The North Fork Coeur d’Alene and the Little North Fork Coeur d’Alene are still providing decent cutthroat fishing. The terrestrials have been emerging and grasshopper, ant and beetle patterns are working well in areas where the cutts are holding in the deeper, cooler water. Work close to the banks where the fish grab those insects as they fall into the river. Allen Petersen at Swede’s Fly Shop said to look for that dark green water, that pool where the river changes direction, and fish the head, run and tail out, and cast to that dark calm area around rocks and logs. Small Rusty Elk Hair Caddis do well fished in a similar manner, he said.
The same holds true for the St. Joe River, but add small Blue Wing Olive mayflies and Yellow Sally’s to morning and evening fly selections.
Montana rivers have been off the radar this year, but the Yaak and Kootenai rivers can be good. The Yaak can be challenging, but the Kootenai fished downstream toward Troy and upstream toward Moyie Springs can be rewarding. Both rivers have large rainbow. Be sure to take your sink tip fly line, as the Cone Head Muddler Minnow fished on the swing is by far the best choice.
Trout and kokanee
Loon Lake kokanee have been moving slowly to the south end of the lake. A friend who trolled there Sunday said all his fish came from the vicinity of Sunset Bay. I would assume the night bite may be picking up in that direction.
Several of the put-and-take lakes south of Spokane are still fishing well. The best reports have come recently from Williams, Badger and Clear. Deer Lake, to the north, has also been good for trout.
A report from Billy Clapp Lake in the Columbia Basin said the kokanee were hard to find, but the triploid rainbow were biting aggressively. Most were around 16 inches, but fish to 5 pounds have been netted.
Salmon and steelhead
With salmon fishing available on Lake Wenatchee and Buoy 10, pressure on the Brewster Pool has diminished significantly. A friend who fished there Monday with three others said they landed 16 sockeye and two chinook in less than two hours. He said fishing isn’t always that good, but the thermal barrier is still in place and the fish aren’t leaving yet. He fished with Sam Baird of Slammin’ Salmon Charter: (509) 679-0483.
The daily steelhead limit in the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers will be two fish this year beginning Tuesday. No effort has been made to adjust the steelhead season and limits in the Clearwater River and its tributaries because, at this point, there is too much uncertainty with how this return will end up.
The Hanford Reach fall salmon fishery opened Aug. 16 with a preseason forecast for 92,000 adults, 65,000 wild and 27,000 hatchery fish. The daily limit is six salmon, but only two can be adults. Anglers can harvest fall chinook and coho, both hatchery and wild and use barbed or barbless hooks. Last week, fishing was slow. Through Aug. 23, WDFW staff interviewed anglers from 98 boats (193 anglers) with 22 adult chinook and two jacks. Based on the sampling, an estimated 76 adult chinook and eight chinook jacks were harvested by 724 anglers in the first eight days of the fishery. In addition, 65 sockeye were caught and released. Boats averaged slightly less than one salmon for every five boats, 43 hours per fish. The Columbia River upstream of the Highway 395 Bridge is closed to fishing for steelhead.
Several 5-pound largemouth have been taken recently off the face of the dunes in Potholes Reservoir. Walleye fishing has been slow, but the bluegill bite remains steady. The lake is almost at its lowest summer level. Frenchman Hills Wasteway in Grant County also has some good largemouth fishing.
At Banks Lake, smallmouth bass fishermen are doing well with topwaters. The best walleye fishing, though, has been at Rufus Woods.
Moses Lake Health District has issued a blue-green algae alert. Swimming and other recreating is not recommended on the lake and any fish caught should be washed thoroughly in clean water.
Panfish like bluegill, crappie and perch are being found along weed beds in many Idaho and Washington mixed-species lakes. Rock Lake in Whitman County is noted more as a trout fishing destination, but there are some nice largemouth. There is good smallmouth fishing on the Pend Oreille River.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has set the 2020 sage grouse hunting seasons and rules, which includes a continued closure in a portion of Owyhee County, the reopening of a portion of eastern Idaho to hunting, a restrictive two-day season in open areas north of the Snake River in Zone 3 and a seven-day season in open areas south of the Snake River (Zone 2) where the season will run Sept. 19-25, with the traditional one bird per day and two birds in possession bag limit.
In open areas of Zone 3, the two-day season will run Sept. 19-20, with a one bird per day and two birds in possession bag limit. That portion of eastern Idaho north of Highway 26 was added back to Zone 3 this year, after it was closed for the 2018 and 2019 hunting seasons.
Grouse and rabbit season begins Sunday in Idaho and the dove season begins Tuesday. In Washington, all three species open Tuesday. I haven’t seen any big flocks of doves in the Spokane/Reardan/Davenport area. I’m told they are still scattered in the Columbia Basin. A nephew in the Yakima area said he is seeing good numbers.
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.