Idaho trout fishing is good in rivers and streams such as the Lochsa and the North Fork of the Clearwater. Dry flies are working. Hoppers are crucial, as well as large attractor patterns in the riffles.
Fishing hasn’t been hot on the Clark Fork, but it has been good enough to keep it interesting. Yellow Sallies are hatching and any smaller golden stone pattern should do OK.
Dry fly offerings will provide action on the Missouri, though nymphing the riffles has also been good. The streamer fishing isn’t as productive as it has been, but is your best bet for a large fish.
The Bitterroot and Blackfoot are fishing well. A lot of trout are coming on the dropper.
The trout aren’t particularly large, but little No-Name Lake in Pend Oreille County is a pretty place to spend a morning. Mosquito patterns have been enticing strikes from 10-inch fish.
Fly fishing for rainbow and cutthroat on both the Yakima and Methow rivers has been excellent.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt rainbow trout fishing is good, reported Perry Harvester, WDFW habitat biologist. The fish are running between 12 and 22 inches, with good numbers of 19- to 22-inchers that weigh between 3-4 pounds. Harvester recommends using large, worm-tipped flies such as Muddler Minnows behind flashers, dodgers or pop gear and trolling 35-40 feet down in water between 75 and 110 feet deep.
Fishing during early-morning hours or at night at almost any trout water in the region is good, especially smaller lakes up north and around Spokane, said Chris Donley, WDFW fish biologist.
“The lower Spokane River has nice rainbows and browns, but river anglers need to be aware of catch limits, gear restrictions and other rules listed in the fishing pamphlet,” Donley said.
Anglers are still taking three species of trout from Fish Lake, trolling Roostertails, Wedding Rings or small spoons, or still fishing with worms. It is sometimes hard to get past the small bluegill. The homely hellgrammite is a knock-’em-dead trout bait at Fish and most other area lakes. You can find them by turning over floating wood.
Fishtrap anglers say they are taking limits of 10- to 12-inch trout in an hour. Jigs tipped with worms will work as well as anything. Williams Lake anglers are doing equally well. West Medical trout action is steady in the middle of the lake for anglers using Power Bait. Most fish are 11-14 inches.
Kokanee fishing on Dworshak Reservoir is good with many anglers catching their limit. The fish have moved up the reservoir past Dent.
Kokanee anglers are also doing fairly well at Bead Lake in Pend Oreille County, using small flashers and wedding rings to take the fish at a depth of 30 feet. The occasional mackinaw is caught, but you have to go much deeper.
I’ve not had a single report this summer regarding Deer Lake kokanee, but the trout bite has been good for the few anglers trying. Loon Lake continues to pump out foot-long kokanee for trollers. Still fishing at night is still productive on the west side, though my group of four had an off night Wednesday, catching only 28. They were in 32-24 feet of water.
Trout fishing on Rufus Woods is tough because there are weeds with which to contend. Find open water, though, and you’ll find fish.
Salmon and steelhead
Lake Wenatchee sockeye salmon fishing opened Wednesday with a daily limit of two. Selective-gear rules are in effect except fishing from a boat equipped with a motor is allowed. Sockeye with a colored, plastic tag near the dorsal fin, as well as all bull trout, steelhead and chinook salmon, must be released unharmed without removing them from the water.
Downriggers tend to be the preferred method for presenting lures to Lake Wenatchee sockeyes, although you can do almost as well with a 4- to 8-ounce lead crescent sinker attached to one or two bare red, blue or black hooks on a short 9- to 12-inch leader trailed behind a 0-size chrome dodger. Some anglers favor adding krill-gel scent or a dab of Power Bait to their hooks.
Salmon fishing is open in the Okanogan River from the Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge at Oroville. The Similkameen River is also open from the mouth upstream to the Highway 7 Bridge at Oroville.
All game fish except trout may be retained in the Okanogan River upstream of the highway bridge in Malott.
Catch and keep above the Memorial Bridge doesn’t begin until Oct. 15, though the Snake opens Sept. 1. Catch and release steelhead fishing on the Clearwater has been fair to good. Most anglers are fishing at night with lighted lures, though jig and bobber anglers are finding fish at dusk at a depth of about 13 feet.
Summer-run salmon fishing is improving a little on the Columbia below Wells Dam. The Brewster area is producing kings and sockeye. The kings are running 15-20 pounds and the sockeye average 4 pounds.
Steelhead angling was exceptional in the lower Columbia River last weekend with the highest catch rates observed in the gorge. The opening weekend for salmon at Buoy 10, though poor, will undoubtedly improve as more fish begin their migration
Salmon anglers in Marine Areas 1 and 2 are having fair success this season, although fishing effort remains low, said Wendy Beeghley, WDFW fish biologist. She said some people are getting their limits, but the average has been about one fish per person at Ilwaco and Westport. At LaPush and Neah Bay, anglers are averaging about one fish for every two rods with the catch almost evenly divided between coho and chinook
Perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie and other warm-water fish species are a good bet at many mixed fisheries, including Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County, Downs Lake in southwest Spokane County, Eloika Lake in north Spokane County and the Spokane River reservoir of Long Lake.
Spokane angler Evan Johnson reported excellent bass fishing at Deer Lake last weekend. Casting to docks with a spinnerbait, Johnson caught five largemouth more than 3 pounds and numerous smallmouth. Johnson also fished Long Lake this week, launching at the last DNR ramp past Tum Tum and fishing to the right. He said his party caught a 4.5-pound largemouth, a 3-pound smallmouth and “dozens of little guys.”
Fan Lake anglers have been pleasantly surprised by the number of largemouth bass they are catching around the island. Plastics are also taking smallmouth and perch
Silver Lake bluegill are on their nests and fishing action is almost non-stop. Crappie and perch are also biting at Silver.
Bass and walleye fishing at Banks Lake is good, as is Potholes Reservoir. Walleye fishing is also in full swing in the Columbia River near the Tri-Cities. Walleye are being caught in Lake Umatilla from Plymouth to Boardman. The Hanford Reach has produced some excellent catches.
Anglers recently caught a few legal-size white sturgeon between the Wauna power lines and Bonneville Dam – the only area of the lower Columbia River still open for retention fishing. Sturgeon may be retained Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of the year.
Washington bear and cougar general hunting seasons are under way. Hunters are allowed two cougars during the season, which runs through March 15. Hunters are also allowed two bears during the general season (Aug. 1-Nov. 15), but only one bear can be taken in eastern Washington.
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