Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for August 4
Tip of the week
Fishing for walleye at night may be the most efficient way to catch these fish, as walleye will typically move to shallower flats, bars or points to gorge on available forage after dark. . A great way to target walleye at night is to use a slip-bobber and a nightcrawler. Pinch a few split shots about 12 inches above the hook to help keep your bait in the strike zone.
The only public launch on Lake Wenatchee is in the state park at the east end of the lake, and it is a single boat launch only. Anglers lined up there well before daybreak when the sockeye salmon opened last week, and it’s still crowded at times. Patience is paramount. Sockeye counts at Tumwater Dam when it opened showed 73,164 sockeye passed through, and that did not include four days of missing counts from the previous week. Only 23,000 fish were needed to meet escapement goals. No wonder the fishing is so good.
At Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland, Allen Petersen says the lower sections of the Spokane River have been good in the deeper parts where the current heat wave has chased away most of the rainbow. He says to look for a combination of depth and oxygenated water where fish are eager to catch streamers and soft haired fly patterns caught on sink tip fly lines. Keep it deep while “rocking” the fly in good holding water.
Petersen also says Fish Trap Lake is doing well, especially in the deeper sections of the lake where a fast downhill fly line with Electric Buggers or Olive Willies produced a mix of mature rainbow and stream Oriental.
The North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River above Prichard around the Jordan Creek and Teepee Creek areas has delighted a number of fly casters using pacers, elk hair caddis and black beetle patterns fished from the deeper oxygenated tracks. Small pearl-headed nymphs fished under the dry fly as a “dropper” can be effective for cutthroat in the absence of dry fly activity. As always, high temperatures bring out the inner tubers, so be prepared to deal with it or go further upstream.
There was good fishing on the St. Joe River. Small larvae and ants become the most consistent driers, says Silver Bow Fly Shop. Focus on rapids and rock strewn runs in the morning. There are many Avery Tubers downstream.
Clearwater/Kelly Creek North Fork fishes well. Golden stones, pmds, caddis and some hoppers are starting to appear. Nymphing faster slots as the day heats up will always pick up more fish.
Other owl restrictions are in place on Montana rivers. Stay up to date by going to https://fwp.mt.gov/news/current-closures-restrictions/waterbody-closures.
Trout and kokanee
Night fishing for kokanee at Loon Lake hasn’t improved much for me. Two friends and I sat outside the boathouse last week, fished for three hours and caught 10 fish. I recorded my best season with three fish. To be fair, I have to say these are some of the biggest kokes I’ve ever caught from Loon in early summer. My three averaged over 12 inches long.
At this time of year, some of the best fishing is done at night when the skies are clear and the full moon is out. Many small, deep lakes at higher elevations are more popular now, but it’s still best to fish early in the day or late at night. Meadow Lake in Stevens County is now a good bet for the Rainbow, and Davis in Ferry County and Yocum in Pend Oreille County both have nice cutthroats. Summit Lake in Stevens County has beautiful rainbows and Elbow Lake just to the west has Eastern Creek.
Trout fishing on Potholes Reservoir has been very good this week. Several healthy limits of 2-5 pound trout are entered. Spoon Troll Wee Gee, Needlefish, or #7 Flicker Shads at 2-3 miles per hour along Medicare Beach and past State Park. The sand dunes also produce quality trout fishing. Fish the main channels of the creek by trolling with a worm.
Lake Chelan anglers do well for cutthroat trout and smallmouth bass in the Manson and Chelan areas.
Salmon and rainbow trout
Ilwaco is now seeing excellent coho fishing. However, many wild fish are caught and must be released.
The Wenatchee River is now open until September 30 for sockeye retention from the mouth to the Icicle Road bridge with no more than two adult hatchery chinook and up to four sockeye salmon (minimum size 12 inches) allowed to be kept under the six fish daily limit. Anglers must release wild adult coho and chinook. Selective equipment rules are in effect, but the use of baits/scents is permitted. Fishing with two rods is not authorized in the river fishery.
The popular buoy 10 salmon fishery for coho and chinook at the mouth of the lower Columbia River is underway through September 7. The adult daily limit is two salmon. One of the best fishing spots is the Desdemona Sands area located mid-river above and just below the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The buoy line outside the town of Astoria above the bridge is another great fishing spot. On the Washington side, try the Church Hole off Fort Columbia State Park and Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side west toward Hammond.
Buoy 10 isn’t the only place taking center stage for salmon this summer. The Columbia River from West Puget Island upstream from the US Highway 395 bridge in Pasco may also be of interest. Summer Chinook can still be caught at the mouths of the Entiat and Chelan rivers, below Wells Dam and from Brewster Basin upstream towards Bridgeport. Peak timing for chinook and sockeye runs coincides with the Brewster King Salmon Derby August 5-7.
Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay are open for chinook and hatchery coho salmon fishing. Some areas have adjusted opening days or daily bag limits, so be sure to check the regulations brochure before you go. The forecast of 1 million coho and 560,000 fall chinook allows for a good summer inshore fishing season.
It’s time to drag the weedy edges along the flats for Lake Roosevelt walleye. The apartment across from the mouth of Spokane to Seven Bays has been productive. Walleye are found off Bradbury Beach, the Fenders area under the bridge, Osborne Bay and the mouth of the Colville River along the eastern shore.
At Moses Lake, walleye and bass fishing is fair, especially early in the morning. On Potholes Reservoir, anglers fish for walleye in the humps. Several hiking lakes just west of Potholes Reservoir are a decent choice for anglers looking for largemouth bass that don’t experience much pressure.
My son, Evan, fished the St. Joe’s River about 10 miles south of St. Maries, Idaho this week, catching plenty of 3-4 pound pike and 1-2 pound smallmouth bass. He said spinnerbaits and Rapalas worked best.
Idaho sage grouse and sandhill crane tags went on sale Monday, but there has been an increase in the number of grouse tags allowed on a first-come, first-served basis, and there may there will still be some if you act quickly. Call (800) 554-8685.
If you didn’t draw a controlled hunt in Idaho the first time around, you have another shot at the second controlled hunt draw on Friday August 15.
Idaho Fish and Game will also sell returned non-resident general season big game tags beginning at 10 a.m. MDT Thursday. Tags can be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis by calling (800) 554-8685. See the Fish and Game Nonresident License and Tag web page for a list of available hunts.
Contact Alan Liere at [email protected]