Alan Liere’s fishing hunt report of December 22nd

fly fishing

Fly fishermen become rare when it gets this cold, but if you can’t stand sitting by the wood stove with a good book and a cup of coffee, you can still find trout in the Spokane River. Silver Bow Fly Shop says dredging is the name of the game right now. Use sink tips and streamers that move slowly, or double nymph rigs that contain a stonefly-type nymph. Look for deeper, softer currents and buckets.

Rocky Ford near Moses Lake fishes fairly consistently in the winter. Try scuds, mosquito puppets or baetis nymphs. Stripping streamers can also be productive.

The Snake River gives away a few steelheads to fly fishermen. The Grande Ronde has a lot of ice, but earlier this week there was open water at the lower estuary.

Open water fishing

Trollers continue to catch plenty of 14-20 inch rainbow trout downstream from the Lincoln Jetty and almost everywhere else on Lake Roosevelt. Kekeda flies down a good 20 with some worm. If you’re not getting bites, try different trolling speeds as preferred speeds vary from day to day. And don’t be afraid to move to another area. Walleye anglers catch more burbot than walleye on Roosevelt.

At this time of year, you don’t need a boat to catch beautiful and tasty red-meat rainbow trout from Lake Roosevelt. Find a spot in the sand, attach a sliding lead to your line, attach a swivel to hold the lead in place, and attach a five foot leader and a #6 or 8 hook . Bait with a piece of night crawler or shrimp. Add a small marshmallow for flotation or use a dime-sized ball of power bait. Test your rig in shallow water to ensure the bait floats off the bottom. Cast out, take up most of the slack and wait for the action to begin. Good places to try are the beaches of Porcupine, Ft. Spokane, Spring Canyon or Basement.

Lake Pend Oreille remains a good bet for big rainbows. The fish appear to be a little deeper than the Thanksgiving tournament.

The Columbia River catch and hold sturgeon fishery opens January 1 and will run Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays until quota is reached. The limit is one sturgeon per person. Contact Reel Time Fishing at (208) 790-2128 for information on guided sturgeon or steelhead trips.

Steelhead fishing on the Clearwater River continues to be very good in the lower and middle reaches of the river. Drift fishing is on. January and February should be excellent.

ice fishing

Most lakes in northern Idaho and eastern, central, and southwestern Washington now have ice thick enough for safe fishing. In Washington good reports are coming from Jump-Off – Joe, Sacheen, Thomas/Gillette, Diamond and Curlew (perch) and Hog Canyon, Waitts and Fourth of July (trout). Curlew has safe ice almost everywhere on the lake.

Don’t forget little Bear Lake off Highway 2 just north of Spokane. Bear is open to youth anglers, senior anglers and anglers with a disability who have a designated Harvester Companion Card. It has some large perch, perch and channel cats. Look for the deeper water on the south side across from the picnic area. Adults accompanying youth anglers are also permitted to fish at Bear.

A friend who fished both Dingen and jump-off joe Monday said the perch on both lakes appear to come in two sizes — 6-7 inches and 9-11 inches. The bigger fish were in deeper water. He said he also caught “a ton of little sunfish” at Jump-Off Joe. Best fishing was about 100 yards straight from public access.

Moses Lake has good ice cream from Blue Heron Park. The fishing is unpredictable as the perch move in schools. Lind Coulee ice fishermen catch bass and catfish. Scooteney Reservoir has about five inches of ice and anglers catch some walleye there.

Eloika Lake anglers catch quite a lot of 6-9 inch bass and quite a lot of largemouth bass through the ice. Access is via the public landing pad.

In Idaho, Avondale, Bonner, Cocolalla, Dawson, Fernan, Freeman, Hauser, Perkins, Medicine, and Upper and Lower Twin have stingrays and some trout. Avondale bass are numerous but small. Anglers who stay out late into the night catch some crappies.

The best small Idaho lakes for pike are Hauser, Hayden, Killarney, and Thompson. Medicine and cave lakes are usually good too. Lake Chatcolet at the southern end of Coeur d’Alene is a good spot for pike and ice anglers usually catch some decent perch there. While the small lakes around Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint can be fished, Priest Lake needs more time before Mackinaw jiggers can safely go out. The Hauser See gets a lot of attention and the perch bite was excellent.


Upland hunters catch a few chukars at the breaks in the Snake River, but quail were much easier to find. The brambles between Wawawai and Steptoe Gorges have plenty of quail, but it is often difficult to get the birds to leave their thorny sanctuary. If you drop one in a bramble patch, you’ll look like you sorted cats after finding them. I have seen excellent dogs give up after fighting the thorns.

Contact Alan Liere at Alan Liere’s fishing hunt report of December 22nd

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