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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The best river option for fly fishermen right now is the Coeur d’Alene, which is dropping and should be in decent shape by Saturday. Finding clean, slow water is the ticket.

There is a lot of bug activity on Sprague Lake and enough 4-pound rainbow to make things very interesting. Evenings have been good.

Salmon and steelhead

Clearwater chinook fishing is poor. Fish checkers say they are seeing 1-3 fish a day, about half jacks. Chinook salmon fishing in Idaho has been expanded to include the Clearwater River main stem from the Camas Prairie railroad bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherry Lane Bridge and from the Lenore Bridge upstream to the Highway 11 Greer Bridge. The South Fork Clearwater River is open from its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Effective Saturday through July 31, anglers will be able to fish for and retain adult and jack spring chinook salmon on the Icicle River in Chelan County. The daily limit is two adipose-fin-clipped spring fish of 12 inches or larger.

Wind River boat anglers averaged nearly a chinook per every five rods last week. About 40 percent of the catch was jacks. Drano Lake boat anglers averaged almost a chinook per every four rods last week. About 30 percent of the catch was jacks.

The Yakima River from the Interstate 182 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser opened Wednesday for hatchery chinook salmon. A second area from the Interstate 82 Bridge at Union Gap to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 500 feet downstream of Roza Dam opens Saturday.

Trout and kokanee

Liberty Lake trollers are taking mixed bags consisting of rainbow and brown trout as well as perch, crappie and bluegills. Rainbow are running mostly 10-11 inches, browns 16-18. A worm and Single Whammy will do the job on all species.

Williams Lake remains good for boat fishermen – either trolling or still-fishing. Troll flies or spinners, throw Roostertails, or dunk Power Bait – it doesn’t seem to matter. Most of the fish are a foot long, but there are good numbers of 16-19-inchers biting.

Downs Lake anglers are catching fair numbers of 12-14-inch rainbow in the channels between lily pads and around the resort dock. Green Roostertails are always a good bet this time of year.

Clear Lake has been steady for trollers dragging Wedding Rings or Double Whammies. Some anglers are putting Power Bait on the hooks. The rainbow are on the small side, but 15-inch browns are there for still-fishermen.

The kokanee bite on Lake Chelan continues somewhat slower than its peak but some are being caught in the trench, along the face of Mill Bay, up at the yacht club and over by the monument. The best bite is at first light. Average fishing depth is 60 feet. The “small” kokes are 12 inches long, and the biggest around 20 inches. A good average is 18 inches.

Trout fishing has been tough at Lake Roosevelt this week. The few fish taken have been near shore or rocks. A few kokanee are being taken, but there doesn’t seem to be one spot that is better than another.

Hayden Lake kokanee are becoming more difficult to catch, but the 15-inch fish are a prize if you can land one. The best bite is from 6-9 a.m.

Curlew Lake rainbow averaging 2 pounds each are being taken with relative ease from the southern end of the lake, and off the east-side islands Wedding Rings behind a dodger are doing most of the damage deep, but dock fishermen are also catching fish dunking Power Bait and worms.

Fast limits are the rule at Okanogan County’s Pearrygin Lake. Still-fishing with trout nuggets or eggs is effective.

Blue Lake in Grant County is giving up some nice rainbow, mostly between 13 and 15 inches. Troll the upper 10 feet with Needlefish and other small spoons.

Spiny ray

Loon Lake largemouth are hitting plastics worms and lipless cranks in the pads and around the docks. A lot of the fish are in the 2-pound range.

Double D’s Taxidermy and Guide Service’s Daniel Dodd says he fished the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt last weekend with “phenomenal success,” hooking large walleye “one after another” using dark-colored jigs. Info: (509) 993-5926.

Banks Lake smallmouth are on beds but not yet spawning. Tubes and grubs are catching a lot of fish.

Hayden Lake largemouth are starting to move into the shallows and both plastics and spinner baits are triggering strikes. Good-sized crappie are in structure close to shore. Hauser Lake is good for bluegill in the shallows.

Lind Coulee walleye are small, but trollers with lots of worms are sorting fish and bringing in fair numbers of 15-inchers. Bounce worm harnesses on the bottom. The Crab Creek area of Potholes can get crowded when the weather is nice, but the walleye bite has been good. Smile blades with a crawler, Slow Death, floating Rapalas, and Shadraps are all producing fish.

Coeur d’Alene pike are active in shallow water now. Many are less than 2 feet long, but the action can be fast. Smallmouth bass are beginning to bite.

South Twin Lake (near Coffeepot Lake) is booting out lots of bass. Friends caught some big crappie there Wednesday. Eloika has a lot of crappie too, but they are mostly under 9 inches.

Contact Alan Liere at