By Alan Liere 

Fly fishing

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene is low, so you’ll need to find some water with depth. Mornings should continue to be best with dry flies and a dropper.

The usual summertime tactics (dry/dropper, indicator rigs, Euro rigs, soft hackles) will be best on the Spokane River. The water is low, so there is no need to run deep droppers or bobber rigs.

Fish Trap Lake is fishing well in the deeper sections. You’ll need a full fast-sinking fly line to get down to the bigger rainbow.

Good fly fishing options are the Kootenai River, high alpine lakes, the Yakima River, smallmouth on the Grande Ronde or Snake rivers, Banks Lake or the Columbia River for carp. When afternoon and evening water temperatures reach 68 degrees or more, give the trout a break.

Fishing restrictions and closures on several streams in southwest Montana have been lifted because of recent cool temperatures and forecast rain. This includes hoot owl restrictions on the lower Beaverhead River, four sections on the Big Hole River, the lower Gallatin River, Jefferson River, the lower Madison River and Ruby River. It also includes lifting the full closure on the Madison below Ennis Dam.

Trout and kokanee

Friends who fished Waitts Lake this week say there is still a good bite at midlake on trolled flies tipped with a piece of worm. Most of their catch consisted of 11-inch rainbow, but one 16-inch brown was also netted. Dodgers are optional.

Don’t give up on lowland lakes like Badger, Clear, Fishtrap and Williams, as the recent cooler weather has caused the bite to pick up. You’ll still need to do your fishing mornings and evenings, but there are a lot of trout left to catch. Badger, particularly, has provided a good kokanee and trout bite.

Meadow Lake in Stevens County is a good bet for rainbow. Davis in Ferry County and Yocum in Pend Oreille County have some good-sized cutthroat. Summit Lake in Stevens County has rainbows. Just west of there, Elbow Lake has Eastern brook.

Rock Lake generally becomes a warm-water fishery in the summer with bass and big bluegill providing much of the action, but there are still some large (up to 15 pounds) brown trout as well as plenty running 18 to 20 inches. Rainbow trout up to 24 inches are also available. Most have gone deep, however, so anglers are concentrating their efforts in the shallower bays for spiny ray.

Little Bonaparte Lake in north-central Washington teems with large rainbows, brook trout and tiger trout. Boat and shore anglers catch 20-plus-inch trout on a regular basis. It is best fished with smaller boats and electric trolling motors. Troll along shallow edges that skirt deep water in early morning and late evening with minnow imitations, or throw baited rigs from shore.

Lahonton cutthroat are caught year-round from Omak Lake, which sits within the boundary of the Colville Indian Reservation and is the largest saline lake in Washington. The high salinity makes it the perfect habitat for the Lahontan cutthroats that commonly reach weights of 5 to 10 pounds but get much larger. Most of the fishing season is catch-and-release until June when three fish can be retained (only one over 18 inches). Only artificial flies and lures with barbless hooks are allowed. Trolling large plugs, spoons and spinners is the most-used tactic. With warm weather, this lake transitions to a deep-water fishery best enjoyed using downriggers.

Salmon and steelhead

Sockeye fishing has been slow recently on Lake Wenatchee and slowing down at Brewster.

An estimated 3.95 million pink salmon will make their way back to the natal rivers and streams of Puget Sound and Hood Canal this month. The 3- to 5-pound fish are aggressive and easy to catch, which makes them a fun target for anglers. Pinks eat primarily plankton, krill, aquatic insects and crustaceans, so any fish you catch will likely think they are eating big shrimp or just targeting the lure out of aggression. Regardless of why the fish bite, they live up to their names by attacking pink-colored lures, jigs and flies. The best thing about pink salmon is that they cruise along the shoreline as they migrate back to their natal rivers. This means shore-bound anglers can do better than those in a boat. Puget Sound offers several public beaches and access areas, and all of them will have schools of pinks cruising by. The many fishing piers in Puget Sound are also good places to be during the pink salmon run.

The popular Buoy 10 salmon fishery for coho and chinook at the Lower Columbia River mouth is on. There appear to be a lot of coho. Desdemona Sands area, located in the middle of the river above and just below the Astoria-Megler Bridge, is usually good.

Spiny ray

While trout fishing has slowed down, bass fishing has improved. Anglers are catching some nice largemouth in lakes like Newman, Silver, Downs, Eloika, Sprague, Potholes, Moses Lake, Twin, Hayden, Pend Oreille and Hauser.

Fishing has been good for decent-sized perch at Fernan, Pend Oreille, Coffeepot, Moses Lake, Curlew, Loon, Long and Deer.

Anglers have taken some slab crappie recently at Newman, Downs and Potholes Reservoir. Long Lake also has some big crappie, but they have been elusive this summer. Bonnie Lake is one of the best crappie lakes in Washington and fair to excellent for largemouth bass and big yellow perch. Clear Lake offers good largemouth bass and black crappie fishing. Walleye fishing has been slow at Potholes Reservoir, but bass fishing remains good.

Walleye anglers trolling the weed edges along the flats on Lake Roosevelt have done well. The big flat across from the Spokane mouth has also been productive.


With the first fall big game hunting season (bear) underway, the WDFW reminds hunters that time is running out to complete mandatory hunter education courses.

“If you haven’t already completed your hunter education course, don’t delay,” said Dave Whipple, WDFW hunter education section manager. “Our fall course offerings fill quickly with people.”

To learn about hunter education and find an upcoming course near you, visit the WDFW hunter education website.

Contact Alan Liere at