The St. Joe is still red hot but getting crowded between Gold Creek and Spruce Tree. Try fishing below Gold Creek, where flows are holding up.
Big, leggy dries in the morning and pmds and caddis in the evening are taking Clark Fork trout. Nevertheless, smaller mayfly patterns are the most consistent subsurface patterns.
Fly fishing has been good on the St. Regis between Two-Mile Road and the Haugen exit. Take your Yellow Sallies, pmds, caddis and small hoppers and ants, but throw in a big streamer just in case.
The upper Bitterroot continues to offer good fishing. The Blackfoot is good, but the lower floats are packed with inner tubes in the afternoon. Rock Creek offers plenty of action. Caddis, hoppers, pmds, spinners, yellow Sallies – they’re all working.
The Yakima River is fishing well early and late with large hatches of caddis and summer stones, particularly downstream from Ellensburg. Streamer fishing with natural colored sculpin patterns has produced some larger fish.
Trout and kokanee
Trollers are still catching 2- to 3-pound kokanee and a lot of trout on Lake Roosevelt. Most of the trout have been from the recent net pen release, running 11-12 inches. Apex lures are hot. Walleye anglers report taking many of these smaller trout while trolling Shad Raps close to the bottom.
Loon Lake night fishermen haven’t consistently found schools of kokanee. Trollers who begin at first light are having better luck, but the easy limits of early July are gone.
On Lake Coeur d’Alene, kokanee anglers are catching small fish all over, but the bite has been particularly good in Beauty Bay. Most fish are taken at a depth of 25-35 feet.
A friend still-fishing in the middle of Jump-Off-Joe for perch caught only a few small ones on his Swedish Pimple and worm. The trout fishing was excellent, and he boated three browns and two rainbow, all around a foot long.
The best fishing at the southern put-and-take lakes is from dawn until about 8 a.m.
Salmon and steelhead
Columbia River chinook numbers are still building with some fish being caught both below Wells Dam and off the mouth of the Okanogan.
Sockeye fishing near Brewster was good last week. Red hooks and flashers or shrimp-baited hooks behind dodgers will make them bite.
Brewster’s annual Budweiser-Lowrance Salmon Derby is Aug. 6-8. Learn more and register for this event by logging on to brewstersalmonderby.com. Tickets are available at Bob’s Triangle Shell in Brewster.
The harvest season for steelhead opens Sunday on the Clearwater River downstream of the Memorial Bridge of U.S. Highway 12 at Lewiston. Judging by counts at Lower Granite, there should be good numbers of fish available. Harvest season opens Oct. 15 in the rest of the Clearwater drainage. Catch-and-release fishing for steelhead also opens in the Snake and Salmon rivers Sunday. Harvest season in the Snake and Salmon opens Sept. 1.
As of Tuesday, there have been about 12,000 steelhead caught from Bonneville Dam downstream, with 6,200 of these kept. The record number of steelhead kept for July since at least the early 1970s was last year with 8,221. Angling has been especially good for boats fishing in the gorge and estuary. On The Dalles Pool, bank anglers averaged nearly a steelhead per rod.
At Drano Lake last week, 25 boat anglers kept eight steelhead and released 14 others plus one chinook jack. The best bite was at daylight.
Fall chinook season opens Sunday from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon- Washington Border above McNary Dam.
Salmon charters at Westport had to make long runs north this week to find fish.
Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt was good for small fish last weekend for the Washington State Walleye Championship. To find larger fish, Bob Ploof of the winning team said he and partner Jeff Eagle ran from Kettle Falls all the way down to Two Rivers and “spot-hopped” back, targeting bait. Ploof said their biggest fish, which was just less than 8 pounds, hit a jig, but most of their bites came dragging a worm harness and Mylar Smile Blade.
Smallmouth fishermen can catch all the fish they can stand at Banks Lake. A Senko produces consistently in the bays beginning just north of Steamboat Rock. The shoreline just south of Barker Flats is also excellent.
Smallmouth are also numerous on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and pike fishermen throwing white or chartreuse spinnerbaits are doing well in 8-12 feet of water in and around weeds.
Several large tiger muskie have been hooked at Curlew and Newman lakes recently.
Sturgeon angling is good in the Columbia estuary, but the last day for sturgeon retention is Sunday.
Applications are being accepted for the “limited-entry” deer hunt this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. They can be submitted on the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/ permits/scotchcreek/ or by contacting the WDFW north-central region office at (509) 754-4624 or WDFW’s Olympia headquarters at (360) 902-2515. Eighteen applicants will be chosen – six bow hunters, six muzzleloaders and six using modern firearms. Deadline to apply is midnight Aug. 18.
WDFW is seeking volunteers to participate in a cooperative arrangement that has given hunters access to approximately 250,000 acres of private timberlands near Mount St. Helens. The Weyerhaeuser Company is prepared to give hunters holding special elk permits additional motorized access to miles of private logging roads on the St. Helens Tree Farm, provided that enough volunteers can be found to assure a safe and orderly hunt. To participate in the St. Helens Land Access Program, volunteers can sign up at wdfw.wa.gov/about/ volunteer/sainthelens/
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