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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Wholesale Sports in the Spokane Valley is having a free fly fishing for steelhead seminar Monday starting at 4 p.m. It will feature Jim Teeny and TFO/Teeny representative Dick Sagara.

Area river fishing has slowed down this week, and whatever the trout are feeding on is small. The Clearwater steelhead bite has been consistent if not fast. Most anglers are touching a fish or two a day.

Trout and kokanee

The bite for 10-inch kokanee is excellent in the east arm of Lake Coeur d’Alene, Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers said. He said the fish are just beginning to turn. The chinook bite has also been good. Anglers dragging Mini-Squids deep are catching one or two a day.

Anglers are talking about Rock Lake again, with an 11-pound brown caught recently on a deep-diving plug.

Amber Lake trout are running mostly 13-15 inches, though there are larger fish available. Recent success was reported on small Hot Shots or Flatfish in gold or red. Single barbless hook are required.

Friends who fished out of Fort Spokane this week had excellent success trolling the east bank with gaudy flies tipped with worms. They said limits of 14- to 18-inch rainbow came easily at 18-20 feet over 75 feet of water. The stretch from Lincoln to Fort Spokane has been excellent for several weeks.

Huge Sprague Lake triploids that look more like steelhead than trout are showing again for bank fishermen throwing worms and marshmallows at the public access. A friend sent a photo this week of what looked like an 8-pound fish taken on yellow Power Eggs. The springs area just off the docks at Sprague Lake Resort has been good.

The really big Loon lake kokanee are in spawning mode and not hitting, but anglers are still catching bright 12- to 14-inchers on the troll. Diamond Lake is giving up good catches of 12- to 14-inch rainbow and browns to anglers trolling flies down the middle.

Salmon and steelhead

The peak of the fall chinook and steelhead runs has passed over Bonneville Dam. A few stragglers are being caught in the lower river, with anglers doing fairly well on chinook at the mouth of the Klickitat.

The Grande Ronde is low and clear, and steelhead fishing, though not poor, is not great. At Boggan’s Oasis, Bill Vail said there are lots of fish in the river, but not in every hole, and they don’t always bite. Pluggers are doing better than fly fishermen.

A friend who fished the Clearwater confluence all day Wednesday had one steelhead released, one kept and two lost. He said other boats appeared to be doing about the same.

The steelheading season is off to a good start upstream in the Riggins area of the Salmon River, Amy Sinclair of Exodus Wilderness Adventures said. “We are noticing that the fish are bigger than average and we are seeing a lot of native fish in this run,” she said Wednesday.

This was another good week for fall chinook at Hanford Reach. WDFW staff sampled 317 boats (759 anglers) with 518 chinook. The Reach is open to the retention of steelhead upstream to Priest Rapids Dam through Oct. 22, but fishing was slow last week for bank and boat anglers.

At Vernita Bridge, chinook fishing is a day-to-day endeavor. Some anglers do well some days on Wiggle Warts. Another boat will find success running bait-wrapped Kwik Fish or Flatfish. There are supposed to be lots of fish on the way.

The Yakima River chinook harvest continues to improve, WDFW District 4 fish biologist Paul Hoffarth said. An estimated 103 adult chinook, 10 jacks and 13 coho were caught last week.

Spiny ray

Pike fishing on the Pend Oreille River has slowed as the river is flushed. Coeur d’Alene pike fishing is also slow.

Potholes Reservoir walleye and bass anglers are having a good fall. Small walleye are the rule, but a 7-pounder came in during last weekend’s bass/walleye tournament out of Mardon, and largemouth to 6 pounds are still lurking in the dunes.

The autumn walleye bite on Banks Lake can be delightfully productive and frustratingly inconsistent. Friends who fished there this week found a lot of fish in 45-55 feet of water one day and couldn’t buy a bite the next.


North Idaho duck hunters are having their best luck in the chain lakes near Coeur d’Alene. A mixed bag of wood ducks, wigeon and mallards is the rule.

Moses Lake duck hunters should find fair duck hunting on Saturday’s Washington opener. There are still quite a few blue wing teal in the sand dunes, but mallards will make up most of the opening-day bag. Mikal Moore, East Side migratory bird biologist, said local production this year in the Basin was not great as a lot of potholes didn’t fill up in time for nesting. She said the exception is the Yakima Basin, which had excellent mallard production.

The modern firearms deer season begins Saturday in many units in Washington and Idaho. The any-deer Washington season for 65 and older, youth and disabled runs Thursday through Oct. 24 in units 101-124.

Contact Alan Liere at