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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 2

March 1, 2023 Updated Wed., March 1, 2023 at 8:59 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The 2023 International Fly Fishing Film Festival or IF4 returns to Spokane Thursday at 7 p.m., featuring 10 short and feature-length films.

The Spokane Riverkeeper is hosting the event again at the Garland Theater, 924 W. Garland Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $20. The running time of the films is two hours.

IF4 consists of films produced by professional filmmakers from across the world and showcases the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly fishing. All proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Spokane Riverkeeper and efforts to protect the Spokane River fishery. The primary sponsor of IF4 in Spokane is the Silver Bow Fly Shop. Event attendees can win fly fishing-related raffle prizes from Silver Bow Fly Shop and other festival sponsors.

The Brown’s Lake Fly Fishing Club is anticipating membership openings at Brown’s Lake for quality fishing during the upcoming season. As in the past, a good spring and fall plant of nice-sized fish is expected. For more information, contact Frank Slak at or at (509) 951-0892. Annual dues are $800.

Open water fishing

Idaho Fish and Game is inviting burbot fishermen to participate in the new Kootenai River Angler Science Program to gather valuable information that will help them manage the burbot fishery. There is free swag for participating and the opportunity to win great prizes in a free raffle.

Burbot fishing in the Kootenai River in Idaho is most productive now as the fish prepare to spawn. The best fishing is in the evening and at night as burbot and other fish often move into shallower water to feed under the cover darkness. Try fishing at the mouths of tributaries or in tributaries themselves, such as Deep, Smith or Boundary creeks. If you catch a tagged fish, report the tag number and location of where you caught the fish to Idaho Fish and Game. Reporting can be done at 1-866-258-0338, online or as part of the of the Angler Science Program creel packet. Some of these tags are worth $100. Contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414 with questions.

The recent release of triploid trout in Rufus Woods has provided most anglers with fish weighing around 2.5 pounds. The daily limit is two triploids. If you are fishing with bait, you must keep your first two regardless of size. Anglers fishing with dark-colored jigs and flies are doing well and can practice catch and release.

Friends fishing near Lincoln on Lake Roosevelt are catching limits of big rainbow by trolling a variety of flies, plugs and lures. Earlier, they did well on kokanee around Keller Ferry. Lake Roosevelt is at 1,257 feet above sea level and is expected to hit 1,250 by Monday. Major launches are still usable.

Ice fishing

It has turned into a long ice fishing season. With all of Wednesday’s openers around Spokane and in the Columbia Basin, there are still many opportunities ahead. Eloika Lake has been fair for perch and better for largemouth bass. Curlew Lake is good at times for bigger perch, but the state park area has slowed way down. Anglers are going around the lake to Tiffany’s Resort and paying the $10 per vehicle fee. For a lot of perch action but small fillets, Silver Lake is the place to be. Deer Lake could have decent rainbow, brook trout and mackinaw fishing through the ice, though access is limited.

Salmon and steelhead

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon have approved this year’s recreational spring chinook salmon fishing season for the Columbia River, with seasons expected to look similar to 2022. The 2023 forecast for upriver spring chinook is 198,600 fish, slightly more than the 185,209 that returned to the Columbia River in 2022 and significantly higher than the 10-year average of 150,485 fish. “We’re optimistic about many returns to the Columbia River this spring, and there should be some good fishing opportunities for anglers on the lower river,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with the WDFW. The river is open through April 7 from Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), plus bank angling only by hand-cast from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline, but spring chinook usually don’t arrive in large numbers until late March and April.

Other species

Razor clam digs are scheduled for Mocrocks and Copalis beaches during evening low tides in March, beginning Friday at Mocrocks and alternating beaches through Wednesday. On March 17, Copalis Beach opens again at 4:10 p.m., the first day of the three-day Ocean Shores Razor Clam and Seafood Festival. Open clamming days then alternate each day between the two beaches through March 26 with the last four clamming days (March 23-26) on morning tides.

The Washington Department of Health labs indicate domoic acid levels at Long Beach and Twin Harbors beaches remain slightly above the health guideline levels. WDFW will announce future digging opportunities on those beaches when marine toxin tests show it is safe to do so.

The recreational coastal bottom fish season opens March 11 with new rockfish regulations. The new regulations are specific to copper rockfish, quillback rockfish and vermilion rockfish. Possession of these three rockfish species will be prohibited in May, June and July. This restriction is intended to reduce catch to stay within state specific federal harvest limits. Recent scientific assessments for the three rockfish species indicate populations are likely healthy but smaller than previously understood.

Contact Alan Liere at

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