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Hunting and fishing

Fri., Oct. 25, 2013

Fly fishing

Fly fishing has been very good in the south-end shallows of Amber Lake. Weeds are heavy, but the fish are there. Use polarized glasses to find weed-free areas on the bottom. Fish a fly 24 inches below an indicator for fish up to 20 inches and averaging 16.

Salmon and steelhead

The Grande Ronde is low and clear, guide Rick Hedding says, and steelhead are tough to come by. He said he caught five one day last week pulling plugs but only one the next, and fly fishing is producing very few strikes.

Steelheading on the Snake and tributaries has been slow. The best success has been downstream from the Salmon where anglers are catching a fish every eight hours. The Clearwater River, from the mouth to Memorial Bridge has been decent with a fish for every 10 hours of effort. The South Fork to the Middle Fork of the Salmon is about the same.

The confluence fishery at the Snake/Clearwater is pretty much over. Chinook salmon fishing will end on the Snake and Clearwater rivers on Thursday, except a short reach on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam, which closes Nov. 17. The Snake River, from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, remains open until further notice or Nov. 17.

The steelhead opening in the Okanogan saw a slow bite around Pateros though there are plenty of fish in the area. A few fish were caught in the Methow estuary and a few near Bridgeport.

The majority of the boats and bank anglers fishing in the Hanford Reach were targeting salmon last week, but an estimated 135 steelhead were caught with 47 harvested. The Columbia River between the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers and Priest Rapids Dam is now closed for salmon. The river from the Highway 395 bridge in Kennewick/Pasco upstream to the old Hanford townsite will remain open to fishing for salmon through Thursday. Anglers continue to catch a mix of fall chinook, coho, sea-run cutthroats, and a few steelhead from the Cowlitz River. They are catching a mix of fall chinook, coho and steelhead from the Kalama. On the Lewis River, boat anglers are catching fall chinook and coho while bank anglers are primarily catching coho jacks.

Bank anglers are catching some fall chinook on the lower Columbia below Bonneville, while boat anglers are primarily catching coho. The Dalles Pool boat anglers are catching some chinook.

Trout, kokanee

There has been an excellent rainbow trout bite on Lake Roosevelt around Sterling Point, but trollers are catching limits of 15-inch fish near the surface throughout the system. One angler noted it took longer to drive to the lake from Spokane than to catch a limit.

Sprague Lake has been excellent for trollers and those throwing worms and marshmallows from a boat in about 17 feet of water. A lot of the fish are over 20 inches, with an average of about 17 inches. Shore fishermen aren’t doing nearly as well.

Upper Goose Lake in Grant County is providing consistent trout action on trolled Wedding Rings. Also in Grant County, Potholes Reservoir rainbow up to 7 pounds are still pounding trolled Apexes near Medicare Beach and the state park.

Trout fishing in the lower basin of Lake Chelan has been very good. Plugs are taking good numbers over 20 inches. Anglers fishing off the dock in Mill Bay are making some nice catches.

Spiny ray

On Potholes Reservoir, Rob Harbin at MarDon says he has had excellent walleye action fishing the humps in the middle of Crab Creek. Water is rising and fish are beginning to stage. Harbin said the perch action has been “unbelievable.” Trolling No. 5 Shad Raps for walleye limits last weekend, he and friends also took a dozen 12-14-inch perch as well as numerous largemouth bass. Most success for all species comes in the middle depths when dragging the plug from 22 feet of water into 5 feet.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike fishing was very slow this week.

Salmon fishing is pretty much over on the Columbia near Hanford, but bass anglers are catching some nice smallmouth on dark-colored grubs and jigs. Rocky points with steep drop-offs are the key.

Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are catching fish on worm harnesses along the flat just downriver from Buoy 5. The bite has been better in the cooler water there than in Porcupine Bay. Burbot are taking baited jigs.


Except for quail, upland hunters in the Snake River canyons aren’t seeing many birds. A friend who drives the road between Asotin and Clarkston on a daily basis says he’s seeing neither live birds nor road kill. From the Colfax and St. John areas come similar reports. Sagebrush quail have replaced pheasant action for hunters around Moses Lake. Duck hunting in the same area has been slow due to the warm, calm weather.

Most Idaho Fish and Game check stations around the state reported more hunters participating this year than in 2012 for the October deer hunting season opener. The Southwest Region reported one of the best openers in recent years and the Panhandle reported elk hunter success was up from last year.

Idaho duck hunters in the Southwest Region did very well along the Snake River, but upland hunters found chukars, gray partridge and quail to be scarcer than last year. In the Panhandle, hunters reported seeing a lot of moose and grouse, and they saw more elk and elk sign than the past few years. Hunters also saw a lot of spike elk, which typically means good overwinter calf survival.

Modern rifle deer hunting closes today in most Washington units. The late season runs Nov. 9-19. The late either-sex turkey season runs Nov. 20 to Dec. 15 in GMUs 104-154 and 162-186.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere

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