Salmon and steelhead
Chinook are hitting hoochies and herring in 80 to 90 feet of water on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The fish are smaller than in years past, but there are a lot of them.
Salmon fishing near Wells Dam has been “really hot,” reported Rod Hammons of R&R Guide Service in Brewster.
Steelhead are moving, with good bobber fishing reported at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater. Jigs baited with shrimp under a bobber have been popular. Most likely, Dworshak Dam will shut down to 1,500 cfs either today or Saturday. That will leave the Clearwater skinny.
At Northside Fishing, Doug Holcomb said he has been limiting clients on steelhead nearly every time out at the Clearwater confluence. He also said there have been many fish over McNary recently, so fishing at Hanford Reach should pick up soon. Info: 483-8500.
WDFW said anglers will again be able to keep chinook salmon they catch in ocean waters off Ilwaco beginning Saturday. The rule rescinds a change that took effect Sept. 9 requiring anglers to release chinook, as the sport catch was nearing the coastwide quota.
Trout and kokanee
Rainbow trout are feeding aggressively at Loon, Deer, Waitts and Diamond. Friends who fished the east side of Deer Lake last week reported a good bite on fat, 12-inch trout during the day, with a lot of fish more than 19 inches coming after dark. They were tipping Glo Hooks with rainbow Power Bait and fishing much as one would for kokanee. Some of the larger fish fought like steelhead, they said.
Kokanee fishing should still be good at Loon and Coeur d’Alene. I fished the north end of Coeur d’Alene with friends last week, and though we passed over wads of fish, most had lockjaw. We took 10 14-inchers trolling in 40 to 60 feet of water. Nine were males, and though darkening, the flesh is still excellent.
Trout stocking with catchable rainbow trout has resumed in Idaho lowland lakes. Fernan, Kelso and Round lakes have been excellent for still-fishermen.
Sprague Lake isn’t seeing many anglers these days, and the few that are fishing are going mostly after trout. At Sprague Lake Resort, Monika Metz said the smallest rainbows are about 16 inches long and that catching them is relatively easy. Water temperatures have dropped at Sprague and the lake is in good condition.
Cooler temperatures and light rain have brought the rainbow bite back to British Columbia’s Kootenay Lake, and large Gerrards are taking bucktails on the surface again.
Northern pike fishing in Coeur d’Alene picks up this time of year before the water temperatures cool too drastically and before the weed beds have died back. Look for “pike cabbage,” a type of curly leaf pond weed that grows at depths of 4 to 15 feet. Good lures include double-bladed spinner baits, large spoons, crank baits, like a Rattle Trap or J-13 broken back Rapalas, or jerk baits.
Smallmouth bass are numerous along the northern shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and largemouth are most numerous in the weedy bays. Idaho smallmouth can also be found in Hayden Lake, the Spokane River below Post Falls Dam, Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. Upper Twin and Houser have been good for largemouth, with some nice crappie beginning to show. Smallmouth are taking dark plastics off the bottom, and pike fishing too, has heated up. On the chain lakes off Coeur d’Alene, anglers report good largemouth and pike fishing on spinnerbaits and jerkbaits.
Snake River smallmouth are hitting a variety of jigs again. Some of the largest fish are caught in the fall.
Washington trout trollers are catching walleye fairly regularly on Lake Roosevelt these days. The ‘eyes, which have been moving away from the banks and suspending in 60 to 65 feet of water, are hammering worm-tipped spinners, Apexes, and even Muddler Minnows.
Perch and bass at Eloika, Downs and Long lakes are active again as we move into fall. Anglers boating out of the DNR launch at Long are also getting some nice crappie.
Potholes largemouth fishing has been “outstanding,” said Gary Russell of Moses Lake. Walleye fishing too has been excellent at the mouth of Crab Creek. Contestants in last week’s bass tournament reported catching numerous walleye while throwing spinnerbaits and plastics for largemouth. Crappie are coming from the mouth of the dunes and off the MarDon Resort dock.
Moses Lake walleye are becoming more active. There have been catches of late near the Westlake Freeway Bridge.
In Idaho, channel catfish are stocked annually in Cocolalla, Fernan, Hauser, Jewel, Rose Smith, Blue (Bonner County) and Dawson lakes. Anglers have done well night fishing recently along the shorelines with night crawlers, stink baits or cut bait. Fernan has been particularly good.
Recreational halibut fishing reopened at Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) on Thursday and will run through Sept. 30 or until the quota is filled.
The Idaho youth waterfowl hunt is set for Sept. 24-25. The Washington statewide youth bird hunt is this Saturday and Sunday. Hunts are open to those younger than 16. An adult 18 years or older who is not hunting must accompany all participants. They can pursue ducks, coot, Canada geese (except in Goose Management Areas 2A and 2B) and pheasants in both Eastern and Western Washington, as well as quail, chukar and gray partridge in Eastern Washington. The senior West Side pheasant hunt runs Monday through next Friday.
For those Washington hunters who did not fill both tags during the spring season, a fall, either-sex hunt is scheduled for Sept 24-30 in GMUs 105-124. A second season will run Oct. 8-14. Only one bird may be taken in the fall.
Idaho’s general fall turkey season opened Thursday in the Panhandle Region, the Clearwater Region, a good portion of the Southwest Region, and several units in the Southeast region. Idaho hunters may take one turkey per day and up to two turkeys of either sex during the fall season. However, the statewide limit for the year is three birds, so if you took two in the spring, you may only take one this fall. Idaho turkey hunters who failed to bag a bird last spring may use the same tag for the fall hunts. If you wish to take a second bird, an additional tag must be purchased.
The Idaho chukar season opens Saturday. According to private and IDFW surveys, bird numbers are up except in the Salmon region. Fish and Game biologists are not seeing large numbers there except along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
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