Amber Lake usually starts to get good this time of year, but reports indicate the fish are deep and not particularly aggressive. Those catching cutthroat say a green pattern works best.
Surface flies and nymph patterns are enticing Methow River trout now that the vinyl hatch has thinned out.
This is the time for some spectacular dry fly fishing in the upper Stehekin Valley, a great time for catching voracious wild fish on dry flies. Stimulator and Hopper patterns in sizes 8-12 are best. Fish are in the seams between walking-speed current and slack water, in depths from knee to chest deep.
Salmon and steelhead
There are enough chinook and steelhead in the Snake River system to provide decent fishing. Shrimp and bobber anglers at the Clearwater confluence are putting fish in the boat, but the bite is erratic. Friends fished identical gear from two boats anchored side-by-side on Wednesday. One boat caught six fish and the other was skunked.
Steelhead and chinook anglers are beginning to catch a few fish off the wall at Little Goose Dam and around the mouth of the Tucannon River.
Summer run chinook are providing some decent fishing on the Wenatchee River this week. Salmon anglers on the Yakima River were largely unsuccessful as of midweek, but chinook are moving into the system and fishing should pick up soon.
The fall chinook run is just getting started at Wells Dam. Anglers are hopeful that with dam maintenance complete, water levels will remain steady enough to provide easier, less hazardous fishing than what was experienced during the summer run.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt trout action seems to come in spurts with decent action from Spring Canyon to Keller. The San Poil Arm has probably been best, particularly if the wind is blowing. Troll Frisky Jenny flies tipped with worm behind a dodger between 25-35 feet down and switch to an Apex if the bite doesn’t materialize. Most fish caught average 14 inches, but fish to 22 inches are not uncommon.
Williams Lake has been the most consistent put-and-take lake all season, and the cool weather has reinvigorated the bite. Tree No. 11, about 25 yards from shore, is always a good place to start.
Rainbow trout action continues to produce good numbers of 3- to 4-pound fish in Grant County at the mouth of Lind Coulee and in front of Medicare Beach. A trolled Canadian Wonder or Needlefish account for many of the fish.
Myron and Ann Ingebo fished with friends on Koocanusa Lake recently, catching 83 kokanee averaging 11 inches and losing about the same number. They said it was the best fishing they’d seen in 25 years at the big Montana reservoir.
Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is still good all over the lake. Loon Lake kokes are beginning to turn, but are still in good shape and still biting. Trolling has picked up as low temperatures discourage night fishing.
Perch anglers are loading up at area lakes such as Long, Eloika, Jump-Off Joe, Silver, Waitts, Downs, Cocolalla, Fernan and Hauser.
Potholes walleye, which have been off the bite all summer, are beginning to cooperate again, but those in Banks and Roosevelt aren’t.
Topwater bass fishing with Rebel Pop-R and many other surface lures are providing anglers with 30-bass outings along the rockpiles on the south end of Potholes Reservoir. The Lind Coulee arm can produce big smallmouth this time of year.
The Idaho chukar, gray partridge and quail seasons begin Saturday. Populations of all are expected to be near or slightly above those of last year. Anglers in Hells Canyon are seeing a lot of chukars close to the river. The Washington quail season opens Oct.1.
There will be a special pheasant hunting opportunity for Washington hunters 65 years of age or older from Sept. 24-28. Area-by-area summaries of the hunting prospects throughout Washington are available on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects/.
Idaho hunters applying for a controlled hunt can help the fight against poaching simply by checking the “Yes” box on the hunt application. This allows $1 of the application fee to go toward the Citizens Against Poaching program
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is sponsoring two mentored youth hunts in the Upper Snake Region this year – one waterfowl and one pheasant hunt. The waterfowl hunt will be Sept. 29, at the Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area. The pheasant hunt will be Oct. 6, at the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area north of Roberts. Both events are meant to provide opportunities for first-time youth hunters between the ages of 10 and 15 that do not have a mentor to take them hunting. Fish and Game will provide mentors and all equipment, including firearms and waders. Youths will be required to purchase a youth hunting license, which requires previous completion of a hunter education course. Waterfowl hunters must also buy a migratory bird permit in advance, but a Federal Waterfowl Stamp is not required for youth under 16.
In Washington, a youth-only hunt for ducks, geese, pheasant and other game birds runs Sept. 22-23 statewide. To participate, hunters must be 15 years old or younger and be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting.
An early Canada goose hunt is under way through Saturday in Goose Management Areas 1 and 3. Closer to home, goose management areas 4 and 5 are open for goose hunting today and Saturday only with a three-bird limit.