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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for August 15

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

Last week’s storms provided a welcome bump in water flows and cooler water for area rivers, and that should lead to better fishing on the St. Joe, and perhaps even the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Throw dry/droppers using ants, beetles or caddis patterns. Silver Bow Fly Shop says hoppers and foam flies like gypsy kings or CFO Chernobyls are getting fish, as are smaller mayfly patterns in the evening. Try nymphing or using deep droppers in the afternoons.

Nymphing is getting it done on the Spokane River. Patterns with peacock in them are working well, as are small attractor nymphs.

The Clark Fork River has been very good this week for fly fishermen. The North Fork Clearwater has also been good. Try a dry hopper pattern with a Copper John dropper.

Salmon and steelhead

A few steelhead are being caught on the lower end of the Clearwater River where water levels are adequate but not optimal. Numbers of fish are slightly behind last year. The catch and keep season for Snake River steelhead will open September 1 from the Bridge Street Bridge in Clarkston to the Oregon/Idaho border.

Chinook fishing in the Brewster Pool has slowed down some, but fishing is still quite good for anglers trolling flashers and Brad’s Super Baits.

Anglers in Marine Area 2 (Westport) may now retain up to two chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers may retain wild coho in Area 2. Area 10 salmon fishing has been very good recently for chinook, coho and pinks. Salmon fishing at Sekiu (Area 5) is excellent for pinks and fair for coho and chinook.

Trout and kokanee

Williams Lake still fishermen are finding an excellent bite from large rainbow. Several fish of 3 pounds were caught this week and limits were the rule.

Kokanee anglers on Lake Roosevelt are having some excellent fishing, most recently around the Goat Farm. Pink hootchies and flashers have been consistently effective on humps near the rock walls, but you’ll have to get down to around 70 feet over deeper water. The evening bite has been best recently. Trout are also being taken at depths of 40 to 50 feet.

Tuesday night, two friends and I found fishing for Loon Lake kokanee a little more difficult than in weeks past. Beginning in front of the Granite Point bath house in 34 feet of water at 8:30 p.m., we only picked up 6 fish in 1 1/2 hours. Thinking we were too deep, we moved back to 30 feet of water but caught only small perch, crappie and bluegill in the next hour. We then moved back to 32 feet of water at 11:00 p.m., but the fish didn’t really start biting until 11:30. Between then and midnight, we put 20 kokes in our coolers. There hasn’t been a truly warm night on the water at Loon all summer. Take a jacket and a hat.

Lake Spokane remains good for rainbow trout running 16 to 22 inches. Try long-lining a sinking Rapala on a fast troll. Catching has been best early.

Both German Browns and rainbow have provided consistent action at Waitts Lake, and most of the fish stretch a foot or better. Night fishing with bait has been fast, but trolling anytime is also good.

Curlew Lake isn’t just about big perch. Anglers are catching a lot of rainbow trout in excess of a foot by merely hanging Power Bait off docks at the various resorts.

Deep Lake (near the Sun Lakes) is still a good place to catch 11-inch kokanee. The bite has slowed some and the fish are deeper than two weeks ago.

Lake Pend Oreille kokanee are abundant, and biologists were recently surprised to find they have also gained some length and girth. Creel surveys are now showing most anglers averaging about two fish per hour per rod, though as many as five fish per rod per hour is not unheard of. Some anglers are returning with 15-fish limits of fish averaging about 9 inches, with some as large as 11.5 inches. Most of the fishing has been from Idlewild Bay to Lakeview, although there have been reports of anglers doing well in the middle and northern portions of the lake as well.

Priest Lake mackinaw are on the bottom, and trollers who can get way down are finding plenty of fish, mostly in the 3-to-6-pound range. Target depths of at least 60 feet.

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are stretching a fat 13 to 15 inches. Powderhorn Bay and East Point have seen a lot of trolling action.

Spiny ray

Walleye anglers aren’t having much luck on the Snake River below Texas Rapids, but the smallmouth fishing has been outstanding and it doesn’t seem to matter much what you throw. Reports of 40-fish days are common, and some of these fish are 15 inches and more. Fish the edges of structure next to shore in 4 to 15 feet of water.

Spokane Arm walleye fishermen are doing pretty well by bottom bouncing and jigging from Porcupine Bay upriver. Green and chartreuse have been the most productive colors.

The Pend Oreille River near Newport is a good place for smallmouth bass up to 3 pounds. Fish the rocks. There was a report of a 6-pound walleye caught last week underneath the bridge at Usk.

Banks Lake walleye action has ranged from dismal to good. The big hump in the middle just to the west of Steamboat Rock has been productive at times. The nice thing about Banks is that the smallmouth bite is seldom poor, so take along your bass gear too. The fish are there; keep changing lures until you find the one they want. Sometimes top waters are the key. Other times, they want plastics. Crawdad patterns are always good.

Fishing for tiger muskies has been only fair this summer at area lakes like Curlew, Newman and Silver. Craig Dowdy of Y.J. Guide Service says area water has remained cooler than normal and the big toothy predators, especially at Newman, hit best when water temperatures get into the 80s. Dowdy says he has typically taken only 1 to 2 fish per outing this summer, whereas he’s used to taking a half dozen from weed edges and submerged weed beds.

Largemouth fishing remains good on Potholes Reservoir but the water has dropped, the dune water is getting skinny, and the fish (crappie and bluegill included) have moved into deeper water at the face of the dunes.

Eloika Lake doesn’t get much attention during the summer season because the weeds make navigating a boat with a motor an ordeal. This is good news for the largemouth bass and perch. The angler who can figure out how to drag a weedless offering through the tangle can target fish that have seen few hooks.

Other species

The sturgeon bite has picked up on Lake Roosevelt. Some anglers report catching as many as a dozen sub-legals a day, and keeper-sized fish seem to be more prevalent.


Idaho nonresident elk and deer tags are selling out quickly. On August 12, there were only 716 ( out of 12,815) elk tags and 4,000 (out of 15,500 )nonresident deer tags remaining. Hunters can see how many tags are left on the nonresident tag information page ( Sales updates are posted weekly.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@

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