The Spokane River is slowly dropping, but it is still pretty big. Silver Bow Fly Shop said anglers that put in the effort can still be rewarded. Winter fishing tactics consist of double nymph rigs (stones/San Juans/hot bead patterns) or streamer fishing with sink-tips and flashy patterns.
Conditions on the Grande Ronde, Clearwater and Snake rivers are all pretty good. If you are looking to swing a fish, the Snake would have the best temperatures.
The Clearwater has put out some B-runs the past few weeks. The Grande Ronde will be best fished with double nymph rigs, either a stone/egg combo or double eggs. Find the soft, deeper water and get your flies down.
Trout and kokanee
For open-water fishing, Lake Roosevelt remains the best bet, although you may have to move around a lot to find the biters. Good reports come from trollers fishing between the bridge at the mouth of the Spokane and Hawk Creek with many fish approaching 20 inches.
Chartreuse and orange are still the best colors, no matter what you’re dragging, but they’ve been a little deeper at times than the standard 15 feet. As the water continues to drop, bank fishing on Roosevelt improves. Power Bait floated just off the bottom is effective.
The Rock Lake launch hasn’t improved, but a lot of rainbow in the 12-inch range are being caught by trollers dragging flashers and lures in the top 20 feet.
The triploid bite is still hot at the upper net pen on Rufus Woods with trout averaging over 5 pounds. The limit is two.
Kokanee anglers on Lake Chelan are finding fish running 10-12 inches above the Yacht Club. The bite has been frantic at times.
Slow down your presentation on Potholes Reservoir no matter what species you’re seeking. Anglers who do so are catching trout as well as walleye, perch and crappie. Look for fish in 20-30 feet on the humps in front of the sand dunes and vertical jig over them.
If targeting walleye, start looking for fish in the 35- to 45-foot depths. Blade baits are becoming increasingly popular.
There have been a few positive reports recently from walleye fishermen at the mouth of the Spokane Arm on Lake Roosevelt.
Finally – some ice.
Close to Spokane, Eloika is ice-covered, although no one seems to be finding any perch. Recent catches reported were of a few crappie, a few bass and some grass pickerel. Jumpoff Joe is solid, but fishing for perch is slow. An occasional trout to 16 inches is pulled in. Sacheen has good ice and good access. Fishing has been fair for perch and trout. Look for water around 30 feet deep.
Silver Lake still had some open water early in the week, but there were people ice skating near the access. Curlew Lake remains the best spot for good catches of perch, although it’s not a sure thing as we move into February. A friend who usually outfishes everyone was skunked at the State Park late last week. He said parking was at a premium. Most recently, anglers have been going north of the island, some with great success on 8- to 10-inch perch and a few over a foot in length. A day’s outing will usually net a few trout.
Temperatures in the Okanogan region have dipped low enough to make some good ice. Bonaparte has been producing good catches of perch and tiger trout. At Leader Lake, you can find some good crappie fishing through the ice. Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, has some good perch fishing and is usually quite consistent. It also has some big triploids from plants earlier this season. Patterson has 12 inches of ice and fair fishing for rainbow and perch.
According to recent reports, there are at least 6 inches of ice on Thomas and Gillette lakes. The better fishing has been at Thomas, especially for crappie. Coffin Lake, about 3 miles to the south, has several trout species as well as spiny ray. Sidley and Molson lakes usually have fair trout fishing in the winter, although I’ve heard little about them.
In Idaho, the ice at Kelso is about 5 inches thick and trout fishing has been fair. Freeman Lake has about the same amount of ice and pretty good fishing for small perch and a few largemouth. No pike have been reported. Lower Twin has about 4 inches of ice and is giving up a few perch and small pike. Upper Twin, Hauser and Cocolalla had less than 2 inches of ice early in the week. Ice at Avondale is thin; Hayden has open water on the north end. Mirror Lake kokanee are biting, but they are small. The lake does have some nice trout.
Good ice has formed all over Idaho’s Lake Cascade and fishermen looking for the jumbo perch are out in force. If you haven’t been there before, printed maps of ice fishing access areas are available at Tackle Tom’s on Main Street in Cascade and at the Lake Cascade State Park office on the south end of Cascade.
Idaho deer, elk and pronghorn hunters must submit a Mandatory Hunter Report by Sunday. Submit online or by calling 1-877-268-9365.
Hunters wanting to participate in Idaho’s spring’s controlled hunts for black bear can apply through Feb. 15.
Hunters who have a 2021 hunting license may apply for controlled hunts at any Fish and Game license vendor; with a credit card by calling 1-800-554-8685; or online at license.gooutdoorsidaho.com.
Waterfowl seasons for ducks and Canada geese in Washington and Idaho are over after Sunday. There will be a few extended seasons for light geese upcoming.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.