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Saturday, February 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 19

Fly fishing

The Fernie River in British Columbia and the Kootenai River in Montana are good fly fishing destinations in the hot weather. Fly fishermen are also doing well in the Columbia around Northport. The Fernie River has the most wade-fishing opportunities. Silver Bow Fly Shop said there is good fishing the first half of the day and in late evening on the Clark Fork. Goldens and Chernobyls with droppers are effective. There is some late-evening caddis activity. Rusty spinners can be good. Nymphing midday would be the way to go.

St. Joe and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene are best fished early or late. The Spokane River holds up well all day long.


and kokanee

Boat traffic is heavy on most area lakes, and Loon and Deer are particularly busy. Get out early for Loon Lake kokes and Deer Lake trout. Trollers are catching some nice rainbow (up to 18 inches) from Deer. Flatfish have been productive.

Diamond Lake anglers are still-fishing near the spring on the east shore about a half mile west of the launch and catching rainbow trout of around a foot in length. The fishing has slowed down all over the lake, but this area remains consistent.

Trout fishing at Fishtrap, Williams and Clear has slowed down, but Badger Lake trollers are finding good fishing at times, and the trout are generally more than a foot long. As with all area lakes, go early or late. If you find the right spot, West Medical trout up to 17 inches have provided fast fishing.

Waitts Lake is consistent for rainbow and browns on the troll. A flasher and worm-tipped Wooly Bugger have been good at midlake. Go at least three colors with your leaded line.

The Tum Tum area of Lake Spokane area is a good place to catch 13- to 17-inch rainbow, as well as perch and smallmouth bass. The big eddy at Tum Tum can be good from shore for anglers throwing Power Bait or nightcrawlers with a marshmallow for flotation.

Mackinaw fishing is good in Lake Chelan. A lot of big fish are generally caught around this date. Kokanee fishing has been fair to good. Priest Lake had been good for macks 2 1/2 to 5 pounds. Rainbow and mack fishing is also improving on Lake Pend Oreille. Kokanee fishing has been slow.

In addition to large rainbow, Lake Bonaparte has been giving up tiger trout up to 10 pounds.

Daytime trollers have had little luck lately at Loon Lake, but night fishing continues to be good, although starting later than usual, typically picking up after 11 p.m. Corn or maggots with a Glo-Hook in 32 feet of water work equally well.

Sprague Lake fishing is finally coming on. Still fishermen using bait are reporting the most success on big rainbow. The water is still high.

Kokanee fishing has been excellent on Lake Coeur d’ Alene, but few chinook are showing.


and salmon

The summer chinook run was downsized to a total of 44,000, 35 percent below the preseason forecast, so the season for chinook on the Columbia River has been closed. There are many differences in retention limits on the river for other species of salmon, so before wetting a line, anglers are advised to either contact Region 2-Ephrata (509) 754-4624 or Wenatchee (509) 662-0452 or visit the WDFW Fishing Hotline for the latest rule information (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules.

Cool water from Dworshak Dam on Idaho’s North Fork Clearwater River is keeping tailwater temperatures at Lower Granite Dam cool as air temperatures in the lower Snake River rise into the 90s. The water is released to ensure that adult Snake River sockeye salmon, listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, have a cool passage upstream.

With a new limit of three sockeye per day, sockeye fishing has taken a turn for the better at Brewster, Wanapum Dam, Rocky Reach Dam and Wells Dam. A friend who fished Brewster recently reported limits of 3- to 3 1/2-pound fish on red hooks and beads tipped with a piece of shrimp.

Sockeye are finally arriving at Baker Lake in Whatcom County. Early-morning trolling close to the shoreline had seen the best action using pink hoochies and chrome dodgers.

Spiny ray

Largemouth bass are hitting soft baits around the docks at Diamond, Sacheen and Hayden lakes. Anglers say there are some big smallmouth at Diamond, especially in the rocky area west of Ortner Island. The fish are in 10-20 feet of water. Big smallmouth are also reported to be cooperating on the Pend Oreille River across from Pioneer Park.

Priest Lake is acquiring a reputation as a good smallmouth destination. The fish are numerous and willing to bite along rocky shorelines, but they are out a little deeper than in June. Throw crawdad-looking plastics.

Silver Lake largemouth are hitting soft plastics around the docks and in the stick-ups. For almost certain action, put on a bobber and fish for bluegill with a worm. Tiger musky have also been hitting randomly at Silver and Newman. Most are 32-36 inches.

Fan Lake doesn’t see many fishermen, but it is an excellent spot to tangle with good-sized largemouth. Texas-rigged Senkos are effective.

Moses Lake anglers are finding some nice largemouth along the shorelines in shallow water.

Largemouth bass are also hitting in Potholes Reservoir along the edge of the sand dunes.

Reel Time Fishing out of Clarkston is experiencing excellent walleye fishing on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Several of the fish are more than 5 pounds.

Coeur d’Alene Lake pike fishing is fair. Spinnerbaits are still the go-to offering. Fish near the weed beds.

Bass and catfish are more commonly caught at Liberty Lake these days than are rainbow trout.

Roosevelt walleyes have only been fair this week. The best reports have been coming from the Hunters area. Most trout caught are from recent pen releases.

Other species

Liberty Lake has a good population of 2-pound channel cats. Long Lake has a huge population of yellow-bellied bullheads. Of the two, I prefer the taste and firmness of the bullhead filets. Both species bite best after dark, and a good place to set up is anywhere a light strikes the water. A gob of nightcrawlers on bottom will put you in the action. Another good bullhead spot is Deer Lake. There is no need to fish water deeper than 10 feet.


Idaho Fish and Game has proposed separate hunting seasons for sage grouse and red squirrel, and is accepting public comments through the Aug. 6 deadline. For more information, go to

Contact Alan Liere at

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