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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 22

UPDATED: Wed., July 21, 2021

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Nothing much has changed on local rivers. Fish mornings in classic summer water–riffles and fast slots. The North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek are good summer options. Dries, with or without a dropper, will find biters. Goldens, Pmds, caddis, and Yellow Sallies are all on the menu. The Lochsa and Selway rivers have been fishing pretty well for cutthroat and rainbow trout. Looking for colder water? Try the Kootenai River

Judging by the number of evening rises, fly fishermen should do well at Fishtrap Lake. It might also be worth checking out other put-and-take lakes south of Spokane. For catch-and-release fishing, tiny Starvation and Bayley lakes southeast of Colville have pretty decent rainbow trout fishing. Although the catching has slowed down in the hot weather, mornings and evenings are still a good bet.

If you’re headed to Montana, check out the hoot-owl restrictions at, as more restrictions went into effect Wednesday, including full fishing closures on the entire Jefferson and Madison rivers and portions of the Big Hole, Gallatin Beaverhead, Missouri, Yellowstone and Stillwater rivers. “Hoot-owl” restrictions prevent fishing from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee trollers are finding their fish south of the island at about 35 feet. Best trolling speed is between 1.2 and 1.4 mph, and the bite usually ends abruptly at about 10:30 a.m. The majority of fish are now around 11 inches.

Lake Pend Oreille has a smorgasbord of fish species including small macks and big rainbow. Priest Lake macks are biting on the bottom near the islands.

Trout action has slowed considerably on most of the lowland lakes, though a very good report came this week from an angler drifting worms and green miniature marshmallows on the south end of Fishtrap Lake.

On Lake Chelan, troll early for macks along Minneapolis Beach and near the Yacht Club. Target water from 100 to 170 feet deep. Some big fish have been landed recently.

Steelhead and salmon

Sockeye salmon are now closed on the Columbia River from the I-182 Bridge at Richland to Chief Joseph Dam. Summer chinook salmon fishing remains open in the Hanford Reach and above Priest Rapids Dam.

Spiny ray

It was a bad week for fishing gear on my boat – two broken rods, one at Silver Lake and one at Loon. If you’re interested in a lot of small bluegill, it would be difficult to not catch a mess at Silver close to the stickups across from the launch. There were so many it was impossible to get the bait down to the perch I was hoping to catch. At Loon, the bluegill are larger, and while night fishing for kokanee, there were dozens at a time trying to intercept my Glo Hook and maggot on the way down. A fast drop, however, got through them and the kokanee fishing was excellent in the bay south of the island.

Long Lake has been productive for both large- and smallmouth bass. Some successful anglers are putting their boats in thick patches of weeds and debris and drop-shotting Berkley Gulp Minnows straight down into the pockets.

Some big catches of nice-sized Loon Lake perch have been reported recently, most coming from about 25 feet of water off the weed beds along the east side. The bite is pretty much an all-day affair. Fan, Diamond, and Sacheen lakes all have been booting out nice largemouth as well as perch and some crappie.

Weed edges along the flat across from the Spokane Arm mouth downstream toward Seven Bays has been good for small walleye on Lake Roosevelt. Bottom bouncers and spinner blades are working. The Spokane Arm itself is providing anglers with limits of eaters on spinners pulled over or near weed beds. In the Kettle Falls area, the water in front of Bradbury Beach and under the bridge has also been good for walleye.

The Potholes Reservoir walleye bite is tough right now. With the water level dropping and the water temperature high, the ‘eyes have moved out of the sand dunes and onto the humps on the face of the dunes. Troll #7 Flicker Shads or #7 Rapala Shad Raps over the humps in 15-to-25 feet of water where big crappie and bluegill are also being caught.

Priest Lake smallmouth are numerous in the rocky areas in 7-to-15 feet of water. Several anglers have said the catching can be “ridiculously easy.”

Other species

The white sturgeon fishery on Lake Roosevelt has attracted a lot of attention. Anglers are having success in the vicinity of Kettle Falls, and in August the area above China Bend will open to fishing.

The mouth of the Palouse River is still a good spot for channel cats up to about 6 pounds. There are a lot of bullheads there also.


The Washington black bear hunting season begins Aug. 1 and runs through Nov. 15. Only GMUs 157, 490 and 522 are closed to fall bear hunting.

Idaho sage grouse hunters will have to buy tags designated for 12 zones for the 2021 season. A total of 1,960 tags will be available on a first-come, first served basis starting Aug. 1. Hunters must choose a single zone to hunt in, but the season has been expanded by more than a month in some zones. Each hunter can buy up to two tags depending on the zone, but eight zones are limited to one tag per hunter. Sage grouse tags cost $22.75 each for residents and $74.25 for nonresidents.

Idaho Fish and Game commissioners have approved a five-day delayed pheasant season opener for nonresident hunters in the general 2021 pheasant season. In zone 1, the resident season will run Oct. 9 through Dec. 31, and nonresidents can begin Oct. 14. In zones 2 and 3, the resident season begins Oct. 16 and also runs through Dec. 31. The non-resident season begins Oct. 21. The delayed opener will not apply to youth pheasant season.

Contact Alan Liere at

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