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Clearwater steelhead may be best bet right now

| December 16, 2010 8:00 PM

With local streams being fairly inactive with fishing, anglers' best bet may be on the Clearwater River with steelhead, said Tommy Thompson, who works in the fishing department at Cabela's.

"The Clearwater is picking up," Thompson said. "That's pretty much the only active spot for bigger fish. A lot of people have been coming in to buy steelhead equipment."

Thompson said lighted lures and various jigs have been popular.

"Some fishermen will use shrimp at the end of the bait," he said. "It all just depends on what's hitting that day."

Thompson said he recently had an outing on the Coeur d'Alene River and caught just two fish.

"I was just using black Copper Johns," he said.

Thompson said that with the water of local streams being cold, fish are staying in certain spots.

"They're not wanting to go out to go grab something," he said. "If something is close, they'll take it. If not, they're not moving."

Thompson said the snow melt won't have much of an impact on fishing because the water is going to be cold regardless.

"If it warms up, then it will become more active," he said. "But fish just aren't too active on the Joe and Coeur d'Alene right now."

•••

While lakes have been slow to freeze for ice fishing, Steelhead are still in season, and just about the only type of fishing to do right now.

Area lakes are still waiting for their first good freeze, meaning ice fishing isn't yet happening and the best fishing to do in the meantime is down at Orofino on the Clearwater River

So to go after steelhead use both live baits and jigs. Loading shrimp, hooked with shrimp oil or egg are successful lures, as are jigs, said Josh Kinghorn, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods.

Either cast from the banks or back troll in boat.

By January, lakes closer to home should freeze and ice fishing should be stellar.

Once that happens, water freezes, jigging bead chains with glow hooks and a maggot will be the best line to drop going after kokanee, especially in Spirit Lake.

For perch, crappie, bass and trout during the winter months, add a chunk of worm to the glow hook on the bead chain instead of a maggot, Kinghorn said.

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