from the Spokane confluence, nonclipped rainbow have been less common.
The opener of several lakes in Grant and Adams counties is Monday. As of last Monday, nearly all these lakes were 40-50% ice free, said Mike Schmuck, District 5 fish biologist.
With warm temperatures and strong winds in the forecast, however, they will probably be entirely ice free or close to it on opening day. Martha and Upper Caliche lakes are usually the top producers on the opener with near-limit catches of good-sized fish. Martha Lake received 1,000 11- to 13-inch rainbow trout in October , while Upper Caliche received 650. In mid-March, these lakes will receive the same number of fish as in October.
Quincy Lake received a lot of attention last year and anglers reported good results with a lot of trout in the 13- to 15-inch range. Quincy will receive stockings of 2,700 11- to 13-inch rainbow trout and 300 larger 1-pound-plus rainbow in early March.
Burke Lake will be a great choice for anglers seeking good numbers of rainbow trout. Last year, Burke received much less angler effort than many other lakes. It was stocked with 3,000 11- to 12-inch trout in March and those that avoided harvest should be 13-15 inches.
Burke was also stocked with 21,000 spring fingerlings that will be in the 11- to 12-inch range for the opener.
Due to the continued COVID restrictions, the popular trout derby sponsored by the Quincy Chamber of Commerce will not take place this year.
Dusty Lake, a selective gear hike-in lake in the Quincy Wildlife Area, provides excellent fishing for rainbow trout as well as brown and tiger trout. Last year, there were reports of good catches of rainbow trout in the 14- to 16-inch range.
Cliff, Crystal, Cup and the Spring lakes, located just south of Dusty, hold good numbers of relatively unpressured rainbow trout, and the lakes are small enough to all be fished in a morning. These lakes produce good catches of trout in the 12- to 14-inch range. On most days, anglers will have these lakes to themselves.
Lenice and Nunnally lakes are located near lower Crab Creek, close to Schwana. They receive approximately 2,500 catchable rainbow trout each spring and fall and growth of these fish is excellent.
Last year, WDFW received reports of multiple-fish catches in the 16- to 18-inch range and expects similar results this spring. While anglers can still retain one fish per day, the minimum size is 18 inches on selective gear waters, such as Lenice and Nunnally.
Lake Lenore, located just north of Soap Lake, should provide excellent opportunities for anglers to catch large Lahontan cutthroat trout . In spring, these fish will be staged in the warmest water they can find getting ready to attempt to spawn. There are multiple strong year classes of fish in the lake with some fish up to 8-plus pounds.
Historically, anglers chose to target these fish with fly gear, but Lake Lenore is not a fly fishing only lake – it is a selective gear lake. Anglers have had success fishing with jigs and spoons in and around some of the islands on the lake. A rule change came into effect for Lake Lenore in 2019 - there is no longer a catch-and-release season from March 1-May 31. Anglers may retain one fish per day, minimum size 18 inches, from Monday’s opener to Nov. 30.
Dry Falls Lake, located within Sun Lakes State Park, was formerly an April 1 opener, but is now open Monday through Nov. 30. In spring, look for large, hungry rainbow in the shallows.
In addition to rainbow, Dry Falls is also stocked with brown and tiger trout.
Ice fishing, Idaho
Avondale anglers are finally finding safe ice and catching mostly 12- to 14-inch rainbow, and a few perch, but the ice is covered with slush and water.
Cocolalla Ice is good and so is the perch fishing. The magic depth has been 35 feet, where some nice trout are also being caught.
Blue Lake has 11 inches of solid ice. Anglers are catching some perch, but the main attraction has been the crappie bite, which usually begins about an hour before dark.
The north end of Hayden has about 6 inches of ice and is attracting fishermen with tip-ups. The fishing has been slow.
Spirit Lake kokanee anglers are having some luck just out from the boat launch in 50 or more feet of water.
Upper and Lower Twin lakes in Kootenai County, north of Rathdrum, have been good for perch recently. These two lakes also have trout, kokanee and other spiny ray species.
Ice fishing, Washington
Two friends who fished Sacheen Lake on Saturday said they marked a lot of fish but couldn’t get many to bite. They concentrated their efforts in 30-40 feet of water, catching only a handful of perch. Two were 10 inches long and the others were under 6 inches.
Diamond Lake success was similar to that on Sacheen on Saturday. Anglers there are catching more trout than perch, but the perch they do get have averaged about 9 inches.
Jumpoff Joe isn’t getting much attention, but there, too, trout caught outnumber the perch.
Waitts Lake continues to give up some nice-sized trout through the ice. Most of the activity is around the public access.
Angling success in Fish Lake in Chelan County has slowed some since last week, but trout and perch are still being caught.
At Bead Lake, one angler reported a phenomenal morning on the ice this week, catching 10 lake trout and a 41.5-inch burbot.
Curlew Lake continues to be the best location around for nice-sized perch. Anglers staying at Tiffany’s Resort say two days of fishing generally result in at least 100 fish, including a few rainbow trout.
There is no safe ice anywhere on Potholes or Moses Lake, with temperatures reaching into the mid-50s this week.
Salmon and steelhead
With the warming weather, Grande Ronde ice should be gone, but with the heavy rain on Monday, the river went from steelhead green to light chocolate. Fishing was good last week.
Guide Craig Dowdy of YJ Charters said his clients have caught a lot of burbot from Lake Roosevelt this winter and they seem to be larger than in years past.
A lot of his fishing takes place near Two Rivers in up to 180 feet of water.
Idaho spring bear controlled hunt draw results are available at license.gooutdoorsidaho.com.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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