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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The Spokane River is fishing pretty well with the upper river offering good dry fly fishing. Fishing has also been decent on the upper part of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Terrestrials and small attractors are best. Focus on the riffles and bring some bee patterns. The lower St. Joe River is still fishing well despite the tubers, but the upper river is even better. Terrestrials and small attractors are best.

Early morning and evening has been best for Clearwater steelhead, but if you can stand the heat, riffle water at midday can be good.

Trout and kokanee

A few good reports have come in from Lake Roosevelt trout anglers trolling near Split Rock. Pink and red Apexes are popular, but the most recent report was from an angler who scored well using a Vibrex Spinner trolled at 30 feet.

Palmer Lake (Okanogan County near the town of Loomis) kokanee to 15 inches are still relatively abundant. Trollers are taking fish in the top 20 feet throughout the day. Palmer also has some nice largemouth.

Bill Blosser and his wife, Nettie, are still reeling in 15-23-inch rainbow at Sprague Lake, but Blosser says it is no longer necessary to go early or late. The Blossers are regularly taking limits with nightcrawlers and marshmallows between Four Seasons Resort and the island in 14 feet of water. Blosser admits he has to move around a bit to get his fish. “There are tons of them showing,” he said, “but you’ve got to find the ones that want to bite.”

Salmon and steelhead

Friends who fished for chinook at the mouth of the Okanogan last week said things picked up dramatically after their first report which went into the Aug. 16 column. They ended up with several keeper fish in the teens and released a half-dozen wild fish. They trolled Brad’s Super Baits in Hot Lava and Hot Tamale colors. Sockeye, they said, were small.

Starting Sept. 1, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery fall chinook salmon on the Snake River. The daily catch limit has been expanded to include three adult hatchery chinook, plus six hatchery jack chinook less than 24 inches in length. Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead, but must stop fishing for the day for both hatchery chinook and steelhead once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit.

Fall chinook season is open from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington Border above McNary Dam. Fishing is good at Buoy 10 – so good, in fact, that starting today, anglers there will be required to release all wild fish. Hatchery chinook will remain open through Sept. 1.

Salmon fishing has been excellent near Westport this week with lot of chinook and coho. Anglers say they are only averaging a hatchery coho for every 20 hooked, however.

Summer steelhead angling is fair in the lower Columbia River. Steelhead anglers in Idaho are finding very slow fishing from the mouth of the Clearwater to the Memorial Bridge. From Memorial Bridge to the Orofino bridge, catch-and-release anglers are getting an average of a fish every four hours. Two to three thousand steelhead are crossing Bonneville Dam each day now, but only about 120 a day have made it over Lower Granite. Little Goose counts are around 250 steelhead a day.

Drano Lake boat anglers are catching some fall chinook and steelhead, though over half the steelhead caught have been wild. Anglers are now picking up a few chinook and slightly more steelhead at Hanford Reach.

West Side anglers are filling coolers with fresh pink salmon from the Snohomish, Puyallup and Skagit rivers. Anything in pink is hooking fish.

Spiny ray

Silver Lake bass fishermen have been taking largemouth fairly consistently, but nothing large. Tiger musky continue to hammer plugs and spinnerbaits in shallow water.

Walleye anglers are finding success on Lake Roosevelt in the Spokane and San Poil Arms as well as the main river north of Seven Bays. Jiggers, and trollers pulling Shad Raps or spinners are finding fish in 10-30 feet of water. Target weeds beds. Some nice smallmouth are falling for walleye gear in the same places.

On Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, reports are the walleye bite is coming on nicely and there is still a good perch and bass bite as well. The perch are so numerous, in fact, that a local guide suggests not leaving the dock with fewer than eight dozen nightcrawlers. Also, be cautious of low water at the mouth of Crab Creek and especially between Goose Island and the dam where the rocks are inclined to eat props.

Other species

Bullhead (yellow bellies) are a much overlooked summer species. Find a sandy bottom and dunk a gob of nightcrawlers after dark in 7-20 feet of water.

A spot where lights shine on the water will attract insects and bait fish which attract bullhead. Long Lake bullhead are generally much larger than those in other area lakes, but there are some nice ones in Deer and Loon as well as Diamond, Sacheen and Waitts.


Roughly 70 percent of the Smoky Mountain Zone – Idaho game management units 43, 44 and 48 – is closed due to several large wildfires burning in the Magic Valley Region. The archery A-tag season for elk in the Smoky Mountain Zone begins Aug. 30. Hunters may exchange Smoky Mountain Zone elk tags for another zone at any Idaho Fish and Game office before Aug. 30.

Fish and Game has a number of options for hunters whose hunting access is severely restricted by wildfires or closures, including exchanging controlled hunt tags for general-season tags, rain checks for the following year, and, in some cases, refunds. For more information about upcoming hunts, contact the Fish and Game Magic Valley office at (208) 324-4359. For fire updates go to: state/13/.

Any Idaho tags for controlled hunts for elk, deer or antelope not drawn will be available over the counter starting at 9 p.m. on Monday.

The seven-day season for Idaho sage grouse runs Sept. 21-27 with a one-bird daily limit and a two-bird possession limit. Hunters should note that sharptail grouse inhabit many of the same areas as sage grouse, but that season does not begin until Oct. 1.

Contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere