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Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

The Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe are seeing little pressure and fishing is excellent. It is a blue wing olive game now, but October caddis are definitely out. Don’t be afraid to skate those flies.

Trout and kokanee

Rock Lake rainbow 13-20 inches have been hitting all day in 20-30 feet of water. Try a Roosevelt-type fly with a piece of worm. The big browns haven’t been so easy to catch and are probably much deeper.

The Two Rivers Trout Derby was a raging success last weekend. Most anglers checked in limits, and the winning weight, which included some large kokanee, was more than 70 pounds. Kokanee are staging in the Spokane Arm and are probably doing the same in the San Poil Arm.

An angler who fished Badger Lake earlier this week said he couldn’t keep them off, and speculated there may have been a recent plant. Most of his fish, taken on a Flatfish, were 11 inches.

Salmon and steelhead

The Columbia River is full of fall chinook between Tongue Point and Bonneville Dam, with an average of 11,586 passing through the Bonneville ladder daily. Many of these are making their way to the Snake River, which is open to chinook retention in Washington and Idaho. Guide Rick Hedding of Asotin said that in addition to steelhead, he is putting “all kinds of chinook in the boat,” some as large as 30 pounds. The salmon are more likely on a trolled Kwik Fish, but it is not uncommon to catch one on the shrimp.

Guide Rod Hammons of R&R Guide Service in Brewster said Columbia River steelhead are running larger than normal and are full of fight. He said fishing is good at Bridgeport and below Wells Dam with both salmon and steelhead in the daily catch.

WDFW staff interviewed 434 anglers from 184 boats this past week in the Hanford Reach. An estimated 585 adults and 58 jacks were harvested for the week. Harvest this year is well more than last year at this time. Boats are averaging a little less than a chinook per boat.

Paul Hoffarth, WDFW District 4 Fish Biologist in Pasco, said WDFW staff interviewed 75 anglers over the first 12 days of the Yakima River sport fishery. No salmon had been reported at midweek.

Neah Bay, LaPush and Westport still have significant numbers of coho left in their yearly quotas. At Ilwaco, approximately 70 percent of the quota has been taken. Anglers are averaging about three-four fish each.

Spiny ray

Banks Lake largemouth have been pounding Rattletraps in relatively shallow water over weeds. Smallmouth are also on the bite practically anywhere but are holding a little deeper. Some of the most enthusiastic reports are coming from the Seven Bays area of Lake Roosevelt.

The north end of Lake Roosevelt has been excellent for small walleye near Buoy 5. Jigs tipped with worms in 20-30 feet of water works well, but anglers trolling spinners on bottom bouncers are taking walleye as well as trout. Closer to Hunters, walleye anglers are finding their fish deeper.

Area panfish lakes are doing well. Bluegill anglers report excellent success at Silver Lake with pieces of shrimp on a jig. Long, Eloika and Downs lakes are booting out perch, and the fall bass bite is sometimes frantic.

A report from a Pend Oreille River pike fisherman indicates the fish are again moving into shallow water. He said he caught a half-dozen fish casting plastics from shore near Newport.

Other species

During the 2009-10 season, clam diggers harvested more than 3.7 million razor clams on the five ocean beaches open for digging on the Washington coast. WDFW is accepting public comments on digging days, catch limits and other management options for the upcoming season, tentatively set to begin in early October. Comments can be sent to or to Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563. WDFW is soliciting public comments on this year’s digging options as a lower-cost alternative to conducting a series of public meetings, said Ron Warren, regional WDFW fish manager.


The early fall Washington hunting season for wild turkey begins Sept. 25 in many game management units throughout the region. The northeast district will provide the most opportunity. In Idaho, most units opened for fall turkey Wednesday. Birds are numerous and success has been high, though participation has been low.

A muzzleloader-only seasons for deer and cougar starts Sept. 25 in Washington, followed by the early muzzleloader hunt for elk that begins Oct. 2. The high buck hunt in the Okanogan wilderness areas runs until Sept. 25. Most of the deer in this region are mule deer, and populations are doing well. Hunting prospects are fair to good in all districts.

Mandatory hunter reports for Idaho will be Web-based this year. All deer, elk and pronghorn hunters must complete and submit a report for each tag issued within 10 days of harvest or within 10 days of the close of the season. Hunters who supply an e-mail get verification they complied with reporting requirement and will be in the drawing for 10 super tags. To submit the harvest report go to: welcome, or:, and click on the orange Hunter Report logo below the photo.

Grouse hunters don’t have much good to say about bird populations in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. As always, there are pockets of grouse, but for the most part, success is low.

Contact Alan Liere at


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