Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for May 18

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop said the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River is high but fishable, but you need to find the right water. Prospecting with a big dry (Chernobyl or stone) and drip or streamer fishing were the way to go. Drake hatches have also brought fish to the surface.

Conditions on the St. Joe are colder and fishing is slower. You can drive to Gold Creek without getting snowed in, but there’s still a lot of backcountry stuff and the water levels will fluctuate as they melt.

Silver Bow Fly Shop staff members have fished some of the lakes in the area. They say Coffeepot Lake has improved and fished well with chironomids and West Medical has also been good. Fish Lake produced good fishing with black or olive balanced leeches under an indicator.

Trout and kokanee

Over 38,000 catchable size (10-12 inch) rainbow trout will be or have already been planted throughout most of the Idaho Panhandle region. The remaining lakes to be planted, which began on Monday, are Day Rock Pond, Gene Day Pond, Steamboat Pond and Cocolalla, Lower Twin, Mirror, Robinson, Round and Kelso. Spicer Pond will receive 1,000 trout between Monday and May 27.

Two friends trolled for kokanee at Loon Lake this week, both catching limits of mostly running fish around 11 inches. They were trailing 40 feet of leader and two colors of lead baseline with a wedding ring and maggots under a small dodger. They said it took them several hours to limit because they lost three fish for every one they caught.

At Sprague Lake Resort, Monica Metz said the trout fishing was slow, but the ones that came in were big – up to 5 pounds. She said the largemouth bass fishing is good, however, having recently weighed in at a 6-pounder and several barely smaller.

Fluctuating water levels in Lake Roosevelt have given kokanee and trout anglers fits. The lake level was 1,253 feet above sea level on Wednesday.

Kokanee anglers trolling Lake Chelan near Blue Condos found good fishing for big 14 inch fish this past weekend. The kokes were as deep as 80 feet and as shallow as 40.

Salmon and rainbow trout

With chinook returning in greater numbers than expected, fisheries managers have reopened the lower Columbia River for the recreational spring chinook fishery. Chinook returns counted at Bonneville Dam as of May 9 indicate the return is 127% of the 10-year average.

Chinook salmon fishing on the Clearwater River has improved dramatically this week and there have been 2,400 to 3,500 fish per day passing the Lower Granite Dam. This should provide excellent catches for the next two weeks.

thorny ray

A recent report from the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt above buoy 3 describes excellent walleye fishing by two anglers casting jigs upstream and letting the current pull them down. They kept 23 walleyes between 16 and 21 inches, releasing anything smaller or larger.

The small mouth of Moses Lake was relatively easy to catch. Successful anglers cast tube jigs in shallow water with a rocky bottom.

Long Lake remains good for walleye around Willow Bay. Oily, edible fish 16 to 18 inches make up most of the catch.

Crappie and Bluegill are finally starting to bite into the dunes of Potholes Reservoir where they finish spawning. They should soon start showing up in their usual locations on the face of the dunes where the water flows out of the spillways.


Turkey season is winding down and ends May 31.

It was one of the most unusual seasons I’ve experienced. Although there were birds in small pockets, they weren’t scattered about like they usually are now and the gobbling never lit up the mountain behind my house. Judging by some sightings and the piles of feathers here and there, I suspect the cougars and coyotes hunted well. I found cooperative birds for friends in Canada and the West Side and one for a nephew in Sunnyside, Washington, but didn’t put one down myself – the first time in 25 years.

While picking mushrooms with my friend Mike near Newport, Washington this week, Mike came face to face with a fan gobbler who wasn’t the least bit suspicious.

My son Evan had a similar experience on his property next to mine, having a staring contest for several minutes with a big, careless tom who was standing 10 feet away.

I’m going fishing.

Contact Alan Liere at

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