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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 17

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

Streams in Chelan and Okanogan counties have dropped enough to allow for comfortable wading, so it’s time to chase the small rainbow and cutthroat that inhabit these waters. The Icicle and the Entiat rivers are prime, though the Teanaway is low and warm. A Parachute Adams is irresistible to these small trout, but for larger fish, hit the Methow, the Yakima or the Kettle north of Republic.

Good fishing continues on the Spokane River. Nymphing remains excellent. On the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River, fish the riffles morning and evening. The St. Joe River is solid but not hot. PMDs, goldens, caddis, ants, beetles and attractor dries will all catch fish.

On the North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek, fishing has been good despite a lot of pressure. St. Joe patterns will work here. It’s standard summer fare for the Clark Fork, with attractor dries and dry/dropper rigs working well.

Salmon and steelhead

With the Washington salmon runs at such depressed levels, seasons and limits can change at any time. Anglers are reminded to check for emergency rule changes before heading to a fishing destination. These can be found on the website at or by calling the fishing hotline at (360) 902-2500.

As of last week, upper Columbia salmon anglers had taken 23% of the 78,000 coho quota and 29% of the 7,150 chinook quota with an average fish per angler of 1.65. At Westport, anglers had taken 6% of the 53,000 coho quota and 5% of the 12,700 chinook quota. La Push anglers have taken 2% of the 4,050 coho quota and 5% of the 1,000 chinook quota. At Neah Bay, anglers have taken 16% of the 16,000 coho quota and are closing in on the 5,200 chinook quota, having taken 75% of the allotment.

Trout and kokanee

Fishing for triploid rainbow has been good on Rufus Woods Reservoir. The Colville Tribe has released 44,000 fish since March, averaging 2.75 pounds each. Many of the fish caught recently near the upper net pens have been larger than that.

Lake Roosevelt anglers out of Keller Ferry trolling hootchies or flies are accounting for good kokanee catches above and below the ferry, with most of the strikes coming at about 40 feet. Anglers are finding kokes at the same depth over deep water at Jones Bay and Spring Canyon. There have been some enthusiastic reports from trollers using the new Old Goat spinner and adding a small hootchie to the hook.

Kokanee fishing on Loon Lake has been hit or miss during the recent low pressure systems. I fished the lake twice last week, limiting quickly once and struggling to catch a couple the next time. The fish are still in 30-32 feet of water in numerous locations on the lake.

Coeur d’Alene Lake kokes are running a fat 12-14 inches and the best bite has been in Powderhorn Bay. The limit is 15. A few chinook salmon have also been taken at depths of 40 to 70 feet trolling the usual flashers and squid, flies or herring.

Priest Lake mackinaw anglers are having no problem jigging up 2- to 3-pound fish, but they are going deep with 1-ounce Glo jigs to do so – down to 160 feet.

Spiny ray

Liberty Lake largemouth are keeping anglers happy. Liberty also has a big population of channel cats and some are being taken from the public access fishing dock.

Long Lake smallmouth are still cooperative for anglers throwing tube jigs and Senkos. Drop-shotting is also popular. Long is also a great place to take a mess of yellow-bellied bullheads on a hot summer night.

The perch at Eloika Lake are plentiful if you can find a hole in the weeds to dunk a worm. Perch anglers there say the fish are larger than they have been in years past.

Largemouth bass are active along the edge of the dunes in Potholes Reservoir. Some good-sized perch and channel cats have also shown. Moses Lake anglers are finding some nice largemouth along the shorelines in 5 feet of water. An effective but seldom-employed technique is to troll shallow diving plugs.

The Chain Lakes near Coeur d’Alene are producing northern pike. Target 8 feet of water with spinnerbaits early in the morning. The fish seem to go deeper as the day progresses. Weed beds are showing throughout the system.

Smallmouth bass in Priest Lake are plentiful along rocky shorelines. Because of the colder water, these fish remain fairly shallow. Plastics in crawdad colors are effective.

Other species

Munden’s Rising Son Adventures, (509) 492-8852, said now is a good time to fish the Bonneville Pool for oversize sturgeon. Shad and squid have been the top baits for catching fish often running 7-11 feet in length.

Two friends and I sampled the Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishery near Bradbury Beach this week. When we arrived at 8 a.m., a guide boat already had a “keeper” tied to the boat and one of the clients was in the long process of catching and releasing an oversized fish. For us as rookies, there was a lot of trial and error, but we did have two bites in 121 feet of water, losing one and landing a “small” 40-incher. A few observations: A steelhead rod does the fish a disservice as it’s too limber to catch and release a sturgeon in a timely manner; 3 ounces of lead is adequate in slower water; you should have a plan for releasing your fish before it reaches the surface; a big lunch and lots of water will ease the hours between bites; and squid works a lot better than jalapeno hot dogs for bait.


With nothing else to hunt, I went hunting for huckleberries this week, forgetting after two years away from the mountains how much I dislike picking these low-growing fruits. For those of you who are more enamored with “huckleberry butt” than I, there is good news – lots of berries, and this is the time at the right elevation everywhere from Mount Spokane to Priest Lake.

Contact Alan Liere at

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