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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Feb. 16

Feb. 15, 2023 Updated Wed., Feb. 15, 2023 at 7:54 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Water clarity below Latah Creek has improved, and Silver Bow Fly Shop said conditions are great for February. For winter fishing, the Spokane River is almost ideal . It will still be a dredgers game with nymphs or streamers. Skwala nymphs are getting a bit more active, so pack small stone patterns to imitate them.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River has quite a bit of ice above Prichard, but there is ice-free water below. Nymphs or streamers will be best.

If you’re nymphing the Grand Ronde, Clearwater or Snake, the usual stone and egg (or bead) combo will be good. If you are swinging, a sink-tip and something like an intruder, reverse marabou or loop leech will be your go-to.

Open-water fishing

The Lake Roosevelt water level is about 1,267 feet above sea level and dropping slowly. Most major launches are still usable. Trout fishing has been fair this week from both boat and shore.

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt is seeing better walleye fishing than the main Columbia for anglers throwing swimbaits. The Arm from mid-Porcupine Bay downriver toward Fort Spokane has a little color, but it’s not terrible. Two fishermen I talked with said they are targeting big walleyes and have landed several in the 6-pound range.

Rock Lake rainbows and browns are still taking trolled Apexes and Old Goat lures at about 20 feet under the surface, and trolled Muddler Minnows have also been effective. Shore fishermen throwing bait are getting some action at the public access.

Lake Chelan is beginning to peak for big mackinaw above the yacht club. Several fish over 10 pounds have been taken recently. U-20 flatfish continue to produce.

Ice fishing

Good ice remains on many area lakes. In Eastern Washington, Diamond, Sacheen, Silver and Curlew have been best for perch. Diamond, Waitts and Hog Canyon have been decent for trout.

Fish Lake in Chelan County is a good place to ice a mess of perch, and most of the fish are over 8 inches. Perch eyes on a small tungsten jig have worked well. Pattison Lake has also been good for perch.

Bonaparte Lake has produced some decent catches of kokanee and some big tiger trout.

In Idaho, Spirit Lake anglers are finding small kokanee under good ice east of the launch at Bronze Bay. The fish are in 15 to 25 feet of water in big schools, but sometimes they just won’t bite. Mirror Lake has been better for small kokes, and it is also producing some nice brook trout.

The perch bite remains good at Hauser Lake. Anglers who fish at night are catching some nice crappie.

Upper Twin has been good for small perch. Lower Twin anglers are catching fewer fish – mostly perch and crappie. There is plenty of ice.

Cocolalla Lake has a solid 9 inches of ice and some good perch fishing. Wear your ice cleats, as the lake is like a giant skating rink.

Salmon and steelhead

Pretty ideal late-season conditions exist for the Grande Ronde, Snake and Clearwater rivers.

Levels and water temperatures are good on all three for this time of the year. Late February and March provide some of the best steelheading of the year on the Grande Ronde when the fish congregate in a 2-mile section of river around the Cottonwood Creek hatchery. On the Clearwater, steelhead are moving into the waters near the Dworshak and Hells Canyon hatcheries.


From now through March 27, the WDFW will accept written public comments on proposed rule changes to regulations for 2023-2024 hunting seasons. Proposals included in this round of rule-making include those related to landowner hunting permits, deer and elk special permits; hunting seasons, areas and permit quotas for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat; and hunting seasons and regulations for migratory game birds. “We encourage everyone interested in the upcoming hunting seasons to review the proposed changes and send us your feedback,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager.

The rule-making proposals and comment submission forms are available on the WDFW website.

Idaho turkey hunters looking to apply for 2023 spring controlled turkey hunts can apply through March 1. Information can be found in the Idaho 2022-23 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules book. The application period includes youth-only controlled turkey hunts. Hunters must have a 2023 hunting license in order to apply.

Idaho Fish and Game will be setting new big game seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, wolf and mountain lion in March, and hunters can comment on season proposals until Feb. 22. Check out the proposals on the big game season setting webpage at

Contact Alan Liere at

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