Don’t put away your salmon gear just yet. Chinook continue to stack up below Wells Dam and fishing the Brewster Pool and Pelican could be really good soon for bright fish.
Anglers are graphing thousands of kokanee stacked up in 90-120 feet of water above the Two Rivers Bridge from the island up. The fish do not seem inclined to bite at this time, but last year when they turned on in September, many 3-6 pounders were landed.
Williams Lake is still producing beautiful cutthroat and rainbows, but not many anglers will duplicate Ken Schatzer’s Labor Day weekend feat. Fishing with friend, Bob Marcuson, Schatzer caught two 14-inch cutthroat at the same time with two flies on the same line.
• Blue-green algae, previously found up the Lind Coulee Arm had caused some health department concerns on Potholes Reservoir, but the Grant County Department of Health has now deemed the lake safe.
• Quincy Valley Tourism will hold their first Northern Pikeminnow Derby the weekend of Sept. 24-25 with cash and prizes worth approximately $10,000 and a chance for anglers to land 10 specially tagged fish worth a total of $30,000. The derby staging area will be at the Crescent Bar Recreation area on the Columbia, River but contestants will be able to fish anywhere on the Columbia between Rock Island Dam and Wanapum Dam. An orientation for contestants will be held at the Crescent Bar public swimming area on Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. and all contestants are encouraged to attend. Registered contestants will be allowed to start fishing at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23. Info: Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce at (509) 787-2140 ext 10.
• The lower portion of the White Salmon River will be closed to fishing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 to allow a clean-up team to remove derelict boats, camping gear and other debris before Condit Dam is breached in late October. Volunteers interested in assisting with the cleanup can contact the Underwood Conservation District at (509) 493-1936, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Two Rivers two-man Lake Roosevelt trout tournament will run Sept. 17-18. This year, anglers will be allowed to weigh in five trout and two kokanee each per day. Registration forms are available at Tobler Marina, White Elephant, Sportsman’s Outlet and Two Rivers Marina. This tournament has a 90 percent payback with the other 10 percent going to the net-pen program. Info: 800-722-4031.
The Clark Fork fishing is described as “phenomenal.” Mahoganies and hecubas abound. A size-14 Mayfly Parachute trailed off a hopper will increase hookups significantly.
The St. Joe is flowing at about 540 cfs at Calder and 145 cfs at Red Ives. There is a lot of afternoon bug activity. The Idaho Road Department is putting in culverts on the Idaho side of the pass and the road to St. Joe out of St. Regis is closed. It is not scheduled to be reopened until Sept. 19. In the meantime, the Joe can be accessed either through Wallace or St. Maries.
Steelhead and salmon
Steelhead and chinook anglers on the Clearwater confluence said fishing over the Labor Day weekend was “not great, but not terrible either.” Wild fish are almost three times as prevalent as fin-clipped hatchery fish. In the catch-and-release section from the Memorial Bridge to the Orofino Bridge, steelheaders are taking a fish every four hours.
Anglers fishing marine areas 5 and 6 have a two-salmon daily limit, plus two additional pink salmon, but must release chum, chinook and wild coho. Regulations change in Marine Area 5 on Sept. 19, when anglers will no longer have a bonus bag limit for pink salmon but they will be allowed to retain wild coho. Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound salmon manager for WDFW says “Fishing for coho salmon should get even better in the middle of the month, when anglers fishing Marine Area 5 can retain any coho salmon.”
Trout and kokanee
At Two Rivers, trout fishermen are catching some nice rainbow at seven colors on small, orange jointed Rapalas. A good spot is across the river from the houseboats.
A lot of anglers stopped by Rock Lake last weekend and reported fair fishing for browns and rainbows deep.
Sprague Lake bait plunkers are finding some big rainbow over the springs in front of Sprague Lake Resort, but most of the fish are 14-16 inches with a few cutthroat in the mix.
There is also a good bass bite going on at Sprague. Planted fish are reaching 3 pounds. No sign of bluegill or crappie yet.
Twin Lake by Inchelium is not seeing as many big triploids as a month ago, but there is a decent bite early and late for rainbow up to 17 inches. Chartreuse green or rainbow-colored Power Bait has worked best.
Up north, Marshall Lake cutthroat are in 40-50 feet of water. Some 16-inchers have been taken, but most are much smaller. North and South Skookum have been good for rainbow and brookies.
Coeur d’Alene kokes are still biting all over the lake at depths between 30 and 45 feet. Priest Lake kokes have slowed down.
Potholes walleye fishing has been a little tough recently, but other species are taking up the slack with a lot of trout reported. Crawdad pattern crankbaits and trolled worm harnesses have proven effective for just about everything.
Bass fishermen working the outer edge of the weeds with sub-surface plugs are finding smallmouth on Long Lake. Weedless frogs in the thick of the pads are taking largemouth.
Downs Lake is finally starting to give up some big perch, and bass fishing continues to be very good. Best fishing for perch has been after 4 p.m. on the edge of the lily pads. Downs rainbows are now 14-18 inches.
Pend Oreille River northern pike are lying in thick weed beds waiting for something good to pass over. A Johnson Silver Minnow with a grub or twin-tail trailer should put you into fish. Perch-pattern Rapala Shad Raps will bring strikes, too, if you can fish them without weeding up.
Good reports come from the water between Davis Creek and Rivers Bend. Coeur d’Alene pike are taking orange or white spinnerbaits at 10-15 feet in the north end.
Banks Lake is down over 15 feet from full pool and continues to drop. Bass, walleye, and the things they feed on are being concentrated into a smaller and smaller area. Anglers launching at Coulee Playland in Electric City are catching a lot of fish. This is a great time to see structure not otherwise visible and plot future fishing trips.
Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at email@example.com