Fly fishing remains solid on the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers in Idaho. Some of the best fishing comes from walking the rivers and fishing the small riffles, seams and pocket waters behind boulders. Go small on the slow water and larger where there is a chop. Hoppers, ants, beetles, caddis, PMDs and rusty spinners along with a smattering of attractors like stimulators, Adams, and Chernobyl ants will do the job.
Sprague Lake still-fishermen have been amazed at the quality of trout they are catching near the springs by Sprague Lake Resort in the middle of the day. Worms and marshmallows are enticing lots of fish over 20 inches, with the smaller ones running 13-15 inches.
Reports of good trout fishing trickle in occasionally from Williams and Badger Lake. At Williams, still-fishing is most popular; at Badger, try trolling a small Apex. Because of the rainy spring and the hot summer, the lowland lakes should still be loaded with trout.
Rainbow fishing continues to improve on Lake Roosevelt, especially for the 12-14-inch spring plants. Best fishing has been near Whitestone and Split Rock. Trollers in the lower river say they are surprised at how shallow the fish are. They are finding a good bite 16-25 feet down fairly close to shore, and it is not necessary to be on the water early.
Waitts Lake rainbow have gone deeper, but anglers trolling five colors in 50 feet of water are boating nice-sized fish even during the heat of the day.
Kokanee fishing in Coeur d’Alene Lake is good and should just get better as the summer goes on. On the north end of the lake, troll around 35-40 feet in the Arrow Point area; in the south end, try Powder Horn Bay. Most fish are at 35-45 feet down in 60 to 140 feet of water. Troll between 1.1 and 1.4 mph for 9-10-inch fish.
Use glow hooks tipped with white corn in Spirit Lake for some good kokanee action. It is not necessary to fish at night. Most fish are around 9 inches.
Loon Lake rolls along with night fishermen bringing in limit or near-limit catches of 11-12-inch kokanee, some of which are beginning to lose their luster. The bite this week has been earlier, so try to be on the water by 8 p.m.
The fishing for chinook salmon on the upper Columbia, particularly at the Brewster Pool and below Wells Dam, is very good right now. Use Super Baits and Plug Cut Super Baits as well as plug cut herring. Mountain Dew Plug Cut Super baits 42 inches behind a big rotating flasher is one tried and true presentation. Fill the Super Bait with oil-based tuna.
The Lake Wenatchee sockeye salmon season has been extended through Labor Day and the daily limit has been increased to 5. Fish are starting to turn, but meat quality is still good. Most popular presentation is a 3/0 red hooks with a pink squid and dodger at 35-50 feet deep. Projections of the total run could exceed 62,000 fish and only 23,000 are needed to meet goals for natural spawning escapement. The two-pole endorsement is not valid for this fishery and a night closure will be in effect. All sockeye with a floy (anchor) tag attached and/or one or more round quarter-inch holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin must be released Check the Fishing Hotline daily at 360-902-2500.
Beginning Sept 1, Snake River anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon as well as hatchery steelhead on the Snake River from beneath the southbound lanes of the Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco to the Oregon state line, approximately seven miles upstream of the mouth of the Grande Ronde River. Anglers may catch and keep three fish of each species per day.
The Idaho harvest season for fall chinook also begins Sept. 1 in the Snake and lower Clearwater rivers. Fishery managers predict 18,272 adult hatchery origin chinook salmon will cross Lower Granite Dam on their way back to Idaho, but so far, the Snake River run hasn’t materialized.
Waitts Lake perch running 8-10 inches are in 15-20 feet of water just off weed beds on the west side. At Liberty Lake, too, it is possible to catch a mess of perch. They are smaller than those at Waitts, Diamond or Jump-Off Joe, but there are lots of them, and it is not unusual to catch a decent smallmouth.
According to local sporting goods stores, all Coeur d’Alene area lakes are fishing well. Chain Lakes have been good for pike and bass while Hayden, Hauser, Cocolalla and Fernan are fishing well for crappie and trout. Smallmouth bass and pike are also active in Hayden – try Knotty Scotties for pike and Senko Worms for smallmouth.
Smallmouth bass are thick near Stateline. Small crappie jigs with plastic tails will take one after another.
Billy Clapp Lake is seeing some fair walleye catches and the fish have been suspended about halfway down in 50 feet of water. Walleye fishing at Banks was tough this week for a lot of anglers, Better success was found at Roosevelt and Rufus Woods.