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Alan Liere’s Fishing-Hunting Report for Sept. 28

Fly fishing

Fishermen throwing black or brown leeches are catching some nice rainbow and browns at the mouth of Harvey Creek in Sullivan Lake.

The Spokane River has been fishing well and nymphs and streamers have been producing some large fish. Silver Bow Fly Shop guides say the fish are still in the fast water, but the slow water has also been productive.

On the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, the trout are becoming more aggressive. Steamers are working along the banks in the slower water.

Clark Fork River trout are sleeping in until early afternoon, so there is no hurry to get on the water. After 1 p.m. the mayflies become active, and so do the fish. Purple Haze, PMDs and Mahoganies are the call from Forest Grove to Paradise.

The Clearwater is producing steelhead for catch-and-release fly fishermen, but there have been no positive reports from the Grande Ronde or the Snake. The Snake is cooling and the steelhead will be moving upstream quickly. The Grande Ronde doubled in size last week and when the water went down the river remained cold. Fishing has not been good for any species.

Salmon and steelhead

Friends who fished for chinook at the Snake/Clearwater confluence had no luck last Thursday and Friday and said they only saw two fish caught. They were trolling, but went back this week to try the bobber and shrimp game. On Monday, they reported no luck bobber fishing, but noted the trollers were doing well. On Wednesday morning, they caught and released a large steelhead and a wild chinook and said they had numerous other take-downs. An angler who fished the confluence on Sunday said he caught six wild fall chinook by drifting with the slow current and jigging Crippled Herring-like lures.

The fall chinook are showing up late at the Hanford Reach at Vernita, but there are enough fish on the way to provide good fishing very soon. Currently, anglers are having some success downstream, trolling with Superbaits behind Pro-Troll Flashers. The fish are in excellent shape.

Trout and kokanee

At Banks Lake, kokanee are being caught in the old Devil’s Lake basin, and to the south along the west wall. Some are over 20 inches, but most are 14-17 inches.

Trout anglers have been working Swawilla Basin and near the dam on Lake Roosevelt, catching lots of 10- to 12-inch fish. With some diligence, limits of 14-16 inchers are possible anywhere from Lincoln down at 18-25 feet. Orange Kekeda flies tipped with worm have been good, as have chartreuse muddlers behind a dodger. Anglers launching at Ft. Spokane and working the shoreline across from Lincoln from A Rock to Sterling Point have found some of the carryover 18-inchers.

Rufus Woods Reservoir has seen some triploid action toward the dam, but three friends who fished a little lower recently said it took all day to catch limits and none were over 2 pounds. They also said there were a lot of pesky 10-inchers on the bite. There are good numbers of brown trout in Rufus Woods, something many anglers do not know. October is the time to get after them.

Deer Lake trout fishing has been excellent for trollers dragging flashers and Wedding Rings at 20-35 feet. The southeast section of the lake has been best. The water level at the launch is low. Take your hip boots.

Lake Spokane (Long Lake) rainbow trout running 14-15 inches are coming easy for trollers who report limits come so quickly, there is a lot of time in the day to anchor up for the good-sized perch.

Rock Lake has been a fairly consistent producer of rainbow and browns all summer and as the weather cools it is getting even better. The fish are coming up in the water column and it is now possible to find them at 30 feet or less.

Trolling has been excellent for 10-inch kokanee between Bennett Bay and Moscow Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The fish are holding at roughly 50 feet. At Hayden Lake, trollers are taking kokanee limits at about 45 feet. This year’s fish are large and turning red. Next year’s are approximately 11 inches and bright. All have excellent flesh.

Spiny ray

The fall walleye bite is picking up at Potholes Reservoir in Grant County and the crappie are stacked up below the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake. Anglers there are finding a lot of fish just under the 9-inch minimum, and a lot of sorting is required to find enough legal crappie for a fish fry.

Walleye fishing has been tough at Banks Lake. A lot of the fish are suspended and most anglers insist on dragging the bottom.

Other species

Banks Lake anglers are catching whitefish on bottom in 90 feet of water at the mouth of Old Devil’s Lake. At Coulee Playland Resort, Lou Nevsimal says they are “stacked like cordwood” as they prepare to spawn. Later, they will move into shallower water. You can catch them now, but it’s a lot easier when they’re not quite as deep.

Tuna charters out of Westport are running 60-70 miles out to find fish. This makes an overnight trip a necessity. The fish are scattered, but most boats are doing fair.


The sharp-tailed grouse season opens on Sunday in Idaho in select areas and runs through Oct. 31 with a daily bag limit of two birds and a possession limit of six. The season is open only in eastern Idaho in these select areas, so check your game regs for specifics.

The early pheasant season for seniors opened on Monday. Initial reports from the field indicated bird numbers are up from last year in some areas, down in others. Quail do not open until Oct. 7, but early pheasant hunters say numbers appear to be up substantially in eastern Washington and the Clearwater area of Idaho.

North Idaho biologists are telling hunters to be sure to be out early in their season for waterfowl. Numbers are great, but the birds won’t stay around long and it will be at least a month before the northerns show up. The same success is predicted for Washington hunters, as every little pond seems to be filled with ducks. The season in areas 1 and 2 in Idaho and all areas of Washington begin on Oct. 14.

Friends looking for grouse say they put 300 miles on their vehicle in the vicinity of Republic, Washington and saw but two birds. Similar reports came from the Springdale area.

A rather masochistic 71-year-old friend on a scouting mission hiked from the road to the top of the breaks in Wawawai Canyon this week and only put up a small flock of seven chukars. The Washington season for chukar, quail and gray partridge opens on Oct. 7. The season in Idaho is already in progress, but chukar numbers are not encouraging there, either.

Contact Alan Liere at

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