August 2, 2013 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By Correspondent
Tip of the week

Summertime crappie fishing can be just as productive as spring fishing, but it requires a different technique. Begin with a slow-action, soft-tipped rod, 4-pound test line and a one-sixteeenth-ounce jig. Anchor outside a weed line in about 15 feet of water, cast to the edge of the line, let the jig sink, and retrieve slowly. Most anglers do not have the patience to fish slowly enough, and they have difficulty detecting a bite. Sometimes crappie will follow a bait for a long time before they take it. Don’t be in a hurry to take it out of the water. Usually, the rod tip will barely twitch.

Braggin’ rights

Tournament walleye anglers John Carruth from Davenport, Wash., and Ken Loper from Post Falls boated about 40 miles south of Kettle Falls on Lake Roosevelt to find their sweet spot, and it was well worth the effort and gas money as they convincingly won the Washington State Walleye Championship with a two-day take of 12 fish weighing 34 pounds. It was Carruth’s first victory in the 10-year-old event. Heading into the weekend, the WSWC was the only tournament on the circuit he had failed to win. Now he’s won all five at least once.

Heads up

• The Clark Fork River in Montana has opened again after a fire closure, but anglers are not allowed to fish from 2 p.m. through midnight due to warm water conditions. Many other Montana rivers have the same restriction, so make sure you check before heading out.

Salmon Creek, from the Okanogan Irrigation District diversion (4.5 miles upstream of the mouth) to Conconully Reservoir Dam has been designated as a recovery stream for steelhead listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. However, nonnative species have made recovery efforts more difficult. WDFW is encouraging anglers to keep 10-fish limits of smallmouth bass, eastern brook trout, and adipose-clipped rainbow trout – no size limit.

• Beginning Saturday one hour before official sunrise, Lake Wenatchee will open to sockeye fishing.


Historically, 50 percent of the Columbia River steelhead migration will have cleared Bonneville Dam by Aug. 15. Look at the counts on that day and double it for a fairly accurate indication of how good the season will be on the Snake and Clearwater.

Fly fishing

Fly fishing is still pretty good on the Spokane River. Early or late is best. Fish heavy currents or deep holes. Chernobyls and hopper patterns are effective if you want to go dry. On the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, you’ll probably have to do some nymphing deep. Go up high to avoid the tubers.

Trout and kokanee

A recent perch fishing trip to Diamond Lake was a bust for a friend and me, but trout anglers were doing well trolling Needlefish. The majority of the fish have been browns to 16 inches.

Waitts Lake is also good for brown trout, which seem to be somewhat more prevalent than the rainbow. A good average length is 12 inches.

Williams Lake is still seeing a fair number of anglers mornings and evenings. Still-fishing with Power Bait near Tree 11 is always popular and the trout are running 12-15 inches.

Nighttime kokanee anglers continue to do well at Loon, some taking limits before 10 p.m. but most finding the best action between 10 and midnight. The south end of the lake has been good in 30-33 feet of water.

For larger kokanee on Dworshak Reservoir, fish upstream of Grandad Bridge. There are schools of big fish up there, and once you locate them the fishing can be exceptional. Based on trawl surveys on Dworshak, expect more kokanee but smaller fish in the next few years.

Spokane angler, Greg Cozza, tried several locations for kokanee on Lake Coeur d’Alene recently, but didn’t run into many fish until he trolled off Higgins Point. He said the fish were small at 8-10 inches. Kokanee fishing has been generally slow on the entire lake.

Rock Lake is down and launching is tough, but anglers who succeed are making nice catches, mostly brown trout, by trolling at 35-40 feet. Anglers who fished there last weekend said the majority of fish were 11-12 inches with a few being 16 inches. They had a marked preference for chartreuse Wedding Rings.

The trout fishing on Potholes Reservoir is the best it has been in years. The fish are suspended at 30 feet over 50 feet of water and anglers trolling Needlefish and Shad Raps are catching some huge rainbow. The east end of the dam where the Potholes Canal exits has been best lately, but fish are being caught all over the lake.

Hayden Lake kokanee anglers aren’t getting as many fish recently, but some that are caught stretch 17 inches. The fish are deep – 50 feet and more. Limits of smaller fish are possible.

Curlew Lake rainbow are biting aggressively with limits of 12-inch rainbow the rule. Still-fish the south end with Power Bait.

Conconully Lake in Okanogan County is seeing some great trout fishing and some impressive catches of 13-14-inch kokanee.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead are beginning to move over Lower Granite Dam – not a lot yet, but enough to make hooking one in the Lower Clearwater a possibility. The catch-and-keep season began Thursday in the stretch of water from the mouth upstream to the Memorial Bridge of U.S. Highway 12 at Lewiston. Limit is two per day with six in possession.

The Brewster Pool has been good at times for sockeye, which are running smaller this year – a “big one” is 22 inches. Successful anglers have been going with a 00-dodger and a pink Macks Sockeye Rig. Some are adding Smile Blades. Leader length is critical – 15 inches – and the presentation needs to get down somewhere in the vicinity of 17 feet. The same rig will catch chinook, but those who target them usually drag a Brad’s tuna-packed Super Bait behind a flasher.

Ocean salmon reports have been good from Sekiu to Eagle Point where anglers say it is difficult to get through the pinks to get to the coho and chinook. The Buoy 10 fishery began Thursday, but there will not be a really good fishing tide until Aug. 11-15.

Steelhead anglers had fair to excellent success below Bonneville Dam this past weekend. Boat anglers had the best success in the gorge, where anglers averaged 3.5 steelhead per boat. In the estuary, boat anglers averaged 1.8 steelhead per boat.

Spiny ray

Potholes Reservoir bass anglers are having incredible early morning and late evening top-water bass fishing. The largemouth are back in the dunes and the face of O’Sullivan Dam is a smallmouth hot spot. Many of these are small, and WDFW biologists are asking anglers to keep a limit to eat, as the reservoir is overpopulated.

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing is not just for tournament anglers. Others, too, are using bottom walkers and jigs for nice catches of fish that include 19-22 inchers as well as the more prevalent 14-16 inchers.

Largemouth bass and tiger musky are creating some excitement at Silver Lake. Many of the bass are over 3 pounds, and a tiger musky was caught this week that went close to 20 pounds.

Long Lake largemouth are lurking in the pads and woody structure. Top-water frogs are fun, but black super-sized plastic worms are also deadly.

Other species

A balance of nearly 200 white sturgeon remain on the 300-fish recreational harvest guideline for The Dalles Pool, so the retention period of legal-size white sturgeon (43-54 inches in-fork length) has been extended.

Bottom fishing at LaPush is said to be excellent right now. Boats need to travel 6-8 miles out for the best luck.


Montana has a few over-the-counter and surplus hunting licenses available online Monday beginning at 5 a.m. for deer B, elk B and antelope.

Contact Spokesman-Review outdoors correspondent Alan Liere by email at

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