Puncheon Project for Upper St. Joe River

The forest service recently installed a total of 300 feet of puncheon (pronounced pun-shun) otherwise known as a plank road on the upper St. Joe trail above Spruce Tree Campground.

IEFFC went in with the North Idaho Fly Casters to purchase the 5″ twisted spikes used to nail down the individual planks.  The puncheon sections will keep hikers and pack horses out of the mud which will reduce the amount of mud that gets washed into the St. Joe.

Toys For Tots 2018

The Toys For Tots event was again very successful with four large bags full of toys and a $1,000 check being given to the Marine representatives.  The members of the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club have always been extremely generous in regards to this program and this year was no exception.

Sgt. Faudy Familia and Corporal Nate Medellin came by Frankie Doodles during a recent Liar’s Club luncheon to gather the toys.  The donations this year have been coming in at a rapid rate and they apologized that they could not attend our meeting.  Just that day they were picking up donations at 100 sites.

The program will help those families that are not so fortunate have a better Christmas.  A huge thank you goes out to all the IEFFC members for their generosity.

WDFW Certificate of Recognition

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recently awarded our club with a Certificate of Recognition for our contributions to the WDFW mission.  It is nice to receive this recognition and know that our efforts are worthwhile.  We will continue to work hard with our partners in preserving our fisheries and providing education to those who use these resources.

Bayley Lake Spawning Beds

Many years ago the IEFFC in cooperation with the WDFW put in five weirs (low dams) and laid down gravel in the ponds formed by the weirs to create spawning beds in the short, channel-like stream that flows during spring run-off out of Potters Pond into Bayley Lake.  The idea was to enable rainbow trout to come up in the channel in early spring and spawn with the females getting rid of their eggs enabling them to return to the lake and live a year or two longer than the normal three years.  This of course, meant more large fish in Bayley that we could fish for.  Normally, the water temperature in the channel gets too high for the fertilized eggs to hatch so there isn’t much if any natural reproduction.


During the summer the grass along the channel grows almost chest-high and then droops into the channel tending to restrict the flow.  Also, the gravel gets moved around and is sometimes covered with sand.

Just about every year a group of eight to ten members from the IEFFC has gone up in September or October to cut the grass, rake it out of the channel and restore the gravel beds.  Most years the channel is dry as it was this year so it is fairly easy to do the work and usually takes about two hours.


Typically we pair up and drive from Spokane to meet in Chewelah at Zips for breakfast and then drive to Bayley to do the work.  After we get done with the work we go and fish Bayley Lake which is pretty good fishing in the fall.


This year we tried a little different approach.  We scheduled the clean-up for Saturday, September 22, 2018 and actively recruited members that had joined our club in 2016, 2017 and 2018.  The idea was that newer members who have full-time jobs Monday through Friday might be able to come up and help on a Saturday.  I recruited five “veterans” who had done the cleanup before, had fished Bayley and had boats.  They were Lee Funkhouser, Bob Schmitt, Scott Fink, Bruce Morgan and Jerry McBride.  The “veterans” were to be paired up with five newer members.  The three newer members (all retired) recruited were Ron Gill, Leo Harman and Bob Littlejohn.  Unfortunately Bob Littlejohn had a last minute sewer system crisis and was not able to come over from the coast and help us.  Lee Funkhouser recruited his son Jeff Funkhouser to come instead and being a young guy, he outworked all the rest of us.  As he has done many times in the past, Bill Papesh volunteered and showed up with his killer weed whacker.

We had a great breakfast at Zips, got the work done in about two hours and then all of us except Bill Papesh went over to Bayley to go fishing.  The conditions at Bayley were less than ideal with a very strong wind and a heavy algae bloom.  Some of our members did fairly well and some not so well.  I think all of us had a good time and felt we had done something helpful for future fishing at Bayley Lake.


We will be doing this project again next year so if any member would like to be a part of it let me know.

Fall Fin Clipping 2018

Once again IEFFC Volunteers helped the Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife at the Little Spokane River Fish Hatchery in
September. About 60,000 triploid female rainbow trout were fin
clipped for the ongoing Long Lake program. Talk around the
clipping trough indicated that fishing out at Long Lake has
been fairly good on the previous years’ plants so folks might
want to go try it out. Thank you to the IEFFC members who
volunteered including Bob Harley, Tom Hoag, Dan Lobb,
Keith Kuester, Bob Burton, Phil Beck, Floyd Holmes, Jon
Bowne, Jim Athearn and his brother, Bob.

Those little devils can be mighty slippery!

Signs For Medical Lake

In cooperation with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the town of Medical Lake the IEFFC furnished two new signs spelling out Selective Gear fishing rules for Medical Lake.  These signs are the same as the ones put up earlier at Amber and Coffeepot.  Medical Lake city personnel installed the signs, one on the road down to the launch ramp on the south end of the lake and the other adjacent to the parking lot at the north end of the lake.

Club members Jim Athearn, Phil Beck, Gary Honeyman and Jerry McBride refurbished and repainted two used sign frames that been stored at Gary’s place for the last 10 or 12 years.  The next day after the paint dried Jim, Phil and Jerry installed the new signs purchased from Monroe Correctional Industries in the frames.  Club member Bruce Morgan volunteered to take the signs out to Medical Lake in his truck.

