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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Clark Fork River anglers say conditions are excellent now and hopper action is fast. The St. Joe is very wadeable on the upper end and a hopper/ant tandem fly rig is a good bet. The Blackfoot, Rock Creek and upper Bitterroot continue to fish well. Spruce moths are out.

Evening dry fly fishing in the Yakima River Canyon is excellent. The Naches River is dropping into prime wade-fishing shape.  Don’t forget the Teanaway if you like to wade fish.

Trout and kokanee

Badger Lake anglers dragging Needlefish or still-fishing in 30 feet of water have had excellent success catching trout of various sizes. Clear Lake has been productive for rainbow and browns, mostly 10-12 inches.

Rufus Woods Reservoir triploids, many between 3 and 6 pounds are providing reasonably consistent action for still-fishermen and trollers close to the Inchelium net pens. The triploid fishing on the newly-opened section below Chief Joseph Dam is fair to good. Anglers launching at Bridgeport are pulling jointed Rapalas or plunking typical steelhead holes with bait. The special season on this stretch of the Columbia will be open until the end of the month.

Lake Roosevelt has been slow around Keller. Branditt West, creel clerk for the Colville Tribes, said only 26 fish came in recently at Keller Marina. Anglers were averaging about one trout each.

Curlew Lake trollers are finding lots of 16-18-inch rainbow near the state park. Still-fishermen, particularly those who venture out at night, are doing very well dunking Power Bait.

Priest Lake mackinaw are hitting Squids and dodgers deep. The water north of the islands is good. Priest Lake mack anglers are also doing well by locating columns of fish with their fish finders and drop-shotting Berkley Gulp Minnows.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is good and the fish are growing some. Most are around 9 inches, but there have been a few 12-inchers caught, particularly near Harrison. The Loon Lake night fishery for kokes remains excellent.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater is still dumping cold water and the fish are not stacking up at the mouth as a result, but at Camp, Cabin and Home in Lewiston, Andy Alldredge reports that anglers with Idaho licenses are nevertheless catching fish between the Memorial Bridge and the mouth of the Clearwater. Shrimp and bobber fishermen are taking fish early and those trolling lighted lures are catching fish late.

The lack of a thermal barrier at the mouth of the Okanogan River has made for very slow salmon fishing.  Below Wells Dam, it is slightly better, but the inconsistent releases from the dam have made fishing difficult.

Numbers of chinook caught during the Budweiser-Lowrance King Salmon Derby last weekend in Brewster were off from last year, but some big fish were weighed in. Ralph Tipton of Spokane took home the big-fish check for a chinook weighing 33.84 pounds. Levi Deshenne collected first prize in the youth division for his 19.56-pound fish.

The spring and summer chinook salmon seasons across Idaho are now closed. Some tribal fisheries will remain open. Washington salmon anglers are reminded that the fall chinook season opens Sept. 1 on the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam and part of the lower Clearwater River. A big run is expected.

Drano Lake steelhead effort and catch is beginning to increase. At Buoy 10, some fall chinook and a few coho are being caught.  Summer steelhead fishing is good in the lower Columbia River.

If you like to fish for pink salmon, you should be making plans to head west. The Skagit near Mt. Vernon is turning on, and the fish are reported to be larger than usual. In two weeks, it should be hot. Area 11 around Tacoma is also good, rapidly approaching prime time.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye have been numerous yet small, but pulling jigs or spinners for a day will eventually give you enough keepers for a mess. Water depth has varied greatly – shallow to deep. The waters around Kettle Falls were good last week.

Long Lake is good for smallmouth, but most are quite small. Senkos are good for the larger, 2- to 3-pound fish. A lot of smallmouth are also being taken below Upriver Dam.

Eloika Lake seems to have more weeds this summer than last, but a very few anglers fishing small pockets of open water amid the weed mat are nailing big crappie on small white or yellow jigs.

Potholes Reservoir is dropping about 1 ½ feet per week. Crappie action has been good on beaver huts all over the reservoir. Bass fishing is excellent in the dunes. Topwater baits such as the Spro Frog are drawing strikes from largemouth bass up to 7 pounds. Walleye fishing has been good at times, with many fish caught trolling worm harnesses off the face of the dunes in 10-30 feet of water.

The Pend Oreille River is usually good for a pike or three, but for some reason there are times when they light the place up. Fishing is more difficult than last year, as many of the usual weed lines are not yet established because of the spring flooding.

Guide, Rick Hedding of Family Christian Anglers, (509) 869-1444, says Grande Ronde smallmouth are all over the river, not just in the pools. The larger fish have migrated back to the Snake.

Coeur d’Alene pike are hitting spinnerbaits and spoons in the bays. Throw against the shoreline or parallel to weed beds.

Other species

In Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary Pools the retention of sturgeon is prohibited through Dec. 31 because the white sturgeon catch guidelines have been reached. Catch-and-release fishing will be allowed through the remainder of the year in all four pools.


The Idaho wolf hunting season will run Aug. 30 through Dec. 31 in Island Park and Beaverhead wolf management zones, Aug. 30 through June 30 in the Lolo and Selway zones, and Aug. 30 through March 31 in the remaining wolf management zones. Hunters may buy two tags per calendar year.

The Washington statewide duck hunting season will be open Oct. 15-19 and Oct. 22-Jan. 29. A special youth hunting weekend also is scheduled for Sept. 24-25. Goose hunting seasons vary by management areas across the state, but most open Oct. 15 and run through January 2012.

Idaho waterfowl season proposals are still being considered and Fish and Game would like hunters to provide some input. Four different scenarios are proposed. For a quick survey on your preference, go to public/hunt/waterfowlSurvey.


Contact outdoors columnist Alan Liere at

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