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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for June 21

Fly fishing

Overall fishing conditions have been excellent this week on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River, perfect for wade fishing. Golden stone patterns and yellow sallies are good early in the day, but by afternoon the green drakes get most of the attention.

The St. Joe gets better each day. Mayflies are the main attraction on the lower stretches.

Good fishing is reported on the Spokane River, with nymphing the most popular option. Something stonefly and/or peacock with a caddis pupa below that under an indicator has been consistent.

The Clark Fork River is still a few weeks from being fishable.

Trout and kokanee

Two friends and I took our maiden night-fishing voyage on Loon Lake Tuesday night. It took us only two hours to catch 30, mostly 11-inch kokanee, in front of Granite Point in 28 feet of water. The first fish was caught at 9:15.

Inclement weather has evidently kept trout anglers off local lakes. The only reports this week came from Clear Lake, where trollers were catching rainbow and browns. Most of these were less than 16 inches long, but one small girl, fishing with her father, caught an 8.25-pound, 26-inch rainbow on a Firetiger Flatfish.

Downs Lake rainbow trout from 8 to 13 inches have been easier to catch this week than the lake’s large perch.

Hayden Lake kokanee of around 12 inches are standard now. The fishing has been more consistent than fast.

Fish lake brook and tiger trout from 11-13 inches are hitting small spoons and plugs in the shallows. Worms under a bobber also work on this small lake near Cheney.

In Idaho, Coeur d’Alene kokanee are running 10-12 inches and are in abundance all over the lake. On Montana’s Koocanusa Reservoir, the kokes are running 7-10 inches and anglers are checking in at Koocanusa Resort and Marina with 50-fish limits fairly regularly.

Steelhead and salmon

Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push), and 4 (Neah Bay) will be open daily for salmon fishing starting Saturday. Marine Area 2 (Westport) will be open Sundays through Thursdays beginning Sunday. Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with the WDFW, said the recreational chinook catch quota this year is 27,500 fish, which is 17,500 fewer fish than last year’s quota.

Chinook seasons for the South Fork Salmon, Upper Salmon and Lochsa rivers open Saturday, seven days a week. The bag limits for the South Fork of Salmon and Upper Salmon is four per day, of which only two may be adults, and 12 in possession, of which six may be adults. The bag limits for the Lochsa River is four per day, of which only one may be an adult, and 12 in possession, of which only three may be adults. Anglers may retain chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin from the Lochsa River.

The Yakima River from the Interstate 82 bridge at Union Gap (river mile 107.1) to the BNSF railroad bridge approximately 600 feet downstream of Roza Dam (river mile 127.8) remains open to salmon fishing. The rest of the river is closed.

Spiny ray

A friend who fished for bass at Twin Lakes near Inchelium this week said the fishing was slow during the day but good in the morning and “awesome” from 6 p.m. until dark. He and two others fished Upper Twin, catching more than 150 largemouth, “mostly a foot or so,” but they also caught several 3- and 4-pounders. They were throwing green pumpkin wacky rigs.

Curlew Lake perch fishermen are filling coolers with 9- to 11-inch fish, picking up a few trout in the process.

No reports so far of any tiger muskie.

Coeur d’Alene pike are scattered in 2 to 12 feet of water. Spinner baits are good, but a white Paddletail plastic on a Johnson’s Silver Minnow has also shown promise. The problem is, when a 12-pound northern hits a soft plastic, it is often shredded. For a real adrenaline rush, pull a buzz bait across the surface. Sometimes these will be knocked 2 feet in the air when a pike swings and misses.

Walleye fishing remains good below John Day Dam. Bottom walkers and worm harnesses in 20 to 40 feet of water are doing the damage. Fish the seam lines on the soft edge of the current off the main river channel. The walleyes are aggressive, so if you’re not getting bit within two drifts, move.

Bottom walkers and Slow Death rigs with a nightcrawler have been effective in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. Dark-colored rigs have worked best recently in 20-60 feet of water. Limit catches of 15- to 18-inch fish are reported, with smallmouth bass also showing.

Fish Lake in Chelan County has been good to bass fishermen throwing small spinnerbaits. There are a lot of small largemouth, but 2-pounders are fairly common and fish to 4 pounds are possible.

Other species

Sturgeon fishing on last Friday’s Lake Roosevelt opener was not as productive this year at last, partly because of the tighter slot. Those who anchored up over just the right hole were rewarded with a lot of sublegals and an occasional keeper. Pickled herring is a popular and productive bait.

Shad are hitting below Bonneville Dam. It is not impossible to catch a hundred of the 2- to 5-pound fish in a day.

Hunting

Sawtooth elk hunts in Idaho (Units 33, 34, 35, and 36) have become popular as elk numbers and harvest have increased in recent years. Tags are sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 12, with half being sold at Fish and Game offices and license vendors and the other half sold online. These tags have sold out within minutes, leaving many hunters unable to buy one, so the Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering two options for the 2019 hunting season in the Sawtooth Elk Zone. Hunters can take a brief survey at idfg.idaho.gov/comment to show their preferences. Deadline to comment is July 2

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com


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