Lenice Lake in Grant County is not kicking out many of the whoppers of days past, but fly fishing has been good for 11- to 12-inch rainbow. The lake closes Nov. 30.
Silver Bow Fly Shop reports good fishing on the Spokane River this week, both upper and lower. The dry/dropper game has been good with fish looking for the big Chernobyls or October caddis. The North Fork Coeur d’Alene is also good, with the softer current seams and pools starting to fish well.
The St. Joe River continues to offer good fishing. Nymphing or streamers are best in the morning until it warms up. Small ants can work as well this time of the year. Good fishing continues in the North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek drainages. The fish are keyed in on October caddis. A dropper under the caddis is a good idea. Throw in some mahoganies and bwo’s for safe measure.
Clark Fork River trout are sleeping in, but the fishing picks up after noon and continues through dusk. Purple Haze, PMDs and Mahoganies are the call from Forest Grove clear down to Paradise. In the evening, work tiny tricos or black ants.
Salmon and steelhead
Friends bobber-fishing with shrimp this week at the Clearwater confluence say fishing has been generally slow, though a few chinook are being caught. On Wednesday morning they caught three steelhead, which they released. On Tuesday, 2,340 steelhead crossed Lower Granite Dam, for a total of 57,135. On the same day, 253 fall chinook crossed, for a total of 24,000.
Water fluctuations, lower than normal water levels and a fairly weak run are making for tough chinook fishing on the Hanford Reach. Nevertheless, there are fish to be had, especially when the water comes up. Flashers and Superbaits have been the most effective.
Despite the poor run, steelhead anglers on the Grande Ronde are finding fair numbers of fish and participation has been surprisingly high.
Anglers throwing Superbaits from shore are catching chinook on the Wanapum Pool near the dam. Early mornings have been best on rising water.
Trout and kokanee
Rainbow fishing for spring planters running around 14 inches has been good on Lake Roosevelt. The fish are in the upper 20 feet
Omak Lake Lahontan cutthroat are biting well along the north shore. Successful anglers are trolling Needlefish, Flatfish and J-Plugs. Most of the fish are 14-16 inches long, but 20-inchers are common, and fish much larger not unusual.
Amber Lake is kicking out nice-sized rainbow and cutthroat, but don’t forget that it has been catch-and-release since Oct. 1.
Sprague Lake isn’t seeing much fishing activity now, but the water between the island and Four Seasons Resort has yielded some huge rainbow for anglers dunking worm and marshmallow “sandwiches.”
Trollers are also taking some of the large fish on Rapalas in the middle of the lake. Clear Lake in Spokane County is still a good bet for rainbows and browns. Troll small spoons, flatfish, or flies and flashers 20 feet down over deeper water. Trout fishing has picked up at most of the lowland lakes scheduled for closure Oct. 31.
Rainbow trout planted in Long Lake (Lake Spokane) are up to 18 inches long and reported to be good eating. They have been hitting just about anything trolled 19-20 feet below the surface.
Rock Lake is seeing fishing action from both boat and shore for rainbows and a few browns. Launching is tricky due to low water.
Cocolalla Lake in Bonner County, Idaho, has been good for rainbow between 12 and 18 inches. Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee are still biting, though the males are starting to get dark. Elsewhere on the Panhandle, Kelso, Fernan, and Round Lakes are providing good trout fishing.
The humps south of the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir are producing a variety of fish species for walleye anglers. The No. 9 Flickershad has worked at times, but the old standby – bottom bouncer and Slow Death hook with nightcrawlers – is more consistent in 20-30 feet of water. Most of the ’eyes have run 15-16 inches.
Wapato Lake in Chelan County has some good-sized rainbow trout, but the perch fishery is under-utilized. Most of these delicious fish are 8-9 inches, but the lakes holds perch as large as 13 inches. As in other lakes, an aggressive harvest would drive up average size. The lake also holds very large bluegill.
A few anglers are finding some decent-sized perch on Banks Lake by fishing the bays in the north end of the lake. Some big perch and keeper-size crappie are being caught near the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake. Red or yellow jigs tipped with maggots are effective.
This is a good time for northern pike on Coeur d’Alene. Plugs, jerk baits, and spinnerbaits take most of the fish, but plastic frogs can be extremely effective on some days.
Waterfowl and deer seasons open on Saturday in Washington, and according to WDFW waterfowl manager Kyle Spragens, Washington can anticipate good numbers of ducks. He said, “With exceptional habitat conditions in Washington this past spring, and strong numbers of birds spotted during surveys in Alaska and Canada, things are looking fantastic.” WDFW has already received reports of early arriving cackling, white-fronted, and snow geese, he added.
An excellent Saturday opener is predicted for this year’s duck and goose season in the Columbia Basin. It seems every small pond in both Washington and Idaho is loaded with birds.
The Washington general whitetail and mule deer season, which begins Saturday, is expected to yield numerous small bucks, though mule deer must have at least three points. Whitetail have not completely recovered from the blue tongue epidemic of two years ago, but hunters with doe tags should find adequate numbers, particularly in Spokane, Stevens and Ferry Counties.
In Idaho, the general any-weapon deer season began Oct. 10. The antlered-only elk season begins Oct. 25. The waterfowl season in Area 2 is already open, and Area 1 opens on Saturday. Idaho pheasants also open on Saturday in Area 1, and Oct. 21 in areas 2 and 3.
The word from chukar and quail hunters is that chukars are down and quail are up along the Snake River. Hunters say they are seeing quite a few pheasants and some big mule deer bucks.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com