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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fish and game report for July 7

Fly fishing

There are few streams or rivers in Washington, Idaho and Montana that aren’t producing well for fly fishermen now. Water is in good shape and success ranges from fair to excellent. Take along your golden stones, pmd’s and caddis, and fish dry with a dropper.

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports excellent smallmouth fishing on the Grande Ronde. They recommend mice and popper patterns, crayfish patterns, Sparkle Minnows and Rubber Leg Buggers.

Trout and kokanee

The big Lake Roosevelt kokanee seem to put on a few more ounces every week. One was reported this week at 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Pink or orange Apexes tipped with garlic corn have been good behind dodgers. You’ll have to experiment with depth, as one day they’ll be 25 feet down, and the next day at 70 feet. The spring-planted rainbow are about 12 inches long.

Closer to home, Clear Lake has been fair to good for rainbow trout running 12-16 inches. Trolling has been effective. Waitts Lake is full of 12-inch rainbow and fishing is usually good anywhere on the lake. Hayden Lake kokes are running approximately 12 inches. Sprague Lake has produced some good-sized trout recently, and even those dunking bait at the public access have done well at times.

Sullivan Lake kokanee are fairly small and not as numerous as in other Washington Lakes, but for solitude and scenery, it’s hard to beat.

The little Pend Oreille chain lakes near Colville don’t get much attention, but most of the little lakes have been stocked with tiger trout and there are also rainbow. For the past couple of years, anglers at Gillette Lake have complained of a bad parasite infestation which makes the fish unappetizing to look at, but the trout at Sherry and Thomas look a lot better. This chain also has a good population of decent-sized perch.

Marshall Lake cutthroat trout are running 10-14 inches and the cuttbows are 14-18 inches. Use troll spinners or flies at 30-35 feet. There are a lot of big largemouth bass caught with surface lures in the bays.

An algae bloom in the shallow ends and bays at Curlew Lake was making trolling for trout difficult early in the week, but still fishermen were catching good numbers of the big rainbow, and a good wind could make things better.

Fish Lake near Cheney has some good-sized brookies, but anglers are catching more small perch than trout these days.

Conconully Lake and Reservoir have provided excellent kokanee and rainbow fishing so far this summer. The lower reservoir has kokanee of around 10 inches and the upper lake kokes run 12-15 inches. Troll at roughly 20 feet for kokanee and shallower for trout.

In Idaho, Priest Lake mackinaw trollers are catching a lot of 3- to 5-pound fish. Kokanee are not plentiful, but they are big. Lake Pend Oreille has produced some kamloops in the teens and lots of kokanee.

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are still most plentiful in the south end. They will spread out as the water warms. Most are small, approximately 8 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook are hanging at 50-70 feet and hitting flashers and squid. The Big One Chinook Derby will run July 27-31. Info: Fins and Feathers (208) 667-9304.

Baker Lake sockeye have returned in greater numbers – and earlier in the season – than anticipated and the fishery is now open, earlier than the preseason set date of July 10. The daily limit is five adult sockeye salmon greater than 18 inches in length.

Chinook salmon fishing has been excellent at Chelan Falls with the majority of the fish being hatchery.

The salmon opener at Westport was somewhat disappointing with a lot of anglers getting skunked.

Spiny ray

In the Tum Tum area of Long Lake, it is possible to catch a large variety of fish from rainbow trout to largemouth bass. Even a walleye or pike shows up now and then, and the perch fishing can be exceptional. Smallmouth bass are a slam-dunk on most days.

Coeur d’Alene pike fishing was reported to be very good last week with some fish in the teens showing. Frogs and spinnerbaits have proven most successful around the cabbage beds. Smallmouth are hitting drop-shots at 15-20 feet.

Anglers targeting tiger muskie are finding them at Curlew Lake in Ferry County, particularly in the waters near the railroad trestle. It is not unusual to see several of these large hybrids finning just under the surface near structure, and smallmouth bass seem to be everywhere. Curlew Lake tiger muskie are not as easy to catch as those in Newman or Silver Lake in Spokane County, but they generally run a lot bigger.

Lake Roosevelt walleye are scattered and the bite has been erratic for smallish fish. No one method has been better than another. Jigs and blades were accounting for a lot of Rufus Woods walleye earlier, but things have slowed down, perhaps because of the unsettled weather.

Banks Lake has seen some healthy walleye caught recently south of Steamboat Rock.

Other species

Some really big channel cats have been caught recently at Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, some over 25 pounds, and you don’t need a boat to get them. Stop at MarDon Resort and ask for specifics.

Night fishing for bullheads is a fun way to spend a hot summer night. A lot of “trout” lakes in the Spokane area have good populations of 12- to 14-inch fish. Liberty Lake and Deer Lake are two of the best, and Long Lake is also loaded. Fish on bottom in shallow water with a gob of nightcrawlers.

Contact Alan Liere via email at