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Thursday, December 12, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 39° Rain
Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s weekly fish and game report for June 23

Fly fishing

Both the upper and lower Spokane River are producing for fly casters – trout in the lower section and smallmouth bass above Barker Road. Mid morning and evening are best. The best action is on subsurface patterns, and bobber rigs are doing very well.

Fishing has been mostly decent on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River. A pale morning dun droppers under a stone fly imitation is a good choice. Streamer fishing is still working on the St. Joe River, but there have been good PMD hatches there, too.

The Clark Fork is a good option in the unsettled weather, and it holds lots of nice-sized fish. North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek are accessible again, says Silver Bow Fly Shop. Although there have been no reports, fishing should be good. The Kootenai River is also a good option now.

The Yakima River is low, clear, and stable – perfect for do-it-yourself floaters and wade fishermen.

Trout and kokanee

Captain Dave Grove, of Captain Dave’s Guide Service ((509) 939-6727), says he found his Lake Roosevelt kokanee this week chasing marks between 45-65 feet. He expects the 4-pound-plus fish to keep putting on weight through August.

Friends who trolled Loon Lake this week kept limits of 10- to 11-inch kokanee but said they shook off a lot of 7-inch fish. Three colors of leaded line, a 000 dodger and a Wedding Ring will do the job. Night fishermen who sneak out between storms have done very well dunking Glo-Hooks with maggots.

It is difficult to not catch rainbow trout at Waitts Lake these days. Most are around 14 inches, caught by trollers in the top 20 feet. Brown trout have been scarce.

Long Lake trout just keep getting bigger. Good reports come this week from the Tum Tum area where trollers are also catching a fair number of 10- to 11-inch crappie.

Sprague Lake has been popular lately with bank fishermen near the public launch and across the lake at the Four Seasons and Sprague Lake Resort docks. Those with boats are anchoring up and throwing Power Bait or worms and marshmallows between the island and Four Seasons Resort. A lot of carryovers have been taken, many close to 5 pounds.

Klink’s Resort on Williams Lake says the anticipated plant of 10-pound rainbow didn’t happen as the fish went to another lake. There are still a lot of the 8-pounders that were planted in May, however, and the catchables put in by the state are easy to find around Tree 11 where the springs are. Nearby Badger Lake has been kind to trollers with rainbow running 12-15 inches.

Tiffany’s Resort on Curlew Lake reports anglers are catching large rainbow trout right off their dock. Most Curlew rainbow are 16-19 inches, but some 5-pounders are coming in also. Curlew is also booting out big numbers of perch.

The Log Cabin Resort on Twin Lake (near Inchelium) reports “awesome fishing” with rainbow running 4-5 pounds and as large as 8 pounds. The brookies weigh in at about one pound. Largemouth fishing is said to be the best in 15 years.

Chelan has been good to kokanee fishermen who are finding their fish from 40 to 75 feet down. A hootchie and a Smile Blade in back of a 00 dodger has been popular.

Potholes walleye fishermen are picking up a fair number of big rainbow while trolling the humps with bottom bouncers and spinners.

Salmon and steelhead

The South Fork of the Salmon River opened to chinook fishing on June 18 and IDFG expects about 1,100 fish for sports anglers. The season can close quickly, however, depending on the number of salmon caught. Last year, it opened on June 19 and closed July 3. You can also get daily catch rates and harvest by visiting Fish and Game’s website at

Spiny ray

Fan Lake is largely overlooked as a largemouth bass destination, but anglers throwing Senkos have taken some nice fish recently.

Long Lake largemouth are also fond of Senkos, but the smallmouth seem to like them even more. Most of the smallies are under one pound, but fish over 3 pounds are not uncommon.

The narrows above Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt is still a good place to score on walleye. Those caught recently have been mostly under 20 inches, hitting a variety of spinners and jigs baited with half a nightcrawler. This is also a good rig for picking up smallmouth and trout.

Friends who fished the Pend Oreille River this week said the smallmouth were very cooperative, and some were over 3 pounds. All their fish were caught on a 4-inch green pumpkin’ wacky rig or a Texas rig in the same color.

Banks Lake walleye are biting in a number of locations. Where you fish will often be dictated by the amount of wind.

Downs Lake perch are on the bite at last, but none of the really big ones have come in yet; most are 8-10 inches. The largemouth fishing remains excellent, and the trout – while relatively scarce – are running 14-16 inches.

Snake River smallmouth fishing is described as “phenomenal” around Lyons Ferry and the walleye fishing as “good.” A 14-pound fish was caught last weekend. There has also been some perch action.

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Grande Ronde has been very good. The river is in excellent shape.

Other species

The recent channel cat tournament at Lyons Ferry Marina on the Snake River was won with a fish of nearly 13 pounds. While big enough, it was small compared to the 35 pounder once weighed in. An average weight of 3-4 pounds is more common, and these fish have spread out from the Palouse into the main river where they are caught early and late in hot weather but throughout the day when it is cloudy.

Beginning on July 1, recreational anglers will have the opportunity to harvest hatchery sturgeon from Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs, the first time in two decades anglers will be allowed to retain sturgeon in this section of the Columbia River. About 4,000 hatchery sturgeon are estimated to reside in Wanapum Reservoir and roughly 2,000 in Priest Rapids Reservoir. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, anglers will be allowed to retain two hatchery sturgeon daily that are between 38 and 72 inches (fork-length) from these two reservoirs. These fish will not count toward an angler’s annual limit for sturgeon.


A weekend trip to the dairy country around Sunnyside, Washington reminded me of how much I used to enjoy pigeon hunting. As a youth, friends and I would get permission to hunt around old barns in the Four Mounds area, and the birds provided sporty, high-volume shooting. Because dairy farmers in the Sunnyside area don’t think much of these “rock doves,” permission to shoot is usually easy to obtain and there is no season and no limit. A nephew who is a fanatic duck hunter even sets up pigeon decoys and hunts the feed lots like he would a duck pond. He invited me along on a productive Sunday shoot, and afterward I breasted and fried a half dozen birds. They were delicious – milder even than mourning doves.

Contact Alan Liere via email at

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