Area hatches are beginning to slow down on most rivers. The Coeur d’Alene is fishing best on the lower river. The St. Joe has become inconsistent, but the lower- to midriver stretch provides some good dry-fly fishing. Try nymphs if the fish are hesitant to come up. The last couple of weeks have been great on the Clark Fork.
Steelheading has been OK but not great on the Snake, with the Clearwater still the best option. Throw sparsely tied flies. The mouths of the Grande Ronde and the Salmon have the colder water, so expect to find fish hanging there.
Near Spokane, Amber Lake fly fishermen are finding good numbers of cutthroat both shallow and deep. Spokane River anglers have had some wonderful days recently between the Maple Street Bridge and the Gun Club.
Salmon and steelhead
The fall steelhead harvest season opens in the Clearwater River drainage on Monday. The seasons opens on the main stem of the Clearwater River above the Memorial Bridge, the South Fork Clearwater River, the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam, and the Middle Fork Clearwater River below Clear Creek.
The Heller Bar area of the Snake River has offered some fair fishing recently for anglers throwing spoons and spinners from shore for both steelhead and chinook. Boat fishermen are taking fish by back-trolling plugs.
Angler effort and harvest is holding steady for salmon fishing in the lower Yakima River. WDFW staff talked with 149 anglers fishing for salmon this week with 42 chinook harvested. The fishery will run through Oct. 22.
Hanford Reach WDFW staff interviewed 1,022 anglers from 441 boats with 501 adult chinook and 231 jacks this past week. All areas continue to report strong catches, including Vernita Bridge.
Columbia River anglers had the highest catch rates in the Gorge this past weekend where the boat anglers averaged 2.11 fall chinook each.
Trout and kokanee
There may be just a couple of more weeks of good kokanee fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene as the fish are beginning to turn. Chinook fishing is improving, however. Most fish caught recently were at around 100 feet.
Amber Lake continues to provide good fishing. John Petrofski of Spokane says he and a friend trolled a green, size-70 Hotshot this week for 12 “nice fat rainbow.”
Friends who have fished Waitts Lake three times the past two weeks say brown trout averaging about 13 inches are easy to catch trolling a Wedding Ring-type lure with a piece of worm about 10 feet down. They have been concentrating their efforts at midlake from Winona Beach Resort north.
Sprague Lake is still on fire. Trollers are taking limits fishing everything from jointed Rapalas to walleye-type spinners, and still-fishermen still find the worm/marshmallow “sandwich” effective. Bill Blosser and his wife, Nettie, fished the lake this week from 10 a.m. to noon, limiting on big rainbow – the largest 25 inches long and the smallest 15 inches. The west end of the lake in 15 feet of water has been best.
The southeast section of Deer Lake is providing constant trolling action for rainbow running 13-16 inches. Best success has been at 20-25 feet with Apex lures tipped with worm.
Rufus Woods Lake had been off and on, but even when it’s on, a lot of the fish are smaller than anglers have come to expect. If there is no current running through Rufus, fishing is generally poor.
Potholes Reservoir bass are numerous and hungry, but seem to be keying on reaction baits only. A few fish to 6 pounds have been landed recently, but the majority are less than 1 1/2 pounds.
Coeur d’Alene northern pike are highly visible now but seem to have developed lockjaw. Anglers report numerous follows but few strikes.
Perch fishermen are loading up on eastern Washington and northern Idaho small lakes. Silver, Long, Waitts, Eloika and Liberty in Washington and Fernan, Hauser, Hayden and Cocolalla in Idaho have good perch fishing.
The first razor-clam dig of the season will be on evening tides Saturday and Sunday at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Long Beach and Twin Harbors only will be open Monday, and Twin Harbors only Tuesday through Thursday.
Most marine areas of Puget Sound will reopen for recreational crab fishing on Saturday. Additional information is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ fishing/ shellfish/crab/.
Washington and Idaho chukar hunters brave enough to tackle Snake River canyons in the heat are finding birds down low. Indications are bird populations are up slightly from next year. Quail are more spread out in the canyons, usually concentrated in blackberry thickets near springs.
The Idaho waterfowl season opens Saturday in Area 2, and runs through Jan. 25. Area 2 includes all of the state not included in Area 1, which opened last Saturday. The regular pheasant season opens Saturday in northern Idaho, Area 1, and runs through Dec. 31. In the rest of the state the season opens Oct. 20. It runs through Nov. 30 in eastern Idaho, Area 2, and through Dec. 31, in southwest Idaho, Area 3.
Lincoln County duck hunters may have trouble finding small water when the Washington waterfowl season opens Saturday, but the county is full of geese. Once open, the Washington waterfowl season remains open for five days, closes for two, and then runs Oct. 20-Jan. 27, except for geese, which are open Wednesdays and weekends and some later “bonus days” in units 4 and 5.
Moses Lake contacts report a good population of local ducks in the area, and local geese are said to be “thick.”
The Washington general modern-firearm deer season opens Saturday. The general modern-firearm elk season opens Oct. 27 in select Washington GMUs. The southeast district (District 3) is the region’s primary elk hunting area, with herds predominantly in or near the forested areas on public lands in the Blue Mountains. Recent studies have shown that yearling bull elk survival is high here, and since the general hunting harvest rule is spike only, prospects are good for those willing to hunt rugged country to find them.
FISHING -- Sobering numbers from the drought-ravaged 2015 Columbia River sockeye salmon run have been released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife: Of the 512,000 sockeye that returned ...