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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for Feb. 29, 2024

By Alan Liere The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Fishing has picked up in the Yakima River Canyon. The trout are holding on inside edges and softer water. Streamers and nymphs are your best bet as there are no insect hatches yet.

Trout and kokanee

Trout fishing has been good near the net pens on Rufus Woods Reservoir.

Success varies depending on how much water is being released from the dam. High flow days are tough to fish, but success is better than on low-flow days. The average fish will weigh between 5 and 8 pounds with some fish up to 17 pounds.

Kokanee fishing on Lake Roosevelt has been best from Keller Ferry down to Grand Coulee Dam. The rainbow fishing has been good. Most trout in this section run 18 to 21 inches. Trolling side planers is the best way to avoid spooking fish, as your lure is not dragging directly behind the boat. More than two dozen Eastern Washington lakes open Friday. Martha and Upper Caliche lakes near George in Grant County should see good fishing for 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout. The north section of Martha Lake has plenty of shoreline space and is where most of the trout will be concentrated.

Recent surveys found good numbers of 12- to 13-inch fingerling rainbow trout plus a fair number of larger carryover fish at Quincy and Burke lakes in Grant County. The annual Trout Fishing Derby on Burke and Quincy lakes will take place on March 22 and 23 this year. There will be prizes awarded for the longest fish and cumulative weight in both adult and youth categories. There will also be many prizes raffled off, and you don’t need to catch a fish to win.

Other Grant County waters that are part of the Friday openers are Dry Falls, Lenice, Lenore, Cascade, North Potholes Reserve and Nunnally lakes. Lenice and Nunnally lakes have triploid rainbow and a few brown and tiger trout. Selective gear fishing regulations are in effect. Lake Lenore has a lot of cutthroat and many of them are over 4 pounds. A lot of prespawn Lahontan cutthroat will be caught on the north end of the lake. Starting Friday through May, it is a selective gear lake.

Lakes offering bank fishing only off the Tucannon River in Columbia County are Rainbow, Deer and Watson. Spring and Blue lakes are open year-round and will be stocked this spring. Pampa Pond in Whitman County opens Friday for rainbow trout fishing. Fish Hook Pond in Walla Walla County is open year-round. Both are open for bank fishing.

Within the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area there are many walk-in lakes including Dusty, Cliff, Crystal and Cup. These lakes can provide solitude and good fishing for trout in the 12- to 14-inch range with some up to 20 inches.

The greater Spokane region has several Friday openers including Liberty, Amber, Downs and Medical lakes. Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County also opens Friday with selective gear rules in effect. In the northeastern section of Washington, Deer Lake in Stevens County opens Friday. Some parts of the lake will be ice free.

Fourth of July and Hog Canyon Lakes in Spokane County are open until the end of March.

Salmon and steelhead

Salmon fishing is open daily from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Interstate 5 Bridge under permanent regulations, but spring chinook usually don’t arrive in large numbers until late March and April. The 2024 forecast for upriver spring chinook is 121,000 fish, fewer than the 141,179 that returned to the Columbia River in 2023, and lower than the 10-year average of 152,289 fish.

Spiny ray

Walleye anglers in Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt say the water is still stained with about 18 inches of visibility. The fishing has been fair in 45 feet of water on points and flats.

Jigs tipped with night crawlers are the top bait, but the fish are still lethargic and will not chase. You must fish a hole thoroughly to entice a bite

WDFW creel checkers report anglers are catching walleye out of both The Dalles and John Day pools of the Columbia River by trolling deep with spinners and worm harnesses.

Two friends fished Thomas Lake through good ice on Tuesday, catching about 35 perch but only keeping 10 that met their self-imposed minimum of 8 inches.

They also caught one 12-inch crappie. They reported the ice was slippery and the fish were anywhere from 25 to 40 feet down, sometimes suspended, sometime on the bottom. The trail in was hard-packed snow and also slippery.

Curlew Lake is also holding its ice. Anglers with electronics have done well on perch recently out of Tiffany’s Resort.

A friend who fished Sacheen through the ice several times this year said he’s through for the season as the ice, at best, is a marginal 3 inches and a long board is needed to get over the water between the shore and good ice. On his last trip this week, he said the crappie were biting well, and he also caught several perch.

Other species

Final approval of marine toxin testing usually occurs about a week or less – sometimes two to three days – prior to the start of each digging series. The next round of digs in March has been confirmed, however and will commence as follows:

· March 7, 4:15 p.m.; -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· March 8, 5 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· March 9, 5:42 p.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· March 10, 7:22 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· March 11, 8 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Contact Alan Liere at