The Spokane River is fishing fairly well any time of the day. Late evening caddis hatches are getting a lot of risers. Double nymph rigs during the day produce consistently. Bass above the Sullivan Bridge are aggressive but small.
The upper stretches of the Bitterroot River have been fishing very well, with a lot of action on top and wade fishing is improving. For dries, use attractor patterns and for nymphs go with pheasant tails, caddis pupae, scuds and Pat’s Rubber Legs. Dark-bodied buggers and sculpin streamers are also good.
Blackfoot flows are good and so is the fishing mornings and evenings. The best setup is still the dry/dropper rig, but single dries have been doing well, too.
Clark Fork fishing has been good, but the upper sections are getting low. Attractor prince nymphs are working well as a dropper. For streamers, use big black and olive patterns fished tight to the banks.
It seems the steelhead are passing Lower Granite Dam earlier than usual. Fly fishermen are catching a few from the Clearwater River and the fish are decent size for this early. The lower couple miles are best.
Trout and kokanee
Diamond Lake resident Ken Schueman says the trout there are at 30 feet and deeper. Trolling and still/drift fishing is producing nice rainbow and some browns. A drifted worm on bottom has proven effective.
I fished Loon Lake Wednesday night near the swimming area at Granite Point in 33 feet of water. It was slower than usual and what bite there was didn’t begin until 10:30. We’ll call it an off night – my first this year. Loon kokanee fishing should remain good through the summer.
Coeur d’Alene kokanee are small and are concentrated at the south end of the lake. Best luck on 9- to 10-inch fish has been in Windy and Powderhorn bays.
Sprague Lake has been surprisingly good for large trout during the heat wave. One angler said that after fishing most of the day without a fish, he limited in the evening in 45 minutes by dragging a Double Whammy and nightcrawler.
Salmon and steelhead
Sockeye and chinook anglers trolling the mouth of the Okanogan last week said fishing was very slow and they were concerned the cooler weather had sent the fish upriver. Pat Conley at the Valley White Elephant, however, fished the area around Brewster around the first of the week and did very well. Hopefully, the return of summer will keep salmon available a little longer.
A friend just back from three days of sockeye fishing at Lake Wenatchee reported success by trolling bare red hooks behind a dodger with a prism pattern. He said the largest fish caught by his party was 4.5 pounds and the average size was around 3 pounds.
Baker Lake sockeye are larger than those in Lake Wenatchee or at Brewster and the bite has been on. Go 20 feet down in the morning and deeper as the day progresses. The best luck comes to those dragging chrome dodgers with a solid pink squid and a smile blade on a 12-inch leader. The hook can be sweetened with shrimp. Keep an eye on Baker River trap counts at www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing /salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html.
Salmon anglers at Seiku are hooking a lot of fish, but the majority of them have been shakers or wild. Still, a day on the water will usually yield some keepers.
Salmon fishing at Ilwaco and Westport remains good, though a recent trip with family to Westport was an “off” day. All told, my party of seven kept seven large coho and two nice chinook with yours truly recording a skunk despite having three fish on. We released about the same number of wild fish as we caught. Info: Freedom Charters (866) 202-0148.
The popular Buoy 10 salmon season (the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River) opens Friday. On most days, smaller boats can fish this section, and fishing this year is expected to be excellent.
Through Sunday, Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene Lake is hosting its annual chinook derby. Big fish as of Wednesday was a 24-pounder and several 20-pounders have also been weighed in. Register any time at Fins and Feathers or Elephant Boys in the Spokane Valley. Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers says the best bite has been between 40 and 70 feet.
Bass anglers working the outside of the weed lines on the main part of the Pend Oreille River were doing well this week floating plastics and swim baits near Cusick.
Walleye fishing at the south end of Banks Lake has produced some nice walleye for anglers pulling crankbaits in the morning in 15-20 feet of water around Goose Island. Later in the day, spinner rigs will take fish from deeper water. Smallmouth fishing has been excellent on Banks. Fish the south end near Coulee City.
Potholes Reservoir is yielding some large bass – both smallmouth and largemouth.
Walleye fishing has also been decent, and there are lots of 8- to 14-inch perch.
Friends who floated the Grande Ronde River last weekend with Guerilla Guide Service out of Winchester said they each caught over 25 smallmouth and at least 10 of them were over 2.5 pounds. Info: (208) 924-8685 or email@example.com.
Coeur d’Alene pike are in 8 to 10 feet of water in the cabbage. Spinnerbaits are best in white or chartreuse. Most fish are 4-8 pounds.
Westport tuna anglers are beginning to find good numbers of fish within 50 miles of shore. These are nice-sized fish, weighing 15-30 pounds. Charter boats are filling up fast.
Halibut season is still on out of Ilwaco and may go into late August. This fishery is largely ignored once salmon and tuna crank up, but charters such as Pacific Salmon Charters are still offering trips. Info: at (360) 642-3466 or (800) 831-2695. Bottom fishing continues to be good out of both Ilwaco and Westport.
Eighteen hunters will have an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000- acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Submit an application for this “limited-entry” hunt at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits /scotchcreek or by contacting the WDFW northcentral region office at (509) 754-4624. The deadline to apply is midnight Aug. 13. Six permits will be reserved for bow hunters, six for muzzleloaders and six for modern firearms. The seasons for the area are Sept. 1-26 for bow hunters, Sept. 27-Oct. 5 for muzzleloaders, and Oct. 11-19 for modern firearms.
Contact Alan Liere by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKCOUNTRY -- Here's the source of most of the area's smoke woes -- the fires in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Here's a shot I made today as I hiked south ...