The St. Joe and the North Fork Clearwater are getting cold and the fly fishing is shutting down. You will have better success midday on the Spokane or the North Fork Coeur d’Alene by fishing the deeper pools. The Spokane River has come up some and the streamer bite has picked up. Dark colors have worked best.
Salmon and steelhead
The Oregon one-fish bag limit was set to expire Oct. 31, but underperforming steelhead runs across the Columbia River basin and numbers of steelhead in the Snake River have not proven strong enough to increase the bag limit, prompting the Oregon fish and wildlife agency to retain its one hatchery fish limit. The one-bag limit regulation applies to the Snake River from the state line with Washington to Hells Canyon Dam, the Imnaha River, Big Sheep Creek, Grande Ronde River, Catherine Creek, Wallowa River and the Wenaha River. Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also continuing its one hatchery fish bag limit on the same stretch of the Snake River through the end of December.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt trollers are doing well on chunky rainbow by keeping their offerings in the top 25 feet over water 100 feet deep or less. The best bite has been downstream from the mouth of the Spokane Arm.
Most of the Tucannon River impoundments on the Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County closed to fishing Oct. 31. Blue and Spring lakes remain open year-round. Both were recently stocked with catchable rainbows that should provide good fishing opportunities.
Hog Canyon Lake (10 miles northeast of Sprague in Spokane County), Fourth of July Lake on the Lincoln-Adams county line just south of the town of Sprague, and Williams Lake (14 miles north of Colville in Stevens County) will open to fishing on Nov. 23.
In the Columbia Basin, the Seep Lakes outside of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, including Canal, Heart and Windmill, are open year-round and have decent rainbow trout fishing in early November.
Homestead Lake north of Moses Lake, is open year-round and has 20-inch-plus brown trout along with smaller rainbows. It’s under selective gear rules and a catch limit of one trout per day. Also open year-round is the Desert Lake Chain within WDFW’s Columbia Basin Wildlife Area, including Harris, Sedge, Tern and Dune lakes, all under selective gear rules.
Open through Nov. 30 in the Columbia Basin are Dusty, Dry Falls, Lenice, Merry and Nunnally lakes, all under selective gear rules and one-fish catch limits, and all excellent for trout this month. Lake Lenore, just north of the town of Soap Lake, is best in the fall for its Lahontan cutthroat trout that often run up to or more than 30 inches. It’s also under selective gear rules, with a one-fish catch limit, and closes Nov. 30.
Roses Lake in Chelan County is open year-round and will be planted with about 18,000 catchable rainbow trout this month. Keep an eye on the WDFW website for this stocking event.
Also in Chelan County, Upper Antilon and Lower Antilon lakes should continue providing fair fishing for brown trout until freeze up. Once enough snow is on the ground, the gate on Grade Creek Road will be closed to provide snowmobilers and skiers groomed trails for the winter. The lakes, a short distance from the gate, are still accessible by snowmobile or on foot.
In Okanogan County, Bonaparte Lake is open year-round and should have fair fishing this month for brook, tiger and rainbow trout, plus kokanee. This year, three lakes in Okanogan County – Upper or Big Green, Lower or Little Green and Rat – became year-round fisheries with a maximum harvest of two trout over 14 inches.
Anglers can look forward to reeling in hefty broodstock rainbow trout from a half-dozen small lakes and ponds in and around Yakima and Ellensburg. Stocking dates have not been set, but WDFW usually starts planting these 3- to 10-pound fish in mid- to late November. Anglers can check the Trout Plant Reports to see when these fish are available.
Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a four-day opening on evening tides, beginning today. The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:
Thursday, 6:57 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Friday, 7:36 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
Saturday, 8:15 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Sunday, 8:56 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
WDFW has tentatively scheduled another dig for Nov. 22-25, pending results of future toxin tests. More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/ fishing/shellfish/ razorclams/.
Recreational crabbing using pot gear will open Nov. 15 in Willapa Bay, two weeks earlier than the usual Dec. 1 opening for this area.
Washington’s modern firearm deer hunters who didn’t fill their tags during the regular season will have another chance beginning Saturday through Nov. 19 during the late general season. With the leaves mostly gone and the rut beginning, this is prime time to be afield.
Positive opening-day pheasant reports were evidently not an anomaly, as hunters in Whitman, Adams and Lincoln counties continue to find good numbers of birds during this, the third week of the season. Better-than-average ground cover often makes walking difficult, but birds are holding pretty well, hunters report.
While the mallard migration into Eastern Washington and North Idaho has not materialized, there have been a lot of teal around, and local birds are providing some action. Frigid temperatures have descended on prairie Canada and the northern Great Plains, however, and most of the ducks and geese that remained in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta are headed south. Local waterfowl hunters are keeping their fingers crossed in hopes ice doesn’t come before the northern flights arrive.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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