Rock Lake has been generally good for trollers, but fly fishermen are also getting in on the action. A party fishing the west side along the rock faces reported a size-8 bead head dark-colored Wooly Buggers with Flashibou was deadly in the late morning. All fish taken from boats were browns running 14-16 inches. Anglers close to the launch say they can’t get past the planted 10-inch rainbow.
The big trout at Rocky Ford were again looking for small flies this week. A size-14 Olive Scud was perfect. Water is low and clear.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has submitted a proposal to reopen the Methow River for steelhead fishing by March 1. The river has a lot of adipose fin-clipped fish. The Methow River is a favorite with fly fisherman and has good access to very good fly water throughout its length. Keep an eye out for the official announcement.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead anglers on the South Fork Clearwater are taking fish, but say the majority are wild. Guide Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing says his clients on the Clearwater are averaging around 10 fish per day, some up to 20 pounds. He says a late push of very nice fish is showing up daily.
Spring Chinook are beginning to enter the Columbia River, while winter steelhead are migrating towards the tributary mouths.
Trout and kokanee
Eastern Washington ice-fishing destinations like Hatch, Williams, Hog Canyon and Fourth of July are still kicking out trout through the ice. The bite has slowed considerably, however. Small offerings are recommended – even as small as a single salmon egg on a size-14 hook.
Lake Roosevelt trollers long-lining pink and red K-flies behind 3/0 dodgers are taking a few fish, but the fish checker says she has not seen anyone this week with more than a couple. Bank anglers are having some success plunking Power Bait in the bays. The reservoir is projected to drop steadily through the weekend and fishing should improve.
Medicare Beach on Potholes is giving up some big rainbow for anglers fishing Power Bait from shore. There is still some ice on the lake and the only boat launch open at midweek was at the State Park.
Rufus Woods triploids are sluggish, but a friend fishing there last week landed a 16-pounder, which more than made up for an otherwise slow day of fishing. Anglers fishing from shore near the net pens say the bite is generally dead with occasional flurries of activity. Keep experimenting; some days all they want is bait, and on others, dark jigs are the ticket.
Mackinaw fishing on Lake Chelan remains good in the lower basin. The Ace Hi-Fly, the K-Lure Spoon and the T-4 Flatfish in the Purple glow have been most effective. The larger fish are being found at Mack Bar and the Yacht Club. Kokanee should start showing soon.
As it has been all winter, the perch bite on Eloika is erratic with fast fishing coming in spurts followed by extended periods of nothing. Eloika perch are larger this year, some nearly 10 inches, with most around 8 inches. A few “keeper” (9 inches or larger) crappie are sometimes included in the catch. Most activity is north of Jerry’s Landing or straight out from the public access. The ice is good.
The Silver Lake perch bite is similar to that at Eloika but the fish are in 45 feet of water and the bite is generally over by 10 a.m.
Upper Twin and Lower Twin lakes in Idaho tend to hold ice longer than most area waters. There is solid ice on both, but the channel between the lakes thins out early. The bite, while fast, consists mainly of very small perch.
Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene has water around the edges, but anglers have been getting to solid ice by “walking the plank.” Perch are being caught in about 20 feet of water at midlake. Good ice has been a problem in Idaho all season, though some of the Boundary County lakes are still OK. Check conditions before every outing.
Walleye anglers are catching a few fish in The Dalles and John Day pools. On Lake Roosevelt, Porcupine Bay has been good for walleye, but it’s hard to catch one over 12 inches long.
Tip of the week
If you’re having trouble catching fish through the ice and have a two-rod endorsement, try this: Drill two holes side-by-side. Drop a baited jig in one hole and leave it alone. In the other hole, aggressively jig something with some flash—like a Needlefish or a Kastmaster spoon. It seems to get them going, though more often than not, the fish will hit the motionless presentation.
The annual Roche Harbor Salmon Classic took place recently in the San Juan Islands and a record number of fish were weighed in. Pete Nelson had the largest—a 16.7-pound blackmouth that gave him the $10,000 first prize. There were 100 boats with 339 anglers fishing the derby.
• Thin ice has caused the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to cancel the “Take Me Fishing” fishing event planned for Saturday at Hauser Lake. An inspection of the lake by Fish and Game on Tuesday showed only two anglers on the entire 550 acre lake, and, while two individual anglers may be able to get on and off the ice successfully, an event that could attract several hundred people would not be wise at this time. With no extreme cold weather in the near forecast, the event has not been rescheduled.
You can help WDFW select a new graphical theme for its “Fish Washington” campaign by choosing a logo on the web that will identify “Fish Washington.” Voting will be open through February. Go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/vote.php.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com