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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 11

UPDATED: Wed., July 10, 2019

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

Fishing on the St. Joe River remains good. PMD’s, goldens, caddis, ants, beetles, and attractor dries are all working. Grasshoppers are just beginning to mature everywhere, and Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends having some hopper imitations where ever you fish.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River bite is slowing a little with the increased activity from the inner-tubers. Early and late will be your best options. PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, goldens, caddis, ants, and beetles will work for dries.

The Spokane River has been good early for nymphers. Large Chernobyls are providing some dry fly action, particularly in the evening.

The Clark Fork has been fair early and late. If you fish during mid-day, nymphing the riffles in the bright sun is a good technique.

Salmon and steelhead

The sockeye fishery on Baker Lake is just getting started. A typical setup is a chrome dodger with double red hooks and a pink UV skirt on about 12 inches of leader, baited with shrimp.

The salt water salmon fisheries are showing a lot of coho. Anglers may now retain only one Chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit in Neah Bay.

Trout and kokanee

The Lake Roosevelt fishery is improving rapidly. Anglers fishing around Spring Canyon have put kokes to 4 pounds in the net with a fair amount of regularity. Trout fishing, too, has been good from Whitestone down.

Loon Lake kokanee are still in 30-32 feet of water. The unsettled weather recently has put the fish off some, and the bite is starting about 9:45 p.m. After quick early limits for several weeks, it was past 11:00 p.m. before I caught my 10th fish early this week.

Of all the put-and-take lowland lakes around Spokane, Williams has been the best and Badger has been second in productivity. Badger has kokanee as well as cutthroat and rainbow. Waitts Lake rainbow and browns are still hitting in the middle of the lake on trolled flies and Fish Lake anglers are taking mostly tiger trout. Up north, Diamond and Sacheen trout fishing has been only fair, and Deer Lake only a little better.

Curlew Lake is becoming known for its large catches of perch, but there are still lots of trout in the lake, and you can often catch them from the dock at the State Park or one of the resorts. Most of these fish are in the 10-to-12-inch range, but 15-inchers are not uncommon. Curlew Lake rainbow rank in the top three (in my opinion) for taste among Washington lakes.

Coeur d’Alene Lake has seen good kokanee fishing on the south end in Powderhorn Bay and at Spokane Point, and some of the fish are larger than 12 inches. The fish are high in the water column early, but you’ll find them as deep as 45 feet by late morning. No one is quite sure what happened to the kokanee at Lake Pend Oreille, but it is almost impossible now to catch one over 7 inches.

Omak Lake Lahontan cutthroat don’t get much attention, but the bite can be furious at times and the fish can easily run two feet long and better. The fishing is more fun in the fall when the trout are close to the surface, but at this time of year, you’ll have to go as deep as 50 feet. Needlefish and Crocodiles have been effective. A Colville Tribe fishing permit is required.

Bonaparte Lake kokanee running 12 to 16 inches are suspending at about 30 feet in front of the Boy Scout camp, and trollers are doing very well. Now and then, a mackinaw or tiger trout is caught at this depth on standard kokanee gear.

Conconully Reservoir rainbow are not exactly jumping in the boat, but savvy anglers don’t seem to have any difficulty catching fish up to 20 inches long. Kokanee are also available on this body of water.

Billy Clapp Reservoir, near Ephrata, has both rainbow and kokanee, but though the kokanee can sometimes approach 20 inches, the best bite right now is for rainbow trout running about 16 inches. Deep Lake (also in Grant County) kokanee fishing remains underused for being such a good fishery.

Spiny ray

Coeur d’Alene northern pike are being caught on outside weed edges by anglers throwing a variety of spoons and spinner baits. Let your offering drop before reeling.

Lake Roosevelt walleye fishing has been decent north of the Kettle Falls Bridge by anglers jigging in 40 to 60 feet of water. Walleye anglers running all the way up the Spokane Arm past Buoy 5 are also doing pretty well.

Banks Lake fishing has been “spotty,” says Lou Nevsimal at Coulee Playland Resort. He said the best success has come from 35 to 45 feet of water on the main lake and at about 18 feet on the weed lines. Catching smallmouth is no problem, but the larger ones are deeper than normal for this time of year. The lake is “chock full of bait,” says Nevsimal, which has probably caused the erratic walleye bite. Bottom walkers with spinners/slow death rigs do best.

Area bass fishermen have so many good choices, it’s often difficult to decide. Take your pick: Silver, Newman, Eloika, Long, Downs, Loon, Deer, Moses, Potholes, Curlew, Twin, Hayden, Hauser, Priest, Pend Oreille or Coeur d’Alene lakes. How about the Pend Oreille, Snake or Columbia rivers? All of these and others have provided lots of smallmouth or largemouth action (often both) in recent weeks.

Other species

For the most part, sturgeon fishing on Lake Roosevelt has been slow, but now and then a keeper fish is landed. The mouth of the Colville River has been good some days in depths from 70 to 150 feet in the main channel. The edge of the sand bars on the east side of the reservoir in front of the day area on Colville Flats is also reported as a good place to start. The water is shallower there – around 80 feet. From there, try deep holes south to Ricky Point and Bradbury Beach. There is hardly a bait that hasn’t been used for sturgeon, including pickled herring, squid, nightcrawlers, marshmallows, cut fish, and a commercial concoction called Sturgeon Candy. Anglers may retain only one sturgeon a day (two for the season) measuring between 53 and 63 inches from the tip of the snout to the fork in the tail.


The WDFW is seeking applicants for its Game Management Advisory Council. Fill out the application to apply at and apply by 5 p.m., Aug. 15. Submit applications by email to

Contact Alan Liere at

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