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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 18

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop said the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River has been high but fishable, but you have to find the right water. Prospecting with a big dry (Chernobyl or stone) and a dropper, or streamer fishing have been the way to go. Hatches of drakes have also been getting fish up to the surface.

Conditions on the St. Joe are colder and fishing is slower. You can drive as far as Gold Creek without hitting snow, but there is still a lot in the back country and water levels will fluctuate as it melts.

Staff members at Silver Bow Fly Shop have been fishing some of the area lakes. They say Coffeepot Lake has been improving and fishing well with chironomids and West Medical has also been good. Fish Lake has produced some good fishing with black or olive balanced leeches under an indicator.

Trout and kokanee

Over 38,000 catchable-size (10- to 12-inch) rainbow trout will or already have been planted in most of the Idaho Panhandle Region . Lakes left to be planted, which began Monday, are Day Rock Pond, Gene Day Pond, Steamboat Pond and Cocolalla, Lower Twin, Mirror, Robinson, Round and Kelso lakes. Spicer Pond will receive 1,000 trout between Monday and May 27.

Two friends trolled for kokanee at Loon Lake this week, both catching limits of fish running mostly about 11 inches. They were dragging 40 feet of leader and two colors of lead core line with a Wedding Ring and maggots below a small dodger. They said it took several hours to limit because they lost three fish for every one they netted.

At Sprague Lake Resort, Monica Metz said trout fishing has been slow, but the ones coming in have been big – up to 5 pounds. She said the largemouth bass fishing is good, though, having recently weighed a 6–pounder and several only slightly smaller.

Fluctuating Lake Roosevelt water levels have been giving kokanee and trout anglers fits . The lake level was 1,253 feet above sea level Wednesday.

Kokanee anglers trolling Lake Chelan near the blue condos found some good fishing for fat 14-inch fish last weekend. The kokes were as deep as 80 feet and as shallow as 40.

Salmon and steelhead

With chinook returning in greater numbers than anticipated, fishery managers have reopened the lower Columbia River for recreational spring chinook fishing. Chinook returns counted at Bonneville Dam as of May 9 indicate the run is coming in at 127% of the 10-year average.

Chinook salmon fishing on the Clearwater River has improved tremendously this week and there have been 2,400 to 3,500 fish a day passing Lower Granite Dam. This should provide some excellent catching for the next couple of weeks.

Spiny ray

A recent report from the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt above Buoy 3 described some excellent walleye fishing by two anglers who cast jigs upriver and let the current pull them down river. They kept 23 walleyes between 16 and 21 inches, releasing anything smaller or larger.

Moses Lake smallmouth have been relatively easy to catch . Successful anglers are casting tube jigs in shallow water that has a rocky bottom.

Long Lake remains good for walleye in the vicinity of Willow Bay. Fat, eating-size fish of 16-18 inches make up most of the catches.

Crappie and bluegill are finally beginning to bite back in the dunes on Potholes Reservoir where they are finishing up their spawn. They should soon start posting up in their usual spots on the face of the dunes where the water is flowing in from the wasteways.


The turkey season is winding down, ending on May 31.

It has been one of the most unusual seasons I have experienced. While there were birds in some small pockets, they weren’t spread out as they usually are by now and gobbling never did light up the mountain behind my home. Judging by some sightings and the piles of feathers here and there, I suspect cougars and coyotes have enjoyed some good hunting. I found cooperative birds for friends from Canada and the West Side and one for a nephew from Sunnyside, Washington, but I didn’t shoot one myself – the first time in 25 years.

While picking mushrooms with my friend Mike near Newport, Washington, this week, Mike came face to face with a fanned-out gobbler that wasn’t the least bit wary.

My son Evan had a similar experience on his property next to mine, engaging in a staring contest for several minutes with a big, unconcerned tom which stood 10 feet away.

I’m going fishing.

Contact Alan Liere at