October 28, 2011 in Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

By The Spokesman-Review
Tip of the week

 With mackinaw in the spawn, yesterday’s fish might be non-biters today, but a shift in location can put you on the fish again. Don’t go much more than an hour without a bite before moving.


MarDon Resort on Potholes Reservoir reports the recent waterfowl opening saw the fewest ducks in recent memory.  With waterfowl production on the prairies the highest it has been for 56 years, hunters are looking forward to harsh winter weather to bring the northern birds down.

Braggin’ rights

Ron Jilge of Spokane Valley, fishing with his friend Tom Frazier, caught a pike from the Pend Oreille River last Friday near Cusick that weighed 27 pounds, 11 ounces and was 45 1/2 inches long. He said the fish, which took about 15 minutes to land, hit a yellow and white “Strike-King” buzz bait with a yellow frogtail trailer in 3 feet of water.

Another Spokane Valley man, Steve Alexander, was fishing with his buddy Mike Speer by the goat farm on Lake Roosevelt on Saturday when he caught a 32-inch, 10-pound walleye while trolling a perch-colored fly and worm.

Heads up

• Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall chinook harvest season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers ends Monday. This year, more than 25,000 fall adult and 19,000 jack chinook salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam.

• The sports salmon fishery on the Columbia River between the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco and the wooden power line towers at the old Hanford town site has been extended through Monday.

  • As a safety measure, the White Salmon River is closed to fishing until further notice. The closure took effect Tuesday, one day before Condit Dam was breached using explosives. Pat Frazier, WDFW regional fish manager, said the rush of water pouring through the 125-foot dam is expected to destabilize the river banks and deposit large amounts of sediment and dangerous debris in the river channel. He said the fishing closure will remain in effect until WDFW can assess the conditions and ensure public safety.

• Many Washington lakes will close to fishing after Monday. Amber Lake will remain open to catch-and-release fishing until the end of November, and there are still dozens of places an angler can wet a line year-round. Some of these are Long Lake, Eloika Lake, Silver Lake, Sprague Lake, Rock Lake, Moses Lake, Roosevelt, Banks, Rufus Woods, Potholes Reservoir, Coeur d’Alene, and the Pend Oreille River and lake. Waitts Lake in Stevens County is open through February and provides fishing for rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass and perch.  Newman Lake’s public boat ramp should be completely repaired and useable by Tuesday.

Fly fishing

Fly fishing has been excellent on the Snake and on the Clearwater near Orofino. The Grande Ronde is also producing. The water temperature is 50 degrees. If it stays there for a while, dry line and small surface flies should remain productive. Evenings have been best.

The lower portion of the Grande Ronde, about 2 1/2 miles from the mouth to the County Road Bridge, is under selective-gear rules and all steelhead must be released year-round. The upper portion of the Grande Ronde, from the County Road Bridge to the Oregon state line, opens Tuesday to daily retention of up to three hatchery-marked steelhead.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene is seeing consistent nymph fishing and there is no reason to go above Pritchard.

Upper Goose Lake in Grant County is a picturesque and productive fly fishery in the fall. The southeast corner of the lake has been particularly kind to anglers, with a lot of 16-inch rainbow in addition to the more common 10- to 12-inchers.

Steelhead and salmon

Steelhead fishing on the Snake River is hot at Heller Bar. It has also been good around Orofino, Riggins and Grangeville. Tim Johnson of FishHawk Guides has been trolling Hot Lips plugs on the lower end from Asotin up and said his boat is getting fish every day. Info: 888-548-8896.

At Darver Tackle in Starbuck, Verna Foley reports “sporadic” steelhead fishing off the wall at Little Goose Dam but notes the Tucannon River is good. With its limited access, anglers would do well to stop by the store and get some directions. Info: 866-578-3808.

Steelhead fishing near Bridgeport on the Columbia River has picked up lately, although a lot of wild fish have been caught.

The Okanogan River is still full of chinook, but they are no longer open. Anglers swinging large black flies are taking a few steelhead as well as a number of rainbow trout to 16 inches.

The Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Tuesday.

Trout and kokanee

Rock Lake is producing browns and rainbow for anglers who stay with it and do some experimenting. Apex lures in oranges and pinks are working best in the late afternoon.

The cooler weather means the triploid fishing at Rufus Woods will be heating up. Troll the can line near Bridgeport, troll or cast by pump station No. 1 or still fish at the lower net pens.

Medicare Beach on Potholes Reservoir is cranking out some really large (30-plus inches) rainbow for anglers trolling plugs.

Amber Lake catch-and-release anglers are catching rainbow more than 18 inches plus a lot of smaller fish using a variety of flies, lures and plugs.

At Sprague Lake, trollers working the middle of the lake with broken back orange Rapalas or Double Whammies are doing well. Still fishermen are taking some of the big trout over the springs just out from Sprague Lake Resort.

Trout anglers on Roosevelt are catching rainbow below Hansen Harbor, at Hunters and in the Whitestone area. Muddlers and flashers at four colors are doing the damage. Seven Bays and Fort Spokane do not seem to be fishing as well.

Spiny ray

The fall walleye bite is going well on Potholes Reservoir. The fish seem reluctant to chase plugs, so best success is coming on a spinner and worm. Some trout more than 5 pounds are also being caught by walleye anglers.

I fished the Pend Oreille River near River’s Bend with two friends last week, but despite several follows, we only netted five fish between 3-5 pounds. Small Dardevle spoons were all that were working for us.

Other species

The first razor-clam dig of the season will begin today and Saturday on evening tides at four ocean beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. No digging will be allowed either day before noon.


The Washington general firearm whitetail deer season ends today in units where it is not already closed. The late buck season resumes Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 19.

Pheasant hunter turnout was poor last weekend and results were mixed. One group near Rosalia said it saw “an average number of birds.” Others complained that there weren’t any birds or said there were a lot of young birds in the mix. My group of four shot half of our 12 birds Saturday in one frantic flush.

Modern firearm general elk hunting season and some special permit elk hunting runs Saturday through Nov. 6 in select game management units throughout the region. The southeast’s Blue Mountains herds are providing the best opportunities again this season, although that hunt is under a spike bull only rule. 

Two friends who hunted chukars last weekend in Wawawai Canyon reported the birds are in large coveys and somewhat higher than the week before.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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