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

Matt Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 26

UPDATED: Wed., May 25, 2022

By Matt Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River from Nine Mile Falls Dam to the Washington/Idaho state line opens again on Saturday. The river is high, but there will be fishable pockets.

Fly fishing with small black chironomids has been picking up at Coffeepot Lake and at the far end of Medical Lake. The best fishing has been in the afternoon in shallow water.

The St. Joe River may be an option if your luck falls short elsewhere. The water is dropping, creating scattered nymphing and streamer opportunities. Weather continues to be a factor, but mixed hatches of March browns, salmon flies and gray drakes have been seen. Dries would also be a good bet.

Trout and kokanee

Fishing continues to improve at many waters to the north of Spokane. Deep, Rocky and Cedar lakes in Stevens County are good bets, as is Ellen Lake in Ferry County.

Local anglers fishing trout on the Spokane River this week had sporadic luck. Most fish were found around 75 feet of water by trolling a variety of patterns dominated by green and white. Those that tried lures in the red color spectrum failed to attract any strikes.

Salmon and steelhead

As the number of upriver spring chinook continues to exceed expectations, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon on Wednesday agreed to allow 11 more days on the lower Columbia River for recreational spring chinook fishing, which began Tuesday, in addition to two days upstream of Bonneville Dam. Fishery managers continue to see good passage through Bonneville Dam. Check for any emergency rule changes – available at before heading out.

Snake River creel estimates moved WDFW to announce an upcoming closure for the spring chinook fishery, effective Friday, at 11:59 p.m., below Little Goose Dam. This includes the area from Texas Rapids boat launch (located on the south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below the dam, including both shores and the rock/concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and the south shoreline of the dam facilities, known locally as The Wall. The area below Ice Harbor Dam closed two days prior.

Spiny ray

At Fisherman’s Cove Resort on Curlew Lake comes the good news “everything is biting.” Good catches of perch and trout are making the dreary weather much more tolerable.

Moses Lake walleyes have moved into deeper water and fishing is picking up. On Potholes, walleye are more scattered. Bass fishing for both smallmouth and largemouth gets better each day at both lakes. Try the south spillway at Moses Lake. At Banks Lake, try jigging just off the flats.

Anglers are catching lots of smallmouth from the Columbia River pools. Bonneville Pool has been especially good. Bonneville Pool boat anglers averaged 13.5 smallmouth bass per rod last week. In The Dalles Pool, they averaged over nine per rod. On the John Day Pool, boat anglers averaged over five bass and a walleye per rod. Lake Roosevelt smallmouth anglers are tossing tubes and plugs into the shallow, rocky shorelines and catching a lot of good-eating fish.

You’ll have to move around to find the larger Long Lake crappie. If you begin catching small fish from your spot, that’s probably all you’re going to catch there. Finding a school of 14-inchers is worth the effort of constantly relocating.

Bass fishing has been excellent at Eloika Lake, and Silver Lake largemouth fishing is heating up. Downs Lake has seen some big bass landed. Largemouth bass are also lurking on beds in shallow water in Lake Coeur d’Alene, and northern pike can be caught in the same general areas.

Other species

The WDFW says the white sturgeon fishery on Lake Roosevelt will open seven days a week beginning June 18. 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 in 2022.

Another excellent shad return is expected this year on the Columbia River. It usually starts around Memorial Day and continues through June. In 2021, 5.8 million shad returned, compared to the 10-year average of 3.7 million . Once daily counts at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder hit 20,000-plus shad, it’s time to go fishing, but most shad anglers are so spoiled by the tremendous runs on the Columbia they don’t venture out until it hits 40,000.

Make some cash and save a salmon smolt. The northern pikeminnow reward fishery is up and running on the Columbia River. Check out for more information, or call toll free (800) 858-9015. Fish one through 25 are worth $6 each. Fish 26-200 are worth $8 each, and 201 and up are worth $10 each. There are also tagged fish worth $500 each.


The application period for Idaho fall 2022 deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear and turkey controlled hunts runs only through June 5. Hunters with a valid 2022 Idaho hunting license may apply for controlled hunts at any license vendor, Fish and Game office, or with a credit card online at or by calling 800-554-8685. Controlled hunts are a chance at some of Idaho’s best buck and bull hunts, antlerless hunts, extra hunting opportunity, or tags set aside for youth hunters. Hunters wanting even more opportunities for the best tags available can apply for Idaho’s Super Hunts. Entries cost $6 each, and you can buy as many as you want. A Super Hunt tag allows the winner to hunt in any open unit for the species they drew – general or controlled hunts – for deer, elk, pronghorn and moose.

Contact Matt Liere at

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