Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Amber Lake and Sprague Lake fly fishermen are finding some nice fish in shallow water, on top and near the bottom. Red Bionic Worms are a good choice.

Lenice, Dry Falls and Lenore are all open through Nov. 30. Fly fishermen used to being spoiled by larger Lake Lenore trout are complaining about the “small” 4- to 6-pounders prevalent this year.

The Yakima River is still providing decent fly fishing – nothing huge, but consistently 12-14 inches. The river has spiked some but remains clear.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt hums along in predictable fashion, which is to say it is still providing fantastic fishing for rainbow running mostly 14-16 inches. Muddlers, plugs, Wedding Rings – it doesn’t seem to matter, and the entire system has been spitting out quick limits for trollers. The fish are holding at about 15 feet, and a trolling speed of 2 mph is about right.

Bank fishermen are getting in on the action at Fort Spokane, Seven Bays, Lincoln and Keller.

Although Rufus Woods trout can be caught a number of ways, baited jigs are hot. About 4,000 tagged 2- to 3-pound triploids were dumped a week ago near Bridgeport, and these have already begun to spread out throughout the system. The lower net pens are good, and anglers have a chance of picking up some larger fish there. Quite a few 6-pounders have been taken recently.

Trout fishing at Banks Lake always picks up in the winter. Fish in the 20-inch range are being taken on plugs near the weed lines. Some equally large trout are being caught near Medicare Beach on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County

At Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith said chinook fishing has been “very decent.” Numerous fish between 7-10 pounds have been taken recently. Smith said to troll between 105-115 feet deep and recommends a black and glow or green prism flasher followed by a Mini Squid.

Priest Lake mackinaw fishermen are mostly jigging or drop-shotting deep. Find the humps and points in bays like Cavanaugh. Pinto Point is a good place to start. The Berkley Gulp Minnow or glow-in-the dark Hootchies will get you fish. The trick to a hook-up in deep water is a sharp hook and a line that doesn’t stretch.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead fishing is not particularly good in the Snake River system. The best catch rate last week was 12 hours per fish on the Clearwater between the Memorial and Orofino bridges.

Some theorize that the water was so warm early on, the fish just kept swimming. Perhaps that is why the main Salmon River is presently providing the best steelheading.

With only 300-400 fish a day coming over Lower Granite Dam, the steelhead run on the Snake would appear to have already peaked, but veteran steelheaders say there have to be more A-run fish on the way. More B-runs than usual have been caught this year.

Hanford Reach steelheaders are averaging one steelhead for each 10 hours of fishing. Boat anglers are doing slightly better than bank anglers. Steelhead anglers have been catching a few fish in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam and in the John Day Arm.

Spiny ray

Banks Lake anglers are finding walleye and perch. Although there are rumors of success along the weed lines, most catches are coming from deeper water – 45 feet and more. Bottom bouncers with spinners and nightcrawlers are the offering of choice. Banks Lake smallmouth are gorging for winter and have also provided good fishing along the weed lines.

You can still find Coeur d’Alene Lake pike by trolling or casting Husky Jerks over the weed lines, which are lying over.

The water is around 49 degrees, and the bite should remain relatively active until it drops to 40 degrees. Try in front of Harrison Bay on the south end, or Wolf Lodge and Cougar bays on the north end.

Pend Oreille River pike are not providing any action these days, mainly because no one is fishing. Techniques used on Coeur d’Alene Lake should be equally effective on the Pend Oreille.

Other species

Clam diggers got the go-ahead to proceed with a two-day razor-clam dig this weekend at Long Beach and Twin Harbors on the Washington coast. No digging will be allowed before noon on either beach.


The Washington late fall either-sex turkey season begins Saturday in GMUs 105-124. The season ends Dec. 15. The birds are in big flocks again and permission to hunt private land has become easier to obtain as turkeys have gone from a novelty to a pest in many areas.

In Idaho, the fall general season opens Sunday through Dec. 31 in GMUs 8, 8A, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18. This hunt is open on private lands only.

Moses Lake guide Gary Russell said there have been no new ducks recently and hunting is slow. The past week has been plagued by heavy fog.

The week before Thanksgiving is usually the beginning of the migration from the north, but so far, the ducks aren’t following script. This new cold front should help.

Snake River chukar hunters are putting in hard miles for their birds, but pheasant hunters frustrated by the shortage of the long-tailed birds might want to give these red-legged imports a go. Some positive reports are coming in for the stretch of breaks between Wawawai Canyon and Clarkston, and even better reports from Hells Canyon.

Today is the end of the late buck season for modern firearms. Although a few nice bucks have trickled into local taxidermy shops, overall success was low.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com

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