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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 15

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The upper St. Joe and the Spokane rivers remain relatively cool and provide some decent trout fishing, particularly in the morning hours. Go with a dry/dropper rigs with something flashy underneath on both waters, focusing on boulder strewn runs, riffles and faster slots. Silver Bow Fly Shop said Kelly Creek is providing great fishing with dry/dropper rigs or just single dries.

The Yakima River often has an early morning caddis hatch. The trout are active until late morning, but turn off when the sun gets high.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee are running 11 inches or slightly better, but judging by reports, I’m not the only one having difficulty finding fish. The bite has been erratic, usually beginning after 10 p.m., sometimes as late as 11 … and sometimes not at all. Because of the poor quality of maggots available locally, I have gone back to using white corn, something I gave up many years ago because maggots stayed on the hook better. Corn still works, though, and is a lot cheaper in the long run. I have also gone back to preserving a supply in a small bottle filled with vodka.

Early morning and evening remain surprisingly good for trout at Williams, Fishtrap and Badger lakes. A few decent reports have trickled in from Sprague Lake, where some of the recent catches stretch over 2 feet long. Clear Lake brown trout are also being taken by trollers, but bass and crappie are more popular targets there. Other “trout lakes” giving up some nice largemouth are Sacheen and Fan.

Fishing above Buoy 5 on the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt has been fair for eater-size walleye and rainbow trout. Trolled spinners with nightcrawlers are taking both.

Davis Lake in Ferry County and Yocum Lake in Pend Oreille County are good cutthroat trout fisheries this time of year. You might also consider Summit Lake in Stevens County. It has good-sized rainbow trout. Just west of there, Elbow Lake has brookies. Big Meadow Lake, west of Ione in Pend Oreille County, is usually a good bet for nice rainbow trout. The Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes offers rainbow and tiger trout. Waitts Lake is always a good place to catch rainbow and brown trout.

The southwest side of Wannacut Lake in Okanogan County is said to provide good trout fishing in 25-35 feet of water. Use Power Bait on a slip sinker with about 5 feet of leader for rainbow running close to 20 inches. Other Okanogan district lakes – including Conconullys, Spectacle, Alta and Pearrygin - have also produced some nice trout.

Kokanee fishing on Dworshak Reservoir has been good near Dent. Troll slowly about 20 feet down for the 9- to 10-inch fish.

Steelhead and salmon

Boats trolling the Brewster Pool at the mouth of the Okanogan River are catching a few chinook and limits of sockeye. This year, the 15th annual Brewster Salmon Derby will run Aug. 6 through 8 with over $20,000 in cash and prizes.

Munden’s Rising Son Adventures (492-8852) reports summer chinook fishing in Priest Rapids Reservoir remains solid with an average five to eight kings a day trolling 360 flashers and spinners/Super Baits. They are trolling 360 flashers and gear for chinook and shrimp and dodgers for sockeye. Most of the fish are suspended.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined there are enough sockeye in Baker Lake, and the season there will be open on Saturday. This fishery may close early if fishery monitoring data indicates the sockeye escapement goal to the lake is threatened. The lake escapement goal is 1,500 sockeye left to spawn naturally in the lake and tributaries. Anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at and WDFW’s emergency rules page at before heading out.

Early closure of San Juan Island’s chinook quota for July was met in the first few days of the season, which is closed.

Spiny ray

Eloika Lake largemouth to 5 pounds have been caught lately by anglers throwing weedless spoons and plastics. Silver Lake largemouth have been somewhat smaller, but the tiger musky there are active and provide quite a rush when you’re expecting a 2-pound bass.

Bass in most area lakes are moving into deeper water. Smallmouth fishing has been good at Dworshak Reservoir, Coeur d’Alene and Long. Deer Lake also has a lot of smallmouth bass. Throw large tubes. Largemouth are being fooled at Hayden, Hauser and the Chain lakes in Idaho, and at Downs, Deer, Newman and Long lakes in Washington. Green or white spinnerbaits will entice the largemouth in most waters unless there is a heavy weed growth.

Upper Twin Lake has been booting out some big bass as well as triploid trout. A green pumpkinseed Senko is hard to beat.

Potholes Reservoir smallmouth anglers report excellent success trolling for smallmouth along the face of the dam. Largemouth are still hitting back in the sand dunes. Big crappie and bluegill are being caught on the face of the dunes.

Other species

Channel cats on the Snake around Lyons Ferry are averaging about 3 pounds. Find a deep hole near the shoreline and bait up with nightcrawlers or cut bait–sucker or northern pike minnow.

Contact Alan Liere at