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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 30

UPDATED: Wed., July 29, 2020

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop said mornings have been good on the Spokane River before the heat and tubers kick up. Late-evening fishing has been good, too. Attractor jig nymphs and caddis pupa will find fish as well as swinging Zirdle Bugs through the riffles. Hoppers, ants and caddis have been taking fish on the surface.

It’s terrestrial and attractor season on the St. Joe. Take hoppers, ants and beetles and some Chernobyls. Droppers under any hopper or Chernobyl are a good bet. Morning will be best with some evening activity once the sun settles. Tubers will be on the lower portions.

The North Fork Clearwater/Kelly Creek waters will be crowded, but the fishing remains decent. Droppers under foam Chernobyls or hoppers are effective. The Clark Fork River is in great shape. Mornings and evenings will be best, but focus on the riffles.

Trout and kokanee

Anglers trolling spinners with nightcrawlers on a bottom walker have been catching plenty of 3- to 5-pound triploids below the first set of net pens on Rufus Woods.

Friends, family and I, fishing in three boats, experienced a rare slow night of kokanee fishing last week at Loon, catching a combined 21 kokes among eight anglers.

It was cold that night, and we pulled the plug around 11 p.m. It should be much better this week, and nighttime temperatures will be in the upper 60s.

Some big macks have been taken from Lake Chelan and the kokanee bite remains good on most days.

Marshall Lake is a great hot-weather destination for trout anglers. The lake remains relatively cool and fishing is good.

Night fishing for trout has become more popular during the heat wave. Lakes like Clear and Waitts in Washington are producing rainbow and brown trout, and there are some nice rainbow and even a few brookies in Deer Lake.

In the Idaho Panhandle, Cocolalla has cutthroat, browns, brookies and rainbows. Another good Panhandle lake is Spirit, which has cutthroat only.

Salmon and steelhead

Fall chinook fishing on the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers will open Aug. 18, and on Sept. 17 on the North Fork Clearwater River. Idaho Fish and Game fisheries managers expect 18,150 adult fish to return to Lower Granite Dam in 2020, compared with 16,508 that returned last year.

Baker Lake has been good for sockeye salmon. Successful anglers are trolling a Smile Blade and pink hoochie tipped with cured and dyed shrimp. Most of the fish are between 4-7 pounds.

Sockeye in the Brewster Pool are not as large as those in Baker Lake, but the bite has been excellent and chinook fishing is picking up.

Trolling dodgers and shrimp spinners is the ticket for the sockeye and Brad’s super baits are getting the kings. Fish are suspended at various depths, and the morning bite is usually the best.

Spiny ray

For walleye in Long Lake, anglers trolling near the dam are doing best with spinners and nightcrawlers. Most are also taking some decent perch. A report from a perch angler uplake near Felton Slough said he and his wife caught 60 good-sized perch in three hours.

Snake River smallmouth are numerous and easy to catch with a tube jig in crawdad colors. When the water is warm as it is now, the fish hold on the edges of fast-moving water. Casting to flat water with little current is not effective.

Liberty Lake gets more angler attention for trout in the spring, but it is a good spiny ray lake in the summer. Perch are relatively cooperative, and there are some nice largemouth bass hanging around the docks.

Silver Lake tiger muskies have become more elusive this summer following an aggressive spring bite, but Silver has a huge perch and bluegill population and some large bass.

Other species

Channel catfish were recently stocked across Idaho with locations ranging from Lake Cocolalla in North Idaho to the Rexburg City Pond in eastern Idaho. Anglers are encouraged to use the Fish and Game Fish Planner to find a location to fish for channel catfish or any other fish species found in Idaho. Simply go to and under the fishing tab, the planner can be found at the bottom of the drop-down menu.

A perfect nighttime summer activity when the weather is this hot is to put a gob of nightcrawlers on a size four or six hook, add a sliding sinker and cast into relatively shallow water for bullheads.

Some of the largest are at Long Lake, Deer Lake and the Snake River, but anglers are finding that a lot of Washington and Idaho “trout lakes” have good populations of these bewhiskered fish. If you can find a lighted dock, your chance for success is even greater as bullheads tend to move toward the light when it gets dark. Bullheads are a little hard to clean, but the flesh is delectable and an electric fillet knife cuts cleaning time considerably.

WDFW has confirmed its Aug. 6 opening of coastal halibut recreational fishing, which was previously delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Puget Sound Marine Areas 5–10 will also reopen with additional fishing days. Regulations are varied and somewhat confusing, so anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at and WDFW’s emergency rules page at before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations at their destination


If you were successful in the 2020 Idaho controlled hunt drawing, don’t forget to purchase your controlled hunt tag by Saturday.

Successful applicants must purchase their controlled hunt tags by 11 p.m. PDT or their tags will be forfeited.

Hunters are reminded that Idaho sandhill crane tags and swan tags will be available first-come, first-served starting Saturday at 9 a.m. PDT at Idaho Fish and Game offices, license vendors, online at, or by calling (800) 554-8685. Because of the Saturday opening, hunters will not be able to purchase tags at Fish and Game offices until Monday, so the best option for purchasing tags over the weekend will be online, over the phone, or at license vendors.

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