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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 16

UPDATED: Wed., July 15, 2020

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Yakima River has been fishing well with multiple patterns, with some big fish eating big foam dries on the surface. Favorites have been Chubby Chernobyls (any color, any size), Glommers, Flat Wing Stones, Gypsy Kings and Small Hoppers. Fishing these with small jigged droppers such as a CDC Pheasant Tail or CDC Princes has been the most effective in sizes 18-12. Streamers, Sculpzillas and Zonkers have been fishing well on the swing, under an indicator or just stripped off the bank and in structure with a sink tip. Although streamers don’t produce numbers, they’re a great way to filter out some of the smaller fish. Lately on the upper river, nymphing has been good in the morning up until about 10:30 a.m.

Also in the Yakima/Ellensburg area, the Teanaway, Taneum and Upper Cle Elum have been good for lots of small fish that are willing to eat small skated dry flies like hoppers, Royal Wulffs and Chubby Chernobyls. These are great waters to take kids and show them how to fish.

Small lakes around Ellensburg such as Cooper, Tjossum, McCabe and Fio Rito have had some top-water bass action, a lot of fun on a six-weight rod.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt trollers are taking big kokanee and rainbow from Spring Canyon to the can line below Grand Coulee Dam.

I fished Loon Lake at night twice in the last week. The first time was near the lighted palm tree in 32 feet of water. The bite didn’t get going until 10 p.m., but it was fast after that for kokanee ranging 9-12 inches. I also caught a beautiful, fat 24-inch rainbow trout that didn’t have the ragged tail and fins of a broodstock fish. My second kokanee trip was in front of the Granite Point bath house. Again, the bite began late and for me, it never did heat up. Two friends with me eventually limited.

Waitts Lake rainbow and browns are as cooperative as ever. Troll the middle of the little lake with a fly tipped with nightcrawler and about three colors of leaded line with a 20-foot leader.

A report from Rimrock Lake in Yakima County indicated trolling for kokanee was slow, and the fish were smaller than usual. They were suspended at around 20 feet.

Kokanee anglers are still raving about the large fish coming from Lake Coeur d’Alene these days. The biggest confirmed koke I have seen was just over 15 inches, but I keep hearing about fish up to 17 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

Chinook have been hitting Super Baits just off the mouth of the Chelan River. It’s not a torrid fishery, but a day’s trolling will usually find a fish or two.

The Columbia River below Wanapum Dam has seen fair to good fishing this week for chinook and sockeye, but navigating the Wanapum Pool can be difficult because of current and boat traffic.

A friend who fished the Brewster Pool on Tuesday said they did better than most with two sockeye landed, one lost and five short strikes. The bite was at 20 feet. He noted that fish condition was good and there was a lot of lengthy road construction all the way there.

This past week was likely the peak of the sockeye fishery in the Hanford Reach. Although the numbers of sockeye migrating into the Upper Columbia are still strong, they will decline as we move into next week. Boats averaged 1.5 salmon harvested this past week – 7.3 hours per fish. Sockeye and summer chinook continue to track well above the forecast.

The Hanford Reach remains at a two adult daily limit. All wild adult chinook must be immediately released. The two can be either sockeye, hatchery chinook, or one of each.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing remains good on Potholes Reservoir. Troll the weed lines in Crab Creek or the sand dunes in 8-15 feet of water. As the water drops the crankbait bite will pick up. For now, a nightcrawler on a slow turn hook or a No. 5 or No. 7 Flicker Shad will do the job.

Trollers are making some good catches of walleye in Lake Roosevelt by dragging bottom bouncers and Northland worm harnesses in perch pattern around Porcupine Bay and upriver near Buoy 5. A slow troll of 0.8 to 1 mile per hour has been the best.

My son tried to fish Bonnie Lake for bass this week but said the green algae was so thick above the island he had to clean his plug after every cast. Crappie and perch fishermen fishing near the island were getting a few decent-sized fish. After Bonnie, he went to Rock Lake and talked with bass anglers who said the bite was poor and the water was still a little cold for optimum fishing success. Largemouth success was much better at Sprague Lake.

The Idaho Panhandle has a lot of good spiny ray lakes. Rose Lake has perch, crappie and bluegill. Some of these bluegill are hitting 10 inches. Avondale, Kelso, Shepherd and Twin Lakes are also experiencing good panfishing, as are Brush, Dawson, Robinson and Smith. Fernan, Hayden, Hauser and Spirit can be good, too, and like many of the other lakes, are also stocked with trout.


Eighteen lucky hunters will have an opportunity to hunt for deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Application for the “limited-entry” deer hunt are available on the WDFW website at or by contacting the WDFW north-central region office at (509) 754-4624. The deadline is Aug. 14.

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