Fly fishermen should probably start looking at some of the high mountain lakes and streams for guilt-free fishing in the hot weather. One example is Horseshoe Lake, a drive-up lake in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that holds beautiful eastern brook, browns, and tiger trout.
Silver Bow Fly Shop reports some decent cutthroat fishing on the lower and middle stretches of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. The upper river is skinny and warm and not recommended. The fish are eating golden stone and hopper patterns.
On the Spokane River, the area below the falls downtown and the stretch flowing into Riverside State Park have the coolest water. The water in the upper river near Silver Bow’s shop and Plante’s Ferry Park also remains cooler. Both have decent trout fishing. Above Sullivan is good for bass.
Trout and kokanee
Trollers catch smaller fish during the day, but the Loon Lake night bite produces fish at a respectable 10-11 inches. The fishing has been erratic with the most consistent action coming after 10:30 p.m.
Bonaparte Lake, in the Okanogan National Forest northeast of Tonasket, has been producing 13- to 15-inch kokanee. Just east of Bonaparte, also situated near Okanogan National Forest campgrounds, Beth and Beaver lakes have been producing rainbow trout up to 15 inches.
Blue Lake on Limebelt Road near Omak has also been producing both rainbow and eastern brook up to 15 inches. Omak Lake is still good for large cutthroat.
Both Conconully Lake and Reservoir have been good for kokanee, rainbow trout and largemouth bass. The upper lake seems to be producing larger fish.
Hayden Lake kokanee, most between 10 and 12 inches, have been hitting pink hootchies and white corn behind a dodger. Fish early and deep.
The kokanee bite on Lake Roosevelt is on for fish running up to 20 inches. Try to target areas around Spring Canyon and Swawilla Basin about 50 feet in depth. Pink has been the magic color. The rainbow are also biting and they are close to the surface, particularly early.
Salmon and steelhead
Summer Chinook and sockeye salmon fishing opened July 1 on the mainstem Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam up to Wells Dam, and from Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam. The Okanogan River is also open. The mainstem Columbia River section from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster opens July 16.
An additional three weeks have been added to the summer salmon fishery on the lower Columbia River. The fishery for salmon and hatchery steelhead is now scheduled to run through July 31 from Astoria-Megler Bridge upriver to Bonneville. A new daily catch limit for summer Chinook is now in effect on the Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Oregon/Washington border. It limits anglers to one adult Chinook salmon per day – marked or unmarked.
Brewster pool Sockeye fishing is on fire according to Kyle Jones at Kyle Jones Sportsfishing (208-861-0654). Limits of sockeye (6) are the norm and a few big chinook are also showing. Jones says he is targeting water 12-30 feet deep.
Anglers may begin catching sockeye salmon at Baker Lake beginning Friday. The daily limit will be four adult sockeye (minimum size 18 inches).
Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishing starts July 18 and runs through August. The daily catch limit is six sockeye of at least 12 inches. No night fishing is allowed.
Fishing is also open in a new salmon fishery management area in a six-mile area near the mouth of the Yakima River. The new area stretches from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco upstream to the Interstate 182 Bridge at Richland.
Salmon fishermen have been averaging one to two fish each near Ilwaco where anglers are catching both coho and Chinook. Fishing out of Westport is also heating up for Chinook and coho, with anglers also landing some early pink salmon. Marine Areas 5-7 and 9-13 are also open. Anglers fishing Area 9 say they have never seen pinks show up so early.
At Neah Bay and LaPush, anglers have a daily limit of two salmon (only one Chinook) plus two additional pink salmon. Friends who fished Neah Bay recently said chinook fishing is outstanding. The pink salmon are abundant and bigger than usual.
“For the first time in two decades, North of Ayock Point will open in July for fishing for coho and pink salmon,” says Ryan Lothrop, Puget Sound recreational salmon manager.
Dungeness Bay in Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait) opens July 16 for pink salmon. Anglers can keep four per day.
Summer-run steelhead have been moving into the lower Columbia at a growing rate and should provide some good fishing this month in both the big river and many of its tributaries. Unlike chinook, these 4- to 8-pound steelhead tend to run close to shore, so bank anglers should have some great fishing opportunities. Anglers might want to try fishing Drano Lake or the lower Wind River, where steelhead historically dip in to beat the heat.
Largemouth fishing has been very good this past week at all of the local spiny ray lakes, but don’t overlook “trout and kokanee” lakes like Liberty, Deer, Loon, Hayden, Clear and Coeur d’Alene. The best fishing is early or after dark. A report from Liberty Lake said topwaters along the outside weed beds in shallow water have proven effective for bass to 6 pounds.
The new walleye regulations are now in effect at Banks Lake and taking home a limit of eight is more likely than not. Crankbaits are good early and bottom bouncers and Smile Blades with Slow Death Hooks prove effective later. The fish have been found at all depths; try about 16 feet to begin with.
Walleye fishing remains good in the Columbia River as well as Grant County lakes like Scooteney, Potholes, and Moses Lake.
Kettle River walleye are biting. Either jig or troll with spinners and nightcrawlers. A few decent-sized northern pike have also been taken.
Palmer Lake, north of Loomis, is usually noted for its large kokanee, but it is outstanding for yellow perch and smallmouth bass at this time. There are also lots of warm water fish species, including big bluegill, to be caught at Spectacle Lake, southwest of Tonasket.
Smallmouth fishing has been excellent on the Grande Ronde. Plugs, tubes and flies are all working well for fish averaging 15 inches.
Shad are once again returning to the Columbia River in huge numbers. There is good fishing in the Umatilla area below McNary Dam. Most anglers anchor along gently sloping benches in relatively shallow water, 10 to 20 feet in depth.
Night fishermen are catching burbot at Sullivan Lake. Look for water at least 60 feet deep (deeper is better) near creek mouths and jig with a lot of weight and a gob of nightcrawlers.
Contact Alan Liere @email@example.com
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.