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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene River is fishing pretty well for cutthroat and the St. Joe is picking up. The Clearwater is just beginning to fish.

Dry-fly fishing on the Naches River is getting better, but wade fishing is still difficult because of the flow. A dry fly and dropper combination is working pretty well.

The Lower Yakima River Canyon has been fishing very well. Catch numbers for small fish are high.

Trout and kokanee

A friend and I fished Loon Lake Monday, finding plenty of kokanee suspending at around 35 feet, though they often showed much deeper. We trolled the northwest side, never getting further south than the island bay. Oddly, we caught nothing but 10-11-inch fish early but started picking up 7-8-inchers as the morning progressed. It took a long time to limit, as we lost numerous fish at the boat and even more after a few seconds on the line.

Kokanee fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene is good for anglers trolling at about 35 feet. The 10-inch fish are prevalent on the north end in Bennett Bay and in front of Powderhorn.

Pend Oreille Lake seems to have plenty of kokanee, and trollers are finding fish up to 11 inches by trolling small pink Apexes and Wedding Rings just under the surface.

The Atchison brothers of Deer Lake have been limiting in less than 1½ hours at Waitts Lake this month. They troll flashers and worm-tipped flies near the middle. Most of their most recent catch consisted of 12-14-inch browns, though they filled out their limits with a few larger rainbow.

The lower end of Lake Roosevelt (from Keller on down) has picked up for big rainbow and kokanee. At the Spokane Valley White Elephant, John Kallas said he can’t keep pink Apexes in stock for anglers heading that way. The fish are being hooked at 25 feet.

Fishing has slowed at West Medical, but on Monday, bank anglers with Power Bait were still reeling in trout just to the left of the public access. The trick was to put 4 feet of leader above a slip sinker so the bait gets above the weeds. Most of the trout were 14-16 inches.

Jump-Off Joe Lake is still good for 13-16-inch rainbow and 16-18-inch browns, says LuAnn Horswill at Jump-Off Joe Resort. Successful anglers are still-fishing straight out from the resort. Horswill noted that largemouth up to 6 pounds are hitting.

Diamond Lake trollers are catching 12-14-inch brown trout and some smaller rainbow along the south shoreline just off the weed beds. Needlefish and Triple Teasers are always good at Diamond.

Besides some really large bass, Twin Lakes on the Colville Indian Reservation is booting out a lot of rainbow trout over 2 pounds. At the Log Cabin Resort, Abby Hartman says anglers fishing from the resort dock are taking limits, and elsewhere on the lake, some big brookies are being caught.

Rufus Woods Reservoir triploids are biting near the lower net pens, but no monsters have been reported lately. Orange or black marabou jigs will do well, with the larger fish (3-6 pounds) closer to the bottom.

Potholes Reservoir rainbow are hitting again off Medicare Beach after an appearance last week off the Frenchman Hills inlet. Three to five colors of leaded line and Rip ’n Minnows are taking 3-6-pound fish fairly regularly.

Steelhead and salmon

Effective today, the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River is open to the retention of sockeye salmon from the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam. The daily limit will be six salmon, including sockeye and hatchery chinook only, but no more than two adult hatchery chinook may be kept.

Thursday, the Icicle River in Chelan County was again opened to the retention of adipose-fin-clipped adult and jack spring chinook salmon. The daily limit is two.

Spiny ray

Largemouth bass of all sizes up to 6 pounds are showing at Sprague Lake. The lake is experiencing an algae bloom, but it doesn’t seem to affect the bite.

Reports from Eloika Lake indicate the weeds are particularly bad this year. Nevertheless, persistent anglers who get on the water early or late are catching crappie.

The Kettle Falls area above the bridge has been very good for small walleye, and fishing for larger ’eyes seems to be picking up in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. Anglers dragging bottom-bouncers in 20 feet of water are finding fish.

Banks Lake, too has fished “reasonably well,” Bob Ploof of Spokane said. He said he and a friend found some nice fish pulling spinners in shallow water. Ploof also noted that some really big perch (up to 16 inches) are being caught on walleye gear in the bays. All of the fish – walleye, smallmouth and perch – were in less than 15 feet of water. This is a great time to fish Banks for good numbers of smallmouth. Work the rocky shorelines with crankbaits or plastics, particularly tubes. The fish seem to be larger than last year.

At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Rob Harbin says anglers are finding huge schools of perch in both Potholes and Moses Lake. He suggested using a drop-shot rig to get quickly through the small ones to the bottom where perch up to 13 inches are feeding.

Blue Lake in Grant County is regularly stocked with trout, but the smallmouth have benefited. Anglers are catching some decent-sized fish on the south end near Blue Lake Resort.

The Chain Lakes near Coeur d’Alene are serving up a smorgasbord of pike, crappie, bass and bluegill. All fish are being caught in less than 6 feet of water. The cabbage is up nicely everywhere now and pike fishing should explode at any time.

At Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith says the chinook fishing on the big lake has been only fair, but Double-Tail Grubs are taking a lot of smallmouth in 15-20 feet of water. He noted that now that the weed lines have become more pronounced, pike fishing should pick up.

Other species

Lots of channel cats are being caught on the Palouse River, but action is also heating up in the Snake. Chicken livers, cut bait and nightcrawlers are the most popular offerings. Smallmouth fishing is also very good.

After a week of high catch rates, anglers are now required to release any sturgeon intercepted from the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to The Dalles Dam. Today is the last day to catch and keep sturgeon in the Bonneville Pool.

Contact Alan Liere at