At midweek, friends fishing for walleye between Northport and China Bend reported a huge mayfly hatch and a lot of trout activity.
Clark Fork River guides are hoping for a continued drop in flows through the weekend. Fish are eating on top. Concentrate on soft pockets behind the willows. Any big, golden stone imitation on top with a pheasant tail dropper should put you in fish.
The St. Regis is a good option, but wading is tough as it is still big. It has seen little pressure. The Coeur d’Alene may be back in shape by the weekend. PMDs on the lower river have been the best hatch. The Coeur d’Alene River has been crowded.
Gold Pass, the popular access route from St. Regis, Mont., to the St. Joe River is open. The Joe is still high, but fishing has been fair.
A record 462,000 sockeye are expected to run up the Columbia, and of those, 431,300 are expected to be headed to the Okanogan River. It won’t be long before both summer-run chinook and sockeye are pouring into the area. There should be plenty of fish for those who plan to participate in the first annual CCA Salmon Derby, July 13-15.
All chinook salmon sport fisheries in Idaho will remain open through the Fourth of July. A closure shortly after then is most likely for the fishery in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, where anglers already have harvested more than 70 percent of the sport fishery share.
With so much wind and rain, Loon Lake anglers have been staying away in droves. A friend who sneaks out to troll during the infrequent sun breaks said there are still plenty of kokanee at around 35 feet, but they are spread out and the bite is light. Night fishermen are almost nonexistent. Friends and I have spent many Fourth of July nights successfully still-fishing for kokanee and watching fireworks on Loon.
Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are biting well throughout the lake. Most are around 10 inches.
This season’s nice-sized kokanee on Lake Chelan are getting more difficult to locate as they move in big schools all over the lower basin. Anglers have been catching them off of Rocky Point and around Wapato Point, but it has been inconsistent.
Rainbow fishing has been good on the east side of Clear Lake. The fish are averaging about 13 inches and are cooperating with boat baiters and trollers. West Medical baiters are doing well. Williams Lake remains good, especially for trollers. Cookie-cutter 10-inch rainbow are plentiful at Diamond Lake.
The Sprague Lake rainbow bite has been inconsistent, but fish to 7 pounds have been reported. There are good numbers of 14-inchers.
Trout fishing has been extraordinary for 2- to 6-pound fish on Potholes Reservoir, specifically in Lind Coulee and off Medicare Beach and in Frenchman’s Wasteway. Troll a Rapala Shad Rap crankbait in 10-20 feet of water.
Conditions have improved for the special triploid fishery below Chief Joseph Dam, and better catches are being reported. Good catches of triploids have also been taken at the upper net pens on Rufus Woods Reservoir.
Near Potholes Reservoir, Winchester Wasteway and Crab Creek walleye fishing is heating up. Troll bottom-walker rigs with nightcrawlers in 10-15 feet of water. Bass fishing is also good. Another walleye option is Soda Lake with good reports coming from the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge water.
Rufus Woods is moving fast, but walleye anglers are finding nice fish stacked up in the eddies. On Roosevelt, walleye fishermen are dodging driftwood but catching fish. The winners of the Kettle Falls Governor’s Cup last weekend were trolling plugs on planers near shorelines and in shallows.
Friends fishing Roosevelt north of China Bend say the walleye are smaller this week than last but the bite is still decent. In the Spokane Arm, the bite has been either red-hot or dead. A few positive reports came from Hawk Creek.
Bass fishing for largemouths is still good at Eloika, Loon and Deer lakes and has also been good at lesser-known bass destinations like Jump-Off-Joe, Waitts, Diamond and Sacheen. For smallmouth, it would be hard to beat Newman, Long Lake, Lake Roosevelt, or Banks, which has been excellent for walleye and has yielded a few perch more than a foot in length.
Idaho chain lakes have been good for northern pike. The fish aren’t normally large, but there are a lot of 24-inchers and they are beginning to hit spinner baits.
Anglers report numerous tiger muskie sightings on Curlew Lake. That doesn’t necessarily translate to catching, but the big fish seem to be everywhere at times.
The crab fishery in all marine areas of Puget Sound will open on Sunday. Crabbers should note that the season begins next week with a two-day opening Sunday and Monday, and will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday before reopening on its regular weekly schedule (Thursday through Monday) on Thursday. The crab population remains abundant.