Idaho rivers are fishing well, particularly the Coeur d’Alene and the St. Joe. The Clearwater is good but not perfect, but some of its tributaries are fishing well. Current conditions are excellent now on the Lochsa River in Idaho, and fishing can be good following an afternoon thunderstorm. A dead-drift through shady water is a good bet.
Kelly Creek doesn’t get pounded because no matter whether you approach from the Idaho side or the Montana side, there will be 50 miles of Forest Service gravel roads to travel. The Selway River should be another consideration. Big dry flies with orange or yellow work well. Caddis are also present, especially in the evening. A size 14-16 tan or olive Elk Hair Caddis will bring strikes.
Closer to Spokane, Marshall Lake levels have stabilized and cutthroat are taking flies on top in the evening. The fish are mostly 11-12 inches, but run as large as 16 inches.
Coeur d’Alene kokanee have been harder to find this week as they seem to be in large schools rather than spread out. Idaho anglers are catching some larger kokanee – up to 14 inches in Twin Lake. Spirit Lake has a good number of smaller fish.
Loon Lake kokes are back on the bite after some downtime during the recent unsettled weather. Three friends and I caught 40 11-12-inch fish in two hours one night recently. We used Glo-Hooks and Rat Finkies sweetened with maggots in 32 feet of water.
There are still plenty of trout in Washington and Idaho put-and-take lakes, but the bite has been erratic recently. Pressure systems probably account for the on-and-off fishing. Go deep early and late for best results in lakes such as Waitts, Diamond, Williams, Badger, Fishtrap, West Medical, Fernan, Kelso and Hauser.
The Clearwater River main stem, and the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork Clearwater and the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam will close to chinook salmon fishing at the end of fishing Aug. 5. Open until further notice is the Upper Salmon River in the Ellis Area and near Stanley.
Sockeye fishing has slowed at Wanapum Dam, but is still good in the Brewster Pool along the channel below the Okanogan River mouth and right up to where the river enters the Columbia. Early is best. Trolling upstream at a depth of 20 feet seems to be most effective, but in either direction, go slow. Drag a flasher followed by a 15-inch leader with a pink or orange hootchie tipped with shrimp.
Just in time for the Budweiser-Lowrance King Salmon Derby in Brewster Aug. 3-5, the water temperature in the Okanogan River has warmed up forming the thermal barrier that makes for excellent chinook fishing off the mouth.
Boat anglers had the best success in the Columbia gorge for steelhead last week with anglers averaging over three fish per boat.
Snake River smallmouth fishermen are taking good numbers of fish along the rip-rap at Lyons Ferry, and just about anywhere else the big rocks enter the river. The stretch along the railroad tracks from Lower Granite Dam to Lewiston can be excellent with crawdad imitations, either plugs or plastics. The Columbia River from The Dalles to McNary has also been excellent for smallmouth.
Loon Lake largemouth are all over the lake, from deep to shallow, but the docks are usually best. Smallmouth bass at Potholes, Moses Lake and Banks have gone deeper and are more difficult to find, but the Yakima River smallmouth near Prosser are biting aggressively. The smallmouth action on Blue Lake in Grant County has been phenomenal recently.
Night fishing for ling cod has been good recently at Bead Lake. The most popular spot is under the power lines in 100 feet of water. A gob of nightcrawlers on a treble hook under a 4-ounce banana weight is popular. Jig slowly, letting the weight bounce on the bottom.
Hot summer nights are well spent fishing for yellow-bellied bullheads at a number of local lakes. The fish generally come into shallower water after the sun goes down. Try Eloika, Loon, Deer, Newman, Long, Fernan or Hauser, to name just a few.