The number one violation of Selective Gear rules at Medical Lake is the use of bait.  Hopefully the signs we provided will reduce this violation.  At the least, if someone gets ticketed they can’t claim they didn’t know the rules.


Kid’s Fishing

Kid’s Fishing was again a great success and a number of IEFFC members were present to assist WDFW with the project.


The event started on Friday, May 4th with the Ronald McDonald House group fishing in the afternoon.  We had 10 members present to help.  Special thanks goes to Bill Herrington, Mike Shaunessy, Ray Kranches, Stephen Aspinwall, Lee Funkhouser, Bob Schmitt, Jerry Harms, Paul Coopwood, Bruce Morgan, and myself.  It was a fun and successful event for all the guys and the kids and there were a lot of fish caught with a few big fish.

Saturday, May 5th was the open event, which attracted over 900 kids.  We had 12 guys show up to help the kids fish. They were Mike Shaunessy, Paul Wham, Randy Shaber, Stephen Aspinwall, Lee Funkhouser, Bill Papesh, Bob Burton, Paul Coopwood and his grandson Ryan Ehring, Dick Avery, Bruce Morgan, Ron Gill, and my self.  Fun was had by all and a lot of fish were caught with a few big fish.


Thanks too all the guys that helped out on the two days.  It was the best turnout of guys that we have had, you all did good jod and you made our club proud.


New Sign at Amber Lake

Jerry McBride and Jim Athearn recently installed a new sign at the

Jerry McBride at Amber Launch

Amber Lake boat launch. This new sign replaces the previous one and emphasizes the selective gear regulations and the bait prohibition. We will be installing a similar one at Coffeepot and are talking with WDFW about possibly adding two signs at Medical Lake. These signs help to educate anglers unfamiliar with the regulations, and they also aid WDFW in enforcement issues.

We have had a problem with bait fishermen at Amber for a long time and this weeks paper reported numerous bait containers on the shores of Medical Lake.

In the past Fish and Wildlife officials have asked for our assistance in notifying them of violators and many of us do routinely contact WDFW. For those of you who were not aware of the poacher hot line, it is not a bad idea to program it into your phone so that you can easily notify WDFW of a problem. The number is (509) 227-6560.

Jim Athearn and Jerry McBride

New Sign for Amber Lake

2018 Big Horn Show

Our booth at the Big Horn Show was again a huge success. There was great participation from the club and a large number of visitors to our display. We were able to work with many young men and women who wanted to learn a little about fly fishing and tying flies. It was enjoyable and thanks to all who participated. We are looking forward to continuing our commitment by being at next years show.

Those of you who didn’t get a chance to participate, sharpen your skills and sign up for next year. It is well worth it.

Volunteers included the following:  Chet Allison, Lee Funkhouser, Bob Johnson, Stephen Aspinwall, Bruce Morgan, Bob Burton, Bill McElroy, Randy Shaber, Phil Beck, Gordon Olson, David Lohman, Mike Fortney, Frank Faha, Bill Papesh, Bryan Harman, Skip Cavanaugh, Jerry McBride, Dan Lobb, Jon Bowne, Larry Ray and Jason Mulligan.  A special thanks to Bill Papesh for donating hats and Leon Buckles for all of the extra assistance he provided including set-up, breakdown and storage of supplies.

Conservation Committee Sets 2018 Projects

2018 For Sure
Latah Creek River Keeper Silt Monitoring – See article by Tom Stralser.
2018 Just About for Sure
Clean Out Bayley Lake Spawning Channel – We have done this just about every year since the five
low log dams were put in by the IEFFC to create spawning beds for fish in Bayley Lake. Being able to
spawn adds a year or two to the life of the fish that would normally die after three years. The project
requires eight people for half of a day. We go fishing in Bayley Lake when we are done. This project is
done in late September or early October and I will try to plan it for a Saturday so members who work
during the week have a chance to participate.
Fin Clip Fish for WDFW – Done over two days with 16 people required each day. We do this project
with the Spokane Fly Fishers so we would each supply eight people. WDFW supplies lunch. I have
asked WDFW if we can do this on a weekend so members who work during the week have a chance to
2018 Maybe Projects
Put Up New Signs with Current Regulations at Amber and Coffeepot Lakes – The frames are already
there so IEFFC would acquire new signs and two people from the club would put them in place.
Then they could go fishing for the rest of the day.
Plant Native Shrubs and Trees Along the Upper Reaches of Latah Creek – Tom Stralser is working
with the Coeur d’Alene tribe on this. Our part of this could be a donation of money to help pay for
the materials used. No more details known at this time.
Assist Spokane Fly Fishers in improving natural spawning in creek flowing into Browns Lake
(Pend Oreille County). No estimate of cost or manpower at this time.
Participate in a project in the Thompson River, MT drainage. Leon Buckles is going to attend a
meeting in Thompson Falls, MT January 23, 2018 to find out what the project entails and how the
IEFFC might participate.
Randy Osborne of WDFW may have a project for the upper Spokane River. He will get back to us
when it is better defined.
Pie-In-The-Sky Like-to-Have
Rework launch at Fourth of July Lake so boats can be launched with the new prevailing lower
water level. Boat launching at Fourth of July Lake has become almost impossible for the last seven or
eight years. WDFW needs to fix this. Good news! Randy Osborne of WDFW has agreed to take a look
at how this situation could be rectified. Our role is mainly to keep reminding WDFW that this is a problem
that needs fixing.