Hoot owl restrictions are in affect on many Montana streams and rivers. For updates on closures and restrictions related to drought and fire call the FWP office in Missoula at (406) 542-5500, or go online.
That said, there are plenty of rivers without restrictions. Some of these are the Kootenai, the Missouri, the Bighorn, Clark Fork near St. Regis, and tributaries to these.
The Spokane River is always a good late-summer option, but don’t give up on the St. Joe or the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Fly fishing isn’t fast now, but there are definitely opportunities. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends trying something different this time of year as the fish are becoming accustomed to the usual Chubby Chernobyls and Royal Wulffs.
Salmon and steelhead
Fishing for chinook salmon on the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, and Lochsa rivers will end on Monday, but fall chinook seasons will open on Sept. 1 on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers.
The fall chinook fishery officially starts on Aug. 16 from the Highway 395 bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. The best fishing during this early season is in the Tri-Cities area.
For the first few weeks of the fall salmon fishery, anglers will focus their attention from the Yakima River confluence to the Hanford 300 area. After Aug. 16, anglers may keep up to three adult chinook or coho as part of their six-fish limit and anglers can harvest both adipose clipped and unclipped salmon.
Lake Wenatchee is still providing good sockeye fishing when the wind isn’t blowing. When it is, it is difficult to maintain the proper trolling speed. Anglers say they are graphing a lot of fish but they are scattered. These fish are still very bright.
The Brewster Pool is currently holding a lot of chinook. The best bite has been at around 22 feet on Brad’s Superbaits.
With the coho season closed on most ocean destinations, anglers are going deeper looking for chinook. The Buoy 10 fishery has been fair to good. At Seiku and Neah Bay, fishing has been decent with a lot of shakers and a lot of wild fish which must be released. The small fishing towns along the Washington coast are definitely suffering from the lack of angler participation due to the coho restriction.
Trout and kokanee
There is still some terrific kokanee and cutthroat fishing available on Lake Chelan right now. Cutts over 2 feet long have been reported as well as kokanee to 16 inches.
Hayden Lake kokanee are still hitting Wedding Rings and hootchies at 35-40 feet. The fish have been concentrated around English Point.
Both upper and lower Conconully have provided tremendous kokanee fishing lately for trollers. Most of the fish are approximately 11 inches and the limit is five.
Deep Lake in Grant County doesn’t generate the interest of other kokanee lakes in Washington, but the fish, fat 12-inchers, are willing biters on the usual kokanee gear trolled between 55-60 feet down. The limit is five.
Loon Lake kokanee have begun their bite earlier in the evening than normal. Still fishermen are getting on the lake as early as 7:30 p.m. and leaving by 9 p.m. with 10-fish limits. The recent unsettled weather may put them off for awhile, but there is still at least a month of good Loon Lake kokanee fishing available. The average size is over 11 inches, though anglers are catching a few of next year’s fish that measure only 9 inches. You can catch Loon’s kokanee by trolling, too, but the recreational boaters keep the water pretty rough after 9 a.m.
Deer Lake kokanee are no-shows again this year, but some really nice rainbows are willing biters for still fishermen in 25-30 feet of water near The Narrows. Pick a shoreline, find the right depth, and dangle a worm or Power Bait. Fishing picks up in the evening into the night.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent kokanee survey of Dworshak Reservoir indicated fish are stacking up in the upper reservoir. They are fat, and their size is a respectable 10-11 inches. The highest densities of kokanee were found from Gold Creek to well above Grandad Bridge as they begin their spawning migration.
Lake Roosevelt’s Spokane Arm is producing some nice catches of 16- to 22-inch walleye for anglers headed way upriver. Smile Blades and Slow Death hooks with nightcrawlers have been productive.
Silver Lake is becoming a popular largemouth destination. Anglers aren’t catching anything terribly large, but a lot of 3-pounders are available. Silver is a good multispecies lake. Currently, perch and bluegill are also biting, some of fairly decent size. Tiger Muskie, too, have been in several reports recently.
Coeur d’Alene pike and largemouth are a good possibility for anglers throwing frogs and spinnerbaits over the weed masses.
Largemouth bass at lakes like Sacheen, Diamond, Liberty and Deer are getting more attention and providing more action than the “traditional” bass lakes like Eloika, Newman and Downs. Eloika Lake has been virtually untouched this summer because of the weed mat on top, but if you can get a heavy weedless jig through the tangle, there are some big bass waiting below.
If smallmouth bass are your preference, Potholes Reservoir, Moses Lake, Curlew Lake, Long Lake and the Snake and Columbia rivers are the places to be. Fishing has been good at all.
Hunters who were unsuccessful in the first drawing for Idaho’s controlled hunts in June have more chances with a second controlled hunt drawing and Super Hunts through Aug. 15. Any tags not drawn after the second drawing will be sold first-come, first-served on Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time. A list of available tags by hunt number is available on Fish and Game’s website under the “Featured” section at https://idfg.idaho.gov.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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