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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 29

UPDATED: Wed., July 28, 2021

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River has been good lately, says Silver Bow Fly Shop, with dry/dropper rigs a great way to fish during lower water. The morning bite has been good, but the evening fishing also has been solid .

Silver Bow says the two best tips for fly fishing right now are to fish early and focus on the riffle water. Also, be sure to pack your hoppers, ants and beetles for the rest of the summer. Light hatches of caddis, yellow sallies and pmds will also find fish. Attractors are always good prospecting patterns. When in doubt, run a foam pattern with a 2-to-3-foot dropper (something like a caddis pupa or lightning bug type).

Trout and kokanee

Loon Lake kokanee are running mostly 11 inches and putting on weight. Both trolling in the morning hours and still fishing after dark have been good. Two friends and I have done well recently dunking Glo-Hooks and maggots or white corn at night in 32 feet of water. The bite just out from the Granite Point bath house has died, as the fish seem to have moved directly across the lake. With night coming a little earlier each week, the kokanee bite also begins a little earlier. This week, we were catching fish by 9:15 p.m.

The Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee bite is about over, and according to Fins and Feathers in downtown Coeur d’Alene “it was a weird year” with fewer fish and an erratic bite. The chinook fishing on the big lake, however, was a success with 29 fish weighed into the recent Big One tournament, the smallest 14 pounds. Twelve of the 29 were over 20 pounds.

The Icicle River near Leavenworth is a good place to catch small rainbow during this hot weather. The Entiat is also full of small rainbow, cutthroat and brookies, and the Methow River has larger rainbow and cutthroat. The San Poil and Kettle rivers also have a lot of small, willing rainbow, but larger fish are possible.

Kokanee fishing is good on Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho, but the spawning cycle will begin soon and the fish will move up the reservoir. Most of these fish will be up around Grandad now.

With slightly cooler water, Long Lake in Ferry County, Browns and Yokum lakes in Pend Oreille County and Little Twin Lake in Stevens County are all fishing well for cutthroat.

Steelhead and salmon

Chinook fishing is going well on the Brewster Pool and at Chelan Falls and Wells Dam, but with such a small number of sockeye counted at Bonneville Dam this year, it is surprising to many that a sockeye season even happened. Now that the sockeye season on the Brewster Pool has been closed, salmon anglers are concentrating on chinook. The Brewster Salmon Derby is August 6 through 8 with up to $20,000 in cash and prizes, and Mike Mauk of the Brewster Chamber of Commerce anticipates a great derby with lots of big fish.

Baker Lake sockeye fishing has not been lights out, but persistent anglers are taking limits by putting in long days. Pink flies and hoochies in back of a dodger are standard fare.

The preseason forecast for fall chinook salmon of 24,710 adults is similar to last year’s return of 27,322, and the coho forecast of 14,000 is nearly double last year’s return of 7,797. Fishing for chinook will open in the following areas on August 18, seven-days per week:

• 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.

Bag limits are as follows:

• Daily: Two adult coho salmon, no limit on jacks (less than 20 inches)

• Possession limit is six adult coho.

• There is no season limit on coho.

Full seasons and rules brochure are now available on the coho fishing web page.

Salmon fishing in the salt has not been particularly hot, but trollers are finding some keepers among the many non-clipped coho and chinook. From July 19 to 25, 2,853 anglers participating in the Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon) fisheries have landed 25% of the chinook guideline and 21% of the area subquota coho. At Westport, anglers have taken 31% of the area guideline for chinook and 9% of the area subquota for coho. At LaPush, 13% of the chinook guideline were landed along with 9% of the available coho. At Neah Bay, the numbers are 66% for chinook and 15 % for coho.

Spiny ray

Anglers are finding some nice-sized Eloika Lake crappie in the middle of the lake toward the north end. They say the trick is to throw a bobber and small jig into the pockets between the weeds. Newman Lake is another good bet for crappie and bass. Try around the docks.

At Downs Lake, perch anglers are having to sort through a lot of small fish to find the big ones, which are running 9 to 12 inches. Fishing for largemouth bass has been very good, and now and then a big crappie is boated.

The bass fishing has been excellent on Moses Lake for both smallmouth and largemouth. Walleye fishing has been fair. On Potholes Reservoir, big crappie, bluegill and perch are being caught on the face of the sand dunes. Walleye fishing has been slow.

Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent on the Snake River. Fish up to 16 inches are being taken, and if you can navigate the rip-rap along the bank without breaking a leg, you don’t need a boat.

It’s not fast fishing, but walleye fishing it is fairly consistent on Lake Roosevelt. Fish the points.

A good largemouth fishery now is in the lily pads at Long Lake. Throw hollow body frogs into the thick stuff. Sometimes letting it sit will bring a strike, but other times they want a fast retrieve.

Idaho’s Hauser Lake is good for bluegill, especially in the evening. Loon Lake bluegill are ridiculously easy to catch at night when they come to the surface to slurp insects attracted to kokanee anglers’ lights. Silver Lake perch and bluegill are numerous but small.

Other species

The WDFW says sport halibut fishing will re-open along the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and in Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10) on Thursday, Aug. 19. The fishery in these areas will be open three days per week.

Fishing for channel cats is generally good this time of year on the Snake River. A proven place for bank anglers is the deeper water in front of the Lyons Ferry grain elevators.

Contact Alan Liere at

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