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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fish and game report for Aug. 4

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop guide Jake Hood says fishing was pretty solid this week on the Spokane River. He notes that double nymph rigs 5-6 feet down below a strike indicator have done very well. There are other reports of good hopper fishing on the Spokane.

Kelly Creek/North Fork Clearwater is still one of the top options for cutthroat fishing. Smaller bugs like PMDs, caddis and ants are most effective. The Kootenai River is a decent option now – though not red-hot. Streamers will take some bigger trout there.

This is a good time to check out some of the higher, smaller streams; both for the good rainbow and cutthroat fishing – and for the solitude. The high lakes around White, Chinook and Snoqualmie passes are now accessible to trout fishing. WDFW stocks many of these with rainbow or cutthroat trout fry, and some also have naturally reproducing eastern brook trout. Most of these streams, such as the Icicle River near Leavenworth, don’t produce big fish, but the trout are abundant and the scenery is spectacular.

Trout and kokanee

Anglers can find some trout action at area lakes, but early morning and late evening fishing will produce the best results. These lakes include Clear, Badger, Williams and West Medical lakes. Anglers are catching good numbers of brown trout and rainbows at Whitman County’s Rock Lake.

Bill Baker, WDFW Northeast Fish Biologist, says trout fishing seems to be holding up through the summer months, with many northeast lakes fishing well. He suggests anglers should consider focusing on some of the higher elevation lakes. “Many of our cutthroat-stocked waters in the district are good bets at this time of year,” Baker said. “For example, Yokum Lake in Pend Oreille County is fishing great, producing cutthroat between 11-14 inches with occasional larger fish.”

Deep Lake in Stevens County is fishing well according to Baker. “I fished Deep Lake recently and caught a limit of five kokanee in about an hour and a half,” he said. Those fish measure 10-12 inches and the limit is five. Pierre Lake, also in Stevens County, is producing kokanee up to 16 inches, although most fish are 10-12 inches.

I arrived late at Loon Lake on Friday night and didn’t get a line in the water until 9:15 p.m. I then went without a bite for over an hour, moving a few feet three different times. At 10:30, I either found the magic depth (30 feet) or the kokanee decided to bite. I was limited by 11. Two nights later, I caught five fish in 10 minutes – then nothing. On Wednesday night, I struggled to get six by 10:30 p.m. while the friend next to me limited a half hour earlier. That’s kokanee fishing.

The Tucannon River impoundments on the Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County continue to produce hatchery-stocked rainbow trout.

Hayden Lake has been very good for 13- to 15-inch kokanee, with an occasional larger fish that is showing its spawning colors. The area around English Point has been productive. Expect to put up with rough water caused by recreational users.

Salmon and steelhead

Lake Wenatchee sockeye are big this year, and so far are in excellent shape. The bite is early and bare red hooks on a 12-inch leader behind a dodger work best. The fishing can best be described as “inconsistent.” Skunks and limits are both possible. The main complaint about this fishery are the very long waits at the ramp to launch and take out.

Baker Lake sockeye anglers have had decent luck recently south of Snag Island, but the run is just about over. Successful anglers say two red hooks are all that are needed. Troll slowly at 25 feet and deeper. As with kokanee fishing, a lot of bites come on the turn.

Some chinook and sockeye are holding now at the mouth of the Okanogan River, but the fishing can be hit or miss. The guides generally do well. Unless you’ve already registered for the Brewster Salmon Derby this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you might be better off fishing elsewhere – the river will be really crowded.

The summer run salmon season opened on Monday in the Wenatchee River from the mouth to the bridge on Icicle River Road. The water conditions are favorable to good fishing. In the past, large spoons and spinners have been effective.

Spiny ray

Newman Lake has been good for largemouth recently. The bite can be at anytime, but the few anglers who fish at night seem to catch more and larger fish. A few large tiger muskies have come from Newman recently. Silver Lake, too, has produced a couple nice tiger muskies recently – both by anglers targeting largemouth.

Long Lake smallmouth continue to cooperate, though nothing particularly large was reported this week. There is a lot of fry in the water, and crappie are chowing down. Look for them in shady spots around docks.

Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are still having their best success upriver from Porcupine Bay. The fish are usually on the small side, but a 20-fish day will usually give you a half dozen respectable ’eyes.

Despite the warm water, Mark Mills, of Spokane, experienced a very good northern pike bite on Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Chains recently, finding the fish spread out throughout the system. He finished the day with 12 pike landed and also caught a smallmouth bass his scales said weighed 5 pounds 2 ounces, but he thought may have weighed much more. Mills said the best producer of the day was a one-ounce white spinner bait with a chrome blade fished slowly.

Kokanee fishing on Dworshak Reservoir has slowed down, but the bass fishing has picked up. A lot of nice-sized smallmouth have been landed recently. The Snake River, too, is giving up a lot of smallmouth over 15 inches.

Walleye fishing is going strong on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Some of the best catches have come from Lake Umatilla, the section of the Columbia River stretching 67 miles between John Day and McNary Dams. Angling upstream of McNary has also been good.

Walleye are also active on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia, as well as on the lower Snake River below Little Goose and Ice Harbor dams. “Walleye really tie on the feedbag when the water heats up, so we can expect to see some great fishing in the weeks ahead,” says Paul Hoffarth, WDFW fish biologist.

Potholes Reservoir is high for this time of year, but anglers casting weedless frogs and skirted jigs that can break through the tangles on top are having their way with the largemouth. As with all bass waters now, best fishing has been late evening into the night. Good numbers of crappie are being caught off the Mardon dock on Potholes.

Contact Alan Liere via email at

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