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

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for July 4, 2024

By Alan Liere The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Dry-dropper rigs have been the most consistent lately on the Spokane River. The trout fishing has been good. Fishing has also been good on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene. Mixing in some terrestrials like beetles and ants is a good idea. Pale morning duns and caddis have been working best on the St. Joe. River levels are below average, but it’s still floatable and fishing well everywhere.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt has been kicking out some large kokanee for anglers trolling anything pink with a flasher at about 40 feet. The goat farm is said to be hot, but kokes are biting throughout the system.

Lake Chelan kokanee anglers are catching a lot of cutthroat off some of the usual spots like Chelan Shores, the Red Roofs and Lakeside Park. Kokanee success on fish up to 16 inches has been better in front of the Blue Roofs. Go deep – 130 feet or more.

A friend fished Waitts Lake late last week and said trolling for rainbows and browns was good, with the biggest being 13 inches.

Many Washington lowland lakes continue to produce fair to good trout fishing. Popular choices include Park, Deep and Warden lakes in Grant County; Alta, Conconully (Lake and Reservoir) and Pearrygin lakes in Okanogan County; Wapato, Fish, Beehive and Upper Wheeler lakes in Chelan County; and Jameson Lake in Douglas County. Grimes Lake in Douglas County has some nice Lahontan cutthroat.

Smaller lakes with more secluded settings include Round and Long east of Tonasket, Beaver and Lake Beth in northeast Okanogan County and Wannacut west of Oroville. Fishing for kokanee can be good in Patterson, Alta, Conconully, Bonaparte and Spectacle lakes. Within the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area there are many walk-in lakes open. Dusty is an excellent hike-in lake for anglers wanting to get away from crowds. Evening fishing along the basalt hillsides can be excellent for brown trout. Lenice and Nunnally are fishing well for trout in the 14- to 16-inch range with some up to 20 inches. Both lakes received 3,000 catchable-sized trout in the fall and another 2,337 (Lenice) and 2,750 (Nunnally) in spring. Selective gear rules apply on these waters. Dry Falls, located in the Sun Lakes State Park, is a popular selective gear lake for large rainbow and brown trout. Fish in the 16- to 20-inch range were common last year. No combustion motors are allowed.

Try for trout at Easton, Fiorito North, Kiawanas, Lavender, Mattoon, McCabe, Mill and Naneum (juvenile youth only) and Woodhouse Pond in Kittitas County. You can also find planted trout in Clear, Dog, Granger Pond, Lost, Myron, Rotary, Sarge Hubbard Park and the I-82 ponds in Yakima County.

Trout fishing has been good on Potholes Reservoir. Troll No. 7 Flicker Shads or spoons 2 to 3 mph in front of Medicare Beach or from MarDon Resort to Blythe Point. Some of these fish weigh upward of 4 pounds. From shore, fish Medicare Beach with Power Bait.

Most high-elevation or alpine trout lakes are accessible this month. Almost 200 small lakes, ranging from about 3,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation, lie on public land within Chelan and Okanogan counties. These include the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Colockum Wildlife Area.

Salmon and steelhead

The Upper Columbia River opened Monday for summer chinook and sockeye. The preseason forecast for Upper Columbia summer chinook is 52,600 adults to the Columbia River mouth. This is similar to the 2023 run. The preseason forecast for sockeye is 288,700 adults. The 2023 return was 179,655.

The most productive places to catch summer chinook are the tailrace of Wanapum Dam, “bubbles” around the mouth of Entiat and Chelan rivers, and the tailrace of the Wells Dam. Summer chinook retention is closed this year in the Brewster Pool (Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster upstream to a line drawn between Pelican Point and Gun Club Road), but anglers can retain sockeye there. The Okanogan and Similkameen are closed to all salmon fishing this year.

When fishing around Wells Dam, use caution as the dam spews out water creating turbulent sections and can rise and drop quickly. Most anglers work the west side near the outlet of the hatchery. The eastern shoreline tends to be where the sockeye hang out before moving upstream. Bank anglers fish the Chelan County side. The peak of the chinook and sockeye runs coincides with the Brewster King Salmon Derby Aug. 5 to 7.

The Lake Wenatchee sockeye forecast is 97,000 (down from 146,875 actual return in 2023). The escapement goal for this stock is 23,000 fish counted over Tumwater Dam. Anglers can keep tabs on the Tumwater Dam fish counts to see if a late-July or early-August fishery is a possibility.

The ocean salmon seasons have been set with some improved opportunities driven by strong expected coho returns.

Spiny ray

Sacheen Lake crappie are being found along the shoreline, but the bite has been inconsistent. A friend who fished Sacheen last week said his boat caught 30 crappie one day and one the next day in the same spot.

Idaho’s Cascade Lake perch fishing provides winter action for ice fishermen who are catching fish heavy with eggs. After the spawn in summer, these fish naturally weigh less, but chunky perch up to 16 inches long are still biting. A friend who fished there in June said he has them dialed in, sending me photos of several more than 14 inches.

Long Lake walleye fishing can be even better than Lake Roosevelt at times. The fishing has been best closest to Long Lake Dam.

Moses Lake is generating some nice smallmouth bass for anglers tossing crankbaits, tube jigs and plastic worms. The Potholes Reservoir is a decent location for walleye.

The Lind Coulee arm at the east end of the reservoir and the Crab Creek channel are two of the best locations. Bottom bouncers with a night crawler are preferred by trollers.

Other species

Tiger muskie fishing heats up along with the weather each summer. In WDFW’s Eastern Region 1, there are three lake options to catch muskie.

Reports of these big fish being pulled out of Newman Lake in eastern Spokane County and Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County are already coming in. There hasn’t been much action reported at Curlew Lake in Ferry County, but when the tiger muskie start biting there, they’re usually bigger than the other two lakes.

Contact Alan Liere at