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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 8

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

At Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland, Allen Petersen had this to say about fishing area lakes during the heat wave: “Successful fly fishers are using full sinking lines that sink about 7 inches per second, and fishing them in the deeper sections of the lakes to avoid the heated shallows. Lakes like Fishtrap, Badger and Amber all have good fish populations with sizable holdover trout. I would suggest aquatic insects that imitate the dragon fly, damsel fly, leeches and amphipods, all fished as deep as possible. Put some life into the retrieve by using short erratic strips of the fly line, pausing every 3 feet or so.”

Good fishing in the morning hours continues on the Spokane River. Chubby/dropper rigs are effective and nymph rigs are always good. Fish the riffles, fast slots and deeper zones and knock off by noon, Silver Bow Fly Shop said.

The upper St. Joe River has been good and water temperatures have remained much lower than the bottom half of the river. Golden stones have been the ticket of late, and others like Yellow Sallies, PMDs and Chubbies are also good. If you are running a Golden or Chubby, add a dropper.

Trout and kokanee

Kokanee fishing remains good on Lake Chelan, with the best bite coming early. Mill Bay has been mentioned often, and though most of the fish are 12 to 14 inches, kokes up to 18 inches have been caught.

Loon Lake kokanee humbled me last weekend. In two night-fishing excursions, I caught only three fish. The fireworks were nice, but the boat traffic was not. Evidently, many boaters are unaware of a “no wake” restriction after dark, and there were times I thought I would surely be T-boned in the dark by a boatload of loud, profane and apparently inebriated boaters.

Kokanee in Idaho’s Dworshak Reservoir are beginning to put on some weight. Limits of 9- to 10-inch fish are the rule. Small Jack Lloyds and Wedding Rings tipped with white corn have done best at about 20 feet.

Lake Roosevelt is at full pool. Trout fishing has been fair in Swawilla Basin and Spring Canyon. Many trollers are not going deep enough for their fish. Instead of 20 feet, try 40 feet.

Priest Lake drop-shotters are finding a lot of 2- to 3-pound macks in 100 feet of water by dunking pearl-colored Berkley Power Minnows tipped with a piece of northern pikeminnow. Trollers are catching larger fish on hoochies and Rapalas between the Kalispell launch and Twin Islands.

Steelhead and salmon

Chelan Falls on the Columbia River was jammed with chinook anglers on the July 1 opener. Some boats took fish up to 18 pounds, but the bite was pretty much over by 8 a.m.

There have been good salmon reports below Wanapum Dam, in the Brewster Pool, below Rocky Reach Dam and off the mouth of the Entiat River. Good numbers of sockeye are being landed in the Brewster Pool, but be sure to check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife web site for any changes in the rules for sockeye this season.

Popular salmon derbies are coming up this summer. The first one is the Eighth Annual Wenatchee Salmon Derby on July 16 and 17. There will be a mandatory driver’s meeting at the Eagles Hall in Wenatchee on July 15, starting at 5 p.m. The derby boundaries are from Rock Island to Wells Dams. Get tickets by going to The Brewster King Salmon Derby always takes place the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of August.

Spiny ray

Walleye and bass are biting throughout the Columbia and Snake river systems, but the best fishing for these species is in Lake Umatilla (John Day Reservoir) from Crow Butte upstream to McNary Dam. Other popular locations are Lake Wallula (McNary Reservoir) from Wallula Junction to Priest Rapids Dam. Hot spots in the lower Snake River reservoirs are below Ice Harbor Dam (Columbia River upstream to dam) and from Lyons Ferry Marina upstream to Little Goose Dam.

WDFW biologists also recommend the following for bass fishing:

• Hanford Reach/Columbia River in Benton/Franklin counties

• Lake Wallula in Benton/Franklin/Walla Walla counties and the lower Walla Walla River.

• Powerline Lake and Scooteney Reservoir in Franklin County

• I-82 Ponds No. 1 and No. 5 in Yakima County

• Lake Herbert G. West, Snake River in Franklin/Walla Walla counties

Largemouth bass fishing has been good at Newman Lake. Newman also has tiger muskie, as does Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County. Tiger muskie fishing gets better as the weather warms up, so now is a great time to give it a try at either lake. Newman also has big slab crappie. Crappie at Horseshoe and Silver lakes are generally not as large.

Walleye fishing has been surprisingly good in the Spokane Arm for anglers dragging bottom bounces near Buoy 5. A relative had outstanding walleye and smallmouth fishing on the main lake by throwing smoke-colored tub jigs into the roiled water near shore.

Loon Lake is not known as a perch destination, but a young relative has done well this week throwing a small, white tube jig into about 12 feet of water around Granite Point docks. Normally, you are more likely to find Loon Lake perch in deeper water in what an old-timer once described to me as “perch grass.” I never did figure out, though, how you could find the grass if the water was too deep to see it. Nearby Deer Lake also has good perch fishing in the weeds close to shore. So does Long Lake, where you are also likely to hook a walleye or bass.

The Pend Oreille River between Newport and Usk has been booting out some hefty smallmouth. The stretch from Newport to Usk is a good place to start.

Sprague Lake has seen some nice largemouth bass caught and some channel catfish are also showing.

Big Potholes Reservoir bluegill and crappie are in the weeds and willows back in the sand dunes. The largemouth fishery remains good there also.

Start out throwing topwater frogs and switch to sight fishing with a Senko or light jig as that bite drops off.

Other species

The Palouse River is loaded with channel catfish, and when the mood strikes, the bite is nonstop.

Don’t expect great fishing every time, though, as there are times the fish become tight-jawed for no apparent reason.

Contact Alan Liere at