Several fly fishers were having a heyday catching Lake Roosevelt rainbows this week by launching their float tubes at Hawk Creek. They were using fast-sinking lines and muddler minnows.
Trout and kokanee
Many lakes scheduled to close Oct. 31 are producing good catches in the final weeks of the season.
Spokane angler John Petrofski and his friend Matt fished Amber Lake recently and had non-stop action “for trout of all sizes.” They fished early.
Lake Roosevelt trout fishing is smoking, according to George Orr, the Washington Fish and Wildlife commissioner from Spokane. He and three friends launched out of Fort Spokane and caught their limits in a few hours on Wednesday. Orr said their fish were “16-18 inches, really thick and really pink.”
Angling effort on Coeur d’Alene in recent weeks has been primarily for kokanee. Fishing has generally been good with lots of small fish, which indicates an abundance.
Steelhead and salmon
The Snake River is fishing well, particularly downstream from the Salmon. Drifting bait and trolling plugs has been equally effective. The fish are running about 50 percent hatchery. Clearwater steelheading is fair. Fish are still coming from the confluence, but nothing like a couple of weeks ago. Steelhead harvest fishing season opened Thursday on the Clearwater River upstream of the Memorial Bridge. Most Clearwater steelhead are the larger B-run fish, and the daily limit, unlike most other rivers this year, is two rather than five. The Grande Ronde is good for fly fishermen as well as bait and hardware anglers. The water is low.
The Yakima River salmon season is scheduled to remain open through Thursday. Effort and catch have picked up.
Members of the Chapter 57 of Muskies Incorporated fished the Pend Oreille River under windy conditions last weekend, each boat taking at least two pike. They noted the number of bigger fish seems down from previous years.
Bass are really coming on at area lakes. The recent cold weather evidently triggered the bite.
Clam diggers got the go-ahead to proceed with the first razor-clam dig of the fall season starting today. Evening digs are scheduled at Twin Harbors (today through Monday); Long Beach and Copalis (today through Sunday); and Mocrocks and Kalaloch Beach (today and Saturday). Digging at all beaches will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight.
Anglers are catching sturgeon from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam. Joe Hymer, WDFW fish biologist, said fishing should pick up with the arrival of the fall rains.
Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, said he expects about 120,000 hunters to turn out Saturday for opening day of the modern-firearms deer-hunting season. Hunting seasons for ducks and geese, which begin the same day, will likely draw out 30,000 more, Ware said. The eastern Washington waterfowl season runs through Wednesday, then picks up again Oct. 24 through Jan. 31.
WDFW Columbia Basin district wildlife biologist Rich Finger said the outlook for the opening weekend for ducks is good. “Given the recent relatively cold conditions, waterfowl hunters can expect large numbers of early season migrants now such as green-winged teal, American wigeon and northern pintails,” he said.
Taverner’s, cackling geese and lesser Canada geese are already staging by the thousands in the Stratford area north of Soap Lake. Their numbers will build as high as 30,000 by the end of October. These geese will focus their feeding efforts on harvested wheat fields in the area.
Reminder: Cougar hunting will be closed in six Washington counties during the statewide deer-hunting season that begins Saturday. This delays the general cougar hunt with modern firearms until Oct. 31 in Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Klickitat counties.
WDFW’s Dana Base reminds hunters that the first of many deer harvest check stations of the season will be conducted Sunday on Highway 395 just north of Deer Park. The check station is voluntary, but Base strongly encourages hunters to stop, whether they’ve harvested game or not, to help the department build information about the season and condition of deer.
Deer hunting in the south end of eastern Washington should be fair to good. WDFW district wildlife biologist Pat Fowler of Walla Walla says mule deer populations are stable along the breaks of the Snake River and in the lowlands. Although white-tailed deer populations have declined in some areas, the population overall is still strong and will offer excellent hunting opportunity.
Jim Hayden, Panhandle Region Wildlife Manager for IDFG said it was “kind of a run-of-the-mill opening weekend” for Idaho elk hunters. There was a drop in bull success rates through the St. Maries check station, but only a slight drop at Enaville. The coming weekend could be tough – just three days of either-sex hunting this year with soggy weather predicted.