The St. Joe is the place to be for some great cutthroat fishing. Hot bugs are little red ants, beetles and caddis. The upper St. Regis is skinny in places, but the afternoon and early evening fishing is still good in the deeper holes. Browns are taking dries.
The Clark Fork has been on and off. Rock Creek is still fishing well. Brown trout are migrating out of the Clark Fork and up the creek, so look for streamer fishing to pick up. The entire Blackfoot River continues to fish well.
The Bitterroot is low. Tricos continue to dominate in the morning with Mahoganies and Hecubas winning the afternoons. Hopper fishing is still good on the mid-to-lower river.
River flows are down to the low 800 cfs on the North Fork of the Clearwater. Cooler temperatures and good trout fishing are forecast.
Steelhead and salmon
Fishing at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater has been slow. In the catch-and-release section of the Clearwater proper, the average is about five hours per fish. Steelhead fishing in the Heller Bar area of the Snake is said to be good.
Angler effort continues to rise on the lower Yakima River, but success is low. Drano Lake boat anglers are catching a mixture of fall chinook, coho and summer run steelhead.
A selective fishery for hatchery steelhead on the upper Columbia River above Rock Island Dam, and on the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers was opened Wednesday. Also opened Wednesday was the section from Wells Dam to Brewster.
Hanford to Vernita Bridge on the Columbia River was not particularly productive last weekend. Most boats were happy to take home one fish. Brad’s Super Bait or Super Cut Plug remain the offerings of choice.
Fall chinook catches are good in the Columbia near Bonneville Dam. Anglers are catching a few coho near the mouths of some tributaries.
Trout and kokanee
Clear Lake is producing limits of trout for trollers dragging small spoons such as the Triple Teaser Super Dupers. The 12- to 15-inch fish are about evenly split between rainbows and browns
Amber Lake fly fishermen are catching cutthroat 13-17 inches. The best area has been straight out from the launch. The Amber Lake two-fish catch-and-keep season ends today, but the lake remains open through November for catch-and-release fishing.
Fishing bait at the lower net pens at Rufus Woods Reservoir has been good for two-fish limits of triploid trout. Fish to 8 pounds are not unusual. Be sure to use enough weight to keep your offering on the bottom as the current varies from day to day. Use enough leader to get the floating bait above the weeds.
Though fishing wasn’t fast, Yankin’ Jaws Guide Service reports its annual boat camping weekend on the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt from the narrows to just below Little Falls Dam produced a couple of dozen “keeper” walleye as well as few trout. They fished jigs in various colors. In general, walleye anglers are finding fish on Lake Roosevelt, but it has been mostly slow. Spinners and jigs are most commonly used both shallow and deep, with jigs the better of the two. Spring Canyon has been fair, Kettle Falls poor. Rufus Woods has been slow.
Banks Lake is almost as low as it’s going to go and bass fishing couldn’t be any better, according to Lou Nevsimal at Coulee Playland. He said the key is to be mobile. Bait fish are constantly on the move and predatory fish are following them. “Find the schools of bait fish and it’s Katie bar the door,” he said. There is still launching available at Coulee Playland, though no docks are usable.
Roses Lake is Chelan County has been giving up some outsized perch recently. Drift and cast small jigs until you locate concentrations of the 10- to 12-inch fish. Other good destinations for big perch have been Downs Lake and Lake Spokane. Anglers dunking small worm-tipped jigs are taking all they want to clean on the weed bed edges in about 12 feet of water.
Liberty Lake bass fishermen are finding some good-sized largemouth as well as some big smallmouth. Plastic worms have been good, but topwaters are still bringing hits.
Pike and largemouth are still on the menu on the Pend Oreille River from Newport to Cusick – nothing particularly large, but good action on weedless spoons and plugs. Anglers mention they are missing a lot of strikes, but even the “blow-ups” are fun.
Starting Saturday, sturgeon fishing opens in the mainstem Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam. The fishery was originally scheduled to open Oct. 8, but fishery managers added three additional days – Saturday, Thursday and next Friday. “This is a great fishing opportunity for fall, especially for anglers who don’t have boats,” said Brad James, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Bank anglers have done very well, historically, fishing for sturgeon just below Bonneville Dam.”
An Idaho youth pheasant season opens statewide Saturday and runs through next Friday 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. The regular season opens Oct. 8 in Area 1 and Oct. 15 in Areas 2 and 3.
Starting Saturday, Idaho upland bird hunters will be able to hunt all five grouse species in addition to chukar and gray partridge and quail (except mountain quail, which do not have a season) within the same week. The last time hunters could participate in the “Idaho grand slam of native grouse” – dusky, ruffed, spruce, sage- and sharp-tailed – was 1997.
Waterfowl seasons also open in eastern and northern Idaho on Saturday. Seasons open in the southwest and south central areas two weeks later on Oct. 15.
In Washington, hunters may go afield Saturday in pursuit of chukar, gray partridge and quail. Chukar populations in traditional canyons along the Snake River appear to be similar or slightly up. Gray partridge brood numbers are good in Whitman and Lincoln counties. Quail, which had a late second hatch, should be better than last year.
Also beginning Saturday, Washington muzzleloaders can go afield for elk. The modern firearm season for deer gets under way Oct. 15, the same as the any-weapon cougar season.