Eastern Washington: Lake Roosevelt, the huge Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam that stretches along the Lincoln-Ferry and Ferry-Stevens county lines in the northeast district, has been fishing very well for both boat and shore anglers and should continue to provide success through the month of February.
WDFW Central District Fish Biologist Randy Osborne says creel checks show that daily catch limits of five trout are common. "Kokanee fishing at Lake Roosevelt has also been picking up in some areas of the lower reservoir," Osborne said. "Just remember that of your six kokanee daily catch limit, only two can be wild kokanee, or those with intact adipose fins."
Roosevelt anglers have also been picking up some decent walleye in the Spokane Arm area of the reservoir. Osborne reminds anglers that the Spokane Arm is open year-round, with a daily catch limit of 16 walleye. "The walleye fishing will just get better and better into spring," he said.
Osborne also reports that the central district's winter-only lakes Hog Canyon in Spokane County and Fourth of July on the Lincoln-Adams county line have been fishing pretty decent, but with fluctuating weather conditions, ice conditions may or may not be safe at any given time. Anglers need to check conditions carefully before venturing out on ice, he said. Osborne reminds anglers that the daily catch limit at both lakes is five trout but only two over 14 inches may be retained.
WDFW Northeast District Fish Biologist Bill Baker said the region's other two winter-only fishing lakes Hatch and Williams in northern Stevens County continue to provide catches of rainbows through the ice, although catch rates have slowed.
Baker reminds anglers to "use common sense" while ice fishing. Repeated thawing and re-freezing can make ice unsafe. Tips to help keep an outing safe include:
Don't fish alone. Let others know exactly where you and your fishing partners are going and when you plan to return.
Keep fishing holes small and few. When drilling fishing holes with an ice auger, keep the diameter under eight inches. Bigger holes are not necessary to land fish and can create a safety hazard for others.
Watch your step. Avoid ice fishing near feeder streams or known springs; brush, logs, plants or docks; multiple ice cracks or ice that is popping or otherwise audible; and dark-colored ice that may be weak.
Spread out. Too many people congregated in one area may be more than the ice can safely support. Disperse weight and fishing holes.
Be prepared with appropriate clothing and equipment for weather conditions and emergencies.
Year-round-open fishing waters throughout the region are also an option this month. Osborne notes that yellow perch fishing has been decent at Eloika and Silver lakes in Spokane County. However, he says the perch in Silver Lake are pretty small six inches or less. Rock Lake in Whitman County should continue to give up some decent brown trout, along with a few rainbows.
Baker reminds anglers that fishing closes at the end of February at Waitts Lake in southern Stevens County. This month is the last chance to catch both trout and perch there, he says, at least until it re-opens the last Saturday of April.