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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Aug. 12

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Soft hackles have been productive on the Spokane River, and hoppers with droppers will usually work on rivers. Wildfires have closed a lot of roads around the St. Joe and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, though fishing on the lower Joe has been good. For up-to-date wildfire information, go to

The Clark Fork River from Warm Springs to the confluence of the Flathead River is in Hoot Owl restrictions. This includes Fish Creek and the St. Regis River. Fishing is permitted only from midnight to 2 p.m.

There have been spruce moths showing on Montana rivers around Missoula, but they come and go , so keep throwing spruce moth flies even if they don’t appear to be around; the trout are always looking.

Trout and kokanee

Some chunky kokanee running about 14 inches long have been taken by Priest Lake trollers. The fish are scattered around the islands, but there is a lot of dead time between bites.

Lake Roosevelt kokanee fishing this summer pales in comparison to years past, but there are still some 4-pound fish out there, and one is occasionally brought to net.

Spring Canyon, Swawilla Basin and Hunters have all been mentioned in the past two weeks.

Waitts Lake remains a good destination for rainbow and brown trout, most running around 12 inches. Troll the middle of the lake with a worm-tipped fly and flasher with leaded line or enough weight to get down 30 feet.

Loon Lake kokanee to 12 inches are back on the bite following this week’s thunderstorms.

Steelhead and salmon

Sockeye fishing on Lake Wenatchee has been good, but participation has been less than in years past, so it is possible the 6,000-fish quota will not be met by the weekend. A size 0 prism dodger with two or three red hooks on a 10-inch leader is effective. Boat speed is critical, so you’ll have to experiment to find what the fish want. Usually, something between 1.2 and 1.5 mph will do the job.

There have been some nice catches of chinook salmon on the Wenatchee River.

Spiny ray

Walleye reports trickle in from Northport, Lake Roosevelt and Rufus Woods. Fishing has been fair at times.

The Spokane Arm and the water from Fort Spokane to Hunters on Roosevelt have probably produced the most fish, but they are small. Fish the flats or stay close to the weed beds.

Deer Lake bass fishermen are finding largemouth and smallmouth in abundance. Dark green plastics have worked well around weed edges and docks.

Both trout and perch have been most active as darkness approaches on Newman, Diamond, Sacheen and Liberty lakes.

A friend from the West Side fished for Newman Lake tiger muskies for the first time last week and caught a 32-incher. He caught his on a Rapala, but anglers have had success at Newman and Silver lakes by throwing bucktails

Largemouth bass fishing is good on Potholes Reservoir as they move to the 15– to 20-foot mark. Start out throwing Zara Spooks then switch to a Strike King 6XD crankbait, a Skirted Hearthrob XL on a one-half-ounce football head, or a Chatterbait when the topwater bite slows. Spinnerbaits will produce on windy days. Now is the time to tie on a Zara Spook.

Wannacut Lake in the Okanogan is known mostly as a rainbow trout destination, but anglers there say the largemouth bass fishing can also be excellent for fish weighing 1 pound or less.

Other species

Lake Roosevelt, from the China Bend Boat Ramp upstream to the Canadian Border, will be open seven days a week for sturgeon throughout September . From Grand Coulee Dam to the China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge), it remains open seven days per week through Sept. 30.

Sport sturgeon retention for white sturgeon will open for two days, Sept. 11 and Sept. 18, on the Columbia River from the Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam, including the Cowlitz River.

White sturgeon with 44- to 50-inch fork length may be retained – limit one daily, two for the season. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed on all non-retention days.

Washington Fishery managers have extended halibut season for the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and in Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10), all of which will be reopening Aug. 19. Also, Columbia River (Marine Area 1) and South Coast (Marine Area 2) areas will open to all-depth halibut fishing for an extra day on Aug. 27.

An additional all-depth day could be added in September if there is enough left on the quota. Halibut fisheries can close quickly. Anglers should check the WDFW website or Fish Washington App to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at

Idaho Fish and Game has proposed an intriguing possibility for the rest of the month – “fishing” for bullfrogs. Bullfrogs are not native to Idaho or Washington, but tend to dominate the habitats where they live, and they often threaten other native frog species.

There is no limit on the number of bullfrogs you can harvest. The warm, shallow wetlands of both states are perfect habitat for American bullfrogs, which can be readily caught be casting a small lure or jig close to them and retrieving slowly until they attack.

On two videos recently posted on the IDFG Fish and Game YouTube channel, Brandon Flack details all you need to know about the sport, from where to find bullfrogs to how to clean and cook them. Some of the spots recommended by Fish and Game regional biologists in the Idaho Panhandle are Boundary-Smith Creek WMA, McArthur Lake WMA, Jewel Lake, Kelso Lake, Benewah Lake, wetland ponds around the St. Joe River and St. Maries River, Albeni Cove, Oden Bay and Cocollala ponds on Pend Oreille WMA and Bare Marsh, Black Rock Slough and Thompson Slough on Coeur d’Alene River WMA.

For additional information, contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414.

The Lyons Ferry pikeminnow check station recorded 103 anglers catching 532 pikeminnow last week for a total of 13,932 checked in this year. Lyons Ferry remains one of the top three stations for bounties paid.

Contact Alan Liere at

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