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Monday, December 9, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for June 20

UPDATED: Wed., June 19, 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

Fly fishing for smallmouth bass on the Grande Ronde River remains excellent, with perfect water flows and a lot of 18-to-20-inch fish.

The recent good weather has resulted in good trout fishing on the Spokane River. A rubber legs with a caddis pupa would be hard to beat. Late evening hours are bringing some fish up to the surface on caddis emergers, says Silver Bow Fly Shop. Fishing a Chubby or Parachute Madam X with a caddis trailing behind it by 2 feet is a good double dry combo.

The Coeur d’Alene River is seeing good hatches of golden stones at midday and plenty of caddis, too. If the river stays cold this week, as it should, the good fishing will continue. The St. Joe is getting close to prime time. There’s lots of water but good hatches, especially on the upper river.

The Clark Fork River was at 15,500 cubic feet per second on Sunday, but is expected to drop to 8,500 CFS by early next week. It’s starting to fish well, and the caddis are out in big numbers. The river is green, with 2 feet of visibility.

Salmon and steelhead

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners on June 13 opened chinook salmon fishing on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River from the Nez Perce Reservation boundary (near mile post 79 of U.S. Highway 12) upstream to the confluence of the Selway and Lochsa rivers. The season will be open seven days a week from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. So far, there’s not much action. The Icicle River in Chelan County is also open now, with approximately 100 spring chinook, mostly 3-year-old jacks, available for harvest.

Salmon anglers in Washington’s ocean waters that open Saturday can expect some great opportunities to fish for coho, says Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with the WDFW. “With increased numbers of coho projected to return, we have a much higher catch quota for coho this year in comparison with the last few years,” she said. The chinook catch quota, on the other hand, is 26,250 fish, which is 1,250 fewer fish than 2018’s quota.

Trout and kokanee

Williams Lake rainbow are around 13 inches in length. Nearby Fishtrap Lake has a good population of 12-inch rainbow, as well as carryovers of 2 pounds and better. Both lakes are fishing well.

Fish Lake has an infestation of small perch, but it also has brook and tiger trout, some of which are quite large. Recently, a derby fish was caught at Fish.

Lake Roosevelt has given up a few nice kokanee recently, but the trout fishing is a lot better, with a very good bite reported near the Sanpoil mouth. Anglers trolling pink Old Goat lures are doing well, but walleye anglers are taking fair numbers of rainbow incidentally while dragging bottom.

The kokanee at Conconully Lake and Conconully Reservoir are said to be large this year – 15 to 18 inches, and after slowing down some in early June, the bite is once again good. Rainbow trout fishing is also good with most fish running a pound or better. Trolled Wedding Rings tipped with shoepeg corn in front of a flasher or dodger is the preferred method at a depth of 20 feet.

Potholes Reservoir is again experiencing an aggressive bite from large rainbow. A friend at MarDon Resort says the bite is good, as usual, near Medicare Beach, but the fish are everywhere.

Just when I was feeling pretty cocky about my mastery of Loon Lake kokanee at night, the fish turned on me on my most recent trip. From 9:30 to 10:30 p.m., I didn’t get a bite, and even though I ended the night with 6 fish, I had to work much harder than on previous trips. I was fishing at 29 feet, so perhaps it’s time to go a little deeper.

Near Inchelium on North Twin Lake, Rainbow Beach Resort says the triploids are “huge,” with fish of 8-to-11 pounds not all that uncommon. The lake also has some big brookies and a good population of largemouth bass.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishermen have had good luck on small fish recently between Hawk Creek and the Spokane Arm mouth in 15 to 17 feet of water. The flats near the Casino have also been good, but the Spokane Arm itself has been slow.

The walleye bite on Banks Lake was better in the afternoon than the morning recently – nothing big, but good eating size. The flats in 15 to 25-feet of water are attracting a lot of anglers.

A friend who fishes Potholes Reservoir a lot says the walleye fishing is still slow, but the bass fishing is spectacular for smallmouth along the rocks and largemouth in the sand dunes. Walleye have been very prevalent in angler catches at Long Lake near the Nine Mile launch, but they are evident throughout the system.

Curlew Lake perch of 9 to 12 inches continue to fill angler buckets. At Fishermen’s Cove Resort, a very good bite has been right off the dock. Largemouth bass are also plentiful and occasionally, someone will hook one of the lake’s big tiger muskies.

At Downs Lake, anglers are catching a few outsized perch. The crappie bite has slowed some since earlier in the month, but the coveted “slabs” still come in now and then. Rainbow trout at Downs are larger this year than in the past, running 12 inches and larger, and the catching has been good.

Other species

The sturgeon bite on Lake Roosevelt has been only fair on the entire open section, with just a few legals coming in this week. Anglers are reminded that to judge these sturgeon accurately, they must be laid on their sides and measured from the tip of the snout to the fork in the tail. Running a tape from the snout over the back to the fork will add as much as two inches to the length, giving an inaccurate measurement.

Recreational halibut fishing will open again on June 27 and Saturday, June 29 in Marine Areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay).

To date, almost 5 1/2 million shad have poured over Bonneville Dam. I’m on the Columbia this morning for my first try at this large relative of the herring.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@

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