Hunting and fishing
Fishing is improving on local lakes. Temps are cooling and you can find some fish in shallower water now. Pounding the shoreline areas with water boatmen is a good idea on lakes like Amber. Some lakes you may still have to get down a little deeper and troll.
The Grande Ronde has been fishing well. The upper river near Boggan’s, Shumaker, and the mouth, are all good options.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene, the St. Joe and the Spokane rivers are all decent options now. Nymphing and slow dredged streamers will produce results before 11a.m. with some dry fly action later.
Salmon and steelhead
Chinook catch rates are still good below Bonneville Dam, and excellent above. Boat anglers are catching some chinook and steelhead in The Dalles Pool. On the Hanford Reach, the number of boats on the water has dropped a bit but fishing is still good. Boat anglers are averaging 2.2 Chinook per boat.
Steelhead and chinook anglers at the confluence of the Clearwater are seeing a lot of wild fish, both bobber fishermen and trollers are putting some hatchery fish in the boat. There was a decent steelhead bite between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. this week with best results fishing shrimp close to the bottom under a bobber.
The Clearwater catch-and-keep season opened Tuesday. The bag limit has been reduced to one fish under 28 inches with a possession limit of two. Bobber fishing during the last couple weeks of catch-and-release has been pretty good up to the paper mill. The Orofino area is seeing mostly salmon.The Snake River near the mouth of the Salmon has been fair for steelhead, but only a few salmon have been caught near Heller Bar.
On Wednesday, fishing opened for hatchery steelhead on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Methow and Okanogan rivers until further notice. The Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1.
Fishing will be more tightly regulated than last year because fewer hatchery steelhead are projected to return this year and wild steelhead are expected to make up a higher proportion of the run.
Trout and kokanee
Kurt Artner at Pend Oreille Charters said his clients are catching big rainbow and lakers, as well as bull trout and cutthroat. The best fishing has been on top with flies for the rainbow. Apexes down deep are taking the lakers.
Info: (208) 610-8540.
Trout fishing for 13- to 14-inch rainbow has been excellent for trollers on Lake Roosevelt from Two Rivers to Seven Bays. Now that the federal government shutdown has been resolved, anglers can launch at National Park Service boat ramps the length of the lake. Troll no deeper than 20 feet with flies and flashers.
Clear Lake browns have turned on with the cooler temperatures and have been active all day. Try trolling a Flatfish at around 30 feet for these 15- to 20-inch trout. There are also some nice rainbow. Clear closes at the end of the month.
Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee fishing is now at its peak as fish congregate in Wolf Lodge Bay preparing to spawn. They are not large at 10 to 11 inches, but they’re abundant and fishing should be great until they begin to spawn in mid-November.
Waitts Lake hasn’t missed a beat all year. Trollers are still catching 14- to 17-inch browns, and slightly smaller rainbow. Troll the surface at mid- lake with flies and flashers.
Sprague Lake is good. Trollers are taking limits of 13- to 18-inch rainbow, with some as large as five pounds.
Excellent bass fishing reports come from all over the region. Eloika, Hayden, Hauser, Silver, Loon, the Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake are all kicking out nice sized largemouth. Additionally, Newman, Silver and Curlew are giving up some big tiger muskie.
The Snake River out of Lyons Ferry was good last week for walleye anglers pulling crank baits in 20 feet of water. Reports are that jigs fished on the humps are also taking some large fish. Some nice small- mouth have shown, too.
Panfishing is getting better every week in lakes like Eloika, Long, Silver, Waitts, Diamond, Moses, Potholes and Banks. Some anglers report this has been one of the best years on record for crappie, big yellow perch and bull bluegill, particularly in the Columbia Basin.
Banks Lake is on for fall smallmouth bass fishing. Reaction baits in the morning are working best with tubes and grubs more effective in the afternoon. On the other hand, the Pend Oreille River has risen five feet and the smallmouth bite has ended.
State shellfish managers approved a six-day razor clam dig that began on Thursday and have scheduled tentative dates for additional openings in November. Beaches now open are Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres recommends diggers start an hour or two before the evening low tide to achieve best results. He said a lantern is much more effective for spotting clams than the direct beam of a flashlight. Additional digs have been tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1-8 and 15-20.
The few reports trickling in from chukar country along the Snake and Salmon rivers – weather’s been warm – indicate the birds are up high. A district IDFG officer said he would consider this an average year, with fewer birds than last year.
Washington pheasant hunters will find out on Saturday’s opener what to make of the conflicting reports regarding bird populations. As always, there will be pockets of birds in the southeast counties of Washington. Quail and gray partridge populations look better than last year.
Deer hunters have been finding good hunting conditions and success is generally good. Hunters with doe tags and permission to trespass on private land are filling quickly in Stevens and Spokane counties.