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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 26

Fly fishing

With the warm water and recreational inner-tubers on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, most fly anglers have moved onto the St. Joe River and the North Fork Clearwater/Kelly Creek drainages or are staying home and fishing the cooler Spokane River. Terrestrials are coming on and so are hoppers. There has been good fishing the first half of the day and late evening on the Clark Fork. Goldens and Chernobyls with droppers are hard to beat.

The Yakima Canyon has settled down into a smooth sustained flow and trout fishing is good. Fish early mornings with stonefly patterns, afternoons with terrestrial patterns and hoppers, and evenings with caddis patterns. The last hour of light can be phenomenal.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt anglers trolling for kokanee might as well be searching for unicorns. The fish checker there said she has seen no kokanee since early March, but has recorded more than 100 unclipped rainbows that anglers mistook for kokanee. On a positive note, there are many pen-raised rainbow to be had, some approaching 14 inches.

Two friends and I fished Loon Lake this week for nighttime kokanee, beginning at about 9:15 and quitting at 10:30 with limits of 11-inch fish. Fishermen are scattered in numerous locations on the lake – the island bay, Granite Point, the green and orange palm tree and others. Fish have been in the 30-foot depths, just off the bottom.

With daytime temperatures in the 90s, the put-and-take trout lakes south of Spokane provide slow fishing at best, even early. For better success, either head north to lakes like Loon, Deer, Waitts, Diamond and Marshall, or opt for a proven deep-water lake to the south like Rock. Fishing is holding up at all of these, and you can improve your chances for a fish fry by fishing at night. Don’t do this at Rock, however, unless you are intimately acquainted with the rocky spires and shallow water where there shouldn’t be.

Steelhead

and salmon

Fins and Feather’s Big One Derby continues through Sunday on Lake Coeur d’Alene. On Tuesday, the first day of the derby, a chinook weighing 17.5 pounds was landed. There is a $5,000 payout for largest derby chinook.

Stronger-than-expected returns of summer chinook salmon moving past Priest Rapids Dam have prompted fishery managers to reopen chinook fishing in select mainstream pools and tributaries of the upper Columbia River. Anglers can catch and keep hatchery adult chinook from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam, and the Chelan River. In addition, the chinook fishery will open Wednesday from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, including the Wenatchee, Okanogan and Similkameen rivers. The daily limit of hatchery adult chinook is two per angler. The reopening of the Brewster Pool is delayed until Wednesday to give the Colville Tribe time to gather brood stock for its hatchery at Bridgeport.

Lake Pateros (Brewster) has provided steady sockeye action with most fish running 2 to 3 1/2 pounds. Use a dodger followed by 14 inches of leader and a pink or red hook baited with coon shrimp.

Sockeye fishing at Baker Lake in Whatcom County has not been as consistent as that at Lake Pateros, but the fish are there, and some anglers are limiting in short order. Pink Mini Squid and shrimp with a Smile Blade and a DD dodger are most commonly used at Baker.

After a brief closure earlier in the month, Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) will reopen Thursday through Sunday to the retention of hatchery chinook salmon.

Spiny ray

The “breakfast bite” for northern pike has been good on Lake Coeur d’Alene, shutting off as the daytime temperatures warm. The chain lakes are too warm for good pike fishing, and there are a lot of slimy weeds everywhere. This “gunk” is also prevalent on the main lake. The fish are in 14-20 feet of water, said Randy Dingman at Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, who adds, “The pike are on every weed bed, every day.”

Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide service said clients are catching quite a few tiger muskie from Newman Lake by throwing standard bass gear. The fish have been hitting anything from spinner baits to small plugs and swim baits.

Downs Lake perch and crappie anglers are not having much luck, but the largemouth bite has been good.

Curlew Lake perch are numerous and easy to catch this summer. The lake has numerous springs near the state park, which are also good for rainbow trout.

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt is yielding a few walleye, but the fishing has been generally slow and there are a lot of recreational boats on the water.

Other species

Sturgeon fishing continues on Lake Roosevelt with most of the effort concentrated near Kettle Falls. Lots of undersized fish have been caught, but keeper-size remain elusive.

Sturgeon anglers are catching plenty of big fish near Lower Granite Dam. This is a catch-and-release fishery.

Hunting

Eighteen lucky people will have an opportunity to hunt for deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Hunters can submit an application for the “limited-entry” deer hunt on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/ permits/scotchcreek/ or by contacting the department’s north-central region office at (509) 754-4624 or headquarters at (360) 902-2515. The deadline to apply is midnight Aug. 13.

WDFW has closed the Methow Wildlife Area shooting range until further notice to reduce the risk of wildfire. The closure will remain in effect until conditions improve and the risk of wildfire decreases. The closure does not affect legal hunting in the area.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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