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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Aug. 20

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 19, 2020

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River continues to fish well despite the heat wave, but it is best early and just before dark. Fishing the oxygenated riffles is a must.

Morning hours on the St. Joe River have continued to be good. Hopper/dropper or Chernobyl/dropper combos are working. Ants and beetles will also pick up fish, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Hatches are sparse during the current heat wave.

Trout and kokanee

Trollers are taking a few large kokanee from Lake Roosevelt. Early in the morning, the fish can be found suspended at around 40-50 feet, but once the sun is blasting, you’ll need to go at least a good 10 feet deeper. The big Roosevelt rainbow are at approximately the same depths.

Horseshoe Lake is giving up 9- to 10-inch kokanee to trollers just to the right of the public launch. Curlew Lake trout fishing has been good all summer. Powerbait on the bottom or trolled flies have done equally well. Badger Lake has been good for trollers and still-fishermen until this week’s wildfires closed the area. Cutthroat trout and kokanee are the primary targets.

Alta Lake in Okanogan County at Pateros has good trout fishing, but kokanee trollers have taken some fish recently pushing 2 pounds. The fish are suspended at 20-30 feet.

Priest Lake mackinaw are running around 3 pounds for anglers drop-shotting plastics. Outlet Bay has been mentioned, as have the waters around the islands.

Salmon and steelhead

The Snake River is open for chinook salmon retention from Clarkston upstream from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River. The fishery is open seven days a week with a daily limit of three adult chinook, one of which can be nonadipose fin-clipped. There is no limit on chinook jacks (clipped or unclipped). Barbless hooks are required and all salmon other than chinook must be released. The Snake River steelhead fishery is closed through Aug. 31 because of low predicted returns.

Lake Wenatchee is still a good bet for sockeye salmon. If you can hit a day when the wind isn’t blowing, the early-morning bite can be excellent. If you sleep in, you will likely be disappointed.

Spiny ray

Another Idaho angler has won $1,000 in the Lake Pend Oreille walleye lottery. Doug Lambrecht of Sandpoint caught his reward-tagged walleye while fishing shallow weed beds along the northern lakeshore during mid-July. Lambrecht is the fifth winner to reel in a $1,000 walleye since the program began in 2019. Up to 95 reward-tagged walleye are still available. Anglers are unable to tell if a walleye has a nearly microscopic reward tag implanted in the fish’s snout. In order to win, submit walleye heads to Fish & Game freezers located throughout the region.

Anglers trolling for triploids near the first set of Rufus Woods net pens are getting their trout, but they are also catching some nice-sized walleye on bottom bouncers and spinners baited with a piece of nightcrawler. As always, Rufus Woods is best if there is some current.

Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are finding their fish by casting jigs into the weed beds in 20 or fewer feet of water. Use plastics in crawdad colors. It has been an early-morning bite. Smallmouth anglers on the big reservoir are going to 30 feet and finding a good bite on the shore across from the Seven Bays launch.

A friend who fishes the Columbia River above Northport said the river continues to run high with rapidly changing water levels. Trout fishing, he said, has been slow, but walleye are biting and he and his wife have also caught several sturgeon while fishing for these.

Banks Lake walleye are on the humps and along steep drop-offs. As on Roosevelt, dragging a jig through the weeds can also be productive.

Throw a Senko anywhere on Hauser, Hayden or the Chain Lakes in northern Idaho, and you have a good chance of latching onto a largemouth bass. Some good-sized fish have been reported recently and Hauser also has some big bluegill. In Washington, the best largemouth reports come from Silver, Newman and Potholes Reservoir. Eloika Lake is loaded with good-sized largemouth, but thick weeds challenge even the most efficient “weedless” spoon or plug.

In-line spinners and spinnerbaits in chartreuse or white are taking pike along Coeur d’Alene Lake weed lines. Most of the fish are found in 10-12 feet of water.

Bass in Long Lake are finding their shade in the lily pads. Weedless topwater frogs are a fun and productive way to bring them out. Experiment with fast and slow retrieves, but sometimes just letting it sit will entice strikes.

Other species

Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene is still producing some nice catches of planter trout, but the channel catfish are becoming a big draw. Ten-pound fish are not unheard of. Other good channel cat destinations are Potholes Reservoir in Grant County and the entire length of the Snake River. Find a hole 20 or more feet relatively close to shore and drop cut bait or nightcrawlers to the bottom. Fishing after dark will be the most productive.

Boyer Park on the Snake River continues to lead the pikeminnow check-in stations for fish caught on the Columbia and Snake rivers with a total of 14,802 fish through Sunday. Cathlamet on the Columbia River is second with 11,692 fish turned in.

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