At Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland, Allen Petersen had this to say about fly fishing prospects: Believe it or not, there have been a few adventurous souls who have braved the 18,000 cfs water coming down the Spokane River. I wouldn’t recommend it, but they have caught a few of the red band rainbows hunkering down in some of the side and back eddies below the Bowl and Pitcher on streamers using sink tip fly lines. The river is notorious for being difficult to wade even in the best of conditions due to the algae film that adheres to the rocks. Slippery would be an understatement.
Petersen added that local lakes are doing fairly well. Fishtrap, Amber, Clear, Medical, Coffee Pot, Badger and Bailey lakes will all produce some decent fly fishing if one uses more effective gear such as a fast-sinking fly line and patterns such as the Electric Bugger, Olive Willy, dragon and damsel nymphs fished deep with a short stripped retrieve in the shoal areas.
Good lakes for rainbow trout in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are the Pillar-Widgeon Chain (Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Shoveler, Hourglass, Sago and Widgeon). These walk-in lakes are consistent producers of quality trout and popular destinations for fly anglers looking for a quiet day in a beautiful setting.
The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River had been fishing well, but it, and most other Idaho and Montana rivers, blew out earlier this week. The North Fork may be back in shape by the weekend, but because of limited opportunities at other rivers, will probably be crowded.
Trout and kokanee
Trout fishing has been slow for many Stevens and Pend Oreille county lakes due to cool water temperatures. Many higher-elevation waters, such as Big Meadow Lake or Davis Lake (in Ferry County), may need another week to begin fishing well. Cedar Lake in northern Stevens County produced well on opening day, and should get good again.
Bonaparte Lake kokanee have been hitting flat-lined hoochies as well as Wedding Rings in numerous spots, but anglers say that the area in front of the Boy Scout camp has been best. The water is high and the Forest Service launch is submerged, creating difficulty for launching larger boats.
Fishtrap, Williams and Badger lakes are providing nice catches of rainbow trout, mostly for smaller fish in the 10-inch range. Badger Lake, particularly, is almost a sure thing for a limit of 9- to 10-inch rainbow.
Waitts Lake rainbow and browns are numerous in the top 20 feet of water. Most of these are this year’s plants. A fly tipped with worm and trolled behind a three-ought dodger is effective.
Pend Oreille Lake anglers are trolling deep for mackinaw. Fish the shelfs. Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene said they took a 14-pounder and a lot of 3- to 7-pounders over the weekend. He also said rainbow were hitting flies on top from midlake south.
Smith was not as enthusiastic about the kokanee fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene, saying they are everywhere and plentiful but small. “I’ve got lures bigger than our kokanees this year,” he said. “I haven’t seen kokes this small since 1984.”
Night fishing on Loon Lake is unlikely to get an enthusiastic following until the weather settles down and warms up. Daytime trollers who brave the almost continual rain have been rewarded with fat kokanee of 11 inches or more by dragging hoochies or Wedding Rings and a dodger up high.
Salmon and steelhead
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved the proposed summer chinook salmon seasons for the South Fork Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers as well as the Lochsa River. The seasons will open Saturday. Preseason estimates for sport angler harvest for adult chinook is about 1,000 chinook for the South Fork of the Salmon River, 1,400 chinook for the Upper Salmon River, and about 120 chinook for the Lochsa River.
Sport anglers will have their first opportunity to catch salmon off Washington’s coast at Neah Bay and La Push beginning Saturday; Ilwaco on June 25; and Westport on July 2. Fish managers expect a decent forecast of nearly 1.2 million coho, which is near the actual return of more than 1.1 million in 2021, and around 485,000 fall chinook up from the actual return of 481,300 in 2021.
Last week, walleye anglers were able to access the stretch of Lake Roosevelt known as “The Dalles.” While catching was reported to be slower than last year, fair numbers of fish were caught. Friends who spent several days there said they had their best luck dropping curly-tailed grubs tipped with nightcrawler into about 30 feet of water. Other anglers said blade baits worked well. By now, it should be possible to launch at China Bend for the run to the best fishing spots.
At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Pete Fisher said the bass fishing has been good as the largemouth finish their spawning activities in the sand dunes. Top baits are the SPRO Frogs, one-half-ounce jigs with a craw trailer, three-eighths-ounce chatter baits, 5-inch wacky rigged Senkos and white spinnerbaits. The rock piles between Goose Island and the face of the dam have been producing decent smallmouth on Norisada blade baits, tubes, crankbaits and Senkos.
Walleye fishing continues to improve this week on Potholes Reservoir. With the spawn complete, the walleye will move into the sand dunes to feed. Fish there in 8-20 feet of water with a Slow Death rig and a 1- to 2-ounce bottom walker and crawler on weed lines. Lind Coulee also continues to produce walleye.
Loon, Newman, Liberty, Silver, Houser and Hayden lakes are giving up some good-sized largemouth bass, and a lot of smaller fish have been caught at Eloika Lake. Several 3- and 4- pound smallmouth have been taken at Long Lake.
A white sturgeon fishery on Lake Roosevelt opens Saturday. Fishing will be open seven days a week from Grand Coulee Dam upstream to the China Bend Boat Ramp. That includes the Spokane River from the Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, the Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam, and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge. To limit fishery impacts to wild adult sturgeon, the portion of Lake Roosevelt from China Bend upstream to the Canadian border will not open to fishing this year.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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