Hunting and fishing reports

Fly fishing

Fly fishermen and spin-casters are taking some really big rainbow recently near Mirabeau Park on the Spokane River.

Anglers are doing well fly fishing for steelhead in the Snake. Try near Potlatch where fish are holding.

The North Fork Clearwater River or tributaries such as Kelly Creek have been good for fly fishermen. Stoneflies, Humpies and Royal Wulff patterns are taking trout.

Trout fishing has been good at the Methow River. The section from Lower Burma Road Bridge upstream to the McFarland Creek Bridge will close Sept. 15. The rest of the river upstream to Foghorn Dam (Winthrop area) will close Sept. 30.

Salmon and steelhead

Salmon fishing on the Columbia River near Brewster/Bridgeport has been fair, with a few more chinook starting to show up in the catch. Most of the fish are being picked up in the 40- to 50-foot depth while trolling with spinners tipped with a whole shrimp. Sockeye are still being caught.

Steelhead anglers are beginning to find fish in the Snake River. The mouth of the Clearwater is still a good option, but the bite is early.

On the Columbia River, thousands of chinook salmon are pushing upstream into tributaries below and above Bonneville Dam. Prospects are good for salmon fishing, but remember these fish are on the move. Successful anglers will follow them.

The Buoy 10 fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River has closed. Salmon fishing is scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 at LaPush and Neah Bay, through Sept. 19 at Westport-Ocean Shores and through Sept. 30 at Ilwaco. Check for early closures at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/ regulations.

The chinook fishery below Rocky Point has ended, but anglers can still catch and keep two hatchery-reared coho, steelhead, or one of each in the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River. Farther upriver, anglers may retain one chinook salmon as part of their daily limit from Rocky Point to Bonneville Dam or two chinook from the dam to the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco. The river is full of fall chinook between Tongue Point and Bonneville Dam, with an average of 7,900 passing through the Bonneville ladder daily.

Trout and kokanee

Trout fishing has been good at Lake Roosevelt near Mile Marker 25, with anglers finding their fish with Muddlers and flashers between 25-30 feet. Kokanee are still deeper – closer to 70 feet.

Loon lake kokanee are big – many more than 16 inches – but the fish are turning. Some of the males already have green heads and red bodies. So far, the flesh is holding up.

Trout fishing throughout the Spokane region is picking up. This is the final month this year for fishing Badger, Williams, Fish and Coffeepot lakes. Amber Lake has been good for cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing.

Several popular Okanogan County trout lakes that have been under catch-and-release rules in past years opened Wednesday for a new catch-and-keep season. Those waters include Davis, Cougar and Campbell lakes in the Winthrop area, where anglers will have a five-fish daily trout limit and bait will be allowed. Expect fish in the 10- to 12-inch range, with carryovers up to 15 inches. Gas-powered motors are not allowed on Davis Lake.

Spiny ray

Diamond Lake largemouth bass fishing has been fair. Expect good smallmouth fishing at both Banks and Lake Roosevelt. Walleye fishing at Banks has been particularly productive. Use a worm harness and a slow troll in 20-30 feet of water.

The Pend Oreille River is kicking out quite a few smallish pike, but anglers have had some heart-stopping follows by fish that look to be more than 40 inches.

Long Lake is a good place to try for smallmouth. Work transition points and outside weed lines. The shady side of the river will produce better until the weather cools substantially.

Other species

Catfish anglers are doing well in Lewiston near downtown off the levees. No. 2 circle hooks and slip sinkers with a short leader and night crawlers will do the trick. Fish in the morning, evenings and at dark.


In Idaho, the season for forest grouse opened Monday; the season for doves and sandhill cranes began Wednesday; the early fall general turkey season begins Sept. 15; and seasons for sage grouse, quail and partridge begin Sept. 18.

In Washington, dove, rabbits and grouse opened Wednesday. As always, the opener ranged from poor to phenomenal, depending on who you talked to. The best dove hunting was in the southeast district near the Snake, Touchet and Walla Walla rivers, but even there, densities of doves were moderate. Many opening-day dove and grouse hunters reported seeing fewer birds in the usual places but finding concentrations nearby. A cousin in Yakima said he and everyone he talked with limited on doves. Two friends put in 300 miles of driving and burned a lot of boot leather besides and saw only six grouse – four ruffs and two spruce.

Early hunting seasons open throughout September. Archery-only hunts for deer and cougar began Wednesday and run through Sept. 24, while archery hunts for elk are open Tuesday through Sept. 19 in some game management units. Those in the northeast and central districts are open to the harvest of any elk, but those in the southeast district open only for spike-bulls.

An early Canada goose hunt opened Wednesday in area 2-B, and is open Sept. 10-15 in Goose Management Areas 1, 2-A and 3. The band-tailed pigeon season runs Sept. 15-23.

The Montana fall black bear hunting season begins Sept. 15 in most areas. The archery season for black bear begins Saturday. Black bear hunters must have successfully completed the Black Bear Identification Test.

The training and test are available on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov under Online Services.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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