Hunting + fishing
Yakima River flows are moderate and clarity is good. Dry fly fishing with large terrestrial and stone fly patterns is improving. Beige and tan colors in about a size 8 have worked well when fished with a little movement.
Some big eastern brook are beginning to show in Sacheen Lake and fly fishermen are catching them in the top 10 feet.
The St. Joe is almost there. It is “wadeable” (with caution) up high. The Coeur d’Alene is still good and the Clark Fork is just starting. Big stone fly nymphs are effective there, and there should be good top water action if the water continues to drop.
Trout and kokanee
Waitts Lake has been good for night fishermen using bait at 25 feet. Rainbows outnumber browns 5-1.
Rufus Woods is kicking out trout again. Power Bait or marshmallows near the net pens are accounting for fish, mostly 3-6 pounds. Trollers are finding fish with a Wooly Bugger and an Action Disk. About 35,000 triploids were released recently. At Roosevelt, the net pen fish have been released and anglers are catching a lot of smaller ’bows.
Small Deer Lake macks are providing decent action for trollers dragging spoons deep at dusk. The dark hours are also a good time to take some big rainbow, either on the troll or by dunking nightcrawlers.
Sprague Lake rainbow to 4 pounds are biting, but there is often a lot of dead time between 10-minute feeding frenzies. Bait on the bottom is effective. A 6-pounder was caught this week. Expect more of that size as we move toward autumn.
Williams and Badger are about as close as you can get to a sure thing on rainbow trout. Fishtrap, which is scheduled for rehabilitation this fall, is doing OK.
Two good fishermen put in a 12-hour day trolling recently before catching their limits of Loon Lake kokanee. Friends and I tried the night fishery Tuesday and got skunked.
If you catch a koke, it will probably be a foot or better, but there appear to be a lot fewer this summer. In Idaho, Dworshak Reservoir is still good for kokanee.
John Kallas of Valley White Elephant trolled Priest Lake bays with his cousin Jim last weekend. He reported catching a 131/2-pound mackinaw as well as nine other fish 2-4 pounds. Kallas said a small Flatfish trolled through 60 feet of water at a depth of 43-55 feet brought the most hits.
Salmon and steelhead
Salmon are just starting to show up at the Mouth of the Okanogan River, which is around 68 degrees and warming up fast. Don’t expect hot fishing until about the second week of July. The prediction is for 70,000 chinook compared to last year’s 55,000.
On Wednesday, IDFG changed the daily and possession limits for chinook salmon in part of the Upper Salmon River and opened a chinook season in the Boise River. The change affects the season in the Upper Salmon River, from the city of Salmon upstream to the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River. It allows anglers to keep Chinook salmon less than 24 inches long.
Coffeepot and nearby Twin Lakes are being largely overlooked by perch anglers. Of the Twins, the upper lake is best. Coffeepot is full of 8- to 10-inchers. Try a small, crawdad-colored jig. Bait is not allowed in Coffeepot.
I went looking for Diamond Lake perch this week and found them and a lot of trout in 25 feet of water. The perch were 8-10 inches and the rainbows and browns ran 9-13 inches. Worms were the ticket for all.
Spinnerbaits are enticing some good-sized Jump-Off Joe largemouth, and other local lakes more noted for trout are also booting out bass. These include Liberty, Clear and Fan.
Walleye angling for small fish is relatively simple on Lake Roosevelt. The Spokane Arm has been particularly productive and the fish around Buoy 5 seem to be larger.
Work the cover along rocky shorelines at Long for catches of smallmouth bass that run a little larger than the 11-inch average. Both smallmouth and largemouth are hitting at Loon
An algae bloom on Silver Lake has reduced visibility, but the largemouth are still hitting in shallow water along weed lines and docks and spawning bluegill are abundant. Glowing reports come from anglers who have discovered the new boat launch and fishing pier at Silver Lake. Judging by muskie sightings, it is just a matter of time before someone catches one from shore.
The Pend Oreille River is giving up largemouth bass and northern pike, but the fishing is not fast. Spinnerbaits account for either species.
At Roses Lake in the Okanogan, ply the cattails near shore for lots of decent-sized bluegill.
The Snake River is receding and smallmouth bass fishing is good. Try crank baits and rubber jigs. Dworshak Reservoir bass are moving into deeper water
There will be no controlled hunts for sandhill cranes in Idaho this year. Tags go on sale Aug. 1 – first come, first served. The season starts Sept. 1. In six eastern Idaho counties, 680 sandhill crane permits are available. Of that total, 400 are available to hunters in Caribou and Bear Lake counties, 100 each in Teton and Fremont counties, and 40 each in Bonneville and Jefferson counties.
Master hunters and area landowners are invited to attend a meeting July 18 in Ellensburg for an orientation on this year’s hunting season in Elk Area 3911, located near Ellensburg in Kittitas County. The meeting, sponsored by WDFW, the Master Hunter advisory group and the Big Game Management Roundtable (BGMR), is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. at the Central Washington University New Student Union Building (SURC), Room 215A.
I’m finally seeing some large quail broods, and it appears the turkeys also did well. This should have been a perfect nesting season for all upland birds.
Contact Alan Liere by email at firstname.lastname@example.org