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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 21

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River continues to drop, and fishing has been consistent. Beat the heat and the inner tubers by fishing early and late. Near the state line, the upper stretches are getting warm – good for smallmouth but not so much for trout. Caddis are hatching in the afternoon and evenings.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is still good top to bottom. Expect tubers noon and later. The St. Joe River is fishing well, especially the mid and upper reaches. Lower stretches have slowed a bit in the afternoons. Golden stones have been the name of the game, but drakes, PMDs and ants have been fishing well. Silver Bow Fly Shop said Hoodoo Pass is open and the North Fork Clearwater River is beginning to heat up.

Nymphing and streamers are best this time of year on the lower Clark Fork River in Montana. Stick with soft water, back eddies and foam buckets where fish are concentrated away from higher flows. Also in Montana, the Blackfoot River is fishing well as dry fly fishing improves in the late afternoon. Streamer prospecting can yield some big fish on the Blackfoot this time of year. Sparkle Minnows, Kreelexes, Mini Dungeons and Thin Mints/Buggers are all good to have available. Some of these rivers are getting warm, so for the health of the fish you might consider morning fishing only.

Trout and kokanee

Bead Lake kokanee are usually smaller, but this summer trollers are pulling in fish approaching 12 inches.

Night fishing for trout becomes popular at Waitts Lake when the weather gets hot. Anglers are using Power Bait or yellow corn just off the bottom near Winona Beach Resort.

Salmon and steelhead

Ocean salmon openings and closings are being constantly adjusted to make sure anglers will still have chinook and coho to fish for in August. If you are planning a trip to the coast for salmon, be sure to check ahead for current regulations on the WDFW Fishing hotline at (360) 902-2500. Press 2 for recreational rules.

Idaho Fish and Game will close chinook salmon fishing on the South Fork of the Salmon River at the end of fishing hours on Thursday. The sport fishing share of the harvest will have been reached by that time.

With an uptick in the run-size forecast for summer chinook salmon, Columbia River fisheries managers this week extended angling in the river through the end of the month. Fishing in the lower river downstream of Bonneville Dam to the Astoria Megler Bridge in Astoria was set to end July 14, but the extension allows angling in that area to continue through July 31. Fall chinook fishing begins Aug. 1.

The Brewster Pool is providing good fishing for 3- to 5-pound sockeye and a few chinook. Many anglers are trolling a No. 10 dodger about 10 inches in front of two 2/0 hooks, neither with bait. Others are using a pink hoochie on the top hook or baiting it with a headless coon shrimp. These setups seems to work anywhere sockeye are targeted.

Sockeye are also being caught in the fast water below Rocky Reach Dam. Some anglers are getting limits on the flat water above the dam casting bobbers and shrimp.

Spiny ray

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt has been producing a few keeper walleye and smaller trout above Buoy 5. Friends recently took limits of nice walleyes in the vicinity of the Kettle River. They fished in 20 feet of water with bottom walkers and spinners tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. There has been a lot of floating debris in Roosevelt, so take it slowly.

Potholes Reservoir anglers fishing from the mouth of Lind Coulee have been catching walleye and some big bluegill, and the rocks along Potholes Road seem to be loaded with smallmouth bass. Some nice-sized crappie have been taken recently from the MarDon Resort dock. Bass and walleye were hitting this week.

Guide Toby Wyatt at Reel Time Fishing reports multiple large walleye caught Tuesday from the Snake River at Lyons Ferry. He said the largest was 15 pounds but there were many over 5 pounds.

If you’re up for the precarious launch and long float into Bonnie Lake, some big bluegill, perch and crappie are the reward. The largemouth fishing can also be good at times.

Curlew Lake has been excellent for big catches of perch – some as large as 12 inches. Look for weed beds in about 15-20 feet of water.

Other species

Sturgeon anglers on Lake Roosevelt have been hooking enough of the big fish to keep things interesting, including some keepers in the 53- to 60-inch range. Some good reports come from the water downstream of China Bend. One successful angler said of his trip: “Nothing failed us. Often times with sturgeon fishing, it’s just a matter of getting your bait in the right spot.”

Coeur d’Alene pike are getting active in Rockford, Mica and Windy bays. Spinner baits have worked well. Hayden Lake pike are hitting along the weeds and the chain lakes are producing small pike.


Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation are offering another chance to hunt bighorn sheep in Idaho – the 2022 Idaho Bighorn Sheep Lottery Tag.

Monies generated by this tag are used to support wildlife disease research. Ticket orders must be received by Monday . Buy one ticket for $20, six tickets for $100, 14 tickets for $166.75 or 25 tickets for $250. These can be purchased online from The Wild Sheep Foundation.

Contact Alan Liere at

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