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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for June 23

June 22, 2022 Updated Wed., June 22, 2022 at 6:42 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River is on the drop and fishing well, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Flows are high but fishable and dropping consistently. Plan on mayflies (drakes/PMDs), yellow sallies, golden stones and caddis. Dry fly fishing as well as streamer fishing and nymphing will all produce.

The St. Joe River is also on the drop and fishing well. Streamer fish in the morning and throw mayfly dries at midday. With warmer weather this week, expect more stonefly activity. The river is high but dropping nicely.

The North Fork Clearwater is dropping but still too high for fishing. Hoodoo Pass is still impassable. Call the North Ranger District (208) 476-0268 before you give it a try.

The Bitterroot, Blackfoot and Rock Creek in the Missoula area are starting to fish. The Missouri River has been fishing well.

Blue Lake in the Sun Lakes chain is giving up a mix of rainbow, browns and smallmouth bass. The 13- to 15-inch rainbows are taking buggers and nymphs on sinking tip and intermediate sinking fly lines. The smallmouth want just the buggers. They aren’t huge, but probably average 1½ pounds.

Trout and kokanee

Rainbow and brown trout running anywhere from 9-16 inches are biting at Waitts Lake for trollers. Deer Lake is seeing a fair number of big rainbow and a few small macks, and Rock Lake is kicking out some large browns and smaller rainbows. The southern lakes like Fishtrap, Williams, Badger and Clear are better for trout than they were on the opener.

Sacheen Lake is often overlooked after winter ice fishing is over, but the lake has triploid trout, some browns, and even brookies and tiger trout. Sacheen also has a good population of crappie and perch, and some nice largemouth.

Conconully kokanee fishing has not taken off as quickly as was expected, but the rainbow fishing has been good. Spectacle Lake is the place for 14- to 15-inch kokanee at the east end with bites coming almost directly in front of the campground. The fish are hanging in 35-45 feet of water.

Bonaparte Lake is giving up fair numbers of 10- to 12-inch kokanee and some larger trout – rainbow and tiger. The fishing was reported to be steady but not hot. The kokes are high in the water column.

Friends who fished Dworshak Reservoir several days last week said the fish were small and the muddy water made them difficult to find. Coeur d’Alene Lake kokes are also small. That usually means there are a lot of them.

My first Loon Lake night fishing report for kokanee indicated the fish are good-sized for this time of year. As the weather continues to warm, this will become a popular fishery. The bite begins before it is even dark. Three friends who trolled Loon Lake on Tuesday with a small flasher and a Wedding Ring netted 26 kokanee and lost just as many. They said their best success came from 30 feet down and some of the fish were over 12 inches.

Pend Oreille and Priest lake macks are hugging the bottom. Three- to 6-pounders are relatively easy to catch once a column of fish is found. Drop-shotting, a technique commonly used for walleye, is also effective for catching macks.

Salmon and steelhead

Opening day for summer chinook and sockeye is July 1, and the dam counts are looking good for the Brewster Pool for both species. Wanapum has also been good in the past, but high water this year could make fishing challenging, especially if there is a crowd. Chelan Falls can fish well but will probably be crowded.

Spiny ray

Walleye and smallmouth are bending rods at Banks Lake. The walleyes have been taken most consistently in water between 25 and 35 feet deep by anglers trolling Slow Death Hooks and Smile Blades and a piece of nightcrawler. The smallmouth are close to shore in the rocks. Tube jigs are hard to beat, but shallow running plugs are also popular. Rufus Woods also fishes well at times for walleye. Troll spinners with nightcrawlers downriver, but if there is a lot of current, fish the slack water with jigs and nightcrawlers.

Many bass waters in Washington and Idaho – lakes like Newman, Eloika, Long, Downs, Silver and Hayden – are fishing well for largemouth.

Two lucky anglers each put $1,000 in the bank in May through the Lake Pend Oreille angler incentive program for walleye. One of the winning walleye was around 16 inches, and the other was around 21 inches; both were tagged and caught near the railroad bridge outside of Sandpoint.

Walleye anglers are still finding fish from The Dalles on up to Northport, but say the fish are smaller than the ones they were getting last week and the current is wicked.

This is usually prime time to catch northern pike and walleye on Lake Roosevelt.

It can be particularly good in and around the Kettle River, but there is so much water coming down from Canada the current is fierce. The Kettle and Colville rivers are dumping a lot of dirty water into the reservoir and the fish have moved off the flats.

Other species

The Puget Sound summer crab-fishing seasons will start July 1 in many marine areas.

“Crabbing seasons should be similar to recent years around most of Puget Sound,” said Don Velasquez, WDFW crustacean biologist. “Still, some areas with continued low abundance will see limited seasons or remain closed this year to promote Dungeness population recovery.”

Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) south of a line projected true east from Ayock Point and Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound) will remain closed. Summer seasons for the upcoming fishery are posted on WDFW’s crab-fishing webpage.

Shad counts at Bonneville Dam are ramping up. Nearly 3 million fish have passed to date with more on the way.

Contact Alan Liere at

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