Still good ice fishing in the Panhandle
February 17, 2017
By Andy Dux
IDFG Fisheries Regional Manager
Winter certainly has been cold and snowy in the
Panhandle this year. Shoveling snow and
contending with slippery roads can make winter a
less than pleasant time for many people.
Fortunately, the winter has also provided a good
ice fishing season that many anglers have gotten
out and enjoyed.
In fact, ice conditions this year have been
better than normal. Our coldest weather is
likely behind us, but ice fishing could hold up
for a while if the weather cooperates. If ice
fishing is something you enjoy or maybe want to
give a try, consider taking advantage of the
opportunity before it fades away.
There are plenty of ice fishing destinations and
fish species to choose from in the Panhandle.
Good ice conditions have been present on all of
the lowland lakes this winter.
Many anglers like to target warm water fish
species in the lowland lakes, particularly
yellow perch. A few of the more popular places
to target them are Fernan Lake, Cocolalla Lake,
Twin Lakes, Avondale Lake, Gamblin Lake, and
portions of Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend
Oreille River near Sandpoint.
Lowland lakes near Bonners Ferry, such as Dawson
Lake, Bonner Lake, Smith Lake, and Perkins Lake
also are popular spots to target warmwater fish.
Some popular spots to target trout include
Avondale Lake, Cocolalla Lake, and Mirror Lake.
If kokanee interest you, give Spirit Lake or
Mirror Lake a try. But, expect small kokanee in
Spirit Lake this year.
Some anglers like to chase bigger fish through
the ice, such as northern pike. Good options
include the north end of Hayden Lake, the Coeur
d’Alene Chain Lakes, and Chatcolet and Benewah
lakes (Heyburn State Park). Portions of Priest
Lake have offered good ice this winter, such as
Cavanaugh Bay, which means lake trout fishing is
Be safe and always check ice conditions before
venturing out fishing. Pay particular attention
at this time of year as warmer weather and rain
can cause unsafe ice conditions rather quickly.
If you get the chance to go, good luck fishing!
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