The Coeur d’Alene River is full of recreational floaters when the weather is good, but storms and cooler weather could work well for fly fishermen. Use big attractor patterns with a dropper in the riffles and break out the small dries for flat-water evening fishing.
The St. Joe is still high but is becoming more wadeable each day. Use big attractors with a small nymph (or even two) as a dropper.
With cooler temperatures, the Clark Fork should fish well with dry flies. If the sun stays out, go to small streamers.
Chopaka Lake in Okanogan County has been good for dries on top, particularly blue damsels.
Trout and kokanee
Local trout lakes, including Sprague, and notably Williams, are producing fish for anglers still fishing with bait on the bottom. Badger Lake is still giving up some nice cutthroat despite the growing bass population.
An angler night-fishing Loon Lake for kokanee this week caught a 27-inch tiger trout. Lake Roosevelt anglers are beginning to catch some of the trout released from the net pens this spring. Trollers are taking 10- to 12-inch fish on Wedding Rings, but not as many as one would think.
Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is good for fish averaging 10 inches. Priest Lake kokanee are running up to 16 inches, but there are not a lot of them. On Pend Oreille, anglers trolling along the road by Cavanaugh Bay are catching lots of small mackinaws.
Salmon and steelhead
The Brewster sockeye fishery is going well. Anglers dragging red hooks and flashers, pink Hootchies or 3.0 pink Brad’s Mini Cut-Plug with a piece of shrimp are taking limits of fish averaging just more than 3 pounds. Few chinook have been landed.
At Wanapum Pool, sockeye fishing is also good and more chinook have been taken recently.
Salmon fishing remains open seven days a week in Marine Area 4, as well as in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 3 (LaPush). Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open for salmon fishing Sundays through Thursdays. The daily catch limit is two salmon for all areas of the ocean fishery. Anglers fishing in marine areas 1, 2 and 4 can retain one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.
Those fishing in marine areas 3 are allowed to retain two chinook per day.
Steelhead anglers had the best success in the Columbia Gorge last week with boat anglers averaging 1.64 steelhead caught per boat and bank anglers averaging 0.27 steelhead caught per angler.
The South Fork Salmon River is closed to fishing for chinook salmon. The Upper Salmon and Clearwater rivers are still open.
A friend and I fished the lower half mile of the Kettle River this week, landing nine eating-sized walleye and one good-sized smallmouth in 8-14 feet of water along weed lines paralleling the shore. We were jigging. Walleye anglers fishing the eddies upriver from China Bend have done well dragging bottom walkers and nightcrawlers. Blade-baiting has also been popular. Should you catch a tagged Roosevelt walleye, call 509-359-7498.
Banks Lake walleye anglers are doing well early and late. There does not seem to be a consistent producer, so experiment until you find something they like. Banks Lake walleyes have been larger than those in Roosevelt.
Soda Lake in the Columbia Basin continues to produce excellent walleye fishing with fish up to 7 pounds reported. For such a good fishery, Soda sees few anglers.
Deer Lake is overpopulated with smallmouth bass.
Persistent anglers say it is possible to catch dozens each day, but the fish appear to be seriously underweight. Largemouth are also available at Deer as well as nearby Loon Lake.
On Loon, target the northeast weeds, the docks and the lily pads.
Sacheen Lake has been better than either Loon or Deer for largemouth.
Long Lake bass anglers are finding lots of fish, largemouth and smallmouth, by targeting submerged trees and stumps in a number of different locations. Long has some huge crappie, but with the big ones, it is difficult to find more than an isolated fish or two.
Coeur d’Alene pike are hitting along the weed lines in nearly every bay. At least one 20-pounder is taken each week. Smaller pike are abundant in the Chain lakes.
The late June Pend Oreille River Pike Palooza fishing derby from the Idaho state line to the Boundary Dam had less than 50 entries. They caught 81 fish, including a 25-pounder.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved the earliest and most liberal mourning dove season allowed – the same as last year, Sept. 1-30 with a daily bag limit of 10 birds and a possession limit of 20. Commissioners also approved a sandhill crane season Sept. 1-30 in hunt area 1 and 6, and Sept. 1-15 in areas 2, 3, 4 and 5. The increasing number of cranes in the Swan Lake area led to opening a new season there.
BACKCOUNTRY -- Here's the source of most of the area's smoke woes -- the fires in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Here's a shot I made today as I hiked south ...