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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 14

July 13, 2022 Updated Wed., July 13, 2022 at 7:52 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop said cutthroat fishing continues to be steady on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene. The St. Joe has also been going well and should remain good all summer. Stones, drakes, PMDs, caddis, ants/beetles are on the menu.

The Spokane River has been fishing fairly well lately – more consistent than hot. Big foam dries, nymph rigs (stones/caddis pupa) or streamers will find fish. Water levels are high, but wade fishing is an option if you carefully choose your spots.

Grande Ronde smallmouth fishing is getting good. Bass Crawlers and J-Pigs in assorted colors work well.

In Montana, the lower section of the Clark Fork is fishing well. Some big rainbow have been caught on nymphs. The Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Missouri rivers have also been good this week.

Trout and kokanee

Rock Lake trout, mostly rainbows, have provided action for trollers just out from the launch. The fish are fairly deep – around 45 feet. Apex and Old Goat lures have done well in the darker colors.

Having completed three night-fishing trips to Loon Lake this year, I am almost 100% certain there are fewer fish available than there has been in recent memory. I say “almost” because trollers report lights-out action at times. The bite on all trips has been has been slow and late, usually starting after 10:30 p.m., but all the fish have been a foot long or larger. I have found them – but not a lot of them – in all the usual spots in about 30 feet of water. As always, a white Glo Hook tipped with one or two maggots has done best about a foot off the bottom.

If you’re fishing Loon Lake at night with a light, you will eventually see schools of bluegill – lots of them – coming up and plucking moths from the surface. Many of these have been large enough to fillet and can provide a needed diversion to the slow kokanee fishing.

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are only about 8 inches long, but the bass and pike are eating them up and growing fat. Look for pike along emerging weed lines in 6-8 feet of water.

There have been few trout reports from Lake Roosevelt, The best area evidently has been far up the Spokane Arm where most of the rainbow are running 18-20 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

Although the thermal barrier hasn’t formed off the mouth of the Okanogan, there is line of dirty water that some say could keep the salmon from shooting up the river. Fish biologists say dirty water doesn’t matter to a salmon on its spawning migration. Fishing on the Brewster Pool has not taken off, probably due to the colder water rather than a lack of fish, though night fishermen have found a decent bite. Record numbers of sockeye have passed over Bonneville Dam.

Sockeye fishing has been good along the western bank below Rocky Reach Dam. If there are a lot of boats working the area, you can avoid a tension headache by appointing a “designated driver” who isn’t also trying to fish in the fast water.

Spiny ray

Long Lake smallmouth are biting well, as are the walleye. The walleyes are a healthy 20 inches, and many smallmouth are over 14 inches. Look for some current and fish the edges. To do so requires fairly heavy jigs. White has been a productive color. Snake River walleye have also been on the bite near Lyons Ferry.

Overall fishing on the Potholes Reservoir is improving with the increasing water temperatures and the massive influx of freshly hatched fry of many species. The bass fishing has been good this week and walleye fishing is slightly improved over last week. The fish are in the weeds feeding on fry. Fish close to or inside the weeds.The sand dunes and Lind Coulee are producing panfish. Look for spawning bluegill on shallow flats in the dunes. Look for the crappies close to and in the willows.

Other species

Shad counts over Bonneville Dam are dwindling to around 15,000 fish per day – still enough to provide decent fishing below the dam. Shad darts and crappie jigs are the most used.

Channel catfish have moved into deeper water in the Snake River. The best bite will usually be at night. Use cut bait or gobs of nightcrawlers.

Hunting

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to set sage-grouse tag numbers at its July 28 meeting. Tags will go on sale on a first-come, first-served basis starting Aug. 1. You can comment on the proposed sage-grouse hunting season on the Fish and Game public comment webpage. Sage-grouse tags are designated in 12 management zones. Hunters must choose a single zone in which to hunt. The department’s proposal is to increase the number of tags a hunter may purchase from one to two.

Proposed season dates are Sept.ember 17 through Oct.ober 11 for firearm hunters and Aug.ust 15 through March 15, 2023, for falconers.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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