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Wednesday, July 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 76° Clear

Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

The upper stretches of the Coeur d’Alene River are pretty hot, but the lower end of the river still has a lot of runoff. Green drakes and golden stone flies are hatching.

A huge mayfly hatch came off at Rock Lake Wednesday evening. The surface was boiling with large fish.

Idaho’s Henrys Lake opened May 23, the best opener in recent memory. Catch rates were excellent for cutthroat near the shoreline areas and deeper for brook trout.

The lower river is the place to be on the Missouri.

Montana’s other top fly fishing destinations are still running pretty high, as are the Yakima, Spokane and St. Joe.

Trout and kokanee

Sprague Lake anglers do well at times on large rainbow, particularly in the late afternoon and evening. Springs in front of Sprague Lake Resort have been productive for dunking worms and Power Bait. A friend fishing from shore there this week with bobber and worm brought home two 22-inchers and two 18-inchers. Two days later, another friend fished four hours and caught but one. Only two fish more than 20 inches are allowed a day in a Sprague.

Williams Lake fishermen are still doing well and docks are crowded on weekends. Nearby Badger Lake is also excellent but not nearly so crowded. West Medical Lake has picked up considerably. Fish Lake tiger and brook trout are still biting.

Kokanee anglers are picking up a few fish trolling the north end of Loon Lake. The fish are running to 13 inches. Two friends and I tried still fishing for kokes Wednesday night. We found only three near Morgan Park in 28 feet of water, all 121/2 inches long and extremely robust. Normally, I don’t begin night fishing for kokanee until the wild roses bloom, a week or so away.

The bite isn’t hot, but Lake Roosevelt kokanee to 22 inches are providing more smiles than the rainbow. The best stretch is Swawilla Basin to the dam. Rufus Woods is reported to be heating up for triploids.

Marshall Lake cutthroat are running about 10 inches, Clarence Grimes at Marshall Lake Resort said. He has observed a lot of bug activity this week and said fly fishing should be excellent, though most anglers are going deep with eggs and worms. Snow is finally gone from North and South Skookums, he said. Anglers there are catching mostly rainbow, but some brookies are still in the system.

Lake Pend Oreille has improved in the past two weeks for rainbows and lake trout. Most fish are being caught near the surface off planer boards with flies, Apex lures or plugs.

Priest Lake drop-shotters are still having excellent success in 160 feet of water. The Berkley Gulp Minnow works well, but it never hurts to sweeten the presentation with a chunk of northern pikeminnow.

Salmon and steelhead

Recent warm weather has swollen rivers and made fishing difficult on the Clearwater and its tributaries, the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers and the Snake River in Hells Canyon. Rivers are dropping and Larry Barrett, IFG fisheries biologist, said fishing should be pretty good this weekend.

After Sunday, no adult chinook salmon 24 inches or longer may be taken on the mainstem Clearwater River downstream of the Orofino Bridge. Until further notice, the daily bag limit in the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam, the mainstem Clearwater River above the Orofino Bridge, and the South Fork Clearwater and the Lochsa rivers will continue to be four chinook salmon, but only one may be 24 inches or longer.

Spring chinook continue to enter the Icicle River and catches are improving. The water is moving pretty fast, so most anglers are using whole herring behind a Spin and Glo.

Spiny ray

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt opened Monday. Anglers reported a good bite on smaller fish, few more than 18 inches. Anglers from China Bend to Northport have had phenomenal walleye success the past week on larger fish. Launches are finally becoming usable again.

Walleye action is just picking up in the Crab Creek Channel of the Potholes Sand Dunes. Bass fishing for both species is good. Good walleye action continues in the Lind Coulee.

Walleye and smallmouth are biting at Soda Lake in Grant County. The big crappie are generating a lot of enthusiasm. Hutchison Lake on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge has good bass, bluegill, crappie and perch fishing

Tiger muskies to 44 inches have been reported at Silver Lake near Spokane, but the biggest in the weekend tourney was 37.

Long Lake anglers are enjoying an aggressive bite from both smallmouth and largemouth. A 5-inch Senko is the ticket. Smallmouth appear to be done spawning and the females have dispersed, leaving smaller males to guard the nests. A friend reported excellent largemouth action on a white buzzbait.

Catch all the smallmouth you want at Banks Lake. The largemouth fishing also is picking up. Smallmouth are shallow and feeding all day. Walleye anglers dragging spinners and crawlers in 25 feet of water are doing fairly well.

Hauser, Hayden, Newman and Coeur d’Alene lakes have had excellent bass fishing this week. Coeur d’Alene Lake pike are hitting in 4-10 feet of water. Hayden crappie are on the bite and all docks in the area are open. Wooly buggers are working well, especially for smallmouth.

Jump-off Joe and Waitts, usually regarded as trout lakes, are giving up some big bass, crappie and bluegill. Fish are being caught under docks and in the pads.

Other species

Walleye anglers at Potholes report catching more burbot than ever, notably in water more than 40 feet deep.

Columbia River sport retention fishery for white sturgeon will close Saturday between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam.

Bonneville Dam daily shad counts have been between 63,000 and 83,000 fish the last few days.

A third of a million shad have been counted to date.


Idaho Fish and Game has eight leftover moose controlled hunt permits available. Apply June 15-June 25.

Any permits left over from this drawing will be available first-come first-served beginning July 10.

Contact Alan Liere by email at

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