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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Grimes Lake has been hot for Lahontan Cutthroat trout up to 25 inches. Chironomids and pheasant tail nymphs are working well. 

The Clark Fork River is getting close. The bugs are there and so are the fish. Another week may do it. Little Joe Road over Gold Pass is finally open between St. Regis and the St. Joe River, and flows are steadily declining with 6,880 cfs at Calder and 1,660 at Red Ives. There is good visibility and lots of bugs. The St. Regis is clear and fast. Nymphs are taking fish.

Trout and kokanee

With the hot weather and watercraft activity, Loon Lake kokanee are a little more difficult for trollers to catch. A friend who has been taking limits in 2-3 hours did it again Monday, but it took him six hours. Night fishing has picked up. The magic depth is somewhere between 35-38 feet. Glo hooks and maggots are tough to beat.

Sprague Lake has turned on in recent weeks, producing hard-fighting rainbow from 13-23 inches. Trollers are dragging just about anything down the middle of the lake.

Curlew Lake trout are averaging about 16 inches. One angler reported being stripped of the rainbow he was reeling from the Tiffany Resort dock by a tiger musky he estimated at 36 inches. There have been numerous tiger musky reports from Curlew this week. Closer to home, Newman Lake is also seeing good tiger musky action.

Rufus Woods Reservoir is still hot for big triploids. Trollers are doing well pulling squid-like tubes tipped with night crawlers, but the use of bait means the first two fish caught comprise a limit. For catch- and-release fishing, try throwing spinners and plugs against the shoreline. Unbaited bucktail jigs can also be effective. Trout anglers are also catching triploid rainbows from Twin Lakes near Inchelium that rival the size those being caught at Rufus Woods.

Fishtrap Lake remains fair to good for rainbow running 11-15 inches. Trollers and bait fishermen are doing equally well. Williams Lake is still a good destination for trollers. The trout run mostly 11-13 inches. Badger Lake trout have gone deeper but are still biting.

Deer Lake in Lincoln County, downstream from Coffeepot Lake, has been a good trout producer from boat or shore. The road in is rough and the launch is primitive, to say the least. Deer also produces some big bass.

Pend Oreille anglers have been finding quite a few lake trout in recent weeks. Though the overall catch rate has declined, probably because of the success of the recovery program, fishing is better than average.


Chinook salmon fishing is finally picking up in the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon fisheries on the Rapid River Hatchery Chinook stock. As river flows decrease, fishing will continue to improve. This area reported good fishing success during the holiday weekend. The number harvested thus far represents only 32 percent of the harvest share, so great fishing is still to come. The South Fork Salmon River fishery opened on June 25. River flows remain high with no reports of salmon harvested through Monday. Snake River chinook harvest rates below Hell’s Canyon Dam slowed this last week, primarily because of a lack of anglers. There is no shortage of fish.

High water is making fishing a challenge for salmon anglers on the upper Columbia River, which opened last Friday. More than 90,000 fish are projected for the return this year, but until the water settles down, they are mostly inaccessible. The Icicle River has been good despite the fast water. Several fish in excess of 25 pounds have been taken recently.

Chinook anglers fishing near the San Juans near Orcas Island report some good catches of big fish dragging hardware deep.

Spiny ray

  Walleye action on Potholes Reservoir is hot in Crab Creek. Trolling a nightcrawler harness or Rapala Shad Raps in depths around 20 feet has been the ticket. The bass and bluegill bite has improved, and as the water level continues to drop, they are moving out of the backwater bays. Topwater frogs are producing exciting strikes from largemouth.

Lake Roosevelt is providing a smorgasbord of good fishing. Anglers on the main river near the Spokane Arm are catching lots of walleye and smallmouth as well as rainbow trout. Porcupine Bay has been consistently good, with enough larger fish to keep things interesting.

Walleye fishing near Northport has been excellent for several weeks despite the fast water. Friends fishing there have also hooked at least one sturgeon on every trip. All sturgeon in this part of the Colombia system must be released.

The Pend Oreille River is dropping and may be below flood stage by the weekend. When it gets there, the No Wake restriction will be lifted. Both largemouth bass and northern pike are active. Pike anglers report lots of hits on buzz baits. The Cusick boat launch is a good place to put in.

Deer and Loon lakes are good for largemouth bass, as the fish are aggressively guarding nests under docks and in the weeds. Pitch plastics into their bedrooms and you’ll catch fish, but don’t expect the fish to abandon cover to pick up a bait that has missed its mark. Both lakes also have good smallmouth populations, but the fish are mostly small and need to be harvested. Silver Lake is a good destination for decent-sized largemouth.

Adventurous anglers with small boats who test both the primitive launch and the long ride up the narrow creek are finding some nice-sized perch and a few large crappie at Bonnie Lake.


Entries in Idaho’s the second Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at the Fish and Game headquarters by Aug. 11 with the drawing set for mid-August. Super Hunt winners can participate in any open hunt in Idaho for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose. That includes general hunts and controlled hunts. Enter at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices, at 800-824-3729 or 800-554-8685, or at hunt/superhunt/.

Contact Alan Liere at

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