Allen Petersen at Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland said the North Fork Coeur d’Alene and the St. Joe rivers are crowded, but if one is willing to drive the extra miles and explore the many tributaries, the effort will be worthwhile. As an example, he mentions fishing the Little North Fork Coeur d’Alene between Honeysuckle and Bumblebee campgrounds using caddis dries, sparkle caddis emergers, Humpy’s and the occasional drake pattern. On the St. Joe, Petersen suggests seeking out the stretches from Tin Can Flat campground, fishing the confluences of Quartz Creek, Bluff Creek and Gold Creek on up past Fly Flat campground and farther. Fly selections there would be similar to the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, but add some streamers such as the Rag Wool Sculpin and even an Electric Bugger or two. Golden stones wet and dry should also be in your fly box just in case the stones are about and emerging.
The lakes that are showing great numbers and sizes of rainbows are Medical, Amber, Bailey, and Long down toward the dam at the far end using fast sinking fly lines with Swede’s Olive Willy patterns either trolled or cast with an erratic short strip retrieving action.
There have also been some good reports from the desert potholes around Moses Lake, especially those that have been designated fly fishing only. These lake fish well with small olive shrimp or white mysis patterns on a sink tip fly line.
Trout and kokanee
Walleye anglers dragging bottom walkers are catching walleye and 3- to 5-pound triploid rainbow near the first set of net pens above Seaton Grove on Rufus Woods Reservoir.
I’ve been trying some new spots for nighttime kokanee on Loon Lake and am coming to the conclusion that as long as you’re in 32-34 feet of water and 6 inches off the bottom, the fish will bite … eventually. As always, a size 8 white Glo-Hook tipped with two maggots outfishes everything else, but the bite doesn’t begin until 10-11 p.m. I fished Tuesday night with two friends in front of Granite Point. Two used white maggots and the other used pink. Two of us limited by midnight, while the friend using the pink maggots didn’t catch anything until he switched over. The fish ranged from 9-12 inches.
Kokanee fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene is still good, but the fish are a little deeper. Target depth for trollers is 30-40 feet and the fish are showing in good numbers in the north end of the lake at a size not seen in years. Pend Oreille kokes are numerous but small.
Mackinaw are biting on a more consistent basis in Lake Pend Oreille. Drag the bottom with plugs and a dodger or try jigging or drop-shotting. Remember, there is a $15 bounty for all mackinaw heads turned in at the many collection stations.
The hot weather has caused the trout in the put-and-take lakes south of Spokane to go deeper, but fair to good fishing has been reported from Williams, Badger, Clear and Fishtrap. Be sure to get your catch on ice immediately.
Salmon and steelhead
The chinook season from approximately Rocky Point on the Washington bank to Tongue Point on the Oregon bank has been extended through July 31 and the steelhead season in the same stretch has been reopened for that period.
The upper Columbia River summer chinook run was updated to 65,000 with additional opportunity for harvest. The limit will be two salmonids per day, only one of which can be a steelhead.
Baker Lake in Whatcom County is open for sockeye retention through Sept. 7. The limit is two per day with a minimum size of 18 inches. Everyone is hoping for a sockeye fishery at Lake Wenatchee this year. Counts are low, but there are a lot of fish on the way.
Summer run chinook are showing up at Chelan Falls and off the mouth of the Entiat on the main stem Columbia River.
Cold weather in June and a big snowpack has kept the Okanogan running cooler. Without a thermal barrier, many of the salmon entering the Brewster pool just kept on going. The barrier is now in place and arrivals of lots of sockeye have resulted in excellent fishing. The fish are running 10-20 feet down. A friend caught his limit three days in a row last week.
Sockeye anglers are taking limits below Rocky Reach Dam. Trollers are sticking to the “conga line” to catch their fish. Sockeye are also being caught above the dam in the morning and evenings.
The water has settled down enough to allow trollers to work the big eddy below Wells Dam. It was too rough last week.
The summer salmon sport fishery in the Hanford Reach is quickly slowing down. The numbers of sockeye migrating into the Upper Columbia have dropped off; fewer than 2,000 passed through McNary on Sunday. Boats averaged less than a salmon harvested per boat, roughly 12 hours per fish.
Walleye anglers trolling spinners in the main river channel above and below Lake Roosevelt’s Buoy 5 are having fair luck, releasing three or four “dinks” for every 16-inch keeper.
Lake Coeur d’Alene pike fishing has been good along the weed lines. Throw a Husky Jerk or Johnson Silver Minnow with a trailer, or for a real adrenaline boost, toss a topwater frog imitation into the weeds and hang on. The smaller smallmouth bass have moved into the shallows and the bigger ones have gone deeper. Look for drop-offs around rocky points.
Walleye fishing out of Lyons Ferry on the Snake River is seldom lights-out, but some nice-sized fish have been taken there by anglers dragging bottom bouncers with spinners and nightcrawlers.
Potholes Reservoir is 9 feet below full pool and dropping quickly with surface temperatures over 70 degrees. Be extremely careful if navigating back in the dunes where the largemouth bass fishing has been good. Use caution also when running between Goose Island and the face of the dam, the two best smallmouth locations.
After a brief closure, shad fishing is again open in the Bonneville pool. The huge run (over 6 million fish) is winding down, with only 2,500 fish counted Tuesday.
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