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

Alan Liere’s fish and game report for Aug. 25

Fly fishing

Spokane River water temperatures “are just fine.” Says Silver Bow Fly Shop, which recommends fishing the low-light hours with big foams bugs, particularly with a dropper.

The Yakima River is fishing fairly well. Throw stonefly dries in the morning and evenings and fish hoppers during the day.

The Grand Ronde has been best from Shumaker to Powatka Bridge. Hoppers and Wooly Buggers are the top presentations for both smallmouth and rainbow

Hoot owl restrictions have been lifted on the Blackfoot River in Montana and the spruce moth hatch has begun. Trim the bottom hackle on a light-colored size 10 caddis so it rides low on the water like a moth. If that doesn’t work, go with a hopper imitation. Numerous river restrictions are in affect in Montana due to hot weather and fires. Stay up to date on all emergency Montana angling restrictions by going to the FWP home page at and selecting Drought & Fire.

Rock Creek is running a little cooler than many of the other Montana waters and fishing has been better than average. Once again, spruce moths and hoppers are the most popular offering.

Salmon and steelhead

There is a catch-and-keep season for steelhead on now in the lower Clearwater River from the Memorial Bridge downstream to the boundary of the mouth of the Clearwater. Catch-and-release fishing applies to the Clearwater above the Memorial Bridge. Trolling lighted lures after dark has been slow, but anglers using shrimp under bobbers are taking some hatchery fish in the Clearwater just upstream of the mouth boundary.

The Buoy 10 salmon fishery isn’t crazy yet, but it is expected to. Anglers who put in a long day near the Astoria Bridge should catch a chinook or two in the mid to upper teens.

There are still a lot of sockeye in Lake Wenatchee and though the bite remains pretty good, the fish are showing their spawning colors. It is possible still to take a fresh fish, but most are smoker quality now.

There are already a few chinook to be caught on the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia and fishing should improve from here on as a run in excess of 200,000 is expected to return to the Reach this fall.

Summer run salmon on the Wenatchee River are notoriously non-biters, and given that this is a selective fishery with no bait allowed, the early fish have been fickle. Conditions on the river are good and there are plenty of fish to be had, but many of those caught are wild and must be released. The best method so far has been drifting a large spinner. The bite will become more aggressive later on.

Summer run chinook salmon fishing is not over in north-central Washington. Areas like Chelan Falls, Wells Dam and the Brewster Pool continue to provide good action.

Fall salmon fishing will open on Sept. 1 in two popular areas in Washington. The Columbia will open from the railroad bridge between Burbank and Kennewick upstream to the first power line crossing upstream of the navigation light on the point of Sacajawea State Park. The Snake River will be open from the mouth to the Oregon State line.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake continues to offer amazing nighttime kokanee fishing, and some of the fish are now hitting the 13-inch mark. Four of us fished Loon this week, and the final 10-fish limit was accomplished in just over an hour. We were off the lake by 9:30 p.m.

It has always puzzled me why Loon is one of the only kokanee lakes in Washington or Idaho where there is a significant amount of still-fishing at night. Deer Lake used to have night fishing until the koke population went south. Other lakes like Horseshoe, Davis, Roosevelt, Chelan, Palmer, Bead, Coeur d’Alene, and Dworshak have kokanee, but night fishing has not caught on.

Deep Lake in Grant County remains good for 10- to 12-inch kokanee. Trollers are taking five-fish limits in less than two hours by dragging pink hoochies at about 50 feet.

Big Lake Roosevelt kokanee are still being caught by trollers using downriggers to get down to around 80 feet. Some of next year’s fish are beginning to show, and their size is impressive. That, and the fact that clipped hatchery fish are now showing, bodes well for another kokanee bonanza next year.

Spiny ray

Banks Lake walleye of 15-18 inches are hitting the standard spinner/Slow Death setups on a bottom bouncer in 20-30 feet of water, but the bite has slowed, possibly due to dropping water levels. Sometimes crank baits such as the Flicker Shad will do better than anything at Banks this time of year. Keep the lure just above the weeds in about 15 feet of water. Smallmouth seem to like this offering too.

Pend Oreille River smallmouth are numerous in open pockets along the weed lines, and anglers are also taking a few largemouth.

With all the recent wind, pike fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene has been fair to poor. When things settle down again, spinnerbaits will do well.

Perch fishing is an enjoyable hot weather activity that is largely overlooked.

Waitts Lake perch are in 15-20 feet of water just off weed beds on the west side. At Loon and Deer lakes, look for perch grass at the same depth or slightly deeper. Silver Lake perch are usually around the stumps. There are big schools of perch, too, in Liberty, Diamond, Jump-Off Joe and Sacheen, North Twin and Lake Spokane. Coffeepot Lake has bigger perch, but bait is not allowed. Try a small curly-tailed grub.

All recreation areas on Lake Roosevelt now prohibit any outdoor burning except charcoal and propane grills. Campers were evacuated from the Porcupine Bay campground during recent fires. Alerts regarding recreational facilities are being posted as necessary on the national recreation area’s website, or call the Fort Spokane Visitor Center at (509) 754-7893.


Approximately 156 deer and 161 elk controlled hunt tags not issued during Idaho’s recent second drawing will go on sale first come, first served Thursday at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. They may be purchased at all Fish and Game license vendors, online at, or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

Contact Alan Liere at

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