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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The guest speaker at this month’s Spokane Fly Fishers’ meeting is steelheader extraordinaire John Shewey. Johnwill give his presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Francis School/Church Hall, 1104 W. Heroy. It is free and open to the public.

Coeur d’Alene River fishing has been excellent up the North Fork. Late morning to afternoon is best. Use smaller flies like mahoganies, blue wings and rusty spinners. With some rain, fish will also eat the bigger October caddis and spruce moths.

October on the St. Joe can be the most productive time of year. Blue-winged olives are still getting solid looks and October caddis will also work well. Some big fish have been pulled from the lower river using streamers and nymphs, but be sure to have smaller flies.

Trout and kokanee

Fall is usually the best time to nail limits of Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee. They are stacked up in the 10- to 40-foot range in the east arm of the lake.

Sprague Lake has been plagued by a blue-green algae bloom that was being prolonged by the recent hot fall weather. The recent cooling trend should settle it to the bottom, WDFW district fish biologist Chris Donley said. Recent electrofishing surveys showed good numbers of large trout and a growing population of nice largemouth bass.

Some of Spokane County’s best trout lakes closed Sept. 30, but there are still plenty of opportunities though October, and Amber Lake remains open through November for catch-and-release fishing. Lake Roosevelt, which is open year-round, is providing good trolling action on big rainbows, mostly from the Daisy area north.

Many Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille county waters produce good catches of rainbow trout and other species in October. Check the regulations before heading out because some waters, such as Bayley and Rocky lakes, have shifted to catch-and-release.

Rainbow trout lakes in the Okanogan turn on as water temperatures cool and trout become more active. Some good bets would be both Conconully Lake and Reservoir, Wannacut Lake, Big Twin near Winthrop, Blue on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, Aeneas near Tonasket and Chopaka near Loomis. All of these lakes stay open for fishing through Oct. 31. Chopaka and Aeneas are fly-fishing only, and Blue and Big Twin are selective-gear waters. Jameson Lake in Douglas County, which closed July 4, reopened for an Oct. 1-31 season on a hatchery plant of approximately 7,500 half-pound rainbows.

Salmon and steelhead

Snake River steelhead action hasn’t taken off again. Friends who fished the Clearwater confluence Wednesday said water temperature is 63 degrees. Although they landed a keeper steelhead and a keeper chinook while bobber fishing, they said they only saw four other fish caught.

“There are lots of steelhead in the (Snake) river, but they just aren’t biting,” WDFW Enforcement Sgt. Dan Rahn said. Rahn noted that steelhead were rolling on the surface just above Little Goose Dam, but no one was catching anything.

Oct. 1 was the start of a special rules hatchery steelhead fishing season on the Okanogan River from the mouth upstream to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville. Steelheaders heading for the Okanogan be aware of the rules: selective gear, night closure, no bait, 20-inch minimum size, and the mandatory retention of any adipose-fin-clipped hatchery-origin steelhead caught up to the daily limit of four fish.

Summer chinook fishing in the mainstem Columbia River from Wells Dam to the Highway 17 Bridge in Bridgeport will close one hour after sunset on Oct. 15. A few salmon are still being caught above Wells Dam and also upstream in the Bridgeport area. Selective-gear rules and a night closure are in effect for this fishery, but bait is allowed.

Salmon fishing on the Columbia River from White Bluffs up to Priest Rapids Dam closes Oct. 22. There is still a pretty good morning bite.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishermen have been successful on Lake Roosevelt and around The Hump on Banks. Smallmouth bass running 10 to 12 inches are abundant on both lakes.

Like walleye and bass, perch are also putting on the feed bag for winter. A few monster perch have been taken recently from Lake Roosevelt and Banks.

Northern Pike fishing has been a little slow on Lake Coeur d’Alene, but most days if you keep casting spinnerbaits, you will connect. The best spot for pike in Lake Coeur d’Alene are the bays like Cougar Gulch or Kidd Island. Try plastics for largemouth in the Chain Lakes.

Other species

Sturgeon fishing opened Oct. 1 on the lower Columbia River from Bonneville Dam downstream to the Wauna powerlines. Bank anglers historically do well just below Bonneville Dam.


Modern firearm deer hunting opens Oct. 16 in Washington. The northeast district is the traditional mecca for whitetails, although WDFW wildlife biologist Dana Base said the overall population is down from historic highs.

Both muleys and whitetail appear to be stable in the central district and prospects should be similar to last year. The Mt. Spokane unit is open to any buck, but the rest of the units in the district are under a three-antler-point minimum rule.

The southeast district has seen declines in both deer species over the last several years, WDFW biologist Pat Fowler reports. Mule deer populations appear to have stabilized along the breaks of the Snake River and in the lowlands, but numbers are still depressed in the mountain units.

The foothills of the Blue Mountains and river bottoms hold the largest concentrations of whitetails, but much of that land is private.

Washington waterfowl hunting also opens Oct. 16. Fowler reports local populations of Canada geese are good in the Burbank area near the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers, and around Clarkston on the Snake.

Chukar, grey partridge and quail hunters found pockets of birds on last Saturday’s opener, but participation was low. Only moderate success was noted, but there appear to be more partridge than last year on the Snake River breaks.

The regular deer season opens Sunday in most regions of Idaho. The 2010 waterfowl season opened Saturday in Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho, and in Area 2, southwestern Idaho and the Magic Valley. The regular pheasant season opens Saturday in northern Idaho Area 1. The season opens in the rest of the state’s Areas 2 and 3 on Oct. 16.

Contact Alan Liere at


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