Alan Liere’s weekly fish and game report for Feb. 16 – The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River is blown out below Latah Creek, but above there are still a few fishable slots. Overall, the river is running about 4,000 cfs more than a week ago. Silver Bow Fly Shop says streamer fishing is the best option now, especially with the trout spey.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene has dropped some and the lower section has potential for anglers using streamers or nymphs. Fish deep and slowly. Afternoons will be best.

The annual Fly Fishing Show Saturday and Sunday in the Lynnwood Convention Center (196th Street Southwest, Lynnwood) is the biggest gathering in Washington State of world class fly tiers, casters, guides and destination hosts. It opens both days at 9 a.m.

Salmon and steelhead

After a total blow-out last week, the Clearwater River began to subside and clear up a little by Tuesday. Reel-Time Fishing reports one of their boats got out early in the week, catching 20 steelhead.

The Grande Ronde River has lost its ice. Water visibility is roughly one foot, and a few fish have been caught this week. The annual Boggan’s Oasis Spring Fishing Derby for steelhead will run through March 25. Info: boggans.com.

This is prime time for steelhead in the Tucannon River. A new strain of late run steelhead has replaced the strain that originally entered the river during fall and early winter, and though there are not huge numbers this year, the population is building and there are fish available. Access is limited, but there are landowners who will grant permission to trespass, and access is also possible through the Tucannon Habit Management Unit.

Ice Fishing

You may have to walk a long way to find deeper water at the far end of Fourth of July Lake, but anglers have done better there in water over 12 feet deep than the shallower water. A lot of the trout coming in now are 10-14 inches, but there are still some bruisers cruising around, sometimes right under the ice.

Eloika Lake remains excellent for perch and largemouth bass, and some decent sunfish have been iced recently. Swedish Pimples tipped with maggots or perch eyes were working this week.

Reports indicate the perch fishery out of the State Park on Curlew Lake is still going strong. Anglers fishing in roughly 33 feet of water are icing all the 9- to 11-inch perch they want to clean, as well as good numbers of rainbow trout up to 17 inches. Take a good auger and be prepared to spend some time drilling.

Ice anglers were catching limits of 8- to 10-inch kokanee from Spirit Lake this week through 12 inches of ice off the Nautilus Road ramp. The fish were said to be 20 feet down in 80 feet of water.

Fernan Lake, near Coeur d’Alene, has approximately 18 inches of ice. Ice cleats would be a good idea as the top layer is extremely slick. Anglers are having fair success on trout and perch as well as a few crappie in 20 feet of water. There were no reports of pike this week.

Mirror Lake is yielding a lot of small kokanee and a few rainbow. The ice is over one foot thick and there is a lot of crusted powder snow on top. Be prepared for a workout, as it is knee-high.

Cocolalla Lake has heavy slush on top of 12 inches of good ice. Anglers are catching quite a few brookies in 25 feet of water. Cocolalla also has good numbers of perch, but you’ll usually not find them where you find the trout.

Open water fishing

Lake Chelan mackinaw continue to hit trolled offerings in the trench, and kokanee fishermen are making nice catches around Colyar Ledge. The launch at Mill Bay is still usable.

Lake Roosevelt has been reluctant to shed its ice. At last report, launches are open at Seven Bays, Spring Canyon and Lincoln, but fishing for both trout and kokanee has been only fair. Bank anglers around Gifford and Daisy are finding open water and catching some rainbow. The water level is beginning to drop and is expected to reach 1,270 feet by the end of the month and 1,255 feet by March 15.

The Tri-Cities walleye bite is on, and anglers trolling Smile Blade spinners and nightcrawlers in 30-40 feet of water are catching some big fish.

Hunting

Hunters may now purchase and submit applications for a 2017 Washington spring black bear hunting permit. To be eligible for a permit, hunters must purchase and submit an application to the WDFW by midnight on Feb. 28. Hunting licenses, bear transport tags and bear permit applications may be purchased online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ or by phone at (866) 246-9453.

Idaho Fish and Game’s proposed changes for the 2017 and 2018 big game hunting seasons are available online for public review and comment at: idfg.idaho.gov/form/big-game-2017. Only those seasons and hunts for which changes are proposed are listed. All others will remain the same.

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