Weekly hunting and fishing report


Fly Fishing

Fly fishing has slowed on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River. You can still take fish early and late with a deep dropper, however, but it won’t be fast action.

The St. Joe remains steady if not consistent through the hot weather. Fish early and late and try to avoid the competition from tubers from Avery down. Fish are hitting a variety of flies.

The upper stretches of the Bitterroot River has been turning out some really nice dry fly days. Caddis and yellow sallies have been reliable.

The Blackfoot River fishes well in bright sun, making it perhaps the best day-long river in Montana right now. Throw a bushy attractor with a beadhead nymph dropper.

Clark Fork flows are getting back to normal and the river is producing a lot of fish mornings and evenings.

The Spokane River is easy to wade now and is currently as good as any Idaho or Montana river because it remains cooler than most. Once again, go early or late and take a good supply of nymphs.

Trout and kokanee

Trout fishing on Lake Roosevelt is sporadic, but anglers that are willing to move are eventually finding fast action. Last week, it was in Abraham Cove by marker 12. This week it may be near Hawk Creek. Kekeda Perch Flies have been effective in 20-35 feet of water. Most of the trout caught are this year’s releases, running 12-16 inches.

It took a long time for me to limit on kokanee Monday night at Loon Lake – about 3 hours compared to an hour last week, and the three friends in the boat with me, all good kokanee anglers, only caught 14 fish among them. Kokanee fishing is funny that way. Another friend who trolled the lake Tuesday said the bite was good early but died after 10 a.m.

A friend who is staying at Klink’s Resort on Williams Lake says rainbow fishing has been very good evenings off the dock of his rental cabin. The 14-inch trout are taking a piece of nightcrawler floated just off the bottom using a yellow cheese marshmallow for buoyancy. Thread the marshmallow onto the shank of the hook and slip it up to the eye.

Park Lake in Grant County is a good destination for 12- to 16-inch rainbow. Still-fishermen are doing well with PowerBait or marshmallows.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee have not moved north much further than Powderhorn Bay. The fish are small this year – 7-9 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

Chinook anglers report combat fishing but excellent success at the mouth of the Okanogan River. A 0 dodger, followed by a short leader and pink mini-squid tipped with coon shrimp is most popular.

At Brewster, a friend reports a good sockeye bite. He said pink hootchies and shrimp 14 inches behind a 0 Dodger works for most folks.

Anglers fishing the lower Columbia River can catch and keep summer chinook and sockeye through the end of the month as fishery managers have extended the season after upgrading their projection of the chinook run size to 74,000 fish, up from 67,500. Anglers can now retain eight salmon, including up to six adult sockeye salmon, in the mainstem Columbia River above Priest Rapids Dam. Sockeye salmon returns above Priest Rapids Dam are predicted to be far in excess of needs for wild fish escapement to the spawning grounds. 

The entire Little Salmon River will be closed to chinook fishing at the end of fishing hours on Sunday July 27. Until that time, anglers fishing downstream from the Pollock Bridge may only harvest adipose-clipped jacks. Anglers fishing upstream from Pollock Bridge may harvest adipose-clipped adults and jacks.

Sockeye salmon returns above Zosel Dam in Canada are predicted to be in excess of needs for wild fish escapement to the spawning grounds. Anglers can now retain adult sockeye salmon in Lake Osoyoos through Oct. 15. Osoyoos stretches across the U.S.-Canada border.

Baker Lake in Whatcom County is giving up some nice sockeye now. Troll a double hook setup with beads and Smiley Blade tipped with shrimp behind a dodger with 14-18 inches of leader.

Chinook fishing has been fair to good at Seiku recently. State creel checks at Olson’s Resort showed a catch rate of around one-half of a chinook per person.

Westport salmon fishing has ranged from steady to excellent. Chinook have been going to 20 pounds and coho 3-8 pounds. Fish seem to be holding close to the beach in water 40-70 feet deep, or in water 275-300 feet deep about 160-210 feet down. Trolling with a hootchie or Kingfisher spoon behind a flasher has been most effective

Spiny ray

Be on the water early if you’re looking for Banks Lake largemouth. They’re taking top water mice and frogs. Senkos are also good, but the bite dies as the temperatures rise. Include some bug spray in your gear as the horse flies have been ferocious.

The Spokane Arm of Roosevelt is at least six degrees warmer then the main lake and the walleye have been consistently small of late. Better fishing is in the main lake in 12 to 25 feet of water. Bottom bouncing with chartreuse and gold spinners tipped with nightcrawlers has been effective near Kettle Falls.

Bass in local lakes such as Silver, Newman and Hayden will hit spinner and buzz baits early, but the best fishing has been drop-shotting in deeper water. Don’t ignore “trout” lakes such as Diamond, Loon and Deer for bass.

Blue Lake in Grant County has been excellent this season for smallmouth as well as trout. The rocky slopes are where the smallmouth are, and anglers are catching some dandies on both bait and lures.

Potholes walleye fishing was fair to good this week in the Lind Coulee area, and numerous large perch were boated as well. Fish are hanging between 8 and 15 feet.

The perch bite is definitely on at Fish Lake in Okanogan County. A worm and hook is all that is needed for as many fish as you care to clean.

The Chain Lakes near Coeur d’Alene are kicking out a lot of northern pike to about 8 pounds. The early bite is best before the fish move to deep water. Target 6-8 feet of water with spinnerbaits.

Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

Click here to comment on this story »