Cooler weather is bringing out some good hatches of blue-wing olives, pmds, caddis and mahoganies on the Coeur d’Alene. Mid-day fishing has improved greatly.
Good reports come from the Clark Fork above St. Regis. Toss hoppers and bigger Chernobyls throughout the day and caddis or a rusty spinner in the evening.
Yakima River flows have dropped dramatically and it is now possible to wade long stretches where trout are much easier to access.
Trout and kokanee
Waitts Lake has been good all summer for trollers, but nighttime still-fishermen are also finding fast fishing for brown trout running mostly 15 inches and rainbow averaging 13 inches. Look for 30 feet of water.
Sprague Lake has cleared up considerably according to Spokane’s Bill Blosser, and though he caught nothing but a few 13- to 14-inch steelhead on a weekend outing, his wife, Nettie, put four big rainbows in the boat. Blosser said the steelhead are putting on weight and the meat is getting pink. Sprague Lake trout fishing typically heats up about this time and gains steam through October.
Although the rainbow typically go deeper as the day progresses, morning trollers are catching a few big Lake Roosevelt carryovers in addition to the more cooperative 13-14-inch spring plants at depths beginning at 25 feet. As usual, flies behind dodgers have been most effective.
Fish Lake in Spokane County is one of the few lakes in the Spokane region with brook trout. It is open through September. Best fishing this summer was in the evening, but with the cooling weather, it should provide decent fishing all day long. Many of the brookies are over 14 inches long.
Lake Spokane (Long Lake) anglers are catching the rainbow trout stocked earlier in the summer. Like other lakes in the area, catch rates should increase with the coming of cooler conditions.
Conconully Lake in Okanogan County is providing outstanding fishing for 12- to 14-inch rainbow. As lake temperatures cool off a bit this month, the bite at Big Twin Lake near Winthrop, Blue Lake on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, and Chopaka Lake near Loomis gain steam.
Salmon and steelhead
A friend who fished the Clearwater confluence Tuesday said there were 29 boats in the area. Shrimp under a bobber resulted in two 5-pound keepers for his boat, but the fishing was otherwise dead. Almost 1,100 steelhead were counted at Lower Granite Monday and Tuesday.
There are plenty of salmon left for anglers who are now allowed to retain both wild and hatchery coho in ocean waters off Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. At Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) anglers must still release wild coho.
Anglers must now release any chinook salmon caught in the Buoy 10 area, but the daily catch limit there for hatchery coho is now three fish.
The upper Wenatchee River, from the confluence with Peshastin Creek (above Dryden Dam) to the Highway 2 Bridge at Leavenworth, opened Monday for hatchery Chinook salmon fishing. Selective gear rules and a night closure are in effect.
The Yakima River is now open for salmon fishing from the Highway 240 Bridge upstream to the Grant Avenue Bridge below Prosser Dam. Fishery managers expect a record return of fall chinook – 18,000 of them – to the Yakima River this year, but most fish won’t show up until water temperatures drop to a comfortable level, usually some time in late September or early October.
Anglers have been catching some hatchery steelhead both above and below McNary Dam, and the harvest should pick up throughout the month.
A friend looking for the makings of a good fish fry found the mother lode of perch this week at Sacheen Lake. He said he tried several spots on the lake before finally locating a huge school hanging along a weed bed in about 14 feet of water. He quit fishing after he’d put 50 perch between 8 and 11 inches in his cooler.
This is multi-species time at Potholes Reservoir. It’s not unusual for anglers trolling Slow Death rigs and nightcrawlers to catch up to 10 species. Some nice walleye have also come on trolled Flicker Shad and Shad Rap cranks.
Loon Lake largemouth fishing has been good along weeds on the northeast side. The Pend Oreille River is still booting out some nice smallmouth, but friends who fished near Newport said the ramp at Pioneer Park was out of the water and the one at Oldtown almost was, too.
Banks Lake smallmouth are biting furiously and it is not unusual to land 50 fish a day. Though many are small, there are also good numbers in the 2- to 3-pound range. Three- and 4-inch Senkos are very effective. Banks Lake walleye are also biting.
Dove hunting began Monday in Washington and Idaho with good success reported by hunters who’d done some scouting and lined up a spot. The best shooting was in the southeast part of Washington near the Snake, Touchet and Walla Walla rivers, with concentrations also found near cultivated land around Yakima and the Columbia River. A relative had excellent shooting near hop fields in Yakima, but a friend said he found more hunters than dove in his Moses Lake honey hole.
North of Spokane, large concentrations of doves have been sitting on power lines and dropping into harvested wheat fields to feed. Two family members and I had a decent shoot on the opener, but with cooling weather we could already see a change in feeding patterns and flock sizes.
An increasing number of exotic Eurasian collared doves are now found throughout the region, and though hunting for them is open year-round without bag limits, they comprise a small part of the overall dove take because of their tendency to hang out in populated areas.
Forest grouse – whether dusky, ruffed or spruce – were relatively scarce in the forested lands in Idaho and the northeast and southeast districts of eastern Washington on the opener. WDFW does not survey forest grouse to be able to say for sure whether populations are up or down, but reports from the field would indicate the latter.
Early archery elk hunting began Tuesday in select GMUs. The northeast and central district units are open to any elk, and the southeast district units are open either for spike bulls only, or spike bulls or antlerless elk. Most elk harvest by all hunter groups (archery, muzzleloader, modern firearm) in this region is in the southeast district (Blue Mountains). With an increase in elk calves in 2013, hunters should see more spikes this season.
Sept. 20-21 is the Washington special youth-only waterfowl and upland game bird hunting season, which is open to hunters under 16. Non-hunting adults at least 18 years of age must accompany young hunters. A special pheasant hunting opportunity only for hunters 65 years of age or older continues this year Sept. 22-26.