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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Jan. 20

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

With Spokane-area weather remaining relatively warm the past two weeks, the Spokane River is still one of the few fly fishing destinations with any chance for success. Snow melt and rain, however, can dirty up the water below Latah Creek. Above that, get your nymphs and steamers down deep and hope to hit a trout on the nose.

Open-water fishing

The most favorable fishing reports of the week have been from Lake Roosevelt. Trollers are taking fish on flies and Apexes up high, and bank fishermen have been doing well at Fort Spokane, Hansen Harbor and Hunters by tossing orange Power Bait or Nuggets. Most accounts are of fish ranging from 18 to 20 inches. A friend who fished from shore Tuesday said he arrived at Fort Spokane at 8 a.m. but didn’t find a good bite until late morning. Another friend who has spent several days trolling in the vicinity of the Lake Roosevelt can lines near Spring Canyon has taken several large kokanee this week. He is using K-Flies off a planer board. He has also taken a few rainbow trout.

Burbot and walleye are also biting in places on Lake Roosevelt, but the fish are more congregated in specific spots than the trout and more difficult to find. Most are caught from Porcupine Bay up. Look for water 40-70 feet deep. Success has been reported by drop-shotting plastics or on perch-colored blade baits.

Anglers are still finding a few steelhead in the Snake and Clearwater rivers. There are about six weeks left in the season, and the Idaho limit is two fish daily on the Snake.

Ice fishing, Washington

A friend who fished Silver Lake this week said you can catch all the small perch you want, but one 7-inch “keeper” for every 10 fish landed made him less than enthusiastic about returning. Anything with a perch eyeball, he said, would bring a ready bite.

An angler at an unnamed lake close to Spokane reported a good perch bite, but said he was finding them where he had never considered fishing before – 2 feet under the ice in 25 feet of water. I have experienced this a few times while fishing for trout, but never for perch.

Sacheen, Eloika, Jumpoff Joe and Diamond lakes have good ice, but there is some slush which makes walking difficult. Perch anglers are having their best success at Sacheen, but Diamond has been good at times for perch and 12-inch rainbow. For the first time this winter, I got a report from Eloika Lake anglers who said they did well on perch.

There was no one on the ice at Sprague Lake when I drove by last Saturday. Whether this was a reflection of ice conditions or poor fishing, I don’t know. Hog Canyon and Fourth of July are also iced over and trout fishing has been fair. So are the two other winter lakes to the north, Williams and Hatch.

Curlew Lake ice fishing has been slow for perch out from the state park. Elsewhere on the lake, fishing has been better, but limited access has curtailed fishing activity. The area about 500 feet south of the railroad trestle is reported to be good, but slush makes for a difficult walk.

Bead Lake anglers jigging for burbot say there is about 7 inches of ice near the launch, but open water past the power lines.

Gillette Lake in the Pend Oreille Chain has good ice and a decent perch bite from 10-inch fish. Bonaparte Lake anglers are catching a variety of fish through the ice. They are finding brook and tiger trout in shallow water and rainbow trout and a few kokanee in deeper water.

Ice fishing, Idaho

A few hardy anglers report that ice fishing at night on Lower and Upper Twin Lake has been decent for crappie, with Lower Twin being best. The perch bite is consistent, but the fish are small.

The ice is good on Mirror Lake, but the bite has been slow for kokanee. Cocolalla Lake ice is good. Fishing for perch and trout has been best early, but the perch bite dies as the morning progresses. The trout bite, however, picks up. Anglers are catching a few burbot through the ice on Bonner Lake.

Fernan Lake has been slow for all species. Avondale Lake ice is unsafe at this time.


Hunters looking to apply for Idaho 2022 spring controlled hunts for black bear can apply until Feb. 15. Information on the spring 2022 controlled black bear hunt can be found in the Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules book. Controlled hunts are hunts with a limited number of tags allocated by a random drawing and are often desirable because of location and timing. Success rates are usually higher than general season hunts.

Washington Waterfowl seasons come to a close after Jan. 30.

In goose management Area 4, Canada and white-fronted geese are open every day from Monday to the season’s end. In Area 5, they remain open all days until the end.

A late hunt for white geese will run Feb. 12 through March 2.

Contact Alan Liere at

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