Fly fishing

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.

March 1 openings

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.

Open water fishing

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.