Alan Liere’s fish-hunt report for Feb. 2
Feb. 1, 2023 Updated Wed., Feb. 1, 2023 at 8:45 p.m.
Rocky Ford or Crab Creek will probably be your best winter fly fishing opportunities, but as always, the Spokane River will be fishable, as will the Snake and Clearwater for steelhead. The Grande Ronde is freezing up and so is the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River.
Rufus Woods Reservoir has seen better trout fishing than Lake Roosevelt. Anglers are catching big football-shaped triploids from bank and boat using black jigs from boat and Power Bait from shore.
The winter whitefish season is open in the Yakima River, the lower Cle Elum River and the lower Naches River downstream of the confluence with the Tieton River. The limit is still 15 fish per day. The season closes Feb. 28 in all open areas.
All the lakes around Spokane have good ice . The bite can be erratic, but on a given day, anglers have had good fishing at Eloika, Diamond, Jumpoff Joe and especially Sacheen. All these lakes have trout, but perch comprise most of the catch.
Banks Lake has a lot of ice, and anglers who do some prospecting have found some big perch. Whitefish are still the main attraction, though.
Davis Lake in Pend Oreille County, 5½ miles south of Usk along the west side of Highway SR-21, is getting attention as a burbot fishery. Most of the angling is at night in deep water. Davis has a depth of 140 feet in the middle. Kokanee are also available. For brook trout, fish the shallower water near shore.
Bead Lake anglers are finding a good burbot bite beginning at sunset and continuing into the night. Fish are coming from water between 60 and 90 feet deep. The fish will hit jigs baited with nightcrawlers or cut bait. Pieces of northern pikeminnow are good. Sullivan Lake burbot anglers are finding burbot at similar depths.
Ice fishing for rainbow trout on Roses Lake near Chelan has been good early and late. In the same general area, Fish Lake is giving up trout and a lot of perch. Ice fishing is good in Okanogan County. Popular ice fishing lakes include Rat, Upper and Lower Green, Leader, Bonaparte and Patterson,
Ice fishing also remains in full swing in Yakima County. Dog and Clear lakes off Highway 12 are popular ice fishing options, producing some decent brook trout and rainbow trout from this year’s stocking.
Round Lake in Idaho is seeing some decent ice fishing for a variety of spiny ray and trout. The ice is a good 8 inches thick. Cocolalla Lake has had a good perch bite at times in 35 feet of water.
Anglers there say the bite picks up briefly every time a train goes by. A lot of the fish are small, but there are plenty of 8- and 9-inchers.
Upper and Lower Twin Lakes have 7 inches of good ice and a fair perch bite. Avondale has 8 inches of solid ice, but at the beginning of the week the first 10 feet from shore was thin. Perch and sunfish/bluegill are found in fair numbers. At Hauser Lake, there has been some thin ice around the edges and anglers are accessing the better ice by walking out from the end of the dock. The perch bite was strong this week. Fernan Lake has 7 inches of good ice and a fair perch and trout bite.
On Mirror Lake, the ice is good. The trout have been biting, and some anglers are doing well on small kokanee. Gamble Lake perch fishing is generally slow, but big perch make it worthwhile.
Blue Lake crappie have been actively feeding after dark, suspended at about 8 feet in 13 feet of water. The ice is good all around the lake.
Lake Pend Oreille perch fishing has been good by the condos along the Long Bridge in Sandpoint, but parking is limited. The bite is in about 5 feet of water through good ice. Some of the fish are longer than 12 inches.
Salmon and steelhead
The preseason forecasts for spring chinook, summer chinook and sockeye salmon are in. The spring chinook run typically picks up beginning in late March, with the spring season announced in late February. The 2023 preseason forecast for the Snake River wild stock is 13,200 fish, lower than the 2022 return of 23,331 fish. The 2023 preseason forecast for upriver spring chinook is estimated to be 198,600 total adults, higher than the 2022 actual return of 185,209 fish. Forecasts for tributaries below Bonneville Dam and in the Bonneville pool are mixed, with some rivers forecast to return above last year’s numbers, while others are expected to see lower returns compared to 2022.
Idaho Fish and Game will be setting new big game seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, wolf and mountain lion, and gathering public input on proposals beginning on Wednesday.
Hunters can easily check out the proposals on the big-game season setting web page. Proposals are expected to be posted midweek during the first week of February, and the comment period will run through Feb. 22 at idfg.idaho.gov/comment.
Idaho’s 2022 population estimate of 1,337 wolves declined by about 13%, or 206 wolves, compared with the 2021 estimate based on camera surveys that measure the population during summer near its annual peak.
Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever said, “We are encouraged by efforts that have resulted in a drop in wolf numbers, and this aligns with our long-term goal to reduce Idaho’s wolf population.”
Turkey hunters looking to apply for 2023 spring controlled turkey hunts in Idaho can apply until March 1. Hunters must have a 2023 hunting license in order to apply for controlled hunts. You can apply by phone at 1-(800)-554-8685.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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