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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for June 30

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Lost Lake in Okanogan County has a nice mix of rainbow and brookies. Anglers have had good success on 11- to 13-inch fish by throwing small patterns like a pheasant tail nymph. The best fishing is in the deeper water adjacent to the flats.

Silver Bow Fly Shop said the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River is fishing well. It’s the time of the year where you will more than likely see a variety of hatches – goldens, yellow sallies, drakes, PMDs and caddis.

Trout fishing for a variety of species is good in some of the smaller, higher-elevation lakes in the Little Pend Oreille chain in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, as well as Davis and Ellen in Ferry County. Southwest rainbow lakes like Badger, Clear, West Medical and Williams are still fishing pretty well for bait and fly fishermen, and Lenore has been decent early mornings and evenings for some big Lahontan cutthroat. Shoreline access at Lenore is good, as there are several places along the eastern shore from which to cast.

Trout and kokanee

Bank fishing for the big triploids at Rufus Woods is excellent, but with the water as high as it is there is hardly any shoreline. The few spots that are still accessible are usually occupied by early risers.

Three of us tried night fishing at Loon Lake Sunday night, but what we figured would be terrific kokanee fishing was pretty much a bust. The kokes we landed were all a foot or so long with a lot of girth, but 3½ hours of jigging Glo-Hooks and maggots in front of the Granite Point bath house was a lot of fishing for seven fish. By 11:15 p.m., it was evident it wouldn’t be our night and we were getting cold. Don’t be fooled by high daytime temperatures in Spokane. Take a heavy coat and a stocking hat.

There are various opinions as to why Loon Lake kokanee are so large this year. The most likely reason is that there are fewer fish, but you wouldn’t know it some days if you were trolling for them. Trollers at Loon Lake haven’t had to deal with cold temperatures, and that bite also consists mostly of kokanee running 11-13 inches. Best success has come 20 feet down on the west side of the lake.

The Grant County Seep Lakes continue to produce decent trout fishing at Warden, Hampton and Upper Goose . Troll Dick Nite Spoons and flies behind flashers or still fish with Power Bait or marshmallows. Trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been good this week. Troll Wee Gee spoons, Needlefish or No. 7 Flicker Shads at 2-3 miles per hour along Medicare Beach and in front of the state park.

Salmon and steelhead

The Columbia River salmon fishery opens Friday. Fish counts over Bonneville Dam are looking good for summer salmon, and the sockeye numbers are better than last year. Anglers are hoping the Columbia settles down some, however, as high water is extremely detrimental to fishing below Wanapum Dam. The water spilling down the chute creates some huge standing waves. There is also a concern that the cool spring weather has prevented the thermal barrier from forming off the Okanogan and salmon are going shoot right through the Brewster Pool.

Spiny ray

Smallmouth bass fishing has picked up on Long Lake despite the heavy current and high water. There are many “dinks,” but fish to 3 pounds and a few larger are also being caught. Senkos are particularly good if “wacky rigged.”

Some nice-sized crappie are being caught at Newman and Horseshoe lakes. Eloika Lake crappie are smaller, and the lake is getting weedy, but a white fly trolled slowly on the surface will entice bites late in the day. Silver Lake crappie are also available if you can get past the sunfish. Silver also has some decent-sized bluegill.

Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County is producing largemouth catches, as are nearby Twin and Deer Springs lakes, which also have some big crappie and perch. Bait is not allowed on Coffeepot, but small plastics do well.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent on the Bonneville Pool. It is also good on the upper Snake but just starting on the Grande Ronde River.

Curlew Lake perch fishing is getting good again for anglers using a simple worm and sinker rig in 10 to 20 feet of water. There is no limit on perch at Curlew, and most of them are at least 9 inches long.

A friend says Loon Lake bluegill are on their beds in shallow water and will quickly take a small jig or fly. You’ll catch a lot of 4-inch fish, but 7-inchers are not unheard of. The public access area always had a lot of fish nearby, but with the warmer weather, boat traffic in and out makes it difficult to fish effectively.

At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Pete Fisher said the 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 with a lot of 2- to 4-pound fish being caught. Top baits are SPRO Frogs, one-half-ounce jigs with a craw trailer, a three-eighths-ounce chatter bait, 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 on Potholes has been hit and miss this week. The fish are in the weeds feeding on fry. It can be a hassle, but best luck is had by fishing as close to or inside the weeds in 3-8 feet of water. Fish the sand dunes and Lind Coulee for panfish. Look for spawning bluegill on shallow flats in the dunes and crappie close to and in the willows.

Other species

A friend made it down to the Bonneville Dam area last week for shad. He said there were hundreds of anglers fishing below the dam on the Washington shore, and everyone was catching fish despite the unusually high water and currents. Daily shad counts over Bonneville have recently been more than 200,000.

Contact Alan Liere at

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