Fly fishermen hoping to fish the classic trout streams such as the St. Joe, the Coeur d’Alene and the Clearwater need at least another week for the water to settle. The St. Joe may be fishable by boat, but wade fishing could be dangerous. The Yakima is still low and clear and fishing continues good throughout the system.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are numerous but small, and trollers are finding them all over the lake. Loon Lake kokes appear to be running in two different age groups – 10-11 inches and 12-14. Trollers are doing well, and a few night-fishing reports are trickling in. Whether trolling or still-fishing, the kokanee are being taken at about 30 feet.
Chapman Lake has been excellent for kokanee. Trollers are taking them all over the lake. Most fish are 9-10
Another kokanee destination is Palmer Lake out of Tonasket. Kokanee there are running to a whopping 18 inches. Palmer has a five-fish kokanee limit, and a recent game check failed to turn up a fish smaller than 15 inches.
Lake Roosevelt has been good for rainbow. Anglers who can get past the smaller fish near the surface are finding plenty of 20 plus-inch fish. Kokanee are biting in Swawilla Basin.
Sacheen Lake has a healthy population of triploids, but there are also browns, a few brookies and tiger trout. Trolling in front of the old Sacheen Lake Resort has been good. Sacheen also has a good population of spiny ray, and some nice largemouth catches have come in lately.
Waitts Lake produced fast limits for three of us this week. We trolled large, gaudy Lake Roosevelt-type flies tipped with worm for rainbow and browns averaging 10 inches. We trolled at midlake.
Fishing has been good at Pend Oreille County’s Big Meadow Lake, about 7 miles west of Ione on the Meadow Creek Road. It is yielding catches of up to 16-inch rainbows.
The Tucannon River impoundments are cranking out catches of hatchery-stocked rainbow trout. While in the area, you might try the Tucannon River for hatchery steelhead.
Rock Lake is good for browns and rainbow trout, and some big fish have been taking. Drop-shotting can be good at Rock.
Lake Pend Oreille lake trout are still on the surface but will be moving down with the warmer weather. It’s pretty easy to catch a mess of small Pend Oreille or Priest macks by trolling or jigging.
Salmon and steelhead
Salmon Season on the Clearwater is still on hold because of high water. Chinook fishing near Riggins is in high gear.
Summer chinook salmon are entering the lower Columbia River in large numbers, although catching them is proving to be a challenge. High, turbid water and floating debris have been giving anglers – especially boat anglers – a workout during the opening days of the season.
The chinook fishery near Wells Dam opens Thursday. Fish counts indicate more than 7,000 chinook have passed the dam, so fishing could be decent from the beginning. Bob Fately at Triangle Shell in Brewster said a good place for shore anglers to take a fish is the mile-long stretch of beach near the boat ramp where anglers typically drift eggs or cast spoons. Triangle Shell will again be sponsoring a fish weigh-in at the store with significant cash prizes. Info: (509) 689-3473.
The ocean fishery has been up and down, but anglers have been taking home some nice chinook, according to WDFW ocean fisheries manager Doug Milward. Chinook caught off Westport have been averaging about 15 pounds. Starting July 4, anglers fishing off Westport will also be able to count hatchery coho and unmarked chinook toward their daily limit. The new rule will take effect Thursday in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay).
“Like the chinook, this year’s coho have been bigger than usual,” Milward said. “This fishery should keep getting better and better.”
A chinook fishery will open in marine areas 5 and 6 (Strait of Juan de Fuca) on Thursday. The daily limit in those two areas is two fish at least 22 inches in length. All wild salmon must be released.
Lake Roosevelt walleye are still on the bite, but they haven’t grown much since the last report. The best bite has been north on the impoundment. Banks Lake has been a better destination for larger fish, though it has its share of “cigars.”
Pend Oreille River pike are in the sloughs and bays. Largemouth are biting, but the river is still cool for optimum success. On Lake Coeur d’Alene, pike anglers should get in the backs of the bays and look for any new weed growth. If there isn’t any, the pike might be back in the mud. Try floating plugs, weedless spoons or slow-reeled swim baits. This shallow water time only lasts a couple of weeks.
Silver Lake’s bass bite has been good for medium-size fish. Newman Lake bass are in the lily pads, and so are the tiger muskies. Eloika Lake is giving up some largemouth in excess of 4 pounds.
Walleye and bass fishing on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County has been good. Walleye are dispersing in the main lake. Troll slowly with a bottom bouncer and worm harness and spinner.
In Idaho, Hauser Lake has been excellent for hand-sized bluegill. Lake Coeur d’Alene smallmouth will spawn soon and will be right next to shore. Hayden has been picking up for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Pike and crappie are still biting.
Seven popular areas of Puget Sound will open to fishing for Dungeness crab Thursday, including marine areas 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1 (Deception Pass/Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan/Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal).
Two new laws affecting raccoons and wildlife causing damage take effect Thursday in Idaho. Raccoons will be reclassified as predatory wildlife, which will allow them to be taken recreationally in any number and at any time and manner not prohibited by other state or federal laws. An Idaho hunting or trapping license will be required
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