Rocky Ford is probably the best place to scratch your fly fishing itch. The big trout have been hitting aggressively on various leech and egg patterns.
Yakima River fishing has been good to great, depending on the day. Streamers on the retrieve and swing have worked well, and nymphing has been consistent. Stock up on San Juan Worms and stonefly nymphs.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene is a viable fly fishing option as it drops back down. The upper Spokane River is good for a few nice rainbow per trip. There are some midges still hatching at midday, but most of the action will be subsurface. The Grande Ronde remains a viable option for winter fishing. Clarity and levels are decent. Nymphing is the most productive. The Snake River is also a good option as temperatures are still hitting the mid-40s.
Salmon and steelhead
Snake River trollers are finding steelhead from Asotin all the way to Lower Granite Dam, but the fishing has not been fast. The larger fish have been close to the dam, with 5- to 7-pounders more common near Asotin. Lighted lures at night account for many of the steelhead.
The best bet for steelhead in the Okanogan region is the upper Columbia River near Pateros and Bridgeport. The Wenatchee River is full of steelhead, and with the water coming down, it should be fishable very soon.
Although most Coeur d’Alene chinook are on the small side, it is not impossible to take fish in the mid-teens and the big lake has been booting out good numbers. The area around Carlin Bay has produced well.
Near Little Goose Dam, Verna Foley at Darver Tackle in Starbuck said long-lining off the lower wall has provided some good steelhead catches on occasion, but shore plunkers have perhaps done better above the dam where the fish mill about while trying to get reoriented after coming up the ladder.
Trout and kokanee
Kekeda flies in a number of orange and whatever combinations have been consistently out-fishing plugs on Lake Roosevelt. It is seldom necessary to go any deeper than 15 feet. Two friends and I fished out of Hunters on Wednesday, finding a sporadic bite but catching 11 fish in about 4 hours, mostly on Apex lures. They were suspended over deep water.
Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, is free of ice at this writing. A popular trout and perch destination, Fish Lake is a consistent winter producer and there is an easy way to check on fishing conditions. Go to lakewenatcheeinfo.com where a web cam on the lake is updated daily.
Hog Canyon Lake had a thin ice covering early this week and has been mostly unfishable since the weather moderated. It is doubtful the current cooling trend will do enough to bring any joy to ice fishermen.
Fourth of July has more open water than ever, and anglers fishing from shore are taking big rainbow trout.
Rock Lake is giving up lots of browns and a few rainbow. Trollers are finding success with Rapalas at midlake, just under the surface.
The humps in front of the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir are still yielding good catches of walleye, some of which are in the teens. Silver blade baits are fishing well. A typical day will also produce largemouth and good-sized perch.
Walleye fishing is poor to fair on Roosevelt with the best bite at Hawk Creek.
The water behind Wanapum Dam is finally coming up. There will be some announcements about the opening of some of the accesses to the river toward the end of the month. Walleye anglers are looking forward to getting on the river, which can be productive in winter.
Pike fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene is still a decent bet as many of the weed beds are still in good shape. The fish have been in about 8 feet of water, hitting a variety of swimbaits on a slow retrieve. Anglers are also having luck in the bays with a bobber and smelt.
The burbot bite is still on in the vicinity of Hawk Creek. These “fresh-water ling cod” are also being caught in Porcupine Bay.
Ducks are prevalent in the Columbia Basin and hunters on Potholes are shooting limits. A friend who lives and hunts there said duck numbers have been so good he won’t shoot anything but drake mallards. He also said the dunes area is on the cusp of forming ice.
With a little bit of snow, hunters looking for some winter action will find coyotes highly conspicuous. There is a big population of song dogs in Spokane, Lincoln and Whitman counties.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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