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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 11

UPDATED: Wed., March 10, 2021

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Trout in area rivers are getting more active and stonefly nymphs are on the move. Silver Bow Fly Shop suggests double nymph rigs – a stone and a hot bead something – or flashy streamer rigs with good movement.

Coffeepot Lake is ice-free and fly fishermen are catching good-sized trout. Stripping a leech or fishing a balanced leech is effective. Amber Lake is also ice-free. Stripping or trolling leeches or fishing balanced leeches under indicators have been best.

Quincy Lake in the Columbia Basin fished well on the March 1 opener with a lot of 18-inch carryover rainbow.

On Tuesday, the lake was stocked generously with trout running 13-15 inches. A fly fisherman there reported he caught over 90 fish in one day before the new plants even went in.

Lenice Lake rainbow running 13-16 inches have been susceptible to chironomids. Anglers there report many hook-ups.

Trout and kokanee

Good fishing for 10- to 12-inch kokanee continues on Lake Chelan. The best action is above the Yacht Club, but the kokes will soon be migrating into other spots on the lake. Fish deep.

Although it is at 1,274 feet and dropping slowly, kokanee fishing on Lake Roosevelt has picked up a little. Fish have been reported from the Keller area down to the can line above Grand Coulee Dam.

Surface activity for rainbow continues on Lake Roosevelt. Most of the positive reports mention chartreuse or orange, whether fly or lure. Anglers throwing Power Bait from shore have found an erratic bite. Reports from Hansen’s Harbor, Fort Spokane, Lincoln and Spring Canyon are similar – you can be standing between two anglers catching one after another – and still be skunked.

Several Eastern Washington lakes which opened on March 1 are still ice-covered.

Deer Lake was fishable in places through the ice at midweek. Medical Lake still has ice, but not enough to stand on. Liberty Lake has a lot of ice, but it is breaking up.

Burke Lake got off to a slow start on the March 1 opener, but was recently stocked with 300 rainbow averaging 2.5 pounds each and 700 rainbow running 13-15 inches.

Martha Lake, which was slow on the March 1 opener, produced rainbow running mostly 18 and 19 inches. It is being planted, however, with 1,000 catchables. Upper Caliche trout were mostly 12-13 inches and the lake was recently planted with 650 catchables.

Lenore Lake has not been hot, but anglers are catching enough Lahontan cutthroats to keep them interested. The smallest of these fish are about 18 inches.

The Sage Lakes in the Columbia Basin, as well as Corral and Blythe, have been good for rainbow trout to 15 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

The adult salmon daily limit at Drano Lake will be reduced to one adult salmon daily from Tuesday through May 5. Effective May 6, Drano Lake will be closed for salmon and steelhead angling until further notice.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon have approved this year’s spring chinook season for the lower Columbia River, with low returns expected to again impact recreational fishing. The 2021 forecast for upriver spring chinook numbers is 75,200 fish, the second-lowest return in the past 20 years, and lower than the 81,300 fish that returned last year. Lower returns to several Columbia River tributaries may also lead to reduced fishing opportunities.

Spiny ray

Downs Lake in southwest Spokane County warms up earlier than other area lakes due to its depth of less than 12 feet. Fishing for largemouth bass as well as rainbow trout is typically fair at Downs in March.

The water on the Potholes Reservoir has warmed up to 44 degrees on the main lake and several degrees warmer than that farther back in the dunes. The fish are responding, and a black and blue half-ounce jig – craw or swim type trailer – will find largemouth.

Walleye will begin spawning within the next few weeks and can be caught at the mouths of Crab Creek, up Lind Coulee and at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway.

The bigger Lake Roosevelt walleye have been found on shallow flats near current in the Spokane Arm. Jigs have been best.

Other species

March is one of the best times to fish for burbot as they congregate to spawn. Burbot tend to lay inactive in deeper holes (40 feet or more) during the day, and then move onto the shallow flats in the evenings to feed. They are most active at night.

Idaho Regional fisheries biologist T.J. Ross recommends anglers try fishing confluence zones where tributaries and the mainstem Kootenai River meet. Anglers on the Kootenai and Roosevelt have found success by fishing the shallower flats (5-15 feet) at dusk and during the night. On Roosevelt, the mouth of the Colville is good.

WDFW fishery managers have announced a Saturday opener to coastal recreational bottom fish and lingcod fishing with expanded angling opportunities. Anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations at their destination.


The Washington spring turkey general season runs from April 15 through May 31 and is preceded by a special youth-only early season on April 3 and 4. The Turkey Takeover blog of is underway.

WDFW is putting a focus on wild turkeys in Washington over the next several weeks to help new hunters learn ahead of the spring general season opener. The monthly hunting highlights on will be replaced with informative blog posts all about spring turkey hunting each week up until the opener.

Idaho elk and deer hunters had increased harvests last year, and elk hunting continues to steam toward all-time highs for consecutive years of harvest above 20,000 animals. White-tailed deer harvest was also historic by topping the mule deer harvest – something that has happened just a few times in Idaho’s history.

Idaho’s Hunting Passport is a component of Fish and Game’s mentored hunting program. It allows any first-time hunter, resident or nonresident, age 8 and older to try hunting for one year with an adult mentor without first having to complete an Idaho hunter education course. For more information got to

Contact Alan Liere at

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