Fly fishing at Rocky Ford has been good. Anglers throwing olive-colored scuds on fluorocarbon leaders under an indicator have an excellent chance of catching several 20-inch rainbows in a day.
Fly fishermen have been doing almost as well as bait fishermen and pluggers on the Grande Ronde and the Clearwater. Big nymph patterns of no particular color are doing the damage. Water conditions have been good.
If you don’t want to drive three hours for your fly-fishing fix, hit the Coeur d’Alene River. The fishing isn’t great, but it’s at least fair. Once again, nymph patterns down deep work best. The Spokane is also a good place to drift some nymphs or chuck some streamers. Fishing for rainbow has been excellent near the Maple Street and Sandifur bridges.
Fly fishermen in the upper Snake region are catching trout on the South Fork Snake, the lower Henrys Fork, and the Big Lost River below Mackay Dam. Use a bead head under an indicator or small midge patterns on the surface.
Steelhead and salmon
The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby over Presidents Day Weekend near Sequim has a $10,000 prize for the largest fish, $5,000 for second place and $1,500 for third place. Details are available at gardinersalmonderby.org.
Ocean bright spring chinook salmon are beginning to move into the Columbia River. According to the preseason forecast, 314,200 upriver spring chinook will return to the Columbia River Basin this year, which would be the fourth-largest run on record.
Steelhead fishing is excellent for boat anglers in The Dalles pool. Steelhead should also be available for anglers plunking on the lower Columbia River sandbars.
Trout and kokanee
The integrity of ice on area lakes except Sprague is so good, it would take several days of wind and rain to render it unsafe. There is excellent ice at Hog Canyon, Fourth of July, Williams and Hatch, and anglers dunking single salmon eggs or Power Bait are still taking fish.
There hasn’t been a positive trout report from anywhere on Lake Roosevelt all week. At Rufus Woods, dropping temperatures have also slowed the bite.
Davis Lake near Twisp gets little pressure and is loaded with 12- to 14-inch trout. Ice fishing there is good. Rat Lake near Brewster has rainbow averaging 11 inches, and it is also a good ice-fishing destination.
Roses Lake ice is good and anglers are taking a mix of rainbow trout and perch.
The eighth annual Ice Fishing Festival in Molson, which is near Oroville, Wash., will be held Feb. 18. Two lakes – Molson with rainbow trout and Sidley with Lahontan cutthroat – can be fished.
Pend Oreille and Priest lakes are a good bet for winter lake trout. Jigging and trolling have both been effective for lots of fish 2-5 pounds. In a recent report from Priest, an angler said he used the almost-forgotten Lucky Louie plug to boat a 12-pounder as well as two others near 7 pounds.
Ice fishing at Upper Twin Lake in Idaho is good for small perch, just out from the public access, and the occasional northern pike is also brought through the ice.
Walleye anglers have been able to limit on smallish fish in Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt. Jigs are the ticket right now in reds, blacks and dark purples.
Silver Lake perch running 8-9 inches are still biting well in 40-45 feet of water to the right of the public access, though some anglers are still doing fairly well in the bay near the buoy.
Eloika Lake anglers are catching a lot of bass. These can be retained if less than a foot in length, as well as one more than 17 inches.
Newman Lake ice is also good, but the lake never seems to really get going in the winter.
Walleye fishermen are beginning to take some decent numbers of fish from Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools.
The burbot bite continues to be strong near Buoy 5 in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt.
Sturgeon angling is good for boat anglers in the Bonneville Pool, and anglers in the John Day Pool are also catching a few legals.
Tip of the week
Getting your bait to exactly the correct depth is important when ice fishing for perch. Before going out, determine how far your bait rises with each turn of the reel once the slack is out of the line. Usually, you want your bait within 6 inches of the bottom. Two turns is probably too many.
• Beginning Thursday, anglers can retain one wild steelhead per license year on the Bogachiel, Calawah, Clearwater, Dickey, Hoh, Quillayute, Quinault and Sol Duc rivers. Those eight West Side rivers are the only waters in Washington where wild steelhead retention is allowed. The abundant wild steelhead populations returning to those rivers also provide great catch-and- release fishing opportunities.
• The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Kalispel Tribe will jointly host two public meetings this month to share information about plans to reduce the number of northern pike in Box Canyon Reservoir on the Pend Oreille River. The meetings are scheduled 6-8 p.m. as follows: Wednesday, Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley; Thursday, Usk Community Hall, 2442 Black Road, Usk. WDFW recently launched a webpage – wdfw.wa.gov/ais/ esox_lucius – that provides more details on northern pike and the problems associated with its spread.