Brown, high water apparently is history for the season. Rivers such as the Clark Fork and Coeur d’Alene have dropped and the fish are feeding. Phenominal fishing was reported on the Clark Fork this week.
The Yakima River drainage has seen an increase in river flow this week and water is clear and cold. A small number of terrestrials are present.
Grimes Lake is a good spot for Lahontan cutthroat running 16-25 inches and larger. Small chironomids and pheasant tail nymphs are working.
Brown’s Lake has been good for 11-inch cutthroat and a few larger rainbow. Work inside the coves.
The Coeur d’Alene River has begun to calm down and fishing was excellent on Thursday top to bottom. Parachute Adams in a variety of sizes and patterns, pale morning duns and tiny mayflies are all getting good looks on the St. Joe River. Nymphing is still effective and many fishermen are using Princes, Copper Johns and dark-colored Buggers.
The Spokesman-Review Outdoors Editor Rich Landers fished the Smith River in Montana last week. He said that though high and muddy, it boated well and he caught fish. But all rivers were cleared by mid-week.
Trout and kokanee
Loon Lake trollers have been finding lots of kokanee from the island south. There are several different age classes and enough 14- to 15-inchers to make things really interesting. The fish are at 27-30 feet.
Chapman Lake kokanee have gone deeper. Anglers are taking the 10-inch fish with Wedding Rings at three colors.
I fished Diamond Lake for trout last week and caught mostly 9-inch perch. Two days later I went back for perch and caught mostly 9-inch trout.
Lake Roosevelt kokanee and rainbow are hitting dodger/Apex lure combinations, with a lot of positive reports coming from Swawilla Basin. Some of the kokanee are pushing 4 pounds.
Kokanee are being found at 10-40 feet at the north end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Wedding Rings are taking limits of the smallish fish.
The surface temperature of Lake Pend Oreille is 55-60 degrees. Trout are still being caught on the surface.
Salmon and steelhead
Angling is open for adipose fin-clipped summer chinook and summer steelhead as well as sockeye from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Oregon-Washington Border.
Chinook opened on the Columbia near Wells Dam Thursday, but there are few fish using the ladders. The Okanogan remains high and cool, so many of the fish eventually counted at the dam will likely just keep going. Best bets would be to try fishing below the dam or to wait a week or so.
Sockeye salmon returns to the Columbia River are projected to be two times greater than predicted. Retention is allowed above Priest Rapids on the Columbia River as well as in the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers. There is an anti-snagging and night closure in effect for Rocky Reach Dam to Turtle Rock and in the Okanogan and Similkameen. The Columbia River from Wells Dam to Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster will be open for sockeye July 16 through Aug. 31.
Last week at Ilwaco, an estimated 413 anglers caught 62 chinook. Salmon fishing is similarly slow at Neah Bay, LaPush and Westport.
Banks Lake has been extremely productive for walleye and smallmouth fishermen.
The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt has been good for small walleye, but the fish are beginning to scatter. Worm harness and bottom walkers are effective. There are lots of smallmouth.
Don Ghramm and Craig Bircher won the Washington Governor’s Cup last weekend on Lake Roosevelt by weighing in 13.38- and 13.32-pound baskets. Fish were mostly small. Some teams reported sorting through 30-40 fish a day, upgrading and culling several times. There were 89 teams and 1,047 fish brought to the scales. Big fish of the tournament was 4.90 pounds, weighed in by the team of Steve Bogle and John Mutchler. The next walleye tournament is the Washington State Walleye Championship July 25-26.
Pike anglers are making good catches between Usk and Newport on the Pend Oreille River. Most of the fish are 2-3 feet in length. Largemouth bass are also on the prowl, with multiple-fish catches reported. Water has gone down.
The morning smallmouth bite on Long Lake has been best, particularly around the docks. Bonnie Lake largemouth are feeding aggressively.
The Moses Lake walleye bite has dropped off, but fishing is reported to still be good on Potholes Reservoir.
Rapala Husky Jerks are still accounting for a few tiger muskie and Newman Lake. Two were reported in one day this week.
Smallmouth bass, mostly small, are chomping tube jigs in Lake Coeur d’Alene at 7-12 feet. Some big pike have come out of the north end, and some smaller ones from the Chain Lakes. Smallmouth are also biting on the Chain Lakes and at Hayden. Try small-to-midsized crankbaits, plastics and spinner baits. Fernan Lake is good for crappie.
Bass fishing was good over the last week on Lake Pend Oreille, but it gets crowded most weekends with tournaments anglers. Yamamotos, crankbaits and tubes are all working.
Catch rates for sturgeon improved slightly for charter and private boat anglers at the ports of Chinook and Ilwaco last week. Charter boat anglers averaged a legal kept per every 3.6 rods.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon have agreed to rescind a closure scheduled last Sunday and allow anglers to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon through July 11 between the mouth of the Columbia and the Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet.
Channel cats running 4-8 pounds are biting on the Snake, practically anywhere you can find 20-30 feet of water. Nights are best and the action will increase as the weather warms.
According to some data accumulated by Idaho Fish and Game biologist Jeff Knetter, there are two aspects associated with rain and the survival of upland bird chicks. One is that chicks cannot forage efficiently in the rain, so it reduces both their foraging time and insects just aren’t out during the rain. The other is that chicks cannot regulate their body temperatures until they are 10 days old. Rain and less than 62-degree temperatures create a negative energy balance, and less than 50 degrees is brutal. In light of our cold, wet May and June – the nesting season – things are not looking good.
I thought the cold, wet spring may have also affected the turkey hatch near my home north of Spokane, but on a Wednesday walk, I put up a group of birds consisting of three hens and at least 25 chukar-sized youngsters.
Most recent column
The curtain has opened on the last act in the Columbia River system’s “Year of the Salmon.” The performance began with good returns of spring chinook followed by this summer’s post-dams record returns of sockeye and a great showing of coho. Now the big stars …
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