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Hunting and fishing

Fri., June 24, 2011

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene River is high but fishable. Golden stone adult patterns are turning Yakima River fish in the afternoons, and nymphing is also accounting for good fishing.

Fly anglers in the Grant County desert lakes such as Warden say the fish are good-sized and healthy, but the trout appear to go deep shortly after sunup. Wind drifting nymphs or chironomids on slow sinking lines have been effective.

Salmon flies are emerging on the Henry’s Fork River and anglers are reporting good catches of nice rainbows. High water has restricted fishing mainly to the section above Fall River upstream to Island Park Dam.

Trout and kokanee

Triploid fishing at Rufus Woods Reservoir is “crazy good,” according to friends and relatives who have fished there recently. Thousands of big new fish are in the river and anglers are finding them all the way from Seaton Grove to Chief Joseph Dam. Three friends who fished there recently said they caught and released at least 50 triploids, half of them 7 pounds and larger. They also said the water was running high and fast.

Loon Lake kokanee continue to cooperate for trollers, and with improving weather, night anglers should also begin finding fish. Two friends and I found a slower than usual bite while trolling Wedding Rings and flashers on the north end, but we still boated 27 kokes – the largest an honest 15 inches, but most running a foot or slightly better. The fish were mainly between 30-40 feet.

Badger remains a pleasant surprise among the southern put-and-take lakes. The bite by 11- to 14-inch cutthroat and rainbow has been consistent at 15-25 feet for anglers dragging spoons, spinners or plugs. Fishtrap Lake is kicking out limits of 11- to 13-inch trout. Rock Lake is good for trollers.

A friend trolling Sprague Lake on Wednesday caught and released 18 hard-fighting rainbow in a few hours, all between 14 and 16 inches. He used a flasher and spoon behind a single color of leaded line and 30 feet of leader.

Coeur d’Alene and Lake Chelan kokanee are running small. For larger fish, try Buffalo Lake on the Colville Reservation.

Liberty Lake rainbow and browns are susceptible to a trolled or cast Panther Martin. Bass will also take this lure. Curlew Lake trout fishing is good and the fish are mostly large – 15-19 inches. Little Marshall Lake in Pend Oreille County is giving up easy limits of 11- to 12-inchers.

Anglers trolling Rapalas or plastic squid behind a dodger are catching Priest Lake mackinaw in good numbers between 80 and 150 feet down. A lot of the fish are in the 3-pound range, but several in the teens were landed this week.


The season for chinook salmon opens in the Upper Salmon River tomorrow. Anglers may fish from the cable car crossing upstream to a posted boundary approximately 20 yards above the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River.

A new stretch of water on the Salmon River near the town of Salmon opens July 2. In addition, a jacks-only season opens from July 9-17 in a short reach near Stanley.

Angling is open through July 31 for adipose fin-clipped summer chinook and steelhead in the Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam.

The Westport chinook opener was good for some and poor for others. At Ilwaco, anglers averaged a hatchery chinook per rod.

Spiny ray

Pend Oreille River pike are being found in bunches – feast or famine – downriver from the bridge at Usk. Most fish caught recently have been small.

Sacheen Lake has trout, but it is turning into a great muiltispecies destination. Some big largemouth have been taken recently in shallow water. Fan Lake, too, is noted for its trout, but a group of anglers seen there last weekend were loading up on 10-inch crappie.

Banks Lake walleye are reportedly small on the south end, but persistent anglers are finding enough 16-inchers for a fish fry. The smallmouth fishing is excellent in shallow water.

Potholes Reservoir walleye fishing can be excellent during the week for 20-inch walleye in Crab Creek, but weekend activity often puts them down. When that happens, the sand dunes can be good. Lind Coulee has been excellent for bass, good for walleye, and decent for crappie and perch.

Long Lake is providing decent smallmouth fishing, but launching a boat has been a problem lately. The Nine Mile launch has had water flowing over the dock and the DNR launch is only open weekends. The launch at the Spokane house charges $7.

The current is strong in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt, but fishing has been good for smaller walleye. Target back eddies with chartreuse grubs.

The Chapter 60 Mountain Muskies Tournament last weekend on Newman Lake produced eight fish more than 30 inches with the biggest going 44 inches. Chapter 60 will be hosting another tournament July 16 on Silver Lake.

Walleye angling is good in The Dalles pool. On the John Day Pool, smallmouth bass and walleye fishing has also been excellent.

Fishing in Idaho lakes and reservoirs is good. They are well-stocked with trout, and crappie and blue gill are hitting.

Other species

Liberty Lake anglers are finding a good catfish bite and some good-sized fish once the sun goes down.

Shad angling is good at Bonneville Dam. Anglers fishing in the gorge showed the highest catch rates with boat anglers averaging 16.3 shad caught per boat, and bank anglers averaged 2.53 shad caught per angler.


Idaho hunters have until Saturday to apply for a chance at 13 leftover moose controlled hunt tags available in the second drawing. For a list of hunt numbers and leftover tags available, go to the controlled hunt page: licenses/leftover/leftover_moose.cfm. Hunt applications may be submitted at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office, with a credit card by calling 1-800-554-8685, or online at or

The sign-up period to participate in Idaho depredation hunts this year runs through Thursday. For more information and an application form, check pages 76 and 77 in the 2011 big-game rule book.

Contact Alan Liere at

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