Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for July 28
Tip of the week
My friend, Mike, overfished me about 9 to 1 for Loon Lake kokanee all summer. We can sit side by side at night, both of them soaking in maggot-laden white Glo-Hooks, and he always catches many more. The only difference is that he uses a braided line and I don’t. “I can smell it if a kokanee just swims close to the hook,” Mike says. Sounds good, but this is the first summer in my life where I haven’t caught as many fish as him using the same line and rod I’ve always used. Still, I bought an expensive braided line this morning.
Paul Newman of Fruitland, Idaho set a new state catch-and-release record for channel catfish on July 20 from Idaho’s CJ Strike Reservoir. At 42.5 inches long, Newman’s lunker surpassed the existing record of 33 inches set by Reed Monson at Lake Lowell in 2020. Before releasing the massive catfish into the tank, Newman used a digital scale to weigh the fish at 37 pounds.
Coeur d’Alene’s Mike Mitale won the Fins and Feathers Big One Chinook derby on the big lake last week with a 22-pound chinook. Fishing was generally slow with only nine fish being weighed.
The water temperature at the mouth of the Okanogan is close to 70 degrees and with the warm weather forecast, sockeye salmon could really be piling up. If that happens, the Brewster Pool could stay on fire for several weeks.
Conditions remain good on the Yakima River and the fishing is now some of the best in Washington. Some beautiful hatchings take place. Nymphing with an indicator should produce strikes throughout the day. Fish early and give the fish a break in the afternoon.
Water levels are still good on the Saint-Joe River. Fishing early will be key. Heavy blow-drys with a dropper will work well. Streamers through rock gardens can be fun this time of year.
There are a lot of big fish turning into little bugs on the Clark Fork right now. A variety of hatches will give you plenty of options. The Bitterroot continues to drop and the dry fly fishing is excellent here and on the Blackfoot River.
Trout and kokanee
Reports of Lake Roosevelt trout have been sparse this summer, but a recent report from the Swawilla Basin area indicated that some trollers were successfully catching a 14- to 16-inch rainbow as well as large occasional kokani.
It seems Waitts Lake never disappoints, even in this hot weather. Trollers find rainbows and browns in 30 to 40 feet of water, but anglers do even better after sunset on the northwest side by dropping salmon eggs, Power Bait, yellow corn or worms to the bottom, then slowly lifting the bait about eight feet before dropping it again. Many fish are small, but there is also a good mix of 15 inches. Be aware that any fish caught on bait, whether kept or released, must be counted against your five-fish limit. Very few trout caught on bait and then released will survive, even if they seem to move away vigorously.
Lake Chelan Kokanee anglers sometimes catch more 14 to 16 inch cutthroats than kokes, which are generally deeper. The Kokabow paddles and spinners were productive in the deep waters near bluetops.
Salmon and rainbow trout
Brewster Pool sockeye show signs of their long swim in the Columbia River, but the 3-5 pound fish are still firm, red-fleshed and spirited. Anglers say they are located up and down throughout the water column, but usually bite only at a particular depth. Find that, and you’re in. Miss it by a foot or more, and the five-fish limit will be a long time coming.
The sockeye salmon limit at Baker Lake in Whatcom County has been raised to three until August 31. Each angler on board a vessel may deploy salmon fishing gear until the daily limit for all anglers on board has been reached. Fishing has been slow at times, but fish limits of 5-10 pounds have also been reported. Downriggers at 35 to 45 deep were key there. Use big dodgers and spinners or tube flies with coon shrimp on a small leader and drag at around 1.0 mph.
Amid a record sockeye return to the Columbia River, sockeye salmon fishing will open on Lake Wenatchee Thursday through August 31 with a daily limit of four sockeye (minimum size 12 inches). Anglers must release all Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout and Chinook Salmon unharmed and without removing the fish from the water. Selective gear rules are in effect – up to three barbless single hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required. Fishing with two rods is authorized with a valid mention for two rods.
The Wenatchee River will also be open for sockeye retention from August 1 through September 30, with no more than two adult hatchery chinook and up to four sockeye salmon allowed to be retained as part of the six-fish daily limit. . Anglers must release wild adult coho and chinook. Selective gear rules apply, except the use of bait is permitted. A nighttime closure is in effect for Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee River. Technique and tackle will be similar to the Brewster Fishery – a single dodger 0 and leaders tied with three barbless red hooks, about an inch apart.
Chinook retention in Marine Area 2 (Westport) will take place on Fridays and Saturdays until September 30. This is necessary to not exceed the modest chinook guideline and preserve the length of the season while still allowing access to a significant abundance of coho and fish. for salmon seven days a week.
Salmon fishing in Sekiu (Marine Zone 5) returned to permanent fishing rules on July 25. The Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishing Area is open Wednesday through Saturday until August 15 west of a true north/south line through buoy #2 immediately east of Ediz Hook, excluding Port Angeles Harbor and Freshwater Bay areas. Several other marine areas are currently open to salmon fishing and can be found on the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon/summaries
Long Lake seems to be the ideal place for walleye. Anglers troll near weed beds for 15-18 inch eyes as well as 10 inch perch. The best fishing is early. Smallmouth fishing is also good.
Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are starting to move to deeper water with the heat. The spinnerbaits did their best.
Halibut anglers will have several additional days to fish for halibut this season as well as two upcoming opportunities to help shape the 2023 season. The Ilwaco (Marine Zone 1) and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Zone 2) areas will be open for halibut fishing at all depths for three additional days in August and three days in September, including Saturday and Sunday of the Labor Day weekend. The opening dates are August 19, 25 and 28 and September 3, 4 and 23. Halibut season for Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) will open August 11, five days a week, Thursday through Monday. . Starting Sept. 6, Neah Bay and La Push will be open seven days a week. Puget Sound (Marine Zones 5-10) will reopen for halibut Aug. 11, seven days a week.
This is the time to fish for river cats on the pothole reservoir with the best night fishing in 2-10 feet of water with nightcrawlers or magic bait. Use ¾ to 1 ounce egg sinker and a 1 or 1/0 Whisker Sticker hook. Several fish over 14 pounds were caught this week. Walleye and bass fishing was also good.
The deadline to purchase controlled hunting tags in Idaho is August 1 at 11:59 p.m. MDT. Hunters who have applied for controlled hunt tags for deer, elk, pronghorn, fall black bear and fall turkey can check their draw status through Fish and Game’s licensing system. they already have an account.
Contact Alan Liere at [email protected]