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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Lenice Lake was fished heavily during the beautiful autumn weather, but now that temperatures have dropped, so has its popularity. Now is a good time to be on the water, however: The fish come closer to the surface as the day progresses and leech patterns are effective for Lahontans running 14-25 inches.

Rocky Ford never seems to be totally off. Mayfly patterns on top will bring strikes from rainbow approaching 30 inches.

Trout and kokanee

Limits of 14-inch rainbow are the rule at Lake Roosevelt. Boat anglers dragging Muddler Minnows are finding fish throughout the system. Anglers soaking worms and Power Bait from shore had excellent luck this week at Fort Spokane. Friends who fished from a boat there Tuesday said the catching was “ridiculous” – they couldn’t go 20 feet without a hit.

The algae bloom at Sprague Lake has pretty much disappeared. Boat and shore anglers are catching trout in two size classes – 14-16 and 18-24 inches.

Rock Lake is coming on. More 14- to 16-inch rainbows are being caught than the 16- to 20-inch browns. The browns are moving in to spawn, so trolling the shorelines should become increasingly effective.

Conconully Lake closes Sunday, but some nice trout are being taken from boat and shore. Power Bait or worms are the offerings of choice.

Jameson Lake rainbow in the 12- to 14-inch range are pretty easy to catch on a trolled spoon such as a Needlefish or Triple teaser. Jameson also has a healthy population of larger trout up to 22 inches.

Fish Lake in Chelan County is good for trout up to 3 pounds. Trollers and bobber fishermen are all taking fish. Add a piece of worm to any offering, and you’re almost guaranteed a strike.

Curlew Lake rainbow are running mostly 12-14 inches, though there are plenty of larger trout in the lake. The bite remains outstanding. Anglers trolling flies are catching as many as six fish an hour.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead fishing has been good on the Salmon River in Idaho, particularly from the South Fork to the Middle Fork and the North Fork to the Lemhi River.

The Clearwater has been fair for steelhead, but it could improve quickly now that new water is in the system. This week should tell if the season is going to be as good as predicted, as previously holding fish should be on the move. There has been quite a bit of night fishing going on from the Memorial Bridge down, but success has been erratic.

The last five days have been good for steelhead at Heller Bar on the Snake. On the Grande Ronde, the rain has brought in new fish and pluggers are doing well near Boggan’s Oasis. After a surge to 1,100 cfs, the river is leveling off at about 870 cfs. There are still chinook in the system, and though they can’t be retained, they can really provide an adrenaline rush.

Guide Richard Ellis of Reel People Guide Service in Starbuck said the mouth of the Tucannon has been hot this week for shrimp and bobber anglers looking for steelhead. He adds that the water around the Lyons Ferry Hatchery is becoming productive for pluggers. Ellis said he is seeing more hatchery fish than he did earlier in the season.

The Okanogan River opened Oct. 8 and anglers are taking some nice steelhead. The Similkameen, which will open Monday for steelhead, is in great shape for fishing and loaded with spawning chinook.

Spiny ray

Rufus Woods Reservoir walleye are biting at about a fish per hour in the upper half of the lake. Anglers dragging spinners and worms in 40 feet of water are most successful. Perch fishermen are finding fish along the weed lines close to pump No. 3 on the tribal side – numerous, but nothing real big.

Friends who fished at China Bend on Roosevelt this week for walleye said they didn’t get a bite. They noted that the water is as high as they have seen it and there is snow on the mountains from Chewelah north.

Walleye anglers who fished the full moon at Roosevelt were disappointed (and sleepy), as the bite was better during the day. It remains fair to good for 12- to 16-inch fish.

Smallmouth bass are so numerous in the Seven Bays area of Roosevelt that anglers are complaining they’re interfering with the trout and walleye fishing.

At Banks Lake, successful walleye anglers are pulling bottom bouncers and spinners or bouncing jigs in 50-75 feet of water.

The Pend Oreille River has been good for smallmouth the past few weeks. Crawdad pattern jigs, plastics and plugs are effective. Find a rocky bottom and try drop-shotting. Pike fishermen are also catching small fish on spoons and plugs. Larger fish are hitting shrimp under a bobber.

Silver Lake is about 52 degrees, but though the tiger muskies are lethargic, anglers are taking fish.


WDFW Regional Wildlife Manager Kevin Robinette said the deer check station near Deer Park saw the same number of hunters the first and second weekends of the season. He said the first weekend showed a 9 percent success rate and the second a success rate of 16 percent. Part of this he attributed to the four-day youth, disabled and older than 65 season. But he said the wet conditions made the woods a lot quieter, and this also contributed to success. The general rifle season is over, but late buck begins Nov. 6 in GMUs 105-124.

Eastern Washington pheasant hunters have not benefited from the rainy conditions since the season opened last Saturday. Participation was down, though some hunters reported doing much better than they had anticipated.