Alan Lear’s hunting and fishing report for November 30
Nymphs and streamers dominate the fishing on the Spokane River, but there was some blue-winged olive action from about 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The Silver Bow Fly Shop is said to be using hot beads, stones, zigzags or turrets Or Spanish bullets in the morning.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is getting some ice. Look for slower/deeper water rigs and double nymphs using the same flies used in Spokane.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead anglers are taking some big fish during the catch and keep season on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. The Grand Ronde was icy.
Trout and kokanee
Evan Johnson and Josh Weeks fished the Spokane Arm on Lake Roosevelt last Saturday, limiting rainbows ranging from 18 to 22 inches as well as a 6-pound whitefish. They said the best way to catch trout came by throwing red-colored diving plugs into the water with some current over buoy 5. For anglers who don’t have a jet pump on their boat, this can be a problem because the water gets shallow. Roosevelt trout fishing has been generally good throughout the reservoir.
Some ice is visible on the winter lakes, Hatch Hog Canyon and 4th of July. The Fourth of July has been particularly good for large rainbows by bank anglers.
White Lake is also a productive open water trout fishery. When it freezes, ice fishing is usually productive.
It is very cold on the water in Lake Roosevelt, but there is no ice, and walleye and burbot feed in and around Porcupine Bay. However, many walleye are small in size. However, this is a great time to catch a mixed bag of trout, smallmouth, walleye, burbot, and lake whitefish in Lake Roosevelt.
Big walleye are starting to show up on the Columbia River. Hunters can use Oregon or Washington state licenses.
At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Pete Fisher said that as water temperatures drop, fish slip into their winter habits — going deeper and not feeding as often. Slow down your presentation for walleye and bass. Crappie and bluegill are on the face of the dunes, and there have been some nice catches.
Small ponds, even those south of the city, have become covered with ice, and some shallow lakes such as Eloika and Avondale show skim ice. However, there is still plenty of open water, and ice anglers are hoping that cold, snowless nights will soon put a secure cover on their favorite waters.
Idaho Fish and Game invites burbot anglers to participate in the Kootenai River Angler Science Program to collect information that will help improve burbot fishing. For participating, anglers will receive free swag and will be entered into a free drawing for a chance to win some great prizes.
Burbot fishing in the Kootenai River was closed in 1992 due to population decline. Since then, the population has increased and the fishery reopened in January 2019.
Because the fishery is relatively new, Fish and Game staff closely monitor the condition of the burbot. Although they run an extensive annual monitoring program on the river from December to March, they are asking for help to gather additional information. Contact the Panhandle Regional Office at (208) 769-1414 if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Kootenai River Angler Science Program.
Some big whitefish are being caught in Lake Roosevelt this winter. Look for deep depressions in shallow water where they congregate to spawn. All you need is a small jig or fly, but I’ve always been a fan of the small green-and-silver Swedish blister baited with grubs.
Lake whitefish are different from mountain whitefish. They are not native to Washington but are found in the upper Columbia River and several connected reservoirs that include Lake Roosevelt, Banks Lake, Moses Lake, Potholes Reservoir, and Scotney Reservoir. They typically weigh 2-3 pounds and the state record is over 7 pounds. In Banks Lake, you will now find them at the entrance and at the south end of the lake.
Mountain whitefish are smaller than lake whitefish, rarely growing larger than 16 inches. Many rivers in Washington offer good winter fishing. These include the Yakima, Entiat and Little Spokane rivers (open December 1 through the last day of February in certain parts) and the Kettle River, which is open through the end of February.
On all of these rivers, whitefish gear rules must be followed (only one size 14 or smaller hook is allowed and bait – usually worms – may be used). If you’re looking for recipes for cooking whitefish, try the Great Lakes Whitefish website at www.greatlakeswhitefish.org.
Pheasant numbers appear to be larger this year than the last two years. While some hunters say they only see chickens, others say there are more roosters than chickens. My experience is that it depends on where you are and the day you are there. So far, pheasant season has been fairly fruitless for me, but I explored a new area this week that looks promising. On the lower side, there were a lot of barbed wire fences, most of which were tangled. My hands look as if I’ve been sorting through cats in a dark room, and there are several fresh tears in the brush’s pants.
The northern mallard is just beginning to appear in the Columbia Basin. However, the little water freezes over, and even the drilling reservoir and Moses Lake are wiped out around the edges. The troughs will contain birds that do not use the corn beds. Goose hunting has been good with snow and canada in the bags.