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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, July 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Hunting + fishing

By Alan Liere Correspondent

Fly fishing

The Yakima River is unseasonably low at a little more than 2,000 cfs through Cle Elum. Large hopper-type patterns fished with movement are taking fish. Nymphing remains consistent with tan stonefly nymphs and small, beadhead dropper nymphs being most effective.

Other rivers and streams in the Yakima area continue to drop and should provide opportunities for cutthroat and rainbow trout. Good bets might be the Naches, Little Naches and Teanway rivers, and Taneum, Naneum and Rattlesnake creeks.

There is some good fly fishing on the 20-plus-mile stretch of the Tucannon River that runs through Columbia County from the Merango Bridge to the Turner Road Bridge. The rainbow aren’t large, but there are lots of them and it is a great stretch to wade.

The St. Joe is running at about 3,000 cfs. It’s fishable but far from prime.

Trout and kokanee

Sprague Lake has been off and on. Anglers dunking bait did well recently on the east end after dark. Williams remains excellent, as does Badger, where Carey Specials on the north end take a lot of trout.

Waitts Lake remains good for trollers pulling green Carey Specials or Flatfish. On West Medical, marshmallows and worms cast from shore or boat are enticing the rainbow.

Rock Lake fishing for trout, mainly browns, has been excellent. The fish are beautiful – many 16-22 inches. Trollers on the south side by the cliffs have done well recently.

WDFW planted 2,700 tiger trout in Downs Lake this spring, and they are gobbling up minnows and growing large. Downs also has a lot of small rainbow, but there was a good carryover from last year – fish up to 18 inches.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee are small and not causing much excitement so far this season. Dworshak Reservoir kokes are numerous but also small.

The Methow River and selected tributaries are open for catch-and- release, selective- gear-only trout fishing and should provide good opportunities through September. Some smaller Methow Basin tributaries open for standard-gear angling are Boulder and Eight Mile creeks, which have liberal brook trout limits.

Jameson Lake in Douglas County has been fishing fairly well. Reports of rainbow 10-12 inches with larger fish in the 15-inch range are coming in. Jameson closes to fishing on July 5 and reopens on Oct 1.

Moses Lake recently received 500 nearly half-pound rainbow trout from WDFW’s Columbia Basin Fish Hatchery.

WDFW fish biologist Eric Anderson reports lake trout are being caught at Cle Elum Reservoir. “This is also the time of year when kokanee really start biting at Rimrock, Bumping, Keechelus and Kachess reservoirs,” he said.

Salmon and steelhead

In a flurry of recent management actions aimed at stretching chinook salmon fishing seasons, Idaho Fish and Game has opened some chinook seasons on the Salmon and closed others. For updates, go to the Idaho Fish and Game Web site: fishand salmon/.

On the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4), salmon fishing will open Saturday on a Tuesday-through- Saturday basis, then switch to a daily schedule starting July 18. Fishing off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport (Marine Area 2) will open Sunday but on different schedules. Waters off Ilwaco will be open seven days a week, but fishing off Westport will be limited to Sundays through Thursdays only through July 23, when the area will open seven days per week. Opening day of salmon season at Westport coincides with a one-day reopening of the halibut fishery Sunday. The chinook salmon season on the Columbia begins Wednesday.

Salmon fisheries off Sekiu/Pillar Point and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal (Marine Areas 5 and 6) open Wednesday on a daily basis for hatchery chinook and coho. Anglers also have a unique chance to catch halibut and salmon in Marine Area 5 Thursday and next Friday (the last day for halibut fishing). Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal south of Ayock Point) also opens Wednesday. Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) does also.

Last weekend’s chinook derby on Coeur d’Alene saw 80 boats weigh in only five chinook.

Spiny ray

For Walleye, one of the best spots has been the mouth of the Colville River at Kettle Falls. A number of methods will take fish, but if nothing else brings action, try a count down Rapala with a white belly. The Spokane Arm of Roosevelt is also generally good, though the fish are mostly 14-18 inches.

The Snake River has been better for sturgeon than smallmouth bass, but now that it is finally dropping, that will change.

Banks lake smallmouth are everywhere, and reports indicate there is an aggressive topwater bite on Long Lake.

If you prefer largemouth, Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County is good for perch and bass. Also in Lincoln County, Twin and Deer Springs lakes are producing largemouth bass. On Twin Lakes near Inchelium, you can catch dozens of largemouth, but it is becoming tough to entice one of more than 2 pounds.

Coeur d’Alene pike ate lurking near emerging weed beds and slamming the usual assortment of spoons, plugs and spinnerbaits. Pike fishing has also been good on the Pend Oreille near Ione. Hauser Lake largemouth are slamming poppers on top.

In the Okanogan area, spiny-ray anglers are taking crappie and bluegill from Leader Lake and perch from Patterson Lake.

Potholes Reservoir walleye fishing is reportedly good in the Crab Creek area of the sand dunes, the Goose Island area and the Lind Coulee arm of the reservoir.

Other species

Six areas of Puget Sound will open for crab fishing Wednesday, including Marine Areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1 (Deception Pass to East Point), 8-2 (East Point to Possession Point), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) and 11 (Tacoma/Vashon). Those areas will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus Labor Day weekend, closing the evening of Sept. 7.

Crabbing has begun in Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (south Puget Sound), where the fishery is open seven days a week through Jan. 2.

Shad may be on the downhill side of their run. Anglers looking for them would do well to head upriver, where catch rates for boat anglers in the John Day Pool averaged nearly eight fish per rod last weekend.

The Snake River is kicking out channel cats near Chief Timothy Park and just about anywhere else you can find a back eddy.

At night, the fish move into 12-15 feet of water and are being caught mostly on chicken livers and nightcrawlers. At Lyons Ferry Marina and KOA, Jim MacArthur said he is seeing cats as large as 12 pounds. Info: (509) 399-8020.


It is too early to predict how healthy the pheasant hatch has been, because the young birds are so well camouflaged. Weather conditions at the peak of the hatch were more favorable than last year.

Contact Alan Liere at

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