Tip of the week
Walleye fishing at night can be the most effective way to catch these fish because walleye will typically move up to shallower flats, bars or points to gorge on available forage after dark. A great way to target walleye at night is with slip-bobber and a nightcrawler. Pinch on a few split shot about 12 inches above the hook to help keep your bait in the strike zone.
The only public launch on Lake Wenatchee is at the state park on the east end of the lake, and it’s only a single-boat launch. Anglers lined up there long before daylight on the sockeye opener last week, and it still gets busy at times. Patience is at a premium. Sockeye counts at Tumwater Dam on the opener indicated 73,164 sockeye had passed, and that didn’t include four days of missing counts from the previous week. Only 23,000 fish were needed to meet escapement goals. No wonder the fishing is so good.
At Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland, Allen Petersen says the lower sections of the Spokane River have been good in the deeper parts where the current heat wave has driven most of the rainbow. He says to look for a combination of depth and oxygenated water where fish are anxious to grab streamer and soft hackled fly patterns fished on sink tip fly lines. Keep it deep while “swinging” the fly through good holding water.
Petersen also says Fish Trap Lake is doing well, especially in the deeper sections of the lake where a full fast sinking fly line with either Electric Buggers or Olive Willies have produced a mixture of both mature rainbow and Eastern brook.
The North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River above Prichard, around the Jordan Creek and Teepee Creek areas has been delighting a number of fly flingers using Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis and Black Beetle patterns fished in the oxygenated deeper runs. Small bead head nymphs fished under the dry fly as a “dropper” can be effective for cutthroat in the absence of dry fly activity. As always, the high temperatures bring out the inner-tubers, so prepare to either deal with it or go further upriver.
There has been some good fishing on the St. Joe River. Small hoppers and ants are becoming the more consistent dries, says Silver Bow Fly Shop. Focus on riffles and boulder-strewn runs in the morning. There are a lot of tubers from Avery downstream.
The North Fork of the Clearwater/Kelly Creek is fishing well. Golden stones, pmds, caddis, and some hoppers are starting to kick in. Nymphing faster slots as the day heats up will always pick up more fish.
Some more hoot-owl restrictions are going in place on Montana rivers. Keep on top of things by going to https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions/waterbody-closures.
Trout and kokanee
Loon Lake night fishing for kokanee hasn’t improved much for me. Two friends and I set up in front of the boat house last week, fished for three hours and caught 10 fish. I recorded my season best with three fish. To be fair, I must say these were some of the largest kokes I’ve ever caught from Loon this early in the summer. My three averaged over 12 inches long.
At this time of year, some of the best fishing is at night when the skies are clear and there’s a full moon. Many small, deep lakes at higher elevations are more popular now, but it is still best to fish early in the day or late in the evening. Meadow Lake in Stevens County is a good bet now for rainbow, and Davis in Ferry County and Yocum in Pend Oreille County both have some nice cutthroat. Summit Lake in Stevens County has nice rainbows, and Elbow Lake just to the west has Eastern brook.
Trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been very good this week. Several healthy limits of 2- to 5-pound trout have come in. Troll Wee Gee spoons, Needlefish, or #7 Flicker Shads at 2-3 miles per hour along Medicare Beach and in front of the State Park. The sand dunes are also producing quality trout fishing. Fish the main creek channels trolling Wedding Rings with a worm.
Shore anglers at Lake Chelan are doing well for cutthroat trout and smallmouth bass in the Manson and Chelan areas.
Salmon and steelhead
Ilwaco is seeing some excellent coho fishing now. A lot of wild fish are being hooked however, and must be released.
The Wenatchee River is now open through September 30 for sockeye retention from the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge with no more than two adult hatchery chinook and up to four sockeye (minimum size 12 inches) allowed to be retained as part of the six-fish daily limit. Anglers must release coho and wild adult chinook. Selective gear rules are in effect, but use of bait/scent is allowed. Two-pole fishing is not allowed in the river fishery.
The popular Buoy 10 salmon fishery for coho and chinook at the Lower Columbia River mouth is on now through September 7. The Columbia River coho forecast is 683,800, which is expected to be the largest since 2014. All wild coho and chinook must be released. The daily adult limit is two salmon. One of the top fishing spots is the Desdemona Sands area located in the middle of the river above and just below the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The buoy line outside the town of Astoria above the bridge is another ideal fishing location. On the Washington side, try the Church Hole off Fort Columbia State Park, and from the Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side west toward Hammond.
Buoy 10 isn’t the only location taking center stage for salmon this summer. The Columbia River from West Puget Island upstream to the U.S. Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco can be good, too. Summer chinook can still be caught in the Entiat and Chelan River mouth areas, below Wells Dam, and from the Brewster Pool upstream towards Bridgeport. The peak timing of the chinook and sockeye runs coincide with the Brewster King Salmon Derby on August 5-7.
Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay are open for chinook and hatchery coho salmon fishing. Some areas have adjusted days open or daily catch limits, so be sure to consult the regulation pamphlet before going. The forecast of 1 million coho and 560,000 fall chinook is allowing for a good coastal summer fishing season.
This is the time to troll weed edges along the flats for Lake Roosevelt walleye. The flat across from the Spokane mouth towards Seven Bays has been productive. Walleye are being found in front of Bradbury Beach, the Fenders area under the bridge, Osborne Bay, and the mouth of the Colville River along the east bank.
In Moses Lake, walleye and bass fishing is fair, especially early-morning. On Potholes Reservoir, anglers are fishing the humps for walleye. Several hike-in lakes just west of Potholes Reservoir are a decent choice for anglers in search of largemouth bass that don’t get a lot of pressure.
My son, Evan, fished the St. Joe River about 10 miles south of St. Maries, Idaho this week, catching numerous 3- to 4-pound northern pike and 1- to 2-pound smallmouth bass. He said spinnerbaits and Rapalas worked the best.
Idaho sage grouse and sandhill crane tags went on sale Monday, but there was an increase in the number of grouse tags allowed on a first-come, first served basis, and there may still be some available if you act quickly. Call (800) 554-8685.
If you didn’t draw an Idaho controlled hunt the first time around, you have another chance during the second controlled hunt drawing from Friday through August 15.
Idaho Fish and Game will also sell returned nonresident, general-season big game tags starting at 10 a.m. MDT on Thursday. Tags can be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis by calling (800) 554-8685. Look on the Fish and Game Nonresident License and Tag webpage for a list of hunts available.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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