It’s early yet, but a few steelhead have been hooked on the lower Clearwater River. Fish a “traditional” fly such as a black/purple General Practitioner early in the day and go a little deeper with a sinking polyleader at mid day.
Two sections of the Twisp and Chewuch rivers are open to catch-and-release trout fishing. The Twisp is open from the mouth upstream to War Creek, and the Chewuch is open from the mouth upstream to Eight Mile Creek. Expect resident rainbow and cutthroat trout in the 8- to 16-inch range, along with whitefish up to 18 inches.
The St. Joe has been pretty consistent with terrestrials, caddis, PMDs and small attractors making fish rise. The river is fishing well from down low all the way up.
Rock Creek in Montana is fishing very well early and late. The Clark Fork is in Hoot Owl restrictions, so don’t be on the river after 2 p.m. Tricos are present and the fish are starting to pod up and eat them. The Blackfoot and the Bitterroot rivers are low and the Bitterroot fish are having a tough summer dealing with low flows and high temperatures. Local guides suggest staying off the river to give the fish a break. Try some of the many cold-water tributaries instead.
Trout and kokanee
Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat, brook and tiger trout is good in higher-elevation lakes on U.S. Forest Service property throughout August. Davis, Ellen, Empire, and Ferry lakes are good bets in Ferry County. In Stevens County, Black, Little Twin, and Summit lakes are good producers. In Pend Oreille County, anglers should find good fishing at Carl’s, Frater, Halfmoon, Mystic, North and South Skookum, Petit, and Yokum lakes.
Summer storms and the accompanying pressure changes made for some erratic fishing early in the week at local lakes. Loon Lake anglers were taking fast limits before 10 p.m. prior to the big storms. With the weather stabilizing, fishing has picked up again. Night fishing in 32-34 feet of water will be your best bet. Some honest 12-inchers are showing.
Local trout lakes have been rather dead with the exception of West Medical (north end) and Sprague. West Medical fish are biting early, but the Sprague Lake jumbos have been most active at night.
Salmon and steelhead
Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee fishing is picking up again, but it is the chinook fishing that has anglers buzzing. The big fish are at the mouth of the Coeur d’ Alene River to begin their spawning run, and are being caught in 30-40 feet of water.
Friends fishing for chinook and sockeye near Brewster caught two keeper chinook and two sockeye in three days of fishing this week. They also had to release two wild chinook and said it appeared other boats were having similar results. The fish were dark.
Sockeye anglers on Lake Wenatchee have nearly reached the harvest quota and that fishery will close Sunday evening.
Boat anglers on the Wind River are beginning to catch steelhead. At Drano Lake boat anglers are catching steelhead and also some fall chinook. A record run of chinook salmon is piling into the Columbia headed to the Hanford Reach. WDFW staff conducted the first creel survey there Aug. 9, interviewing 26 anglers with three adult chinook and one jack kept.
A large run of pink salmon is showing up along the northern Pacific coast as well as Puget Sound and Westside rivers. The Puyallup River has been particularly productive of late. A single pink or orange Corky and 6 feet of leader is working well.
Fall chinook fishing is good at Buoy 10 but Coho catches remain light. A friend fishing out of Westport this week said success was marginal on the first day when they ran straight out, but when they went 2½ hours north on the second day, coho fishing was excellent. No chinook were caught either day.
If you’re looking for crappie, find the shade. Usually, this means under docks. On Potholes Reservoir, for example, huge schools of crappie are suspended under the fishing dock at Mardon Resort, and while many of them are small, there are quite a few 9-12 inchers, too.
Many area lakes – Liberty, Sacheen, Loon, Long, Deer, Diamond, Hauser, Hayden, Fernan and many others – have crappie. At Loon Lake this week, kokanee fishermen were seeing suspended crappie in their night-fishing lights and jigging up fish to 13 inches near Granite Point.
Banks Lake bass anglers are catching both species, but the smallmouth are a little easier to find off rocky points in 15 feet of water. Those targeting largemouth are fishing the Punchbowl near reeds. Anglers report a very aggressive topwater bite using floating mice or frogs.
Lake Roosevelt has seen decent walleye fishing lately. Fishing is more steady than fast. Jiggers are doing best at 30-40 feet. A lot of “small” trout – 13-inchers, are biting walleye gear.
The Spokane River near Harvard Bridge has been good for smallmouth bass. Most of the fish are small, but an occasional 3-pounder shows up.
Perch fishing on Silver, Newman and the Pend Oreille River has been very good around the lily pads and weed banks, but an 8-incher is a big one.
While the pike fishing has been virtually eliminated on the Pend Oreille River, bass fishing is good. Perhaps a better place to throw spinnerbaits for pike is along the weed lines on Lake Coeur d’Alene where an 18-pounder was caught this week.
Bottom-fishing party boats out of Westport this week were limiting on 5-6-pound black rock bass. Tuna fishing is picking up again 40 miles out.
The general Washington duck season will be open from Oct. 12 through 16 and from Oct. 19 through Jan. 26. A special youth hunting weekend will take place Sept. 21 and 22. Surveys show duck populations in the Pacific Flyway are near long-term averages, while goose populations are generally at or above management goals.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth ages 10-15. These Panhandle hunts are planned for Sept. 28, the opening day of the annual youth-only waterfowl season. Anyone interested should call soon to reserve a spot at one of the three hunt sites and to obtain additional details. For hunts near Boundary Creek and Heyburn, contact Dave Leptich at (208) 769-1414. For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard at (208) 264-5252. The IDFG Iis also looking for experienced waterfowl hunters to assist with the hunts. Call Leptich or Millard.