At Camp, Cabin and Home in Lewiston, Andy Alldredge says the Clearwater River is up a little but fishing pretty well for steelhead. Participation, he says, is minimal. The best lure recently has been a back-trolled MagLip 3.5 with a gold body and orange stripes. Alldredge says the Snake River is fishing pretty well near Asotin for anglers bouncing sand shrimp.
Boat anglers had decent success for steelhead in the John Day Pool last week. Bank anglers in The Dalles Pool also caught a few fish, and a few winter steelhead are being caught off the lower Columbia River beaches
Fourth of July Lake is still producing nice catches of big rainbow through the ice, but anglers must be willing to move down the lake until they find them. Try different depths and different combinations of worms and Power Bait. The ice is about 6 inches thick with just a little snow on top.
The best fishing at Hog Canyon is coming down the lake, but the ice is good and the trout bite has been also. Hog Canyon drops off quickly near the cliffs and you don’t have to drill too far from shore. Green Power Bait or yellow corn is popular.
William and Hatch lakes are still booting out 14-inch rainbow, though the bite is not as strong as last week. Ice is solid. Waitts Lake has 5 inches of good ice. There were seven anglers just out from the public access Thursday morning with a couple of nice brown trout, but no perch have shown yet.
Sprague Lake had a half-dozen trout fishermen testing the ice on Wednesday between the public launch and the island, but no fish had been caught.
Three colors of leaded line and a fly should put you into Lake Roosevelt rainbow. Trollers are doing well on the south side near Fort Spokane.
Although Fish Lake in Chelan County is noted more for its perch fishing, ice anglers were catching trout there this week. Ice fishing in the Okanogan has been pretty good. Little and Big Green lakes in the Omak area, Rat Lake near Brewster, and Davis Lake near Winthrop are all producing catches of rainbow trout.
The Lake Chelan mackinaw bite has picked up considerably both in The Trench and at Mack Bar. Fish are hitting the Ace Hi-fly anywhere from 115-250 feet down. Macks are also coming relatively easy at Priest and Pend Oreille.
Spirit Lake in Idaho has not formed good ice in the areas where anglers traditionally catch kokanee.
The Spokane area’s two most popular winter spiny-ray lakes, Eloika and Silver, did well at times this week, giving up huge catches through the ice one day and few the next. Perch at both lakes come in a variety of sizes, but 7½ inches is a good average. Eloika has a lot of bass and quite a few crappie, too, while Silver is almost strictly perch in the winter. The best bite at Silver has been in 40-45 feet of water about a 150 yards to the right of the public access. At Eloika, you’ll have a hard time finding water over 14 feet deep. The public-access end has been good, as has the east side north of Jerry’s Landing.
At Newman Lake, fishermen are catching small perch and sunfish through the ice. No one has reported finding any of Newman’s large crappie.
Upper Twin Lake in Kootenai County has been good for 8-inch perch. Success is reported by anglers fishing in about 17 feet of water. Upper Twin anglers usually take a few pike through the ice each winter, but unless you target them with heavier gear, they are likely to cut your line. Ice is good with light snow on top.
Potholes Reservoir has formed an ice skim, but not enough to walk on. Moses Lake ice is good. Perch anglers are venturing out, but so far a consistent bite has not developed. Banks Lake has skimmed partly over, but high winds have kept the lake from forming a solid cap.
Walleye anglers are beginning to take a few fish from The Dalles and John Day pools, and it is almost time to begin prospecting for walleyes in and near Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt.
In Idaho, the north end of Hayden Lake near the Sportsmen’s Access has been good for pike. Round Lake has good ice, and so does Cocolalla, where hard-water anglers are catching a smorgasbord of spiny ray, mainly perch. Rose Lake, just east of Fourth of July Pass, is a good destination for small pike. Fernan Lake ice is safe and anglers were taking perch to 10 inches as well as a few trout and some pike there this week. Also consider Avondale, Jewel, Kelso, Mirror and Round, and for small northern pike try Killarney, Medicine or Thompson.
Tip of the week
Although I have a fortune invested in ice-fishing jigs, a friend, Mike Murphy, consistently outfishes me on Silver Lake using a simple No. 6 hook baited with a perch eyeball. He imparts no movement to his presentation, which he fishes a few inches off the bottom.
Mike Sweeney of Spokane does not like to get skunked, so when his Wednesday morning trip to Silver Lake didn’t pan out, he drove to Eloika and spent the afternoon on the ice just north of Jerry’s Landing with much better success. He came home with 14 keeper perch and a bass.
• If fishing Eloika Lake this week, be aware that a crust has formed on top. When you break through, you’ll sink into about 3 inches of water and slush – a discomforting feeling to say the least. There is good ice underneath it all, but walking is difficult and not for the faint-hearted.
• Anglers who wish to fish Hog Canyon might want to consider parking on top and walking the last hundred yards down the hill to the lake. Even four-wheel drive rigs are having a hard time on the slippery compacted snow.
Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com