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

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for June 20, 2024

By Alan Liere The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

While the dry/dropper game is the go-to on the Spokane River, a double nymph rig is the biggest producer if you want numbers. A rubber leg stone and a caddis pupa works well.

Silver Bow Fly Shop said good weather in the forecast should have the cutthroat feeding on the surface on the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene. Dry fly fishing has been good. Black and olive streamers are also consistent, but a sparkle minnow or white streamer can be an excellent alternative if the fish aren’t chasing the naturals.

According to the Orvis fly fishing reports, nymphing with an indicator should produce strikes throughout the day on the Yakima River. Caddis and pmd mayflies are out midday through the afternoon. Streamers can be productive on cloudy days.

In Montana, the Blackfoot and Missouri rivers are fishing well. The Clark Fork is coming back into shape.

Trout and kokanee

Most of the lowland lakes around Spokane are still pumping out trout. Good reports come from Badger, Amber, Clear, Williams and Fishtrap.

Trout anglers are taking Diamond Lake rainbow and browns, usually by trolling early along the Highway 2 side just shy of the middle. Bank fishermen are catching mostly rainbows by casting Power Bait at the public access.

Upper Conconully Lake in Okanogan County is filled with kokanee, rainbow and lots of smallmouth bass. Fishing has been good and some of the kokanee are more than 14 inches.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee are running 9 to 10 inches, Fishing has been good everywhere, but especially around Arrow Point and East Point.

Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho is loaded with kokanee this year, mostly running around 10 inches. The best bite for trollers is about 20 feet down. Dworshak also has some huge smallmouth. Peak time for these is over, but the right presentation on the right day could still put an 8-pounder in your net.

Mackinaw are deep in Lake Pend Oreille and fishing has been good. Drop a jig or troll a dodger and mini squid with a small piece of pikeminnow or herring for the smaller fish and troll plugs for the bigger ones.

Salmon and steelhead

While the Brewster Pool is closed to fishing for chinook this season, the Brewster Salmon Derby is still going to happen. As usual, the area above Wells Dam is within the legal fishing area. Fishing for chinook opens there on July 16 every year. The fishing area for the derby also includes the stretch of the Columbia River from Pelican Point to the bridge at Bridgeport.

Spiny ray

Bottom bouncers and spinners tipped with nightcrawlers are taking Lake Roosevelt walleye at Buoy 5 in 20-30 feet of water.

The south end of Banks Lake remains an excellent walleye destination. The fish are usually a hefty 17 to 24 inches long, caught by bottom-bouncing in 20-45 feet of water.

Lake Spokane has yielded fair numbers of walleye, lots of smallmouth bass, plenty of trout and good numbers of perch. Crappie have been elusive, but some of the ones caught stretch to 16 inches.

At MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir, Pete Fisher said walleye fishing has been fair this past week. They are in the weeds back in the sand dunes and up Crab Creek. Troll a Slow Death rig with a crawler or cast paddle tail swim baits, fluke baits and hard jerk baits. Fish in 6 to 15 feet of water.

A lot of 2- to 3-pound largemouth bass are being caught on Silver Lake. Eloika Lake is giving up some bigger largemouth, and the dollar pads are just beginning to show. Topwater frogs and buzz baits are working. At Newman Lake, the largemouth and tiger muskies are most numerous in the lily pads.

Curlew Lake perch are biting and should do so all summer. The fish are still in the top 15 feet of water along weed edges close to shore. Although the fish are running to 12 inches, fish around 9 or 10 inches are most common.

Other species

Anglers are still catching channel catfish from the Palouse River. The best bite has been on cut bait or nightcrawlers suspended 2 to 3 feet under a bobber in about 5 feet of water upriver from the mouth.

Pike and bass fishing has been good lately on Idaho lakes like Coeur d’Alene, Hayden and the chain lakes. The fish are hanging along the weed edges and hitting spinnerbaits.

Shad numbers over Bonneville Dam remain high. The Columbia River usually sees an average run of 3 to 5 million. The best time to fish for shad is a few hours before dark, though fishing any time of the day is still productive. Shad don’t feed during the spawning process; they usually strike out of annoyance. Cast bright-colored shad darts or crappie jig heads.

Shad are bony, but their meat is so tasty their Latin name is sapidissima – “tastiest.”

A good way to enjoy this fish is to simmer it in a chicken broth or even just wine and water.

Remove it from the brine, let it cool, and flake the meat from the bone.

Contact Alan Liere at