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Hunting and fishing

Fri., Sept. 16, 2011

Fly fishing

All Montana rivers are fishing well top to bottom. Hoppers are still a good bet, but tricos are showing again and mahoganies are a good bet in the evening. But Rock Creek has been uncomfortably smoky from fires.

The St. Joe and the Coeur d’Alene rivers are also producing. You may need to twitch those hoppers to draw a strike.

The Big Spokane west of Spokane near the community college is producing good trout fishing for fly fishermen. Many of the fish are more than 16 inches.

Steelhead and salmon

Steelhead and fall chinook fishing at the Clearwater confluence is good. Anglers fishing for steelhead with shrimp and bobbers are doing well and also catching some salmon. Trollers are catching both, but probably more salmon than steelhead. Hotlips-type plugs and cut plug herring-type plugs behind a large flasher are working well. Three friends fishing the confluence Tuesday caught seven wild fish and six keepers. The bite was over by 8 a.m. Catch-and-release fishing in the Clearwater has slowed.

Salmon anglers are having some good days below Wanapum Dam, Priest Rapids and at White Bluffs. The main run hasn’t reached the area. Anglers at the Hanford Reach are just beginning to catch fish, but some of the early arrivals are big. A friend caught a 60-pounder last week.

At Brewster, chinook fishing is about over, though a few fish are coming in below Wells Dam.

As of Wednesday, anglers are now allowed to fish for summer chinook in the tailrace of the hydroelectric powerhouse operated by the Chelan County Public Utility District in Chelan. The new fishery, scheduled to run through Oct. 15, is restricted to the outfall area extending one-third of a mile downstream from the safety barrier near the powerhouse to the railroad bridge at the Columbia River.

 “This opening will test whether we can conduct a fishery in such a small area,” regional fish manager Jeff Korth said. “Starting this year, a lot of hatchery-reared fish will be moving through the tailrace, and we’d like to give anglers a chance to catch some.”

Columbia River anglers can catch and keep chinook salmon for three extra days, today through Sunday, below the Lewis River downriver to the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line. Chinook fishing will also reopen today, two weeks ahead of schedule, in the Buoy 10 area, which includes the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River.

Trout and kokanee

Some of the put-and-take lakes south of Spokane have an algae bloom, but anglers are still taking trout. Williams and Fishtrap were fished recently by friends who said a trolled fly brought the most strikes. At West Medical, limits can still be taken on worm/marshmallow “sandwiches.” Four-pounders are not unusual.

Rufus Woods triploids have been active for trollers along the can line at Chief Joseph Dam and for bait–dunkers downstream by the net pens.

Spiny ray

Pend Oreille River anglers have been catching more bass than pike recently. A good spot for smallmouth is around the island north of the bridge at Newport. Two friends and I fished closer to Rivers Bend on Sunday, landing one largemouth and three small pike and losing a couple of more. All fish hit chartreuse spinnerbaits. The river is full of weeds, so it is difficult to find a “line,” but the fish seemed to prefer places where there was about 4 feet of water over the weeds.

The bite at Potholes Reservoir has been as hot as the weather. Poppers and worms are taking largemouth bass, and perch or crawdad-colored Shad Raps are effective for walleye. Some big bluegill and a few crappie are also showing.

Downs Lake perch finally took off this week, and even if you don’t catch a bunch, you have a chance at some legitimate 14 inchers.

Other species

The pikeminnow rewards program ends Sept. 30. Anglers are still cashing in big at Boyer Park and the Greenbelt stations, but Cascade Locks led the parade last week with 1,248 fish turned in.


Fall turkey season opened Thursday in many Idaho units. The daily bag limit is one turkey of either sex per day. No more than three turkeys may be taken per year, except in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5, where up to five turkeys may be taken in a single day during the fall season.

The Idaho waterfowl youth hunt opens Sept. 24 and 25. The regular 107-day season opens Oct. 1 in northern and eastern Idaho, and Oct. 15 in southwestern Idaho.

An Idaho youth pheasant season runs statewide Oct. 1-7 for all licensed hunters 15 years old or younger. The week-long hunt opens a half hour before sunrise in Areas 1, 2 and 3, except on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours begin at 10 a.m. Shooting hours continue statewide through a half hour after sunset. The regular season opens Oct. 8 in Area 1 and Oct. 15 in Areas 2 and 3.

The Idaho restricted seven-day, one-bird-per-day sage grouse season opens Oct. 1. Sharp-tail grouse, chukar, gray partridge and quail seasons also begin Oct. 1. Landowner-Sportsman coordinator John Nelson of IDFG said pheasant populations may be slightly above those of last year, but gray partridge, chukar and quail will be slightly lower.

Washington grouse hunters who brave the hot weather are finding quite a few ruffed grouse in low, swampy areas. They say some of this year’s birds are only three-fourths grown.

Contact Alan Liere by e-mail at

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