There have been some early afternoon hatches on the Big Spokane. It is possible to take trout on top, but streamer fishing has been best.
The lower parts of the Coeur d’Alene River are best right now. Nymphing and slow retrieved streamers will be the best option and there should be some decent dry fishing in the slower current seams during the warmest part of the day.
The long, warm fall has allowed the weeds to continue to cling to the bottom at Rocky Ford Creek and some of the normally productive spots don’t hold fish. Cold weather will cause the weeds to die off, and there is still a lot of fishable water right now. Stripping a leech is usually good for some action.
Salmon and steelhead
Drifting eggs for steelhead last Friday on the Clearwater River with guide, Bart Jarrett of Northwest Fishing, my group of three saw plenty of action with 10 fish landed. Only one was a non-wild fish under 28 inches, and that was also released because it was caught so early in the trip. Included in a most enjoyable day of fishing were three B-run steelhead in excess of 15 pounds as well as photo opportunities on deer, bald eagles and river otter. Anglers who are staying away from the Clearwater because they can’t keep every fish they catch are missing out on good fishing and spectacular scenery. Info: Bart Jarrett (208) 790-2277.
Snake River steelhead are logically more spread out than those in the Clearwater River, but a friend has fished from the rip-rap at the Wawawai boat launch twice in the last week, catching two wild fish and two hatchery fish. He said he had numerous other take-downs on his bobber and shrimp rig.
Steelhead fishing has been slow near Little Goose with very few B-run fish showing. Best bet is near the hatchery.
At Boggan’s Oasis on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail says they are having one of their best years ever. The water is up and new fish have arrived. All methods are taking fish.
It is hoped the cooler weather will get the steelhead bite going on the Wenatchee and Okanogan rivers. So far, it has been pretty slow.
Weekly checking on the John Day Arm of the Columbia showed 10 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 24 unclipped steelhead released for 21 boats. There was no catch for five bank anglers.
Chinook fishing on the Lake Coeur d’Alene has been very good recently, reports Jeff Smith of Fins and Feathers. The Coeur d’Alene Anglers Association held a two-day tournament last weekend, and many boats had double-digit catches. The best bite was between 90-100 feet, and as always, an 8-inch flasher and Mini-Squid or a helmeted herring accounted for most of the fish. Best fishing was near Carlin Bay.
Rainbow fishing has been excellent on Pend Oreille Lake, reports Kurt Arnter of Pend Oreille Charters. He said lots of 9-20 pound fish are coming to net. Streamer flies on top are your best bet.
Trout and kokanee
Trout fishing remains hot at Roosevelt. Seven Bays, Lincoln, Split Rock, the Spokane mouth—it doesn’t seem to matter. Chunky 14-inch fish are the norm, but a fair number of 2-3-pounders are also showing. Some anglers are using downriggers set at 7-15 feet, but most are long-lining plugs on mono at about 195 feet or going with leaded line and flies tipped with nightcrawler and letting out about 150 feet.
Sprague has been good these last few weeks. Many anglers have gone recently to trolled crankbaits, letting out 150 feet of mono. The fish seem to be concentrated, so if you get one, keep pounding the area.
Fair fishing is reported on Rufus Woods at the bottom end above Chief Joseph Dam. Anglers have had the best success trolling flies along the barrier or along the opposite shore. Triploids comprise less than half the normal catch. A new fishing access for bank anglers above Chief Joseph Dam off Murphy Road has a toilet and a firebox and direct access to the beach.
Trout lakes like Mattoon and North and South Fiorito ponds near Ellensburg have been stocked with three- to 10-pound broodstock rainbows, a nice supplement to decent numbers of carryover trout already available.
Near Yakima, Rotary Lake and the I-82 Ponds should offer opportunities to harvest chunky holdover trout. Ponds 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 are all stocked with rainbow.
Chelan Lake mackinaw are deep, but anglers not wanting to go to 250 feet are finding some large rainbow and small chinook salmon trolling dodgers and wedding rings as they would for kokanee. Flatfish and Kwikfish have also produced well.
Coeur d’Alene pike fishing has picked up considerably with fish averaging two feet in length hammering jerkbaits and soft plastic frog swimbaits along the weedlines. There have been reports of anglers catching as many as 30 fish in an afternoon. The most productive water has been from Harrison south.
Newman Lake is still a good place to lip a few largemouth, but this fishery won’t last much longer. At least two big tiger musky were caught this week by bass fishermen throwing jerkbaits.
Perch, bass, bluegill and crappie are still biting at Potholes Reservoir, but the walleye bite was off this week. Some of the perch and crappie are running an honest 14 inches.
Lake Roosevelt walleye evidently took a break last week. Several jiggers fishing Porcupine Bay said they caught limits of trout but no ’eyes.
The second of two evening razor-clam digs this month runs today through Wednesday at various ocean beaches. Digging will be in the evening on minus tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Copalis on Friday and Saturday, Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks on Sunday, and at Twin Harbors only the other three days.
Late fall Washington turkey hunting opens Wednesday and runs through December 15 in GMUs 105-154 and 162-186. One either-sex turkey can be taken. The big birds are abundant throughout the region.
The late general buck season in Washington closes after Tuesday.
The deer seem to have begun their rut a little earlier this year, so the last few days should be good.
Waterfowl hunting in both eastern Washington and north Idaho has been spotty as hunters continue to wait for the northern flights.
BACKCOUNTRY -- Here's the source of most of the area's smoke woes -- the fires in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Here's a shot I made today as I hiked south ...