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Wednesday, July 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Hunting + fishing

Alan Liere Correspondent

Fly fishing

WDFW Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area Manager Juli Anderson reports fly fishers have recently caught trout measuring up to 17 inches long in Z Lake. Getting there requires some walking, though – a little more than a mile.

The Clark Fork has turned on this week with lots of pmds and caddis on the water. It should only get better. The St. Joe is fishing well and still carrying a lot of water. Fish pmds, caddis, golden stones and hoppers.

Bitterroot Fishing has been great and hatches are impressive. The evening spinner fall provides good action. Rock Creek has been fantastic top to bottom, with a variety of goldens and sallies from size 6 to 12. There are also many caddis. pmds and drakes.

At the Yakima River Fly Shop, Jim Gallagher said the Yakima is up but stable, good for wading above the confluence with the Cle Elum River. Otherwise, a boat is necessary. “We continue to catch fish on large, terrestrial-type patterns that are beige or tan,” he said, adding that the fly needs movement to entice strikes.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake trollers dragging Jack Lloyds and Wedding Rings are putting more kokanee in the boat than still fishermen, but one positive night report mentioned that fish are a little shallower than usual for the time of year – 27 feet. The kokes are a robust 12-14 inches.

Deep Lake in Stevens County is a good place to avoid a lot of boat and jet ski traffic and also catch a mess of small (8-10 inches) trout). Troll five colors of leaded line and a Wooly Bugger.

The usual rainbow and cutthroat trout lakes in the area – Amber, Badger and Williams – continue to provide good catches. Rock Lake has also been good for big browns and rainbow. Many boats have been anchored at Sprague Lake near the springs out from Sprague Lake Resort.

WDFW Spokane Trout Hatchery Manager Guy Campbell said fishing for big rainbows has been great in Lake Roosevelt. “There also have been some big carryover rainbows caught in Curlew Lake up in Ferry County,” he said.

Palmer Lake in the Okanogan is giving up smaller kokanee to anglers trolling at 25 feet over 40-60 feet of water. Mornings and evenings are best.

A creel survey crew on Lake Coeur d’Alene last week reported slow kokanee fishing, with anglers either getting several or none at all. Chinook fishing also remains slow.

Wade Lawson of Wholesale Sports (formerly Sportsman’s Warehouse) said he had excellent luck trolling for Priest Lake macks recently between the Kalispell launch and Twin Islands. The fish, which ran up to 8 pounds, were hitting hootchies and Rapalas.

Salmon and steelhead

Although the lower Columbia River is closed to the retention of adult summer chinook, opportunity remains to catch summer chinook jacks, sockeye and summer steelhead.

The summer-run salmon opener on the upper Columbia River in Central Washington was a good one, with big chinook caught from Wanapum Dam to the mouth of the Okanogan River. Super Baits are the most popular. The Columbia in this stretch is also open for sockeye, and fishing for both species should improve for a few weeks.

Anglers have the opportunity to fish for summer chinook salmon on a portion of the lower Skagit River for the first time in 16 years. “Big rivers can produce some big fish, and the Skagit is no exception,” said Brett Barkdull, fish biologist for WDFW. “This is a great opportunity to catch a large chinook salmon on a river where anglers once hauled in fish weighing more than 50 pounds.” The Skagit will be open through Aug. 9 from the mouth of the river to the mouth of Gilligan Creek, from noon Thursday through Sunday each week.

Despite some rough water, the first week of salmon fishing was fast and furious off La Push where the water is thick with coho. High seas also kept many anglers close to shore near Westport and Ilwaco, but those who made it out were generally catching fish.

Persistent dry weather on the Olympic Peninsula has caused rivers in the Quillayute system to run low and clear, making fishing tough. All the rivers need a good shot of rain to bring in the fish.

Spiny ray

Chapman Lake in southwest Spokane County is producing largemouth and smallmouth bass, plus some kokanee. Downs Lake, also in the southwest part of the county, has some nice largemouth bass.

This is a great time to be fishing crankbaits and poppers for bass on Banks Lake and Lake Roosevelt. You can count on nonstop action for smallies this time of year, and the walleye bite can also be good, though finding a Banks Lake walleye more than 18 inches can be tough.

Moses Lake smallmouth are also coming easy these days, as they are on Potholes Reservoir, Spokane’s Long Lake, Lake Chelan and Conconully Reservoir.

Coffee Pot Lake is low. For all practical purposes, it is no longer possible to get through the narrows to the back section. Nevertheless, algae is just beginning to form and the largemouth bass and perch bite is good. Tube jigs are effective.

Bass fishing is picking up on Lake Coeur d’Alene for both species. Anglers have also done well on the Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes, picking up several pike in the past week as well as crappie and perch. Chatcolet and Benewah lakes are also seeing a lot of pike fishermen.

Other species

Anglers will get at least six more days to catch white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary, beginning today. Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon announced the joint decision Tuesday after assessing catch data for the fishery. By the states’ action, anglers will be allowed to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon today through Sunday and July 17-19 between the mouth of the Columbia and the Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet.


Entries for a second chance at Idaho’s Super Hunt drawing must be received at IDFG headquarters by Aug. 11, with the drawing set for mid-August. A Super Hunt is a fund-raising drawing for 40 big-game tags handed out to winners in two drawings. Tickets are drawn for elk, deer, pronghorn and moose tags. Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose. That includes general hunts and controlled hunts. Tickets are available at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices, or they can be ordered at www.fishandgame.idaho. gov/cms/hunt/ superhunt/, or at 800- 824-3729 or 800-554- 8685.


You can contact Alan Liere by email at spokesmanliere@

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