News center
Exceptional quality and customer-focused mentality

Alan Liere’s fish

Apr 09, 2023

Feb. 22, 2023 Updated Wed., Feb. 22, 2023 at 9:03 p.m.

Hungry fish will succumb to the boost in metabolism triggered by warmer temperatures and longer days. While fly fishermen often focus on rivers and streams, many quality lakes in the region offer the best fishing just after ice-off. Fishing with black leech patterns during this time can provide steady action.

Lake Roosevelt water level is expected to be drawn down to 1,255 feet by mid-March and will stay there for at least six weeks to facilitate gate valve maintenance at the dam. The extended draw-down should help stabilize the fishing, which has been erratic this winter with the fluctuating levels.

The fishing tournament two weekends ago on Diamond Lake out of the Edgewater Lounge/Restaurant (across the road from the Diamond Lake public access) was another well-organized success with 135 participants. Tannor Brandt won the perch derby with a fish of 1.03 pounds, and 13-year-old Collin Filla Glass took the big trout event with a brown weighing a whopping 10.99 pounds. Although perch fishing was slow, a lot of big trout were taken.

Gavin Boggs was fishing for walleye recently near Seven Bays when he hooked and landed a 26-inch lake whitefish that weighed 7.86 pounds. His fish has been certified as a new Washington State record.

Silver Bow Fly Shop is running a pre-runoff special on the Spokane River with a big discount on guided trips until it closes March 15. Get out of the house and get your fishing fix locally before the spawning season closure. Call Bo Brand at the shop (509) 924-9998.

Winter fishing on the Spokane River has been good with the mild weather, but this will change for a short time with the current cold front. As usual, dredging with nymphs or streamers will find trout. Skwala nymphs are getting a bit more active so definitely pack small stone patterns to imitate them. Throw streamers like sculpins, leeches, buggers with legs/lead eyes or cones, and sparkle minnows on sink-tips.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River has been good for winter fishing below Prichard. It is pretty much nymphing and streamer fishing.

A lot of Eastern Washington lakes reopen for fishing on Wednesday, but it doesn't look as if many of them will have open water, and ice conditions will vary from lake to lake. Closest to Spokane, Coffeepot, Amber, Deer, Downs, Liberty and Medical will open. Of these, Liberty, Medical and Coffeepot will probably be the first to have some open water. Liberty usually gives up some big brown trout close to shore when the ice begins to pull away, but given the current cold snap, that is unlikely to occur soon. Deer Lake should still be safe for ice fishing. Anglers there can catch spiny ray, trout or mackinaw.

Several of the March opening waters are on the man-made impoundments off the Tucannon River in southeast Washington's Columbia County. These are Deer, Rainbow and Watson. Other lakes in the man-made impoundments are open year-round. For information regarding possible ice, call The Last Resort at (509) 843-1556.

Southeast year-round waters opening Wednesday include Dalton Pond in Franklin County, and Golf Course Pond, West Evans Pond and Silcott Pond, all in Asotin County.

The rest of Wednesday's opening waters on this side of the state are in central Washington's Columbia Basin. Variable ice conditions exist. These lakes are usually heavily stocked with rainbow trout when there is open water, but there is still ice on most of the lakes. Some may be fishable through the ice. At Martha and Upper Caliche lakes, anglers can expect near limit catches of quality size fish. In addition to spring fingerling plants of rainbow trout, these lakes were stocked with 500 11- to 13-inch rainbow trout in the fall and each will receive 1,500 trout in April .

Quincy and Burke lakes should provide excellent fishing this spring. Both lakes fished well in 2022 and anglers reported good catches of big trout. Fingerling rainbow trout stocked in the spring should be 11–13 inches long this year, while 2-year-old fish should be in the 13– to 15-inch range.

Crystal, Cup, Cliff, Upper & Lower Spring and Dot lakes are located just west of Evergreen Reservoir and can provide anglers with solitude when other lakes are crowded. Spring fingerling rainbow trout in these lakes grow quickly, and 16–20 fish are not uncommon on opening day, although catch rates are often lower than on Burke and Quincy.

Selective gear lakes in Grant County are also opening Wednesday. Dusty Lake is an excellent hike-in lake for anglers wanting to get away from crowds at other more popular lakes. Each May, this selective gear fishery is stocked with fingerling rainbow, tiger and brown trout.

Lenice and Nunnally lakes should fish well for trout in the 14– to 16-inch range, with some up to 20 inches, and it is likely these lakes will have open water. Both received 3,000 11- to 13-inch rainbow trout in the fall and will receive another 2,250 (Lenice) and 2,750 (Nunnally) in April . Lake Lenore can be excellent in spring, and anglers should find large concentrations of Lahontan cutthroat trout toward the south end of the lake in early March. Lake Lenore is stocked each October with 70,000 fall fingerling Lahontan cutthroat trout. Adult cutthroat in Lenore range in size from 16 to 24 inches and fishing is excellent from late March to May.

Dry Falls Lake, located in the Sun Lakes State Park, is a popular selective gear lake for anglers in search of large rainbow and brown trout. Fish in the 16– to 20-inch range were common in the spring , and great fishing is expected. Each spring, Dry Falls Lake is stocked with 4,500 fingerling rainbow trout and 1,000 fingerling brown trout.

Walleye fishermen are finding fish in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. Jigs and blade baits in 30-50 feet of water in shades of green and blue have been productive this week.

A friend caught some really nice eater-size walleyes last Saturday in the vicinity of Porcupine Bay. His seven fish ranged from 17 to 22 inches. He said no one lure was the best. While fishing was slow, the weather was good and he was amazed by the water clarity.

Another walleye report indicated fishing was good around McCoy's Flat, but the water around Buoy 5 is so low, navigating a boat is tricky. Above Buoy 3, make sure you stay in the channel.

There has been some good kokanee fishing in Lake Chelan. Reports of 15- to 16-inch kokanee are coming in. A good starting place is above the Yacht Club.

Although there is still ice on Potholes, it has been shrinking away from the shoreline. As soon as it clears off, there will be terrific trout fishing. Anglers who target them, either from the shore or by trolling, can expect to catch fish averaging 3 pounds.

Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, has good ice and a lot of fishing activity. Perch are filling buckets, but there have also been some 12-inch kokanee in the catches.

Hauser and Fernan ice is holding up well. The ice on the shoreline on both is melting but still safe. Perch fishing has been fair to good. Cocolalla perch fishing has not been good, though a new snow over slick ice has made walking a lot easier.

Ice fishing possibilities near Spokane are Sacheen, Eloika, Davis, Eloika, Bear, Waitts and Jumpoff Joe. The four winter lakes – Hatch, Williams, Hog Canyon and Fourth of July – are still fishable and won't close until March 31.

The Grande Ronde, Snake and Clearwater rivers still had excellent fishing conditions at midweek, but with the new cold front, the Grande Ronde may be getting some ice around the edges.

Contact Alan Liere at [email protected]

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Get the day's top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.