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Friday, August 14, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 9

UPDATED: Thu., July 9, 2020

Fly fishing

Good fly fishing is available on the North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. A dropper below a Chubby Chernobyl has been effective. The Spokane River has also been kind to fly fishermen as water levels have dropped and wade fishing has become easier. Nymphing and Euro rigs or a stone and a caddis pupa nymph will get the rainbow interested, as will the Chernobyl/dropper rig. The St. Joe River continues to be good, but the hot weather brought out the tube traffic on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Early and late will be best.

Trout and kokanee

Kokanee and macks have been biting at Lake Chelan. Trollers above Manson said they were finding them at the same 100-foot depth.

Loon Lake kokes were cooperative over the Fourth of July weekend, and most of the fish are now 10 inches or better. The early bite, however, has been pushed back to about 9 p.m.

Salmon and steelhead

Sockeye salmon returns to the upper Columbia River are forecast to be higher than in 2019, prompting a two-fish daily limit from Priest Rapids Dam to Wells Dam, which is already in progress.

According to reports, anglers were limiting on sockeye and taking quite a few chinook. A season opener from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam is scheduled to begin July 16.

The Columbia River from the Interstate 182 Bridge at Richland/Pasco upstream to Priest Rapids Dam is scheduled to remain open through July 31, but this area is closed to the retention of chinook and steelhead.

The Wanapum Lake sockeye opener July 1 saw a lot of fish brought to net and the size was good. Troll slowly in the top 15 feet with typical sockeye gear tipped with coon shrimp.

The preseason forecast for summer chinook at the mouth of the Columbia River was 38,000 fish, but that has been upgraded to 65,000. As a result, there will be some salmon openings for the Columbia River, but all wild chinook and all coho must be released. The openings look like this:

  • From the Interstate-182 bridge to Priest Rapids Dam will be open through July 31. Wild adult chinook and coho must be released.
  • From Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam will be open through Aug. 31. Up to two may be adult hatchery chinook and up to two may be sockeye. Release wild adult chinook and coho.
  • From Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam will be open through Oct. 15. Up to two fish may be adult hatchery chinook and up to two may be sockeye. Release wild adult chinook and coho.
  • From Wells Dam to the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster will be open July 16 through Sept. 15. Up to two may be adult hatchery chinook and up to two may be sockeye. Release wild adult chinook and coho.
  • From the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster to the rock jetty at the upstream shoreline of Foster Creek (Douglas County side) will be open through Oct. 15. Up to two fish may be adult hatchery chinook and up to two may be sockeye. Release wild adult chinook and coho.

The Entiat and Chelan rivers open for summer chinook fishing July 16. The season could change or close quickly if necessary.

The 2020 adult fall chinook salmon return past Lower Granite Dam is projected to be around 15,000 adults with about 5,500 of these being natural origin. These run sizes will allow a harvest of over 3,000 adult salmon, which is considerably more than was provided during Idaho’s spring chinook seasons.

Chinook angler effort on the upper Salmon River increased over the Fourth of July weekend with the majority of anglers fishing downstream of the Yankee Fork/Salmon River confluence. Anglers have been averaging an estimated 44 hours per fish.

Spiny ray

Anglers at Sprague Lake report a lot of nice largemouth bass along with some decent-sized channel catfish.

Bass fishing has been good at Newman Lake. The lake also has tiger muskie, but the bite there has not been as hot as that on Silver Lake. Curlew Lake has provided fair action for these big hybrids, but it doesn’t get as much pressure. You wouldn’t know it by lack of success, but Long Lake has had some great walleye fishing lately.

Walleye fishing was reported to be slow on Banks Lake this week until the wind started to blow and the bite began. Trolling the shore below Rosebush in 22-28 feet of water was most productive.

Potholes Reservoir anglers who are fishing over the habitat boxes are catching a lot of crappie and bluegill. The bluegill have been huge – up to 10 inches and shaped like a saucer.

The Snake and Palouse rivers are heating up for smallmouth bass, channel catfish and black crappie.

The Grande Ronde River in Asotin County and the Tucannon River in Columbia and Garfield counties are kicking out smallmouth bass. Reel Time Fishing (208-790-2128) said recent trips on the Snake River have produced good numbers of eating-sized walleye.

Walleye and bass are biting throughout the Columbia River, but the best fishing for these species in the Tri-Cities area is in Lake Umatilla between Crow Butte and McNary Dam.

Idaho’s Fernan Lake and the Chain Lakes are a good destination for a variety of spiny ray as well as northern pike. At Fernan, there are public docks for fishing – a great way to introduce kids to the sport.

Other species

There are millions of shad in the Columbia River, but flows are still high and there is a lot of debris in the water, making fishing difficult.

A white sturgeon fishery opened in June on Lake Roosevelt and anglers targeting these big fish have caught quite a few oversized and undersized as well as a few keepers.


Resident Idaho hunters wanting to purchase a general season elk tag in a capped zone will need to keep two dates in mind in July. On Friday, all resident capped elk zone tags, except for the Sawtooth Zone, go on sale at 10 a.m. On Monday, resident Sawtooth Zone A and B elk tags go on sale, with half of the tags sold at Fish and Game offices and license vendors-only starting at 9 a.m. (PDT).

The remaining half of the resident Sawtooth tags will go on sale online-only at noon (PDT).

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