The Coeur d’Alene River is experiencing its lowest flow in the last 20 years. That and the “vinyl hatch” have made fishing poor in the lower stretches. Above Pritchard, there is some decent fishing early and late. Terrestrials, hoppers, ants and beetles are the go-to patterns.
The Clark Fork is also decent early and late. The St. Joe has been good above Avery.
For a change of pace, try the Washington stretch of the Spokane River near the Valley Mall for smallmouth bass. Go deep with nymphs and streamers.
Trout and kokanee
Deer Lake still-fishermen are taking plenty of 12- to 14-inch rainbow trout on bait near Deer Lake Resort. The macks have been scarce recently.
The north end of Medical Lake by the Veteran’s Cemetery has been a good spot for still-fishermen to take 13- to 15-inch rainbow. Use an egg sinker and a long leader and bait with a marshmallow Power Bait.
Sprague Lake trout fishing was pretty dead for a couple of weeks, but it recently picked up dramatically near the island with still-fishermen taking limits that included fish more than 22 inches. It’s tough to beat a worm and marshmallow on a slip sinker. Cast away from the boat and let it sit.
The Loon Lake kokanee bite has started earlier the last two weeks, and many anglers who hit the water by 8 p.m. were on their way home with limits of 10- to 12-inch fish by 10.
The kokes are schooled in 32 feet of water and the bites often come in spurts with 15 minutes of nothing followed by nonstop action. Green Glo-Hooks and maggots have worked well.
Lake Roosevelt near Keller Ferry is yielding a fair number of 12-inch and smaller rainbow, but a few larger trout and some nice kokanee have also been taken.
Huge trout are still hammering Needlefish trolled at 2 1/2 mph near Medicare Beach on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County. Start at 30 feet down over 50 feet of water.
Yakima River is noted as a fly-fishing destination, but a barbless spinner will also provide a lot of action.
Lake Omak is loaded with Lahontan cutthroat averaging 17 inches. Rapalas trolled at 20 feet are extremely effective, but the Needlefish is also good. Don’t be afraid to go deeper for larger fish, as there are many more than 10 pounds.
Coeur d’Alene kokanee are small, but it isn’t too difficult to take a 15-fish limit almost anywhere on the lake. Troll slowly 30-40 feet down. For larger kokanee as well as larger crowds of anglers, fish Idaho’s Hayden Lake. Don’t expect all your fish to be 16 inches, but there are usually several of those in a batch of 15.
Hayden Lake kokanee anglers are finding more of the smaller kokes, but there are still fish to 16 inches available.
Steelhead and salmon
Beginning today, waters off of Westport (Marine Area 2) will be open to salmon fishing seven days a week rather than five, joining Ilwaco, LaPush and Neah Bay. Angler effort continues to grow and success rates are steadily improving.
As the thermal barrier builds at the mouth of the Okanogan, there are reports of some nice catches of sockeye and chinook. Super Baits stuffed with oil-based tuna and Hot Spot Flashers are taking chinook, and Mack’s Lures Mini-Cha Cha Squidders are good for the sockeye.
Baker Lake sockeye are biting at 15-25 feet, although some anglers have had success as deep as 50 feet. Most of the fish in the lake have been tightly schooled. You have to do some searching, but when you find them, the action is fast and furious.
Steelhead anglers had fair to excellent success below Bonneville Dam last weekend. Boat anglers had the highest catch rates in the estuary where anglers averaged 1.9 steelhead caught per boat.
Clear Lake trout anglers aren’t finding many cooperative fish this week, but the bluegill bite has been excellent. Half a worm and a bobber thrown into shallow water will get you all the fish you want. All Spokane and Stevens County lakes with bluegill should be equally good for bluegill. They are excellent for introducing a youngster to angling.
Long Lake smallmouth bass are hanging under docks and are receptive to slow-fished Senkos. Look for largemouth between the grass lines.
Some walleye anglers are doing well south of Hunters for decent-sized walleye in less than 20 feet of water. Smallmouth bass fishing has also been good.
Fan Lake bass fishermen report bass to 3 pounds drop-shotting Power Worms and throwing wacky-rigged Senkos. Curlew Lake has been red-hot for smallmouth of all sizes.
In Grant County, Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake are seeing the best perch fishing in 20 years. Fish are scattered all over both lakes, and a bucket of 9- to 13-inchers is not an uncommon catch. Walleye anglers are switching to plugs for their fish, as they are losing too many nightcrawlers to the perch. Bass fishermen on Potholes are throwing frogs early and late in the dunes for nice catches of largemouth.
Pike and bass action on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been good for anglers throwing spinnerbaits in about 8 feet of water.
The pikeminnow rewards program is still popular, with anglers collecting $4 a fish for their first 100, $5 for 101-400 and $8 for 400 fish and up. The largest catches have been around The Dalles on the Columbia and Boyer Park on the Snake.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has set seasons for mourning doves and sandhill cranes to open Sept. 1. The morning dove season will be a month long, the crane season 15 days. Idaho has been allocated a harvest of 137 cranes, so a maximum of 275 tags will be issued, first-come, first-served at any vendor.
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 ...