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Hunting and fishing

Fri., Aug. 20, 2010, midnight

On the Coeur d’Alene River the fishing has stayed decent up the river, especially in the mornings and evening. The vinyl hatch is in full force, mostly in the midriver during midday. Caddis and PMDs are the small bugs of choice, but ants, beetles, hoppers and spiders are all taking fish.

Fishing has also been decent on the St. Joe River, particularly above Gold Creek. PMDs, caddis, rusty spinners and light cahills will be the hatching bugs to look for, but don’t be afraid to try a big attractor or terrestrial in front of your smaller fly in the faster water and riffles.

Salmon and steelhead

On Tuesday, 164 steelhead passed Lower Granite Dam. That brought the yearly total to 17,927, compared to 8,278 last year and 5,559 for the five-year average. Steelhead anglers in the catch-and-keep section of water from the mouth of the Clearwater to the Memorial Bridge are finding erratic fishing, though the morning bite has been generally good. The water is unusually high this year, running at 12,000 cfs on Thursday. As a result, many of the fish are moving straight through. On a positive note, a lot of the big fish have been keepers. Upstream in the catch-and-release section, the average is a fish every five hours. Guide Tim Johnson of Clarkston said he had consecutive days with more than 14 steelhead hooked.

At Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), anglers averaged 0.85 salmon per rod last week with 71 percent of the fish caught being coho. Through Sunday, an estimated 35.8 percent of the coho quota and 37.7 percent of the Chinook guideline had been taken. At Westport during the same reporting period, 1,659 coho and 3,253 Chinook were landed. Through Sunday, 23 percent of the coho quota has been caught. At La Push, anglers have taken 30 percent of the coho quota; at Neah Bay, they have taken 40 percent.

Bonneville Pool boat anglers averaged a fish per rod last week, including fish released. Catch was mainly steelhead, though a few fall chinook are being caught. The Dalles Pool bank anglers are catching some steelhead, as are Wind River boat and bank anglers near the mouth of the river. At Drano Lake, about three-quarters of the boat anglers sampled had caught a steelhead.

Anglers are catching big Chinook on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Herring or hoochies with flashers are working well.

Trout and kokanee

Coeur d’Alene kokanee are small but numerous. Wedding Rings and maggots are the most common fish-takers.

Good reports are coming from Badger and West Medical Lake, with still- fisherman doing better than trollers. Sprague Lake has quite a few weeds, but anglers dunking Power Bait in the pockets are pulling out big triploids.

Lake Roosevelt rainbow fishing has been excellent for anglers going deep with muddlers and other large flies. Split Rock, Sterling Point and Hansen Harbor are areas of note.

Loon Lake kokanee in excess of 16 inches are a frequent occurrence for trollers who can get down 40-50 feet, and a friend recently caught a 6-pound mack on his light kokanee gear. The biggest concentration of fish is from Granite Point south.

Spiny ray

There were 16 teams and 32 entrants for the Silver Lake Musky Tournament last weekend, won by Herb Zielke, who also won big fish award with a fish of 37 inches. The lake was in “turnover” proving to be a difficult bite for even the most experienced angler. Newman Lake, on the other hand, has produced several tiger muskie recently.

Anglers fishing the deep weed beds are still reeling in Pend Oreille River pike. Nothing too large has been reported lately.

Dworshak Reservoir smallmouth fishing has been excellent, particularly in the evenings as the fish move out of cover and deep water to feed. The Idaho record smallmouth, a 9-pound, 11.5-ounce fish, came out of the reservoir in 2006.

Anglers trolling bottom bouncers and nightcrawlers in 30-40 feet of water are taking Lake Roosevelt walleye all over the system. Recent reports come from the water between White Rock and Keller Ferry and also the Hunters area and up the San Poil. For even more action, go after the plentiful smallmouth. Tubes and cranks will also get you plenty of smallmouth at Banks Lake, where the walleye fishing is decent if not spectacular.

Deer Lake is another good bass destination. Expect both species but nothing huge. The fish are holding in relatively shallow water.

The north end of Silver Lake has been good recently for perch and bluegill in about 25 feet of water.

Other species

A recent report out of Westport indicated excellent tuna fishing. A boat with 10 anglers returned recently in 10 hours with 160 tuna.


Even though the 2010 spring breeding surveys of duck production areas in the United States and Canada showed a slight decrease to just less than 41 million ducks, the results are strong enough for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recommend liberal season frameworks in all four flyways.

Goose hunters also have reason to rejoice. Following a disappointing year for production in several key populations of Canada geese, whitefronts and snow geese, the nesting effort this spring dramatically improved.

Contact Alan Liere at


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