Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee has been a good destination for fly fishers as the lake is full of rainbow. Most average around 11 inches, but there are also some really big triploids to be had. Trolling small sculpin flies on a sink-tip has been excellent at both ends of the lake.

Brown’s Lake in Pend Oreille County has been good for fly fishermen throwing Wooly Buggers just below the surface. Some of the rainbow and cutthroat are up to 17 inches long.

The St. Joe and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene are still fishing fairly well. Target the riffles with small attractors.

Reports indicate Rocky Ford has been good recently. Scuds are the ticket. Bring a long-handled net to get past the weeds.


Trollers in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt are catching this year’s plant of 13- to 16-inch rainbow. The fish have been found at less than 20 feet. Fishing has been fairly consistent from Swawilla Basin to Seven Bays. Muddlers and flashers or Wedding Rings are working. Tip each with a piece of worm.

If you are looking for brown trout, either Rock or Waitts Lake is a good bet, and the same lures are doing the job on fish averaging about 13 inches. At Rock, the Johnson’s Beach area has been productive, as well as the north end at Waitts. Rock is low and launching is difficult. Waitts has a good public access.

Sprague Lake remains good for big rainbow. Anglers dunking bait are doing well between the island and Four Seasons Resort, which is closed for the season.

The phenomenal trout fishing on Potholes Reservoir is winding down, but anglers fishing with worms and bobbers from shore at Medicare Beach are still catching the “smaller” 15-inch “footballs.”

Spiny ray

Anglers have enjoyed the best perch fishing in a long time on Potholes Reservoir. Look for water at least 15 feet deep in the Lind Coulee and near Goose Island. Most fish are 8 inches or longer. Potholes bass fishermen continue to have good smallmouth action on the face of O’Sullivan Dam, and the Crab Creek area is producing action as well.

Newman Lake has been giving up largemouth bass as well as an occasional tiger muskie. Spinner baits have been good for either.

Long Lake perch are biting. Some anglers are having success trolling small plugs in 15-20 feet of water, but still-fishing along the weeds with worms in Willow Bay, near Suncrest and across from the old Forshees Resort is more popular.

There is still not much pike action on the Pend Oreille River, and those few caught are small, but the smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing has been good.

Lake Roosevelt walleye are deep and not particularly aggressive. Whatever method you use, fish slowly.

Salmon and steelhead

The steelhead harvest fishing season opened Monday on the Clearwater River upstream of the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Highway 12 near Lewiston, but the water is so low that floating is difficult for anything but drift boats. Steelhead fishing on the Snake is slow, though a few fish are being caught upstream from Asotin. Heller Bar is the best and anglers are still taking the occasional chinook. Recent rains should help.

On the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail at Boggan’s Oasis said steelhead fishing is improving daily. Until now, anglers have been catching mostly hens, but the buck fish are beginning to show.

The Salmon River from the South Fork to the Middle Fork is giving up a few steelhead. Anglers are averaging a fish every 19 hours. Other stretches of the Salmon are slower.

Hatchery steelhead fishing is open on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers. Bait is allowed only on the mainstem Columbia. All other waters require selective gear, meaning barbless single hooks. Light leaders and small jigs will be the rule. Pressure was heavy on the Methow this week and fishing was decent.

Only about 18,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia River this year, so the season may close early. Check WDFW’s website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/) for regulation changes. The Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1

Fall chinook catches are winding down on the lower Columbia, but anglers are still catching a few quality fish below Bonneville Dam. Steelhead catches are good in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam and in the John Day Arm. Vernita is open through the weekend for chinook and there are still lots of fish, but the quality has fallen off considerably.

Other species

WDFW has announced a tentative schedule for razor clam openings through the end of the year. Starting Oct. 27, Twin Harbors will be open for four consecutive evening digs if routine marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat. Three other beaches – Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks – are also scheduled to open for digging Oct. 27-28 if test results are favorable.


No official duck surveys were taken in the Columbia Basin this year, but duck hunters did fairly well on the average. Few limits were taken, but it seemed like everyone got three or four. Lind Coulee is said to also be good for wood ducks.

Water on Potholes Reservoir is down and it is difficult to hunt at this time. The Washington duck season reopens Saturday following a short closure.

Idaho and Washington pheasant seasons will be open statewide on Saturday. Indications are this year will be better than last. Friends say there are some good pockets of birds again in the Columbia Basin.

WDFW personnel manned two check stations up north on Sunday of last weekend’s deer opener. Colville district wildlife biologist Dana Base said the one at Chattaroy checked nine deer for 66 hunters and the one near Deer Park checked 12 deer for 117 hunters. The Chattaroy station saw quite a few duck hunters with ducks and geese from the Pend Oreille River.

The Idaho elk check station at Enaville reported hunter success for bull elk at less than 3 percent on last weekend’s opener. It was about 5.5 percent at St. Maries.

Contact Alan Liere @ spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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