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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 86° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 12.

Fly fishing

Dry/dropper combos with a large Chernobyl and either a caddis pupa or jig nymph below it are getting it done the Spokane River. The hot weather will move trout into the faster currents.

Silver Bow Fly Shop said the heat will start to slow fishing down on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River this week. Mornings will be best, and terrestrials like ants and beetles will be on the menu. Try a golden or small Chernobyl with a dropper in the riffles. There are also some pmds and caddis.

Mornings are also best on the St. Joe. The lower stretches will have fewer bug hatches, and smaller patterns are the key. Golden stones or chubby Chernobyl stuff are effective, and sometimes droppers will up the odds. Ants and beetles are also working here. The North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek are fishing well.

The Clark Fork River in Montana is coming down some and is marginally fishable.

Trout and kokanee

Following two stellar nighttime kokanee outings on Loon Lake, I struck out twice during the Fourth of July weekend. Friends who fished a different part of the lake on the Fourth did well, catching their 10-fish limits in just more than an hour.

Hoping to redeem myself Sunday night, I ventured out with the same two anglers, jigging green Glo-Hooks and maggots in 32 feet of water just out from the lighted palm tree on the east shore. We had limits by 10:30 p.m. Most Loon Lake kokes are running close to 11 inches with a few smaller and an occasional one to 13 inches.

Trollers are also finding a good bite at a depth of 20-28 feet during the day, but the fish are generally smaller.

WDFW’s lowland lake trout derby continues through Oct. 31. Anglers with an applicable 2018-19 freshwater, combination, or all-in-one Fish Washington fishing license who catch one of more than 1,000 tagged fish can claim prizes provided by license dealers located across the state. A list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes is available at the Fish Washington website.

In Montana, still fishermen at night use Swedish Pimples and pieces of crawdad tail for their kokanee at Lake Mary Ronan. At Loon, good success comes (if the weather cooperates) with a Glo-Hook and maggot in 30 feet of water. I never have figured out why kokanee anglers do not fish at night on Lake Coeur d’Alene using Loon Lake tactics.

Walleye fishermen on Potholes Reservoir report catching quite a few 18-inch rainbow as well as a few walleyes.

Anglers are saying this has been one of the best kokanee fishing years in Okanogan County with lots of water and bigger fish. Alta and Upper Conconully lakes are producing kokanee in the 16- to 18-inch range. Spectacle, Patterson and Lower Conconully are producing limits of 11- to 13-inch fish. Bonaparte Lake is good for kokes, with trollers catching them between 15 and 20 feet down, some as large as 18 inches. Trout anglers are getting in on the action, with several fish reported between 7 and 10 pounds.

Rock Lake fishes well in the morning for rainbow and browns, but as with other Eastern Washington lakes, the bite tapers off at around 10 a.m.

Steelhead and salmon

Bad news. The Columbia River will close to fishing for summer run salmon at midnight Sunday. That means both the Pete Flohr Memorial Derby in Wenatchee and the Brewster King Salmon Derby are canceled this year. The sockeye season remains open.

Chelan Falls and Wells Dam chinook and sockeye will provide decent fishing until the chinook closure. Best luck on chinook comes by trolling Superbaits at 15-20 feet. For sockeye, try a pink Smile Blade and a red hook with a bit of shrimp.

Spiny ray

A friend said the Bonnie Lake “launch” hasn’t improved any, but the water is high and small boats are having no trouble putting in. He said he only fished a short time, but caught four crappie between 9 1/2 and 11 inches.

Coeur d’Alene pike can be finicky. Even when they are striking aggressively, they sometimes forget to open their mouths. A report from a longtime Coeur d’Alene pike angler said he recently found fish in 6-12 feet of water, but 12 “strikes” resulted in only two hookups. He said both fish came on a Fire Tiger-colored spinner bait with tandem willow leaf blades.

Walleye fishing on Banks Lake was slow last week and early this week. Some anglers blamed the south wind. The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt has been better, but the main river has been best. Troll spinners along the shore in about 20 feet of water. A fair to good walleye bite is reported at Kettle Falls with most of the fish coming from 50 feet of water.

Other species

Kettle Falls sturgeon are deep, but keepers are still few and far between.


Idaho hunters who did not draw a tag for 2018 deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear or turkey still have the opportunity to get a prime deer, elk, pronghorn or moose hunt through the Super Hunt program. Hunt entries are $6 each, or $20 each for the Super Hunt combo, and people can apply as many times as they like. The Super Hunt entry period goes through Aug. 10, where tags for two elk, two deer, two pronghorn, one moose and one Super Hunt Combo will be drawn. Hunters may enter the drawings at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, online at or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

Today, Idaho resident Sawtooth Zone A and B elk tags go on sale, with half of the tags sold at Fish and Game offices and license vendors-only starting at 9 a.m. (PDT). The remaining half of the resident Sawtooth tags will go on sale online only at noon. (PDT).

Contact Alan Liere at

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