Fly fishermen are taking a few Clearwater River steelhead. It’s not hot fishing, but it’s a good early-season option.
This is an excellent time to fish the Icicle and the White rivers. The rainbow and cutthroat aren’t particularly large, but water conditions are perfect and there are a lot of fish.
Trout and kokanee
The stormy weather last week caused a drop in fishing pressure on Loon Lake kokanee, but friends who fished in front of the bath house Saturday night reported fair fishing in 33-35 feet of water for 11-inch fish. They said they also caught a lot of small bullheads.
With the nights cooling off, more Loon Lake anglers are going back to trolling during the day for their kokanee. The best bite has been over deep water from Granite Point south dragging four-five colors of leaded line with a flasher and wedding ring tipped with maggots.
Waitts Lake has remained the most consistent local trout fishery this summer. Anglers are still taking limits or near-limits of rainbow and browns in three or four hours of trolling with up to four colors of leaded line in 50-60 feet of water. Friends who fished there Sunday said the fish were found throughout the lake.
Sprague Lake is clearing up but the big rainbow haven’t been biting. The steelhead Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife dumped in the lake in early summer are now running 13-14 inches and providing a lot of (sometimes unwanted) action for anglers trying for larger trout.
The most recent net pen releases of trout on Lake Roosevelt are running 12-13 inches, but both effort and success has been minimal. Fish counter Branditt West says a few kokanee have been checked along with small walleye and undersized smallmouth.
Salmon and steelhead
Fishing should continue to be good in the Brewster Pool for quite some time. Anglers who get on the water very early are still catching chinook and there could be as many as 10,000 additional summer runs still on the way.
Drano Lake steelhead fishermen are beginning to catch decent numbers of fish and report a lot of surface activity. Dyed shrimp under a bobber is working best.
Beginning Saturday, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon seven days a week on the Snake River. The daily catch limit is six adult hatchery chinook, plus six hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length. Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead on the Snake River, but must stop fishing for the day – for both hatchery chinook and steelhead – once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit. Barbless hooks are required. Watch for updates on the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa .gov/fishing/regulations) on the upcoming fishery.
New fishing rules take effect beginning Monday on the Tucannon River, where the daily catch limit for hatchery steelhead will be reduced to two fish. Anglers will be required to use barbless hooks and keep any hatchery steelhead they catch. The fishery upstream from Marengo at Turner Road Bridge will be closed. Details of the Tucannon River fishery are posted on WDFW’s website at fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
Salmon anglers out of Westport and Ilwaco continue to experience good fishing. Coho comprise the bulk of the catch, but 15- to 20-pound chinook will still sweeten the pot. According to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, ocean salmon fishing off the Columbia River has been hot with better than 1.5 salmon per angler last week.
Sport fishing is picking up near the Columbia mouth in the Buoy 10 fishery. Effort is heavy with over 1.5-hours waits to launch a boat, according to WDFW. Effective Tuesday, all chinook must be released and the hatchery coho daily limit is increased to three fish.
Fall chinook haven’t yet moved into the Hanford Reach in significant numbers. An estimated 212 boats fished for salmon in the stretch from Highway 395 to Priest Rapids Dam last week, according to state creel checkers. Of the 14 boats checked, 25 salmon anglers put in100 pole hours with no catch. Staff also interviewed eight bank anglers at Ringold with no catch.
Blue Lake in Grant County has been very good for large perch. Try drifting Swedish Pimples tipped with worms, maggots or perch meat.
Also in Grant County is Soda Lake near Potholes Reservoir. Soda has a variety of spiny ray including some large perch and crappie. The walleye being caught recently are on the small side, as are the bass, but there are some much larger fish available.
Some of Moses Lake’s jumbo perch have moved into the I-90 Bridge area. The bigger fish usually start showing in early September.
Both northern pike and largemouth bass are hitting in the Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes. As usual, white spinnerbaits and soft plastic frogs are drawing strikes. Smallmouth are hitting twin-tail jigs and grubs in 30 feet of water on the main lake. Water levels will start dropping around Labor Day, and that should improve the fishing for everything.
The limit on mourning doves in Idaho has been raised from 10 to 15 with a possession limit of 45. The season will run from Monday to Oct. 30. In Washington, the season will run Monday to Sept. 30 and the limit remains at 10 birds. This appears to be an excellent year for dove in both states. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Idaho fish and Game has set the sage grouse season to run in parts of area 2 Sept. 20-26 with a one-bird daily limit. Not all areas are open and the boundaries are divided, so check the map that comes with the IDFG hunting pamphlet.
The early archery Washington deer season in Washington begins Monday in select units. Modern firearm deer hunts are also offered beginning Sept. 6 in areas 22 and 37. Consult the WDFW game pamphlet. An early modern firearm elk season begins Tuesday in elk area 2033. An archery hunt also begins Tuesday in several units. General hunting season for black bear is under way in most areas of the state. Hunters are allowed two bear during the season but only one can be taken in Eastern Washington.
In Washington’s Pacific County, Goose Management Area 2B will be open for goose hunting Sept. 1-15. Also opening Monday in Washington and Idaho are the forest grouse and rabbit seasons.
Most recent column
No one has influenced so many facets of Inland Northwest fisheries as Allan Scholz during his 35 years at Eastern Washington University. The 67-year-old biology professor is transitioning into retirement, leaving a legacy that would rival Mark Few if fisheries science were a ball sport …
Recent blog posts
TRAILS -- Trails through the sage-steppe scablands of Eastern Washington are among the first to welcome hikers and mountain bikers in March. Sunday was a perfect day to bike the ...
FISHING – A six-week series of free localized fishing seminars begins this week sponsored by Mark's Marine in Hayden. All of the seminars, as follows, are set for Thursdays starting ...