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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Hunting and Fishing

Alan Liere, Correspondent The Spokesman-Review

Salmon and steelhead

June 26 is the start of the summer coastal salmon season off Westport. Coast-wide recreational quotas of 43,250 chinook and 121,800 coho should provide good sport seasons there and in other ocean areas. Marine areas 3-7 open to salmon fishing July 1, including bonus bag limits for pink salmon in areas 5-7, and Ilwaco opens to salmon fishing July 3. Ocean fishing prospects are good this year for chinook salmon, less so for coho, said Doug Milward, WDFW ocean salmon manager.

The salmon season opened last Saturday near Little Goose Dam and will run through the end of the month. The limit is one hatchery fish per day. In Starbuck, Darver Tackle reports good fishing for hatchery fish to 15 pounds, as well as a few larger wild ones. Herring is the bait of choice. Long-lining off the dam has been effective.

Anglers are picking up an increasing number of hatchery chinook in the lower Columbia River, as spring runs make way for bright summer-run fish, said Pat Frazier, WDFW deputy regional fisheries manager. He said fishing has been consistently good throughout the lower river, with the best spots ranging between Vancouver and the Bonneville Dam.

Anglers are catching summer-run steelhead on the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis rivers. A few chinook are being caught from The Dalles and John Day pools. Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon are under way on the Skagit and Skykomish rivers. Summer steelhead fishing is also heating up on the lower Columbia River tributaries

Trout and kokanee

WDFW fish biologist Chris Donley said rainbow and cutthroat trout numbers are still good in most of the area’s trout lakes. “Amber Lake in particular has been pretty good for fly fishing,” he said, “but all of the usual good spots – Clear, West Medical, Fishtrap, Williams, Badger and others – are also providing lots of action.” Low water levels at Williams and Silver lakes in southwest Spokane County have been a problem for some boat launching.

On Grimes, weed growth is almost plugging up the narrow channel to the lake. Fly fishermen throwing calebaetis nymphs in the deeper water and black chironomids in the shallows are talking Lahothan cutthroat to 25 inches.

The Clark Fork was running at 11,900 at midweek, with trout hitting pmd and pmd cripples.

Loon Lake kokanee are biting for still-fishermen at night and trollers during the day, but the fishing is erratic when the weather is unsettled. Coeur d’Alene’s big kokes are all over the lake. Two colors of leaded line are putting anglers into fish. Koocanusa kokanee are sulking. Things will pick up when stable weather arrives.

Roosevelt rainbow have been sluggish this week, according to Mark Charbonneau at Onion Creek General Store. He noted, however, that some nice triploids and a few big brookies are coming out of Twin Lake near Inchelium.

Spiny ray

The Washington Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament is being held the weekend of June 25-26 at Kettle Falls Marina. Only 125 applications will be accepted. Anglers will vie for almost $40,000 in prize money and another $2,000 in merchandise. Weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kettle Falls Marina.

The 12th annual Moses Lake Walleye Classic last weekend was wildly successful with 100 boats weighing in more than 1,800 pounds of fish. The largest – 12.36 pounds – was landed by the team of David Larsen and Ryan Troutman. The team of Doug Allen and Dave Gallagher took first prize with a total weight of 44.6 ounces.

June is the best month for walleye fishing and WDFW district fish biologist Donley suggests plying the waters “wherever they swim.” That includes Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane River arm to the reservoir, Liberty Lake, Sprague Lake, Moses Lake Potholes Reservoir Banks Lake, and in many sections of the mainstem Columbia River. There have been good reports coming from the stretch of Roosevelt between China Bend and Northport. The water has come up, and it is possible to launch at China Bend.

Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent in Twin, Newman and the Coeur d’ Alene chains. Smallmouth bass can be caught in good numbers from practically any water that holds them. This includes Roosevelt, Banks, Coeur d’ Alene and Liberty. Some large ones have come out of the Grande Ronde River this week. Jigs are hard to beat. Silver Lake, near the town of Medical Lake, has good fishing for bass, crappie and tiger muskies. Curlew Lake also has tiger muskie, and Jack Beck, the owner of Fisherman’s Cove Resort, recently caught a 46-inch, 30-pounder on a Zara Spook. He said large Rapalas also work well, and that he lost an even larger fish.

Fishing opportunities abound in south central Washington for catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, walleye and other warm-water fish species, according to WDFW fish biologist Jim Cummins.

“The lower Snake River and Columbia River from the Hanford Reach to John Day Dam produce some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the West,” Cummins said. “Channel catfish are also on the bite.”

Other species

Shad fishing is red-hot on the mainstem Columbia. Nearly 2.5 million shad were counted blitzing past the fish-viewing window at Bonneville Dam during the first two weeks of June. The Washington side of the river between Bonneville Dam and Beacon Rock has been good.

Lingcod fishing in Puget Sound ended Wednesday, but the toothy critters can still be caught on the coast through the summer. Halibut fishing wraps up Monday on Puget Sound waters, but anglers will get one more day – Saturday – to fish for halibut off the north coast.

Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will open Saturday, seven days a week, for Dungeness crab.

The Sekiu/Clallam Bay Chamber of Commerce will host a halibut derby Sunday and Monday. Details can be found at any area resort or at the Chamber Web site:


Hunters interested in harvesting sandhill cranes in Idaho can apply for permits until July 15. Applications can be made at any license vendor, Fish and Game office, by telephone at 1-800-554-8685, or on the Fish and Game Web site at

If you’re applying for a leftover Idaho moose tag, you have until June 25. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has 10 leftover permits available.