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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Dec. 8

Dec. 7, 2022 Updated Wed., Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:19 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River remains one of the best fisheries around for current conditions. Thanks to the aquifer, it never freezes and will remain an option until it closes in the spring. Nymphing the softer pockets and pools or dredging them with streamers will be the best situation. There is still some BWO and midge activity.

Look for fish to be podded up in slow currents. Late morning through afternoon will be best.

Ice fishing

Washington: Without all the snow, ice fishing would be the rule in most Eastern Washington and North Idaho waters, but as things stand, be wary of ice that hasn’t fully set.

In Washington, lakes with 4 inches of ice or more are Eloika, Sprague, Jumpoff Joe, Bonaparte, Sidley, Molson, Campbell, Coffin and Dog, but even these can be iffy in places.

Sacheen Lake ice fishermen are catching perch and trout in the bay out from the public launch, but there is said to be open water in the middle of the lake.

Fourth of July fished well on opening day for those who put in the effort to get to open water. Most people who did so were rewarded with limits.

“Overall, the fish were a little smaller than in years past, but were still really nice,” district fish biologist Randy Osborne said.

“Only two of the 50-plus fish checked were over 20 inches. At Hog Canyon, opening day anglers were catching fish both though the ice and in open water. Many of the trout were about 14 inches.”

Williams Lake in northeast Washington is expected to fish well for trout this winter. There are also illegally introduced largemouth bass and perch there. Hatch Lake has some good-sized trout, and the catching is expected to be steady this winter. The ice may still be on the thin side at this writing.

Idaho: At Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith said the east and west ends of Fernan Lake are attracting a few ice fishermen who are catching perch and trout. He also mentioned Avondale Lake as a fishing possibility, but said ice thickness varies from 4 inches to 1 inch.

Four inches of clear ice is considered the minimum for safe fishing.

Other “maybe” destinations in Idaho are Round, Blue and Upper Twin.

Freeman Lake has 5 inches of ice, but the perch there are severely stunted.

Open water fishing

Several excellent trout fishing reports have come in recently from Lake Roosevelt. As the water continues to drop, bank fishing has improved substantially in places like Hunters, Spring Canyon, Sterling, Seven Bays and Fort Spokane. Trollers are also doing well dragging Apexes, Old Goat Lures and hoochies 20 feet down. Upstream from Porcupine Bay has been good, and the action has lasted all day. Most of the fish have been 17-20 inches

This is the beginning of some good fishing on Rock Lake. January and February will be even better for the really big brown trout.

Roses Lake in Chelan County was recently planted with nearly 14,000 rainbow trout. Fish Lake in Chelan County is a good producer of yellow perch and kokanee during the winter, especially after safe ice conditions occur.

Lake Chelan should continue to produce kokanee, lake trout and a few landlocked chinook salmon throughout the winter months.

Just south of Potholes Reservoir, Corral and Blythe lakes generate opportunities for trout anglers.

Corral also is a good bass and crappie fishery. To the southeast of these lakes, Janet, Katey and the Sage Lakes offer trout fishing opportunities year-round.

Salmon and steelhead

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook to about 8 pounds are being caught in 90-110 feet of water. Midlake has been best for trollers pulling an 8-inch flasher in front of either helmeted herring or mini-squids.

Fall run steelhead are still being caught in the upper Snake River and tributaries including the Grande Ronde.

The lower section of the Hanford Reach (I-182 Bridge upstream to old Hanford townsite powerline) is open for chinook and coho salmon through Dec. 31 to provide anglers the opportunity to target the late returning coho salmon to Ringold Springs Hatchery but has been slow due to cold weather and low returns.

Spiny ray

Potholes Reservoir fishing was mostly shut down this week, though a few die-hard walleye anglers were catching fish on blade baits and jigs.

Other species

Squid jigging is a relatively easy fishery and has seen a substantial increase in participation over the past several years because accessibility is simple and success rates can be good when returns are strong. This season, it’s been hit and miss off the piers in Puget Sound, although boat anglers have found an abundance of squid and decent success in Elliott Bay, off the Edmonds Marina and in the Des Moines and Redondo areas. It appears for now the mass of squid are hanging in deeper water, but they should eventually move into shallower locations to spawn off local piers.

Hunting

The recent stormy and colder weather patterns have fresh flocks of waterfowl winging south from Canada and Alaska.

Look for ducks and geese on larger lakes, reservoirs and bays as smaller water freezes. Agricultural areas also provide excellent hunting as waterfowl seek high-quality feed during colder weather.

Hunting has significantly picked up in the Columbia Basin with huge flocks of snow and Canada geese using the Moses Lake area and good numbers of northern ducks on the Columbia River near Patterson.

The late-fall wild turkey hunting season runs through Dec. 31 in select game management units (GMUs), including 101-154 and 162-186.

Forest grouse season runs two weeks later than in the past this year, due to a later start to the season. You have until Jan. 15 to hunt all three species of grouse - blue (or dusky) ruffed and spruce - available in various parts and elevations of the region.

Pheasant hunters were hoping for snow, but not this much at once.

A friend who hunted around St. John told me that walking up a bird in crusty snow was extremely difficulty and resulted in several cuts on his dog’s feet.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com.

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