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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Aug. 19

Aug. 18, 2021 Updated Wed., Aug. 18, 2021 at 7:05 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review</p><p>HUNTING</p><p>+ FISHING

Fly fishing

Several “hoot owl” restrictions in effect on portions of some Montana rivers have been lifted. These are:

• Missouri River from the Cascade boat ramp to Holter Dam.

• Madison River from Ennis Dam to the border with Yellowstone National Park.

• Stillwater River from the confluence with the Yellowstone River to Absaroka Fishing Access Site.

Full fishing closures, however, went into effect on portions on the Big Hole River Tuesday from Dickie Bridge to North Fork Big Hole River and the Tony Schoonen Fishing Access Site to the Maiden Rock Fishing Access Site. For a full list, visit FWP’s website:

Trout and kokanee

Two friends and I fished the west side of Loon Lake for kokanee Sunday night. We were fishing by 8:15 but didn’t get a bite until 9. By 10, however, we had put 30 kokes in the boat. We fished Glo Hooks and maggots in 34 feet of water. One of the friends had trolled the lake two days earlier, landing six kokanee and losing many. He was using 140 feet of leaded line and 40 feet of leader with a Wedding Ring baited with maggots. Most of the fish are running about 11 inches.

Outside their native range, brook trout often negatively affect native fish species, especially cutthroat trout and bull trout. Brook trout can become so abundant that the size of fish in the population becomes stunted and unappealing to anglers. For this reason, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is experimenting with a program that develops male brook trout that can be altered through careful selective breeding to father only male offspring. Eventually, these offspring will die, and the brook trout population will have disappeared. Biologists with the department are evaluating whether such a stocking program can be a cost-effective method of removing brook trout from alpine lakes.

Steelhead and salmon

Sockeye anglers on Lake Wenatchee say the bite has tapered off some, but there were still enough biters this week to keep things interesting. Plain, unbaited red hooks fished behind a flasher are still the No. 1 setup.

The Snake River opened to the retention of adult hatchery chinook and jacks seven days a week on Wednesday and will remain open through October from the mouth to Lower Granite Dam and from approximately 3 miles below Clarkston to the Oregon state line. The 2021 Columbia River forecast return of upriver bright adults is 361,500, with a significant portion of these fish expected to return to the Snake River.

Fishing for fall chinook salmon is also open in the following areas:

  • Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to the South Fork of the Clearwater.
  • Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to the confluence of Red and American rivers.
  • Snake River from the Idaho/Washington Border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Salmon River from the mouth upstream to the Little Salmon River.

Fishing for fall chinook in the North Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam will open Sept. 1.

Fishing for coho salmon in the following areas will open Sept. 1:

  • Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to the confluence of the South Fork and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
  • Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to the confluence of Red and American rivers.

The Buoy 10 fall chinook season is in full swing and chinook have started pouring into the lower section of the Columbia River. With a forecast of over 350,000 upriver brights, there are also other places to catch salmon as the season progresses. In the John Day Dam/Rufus area near the mouth of the Deschutes River, salmon fishing begins Sept. 1. Chinook fishing in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River will begin in mid-September. This stretch of water is home to the largest population of fall chinook in Washington and is a producer of large fish, often pushing or exceeding 50 pounds. An average chinook from the Hanford Reach will be in the high teens to low 20s.

Spiny ray

Three lucky anglers won $1,000 during July for turning in reward-tagged walleye from Lake Pend Oreille. One was 19 inches long, originally tagged in Morton Slough. The other two reward-tagged walleye were 19 and 24 inches, and they were both caught near Windy Point. Walleye fishing has been good and will likely get better in the weeks ahead. More walleye heads were turned in during July than in any other month since the Lake Pend Oreille Angler Incentive Program for walleye started in March 2019. Almost 70% have been caught in the northern end of the lake.

The flats in Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt are producing walleye and smallmouth for anglers dragging spinners and nightcrawlers with bottom bouncers. A friend took a 4-pound smallie there recently.

Other species

Years ago, I used to catch a lot of big bullheads (12-14 inches) from the northwest corner of Liberty Lake by plopping a wad of nightcrawlers on the bottom after dark.

A recent report from Liberty indicates the bullhead there this year are still numerous, but small. Liberty also has channel cats, which are substantially larger.

Waters I have fished more recently for bullheads at night are Loon, Deer, Long, Potholes and the Snake River. The best success comes in about 10 feet of water close to shore and especially around docks. You’ll not find a better-eating fish than a bullhead, though I am not nearly so fond of channel catfish.


Summer wildfires are an unfortunate fact of life in Idaho and Washington, and hunters can be affected by fires, smoke and area closures. You can see Idaho fire updates on Fish and Game’s Fire Information webpage. For Washington, go to WDFW’s wildfire resources page.

Remember that things can change quickly with wildfires, so keep checking back if there are fires burning in the vicinity of your hunt area.

Contact Alan Liere at

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