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Tuesday, October 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 39° Partly Cloudy

Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

The hopper action is still decent on rivers like the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe. Try the upper reaches to avoid some of the crowds. Fly anglers are doing well on the Lochsa, Selway and North Fork Clearwater rivers, where 10- to 16-inch westslope cutthroat and rainbow comprise the catch.

The Clark Fork is decent for dry fly fishing. Water flow is higher than normal for this time of year and water temperatures are down.

Chopaka Lake above Tonasket is a good spot to beat the heat and catch lots of trout. A full sinking line and black Woolly Buggers slow and deep will bring fast action on 13- to 24-inch fish.

Trout and kokanee

Deer Lake trout are mostly 12-16 inches and, like most area lakes, is fishing best early and late. Bait fishermen are doing well.

Further north, trout fishing at Curlew Lake has been good. Both trollers and dock fishermen are seeing lots of action on big trout.

Some of the high elevation lakes on U.S. Forest Service property in northeast Washington that are stocked with rainbow and cutthroat trout may be good destinations to beat the heat. In Ferry County, try Davis, Ellen, Empire Swan and Trout lakes. In Stevens County, try Gillette, Heritage, Sherry, Summit and Thomas lakes. In Pend Oreille County, try Carl’s, Cook’s, Frater, Halfmoon, Leo, Mystic, Nile, No-Name, Petit, South and North Skookums and Yokum lakes. Find out specific locations and more about these lakes at fish/prospects/index.htm.

Fishing on the Methow River for resident rainbow and cutthroat trout has been good recently with reported catches of fish in the 10- to 16-inch range. Selective-gear rules with catch-and-release requirements are in effect for the Methow and selected tributaries (Twisp and Chewuch).

Dworshak Reservoir kokanee fishing has slowed. Water levels are lower, affecting boat ramps at Canyon Creek and Grandad. There are temporary fire restrictions in place.

Kokanee fishing continues to be good at Lake Roosevelt and some anglers say they are doing reasonably well fishing Loon Lake at night. I’m not one of them.

Salmon and steelhead

Lake Wenatchee opened for sockeye salmon fishing Wednesday, and reports are it takes longer to launch at the single ramp than to catch the two-fish limit. A size-0 silver or white dodger trailed by a 3/0 barbless red hook is all that is needed. Anglers must release sockeye with one or more holes (round, approximately one-quarter inch in diameter) punched in the tail. These fish are part of a study and have been anesthetized. The FDA requires a 21-day ban on consumption of these fish.

Beginning today through Aug. 30, anglers will be able to retain adult sockeye salmon in Lake Osoyoos which is north of Oroville, Wash. Open water is 300 yards south of the 49th parallel (U.S.-Canadian border, which is marked with large fluorescent orange signs).

On the Columbia, summer steelhead have peaked, but anglers are still finding them near the mouths of cooler-water tributaries. Fall chinook and coho opened Saturday.

Salmon fishing in the mainstem Columbia River above Wells Dam continues to be good. WDFW district fish biologist Bob Jateff reports near limits of sockeye in the 2- to 5-pound range, and chinook averaging 15-18 pounds, with larger fish running around 25 pounds.

The Buoy 10 fishery at Ilwaco was slow on Saturday’s opener. “Buoy 10 often starts slow, then ramps up quickly and peaks in mid-to-late August,” said WDFW fish biologist Joe Hymer. “The fishery can come alive in a single tide, so it’s important to keep track of what’s going on.”

Wind River boat anglers are catching some steelhead. Drano Lake boat anglers are averaging nearly a steelhead per rod. White Salmon River boat and bank anglers are catching some steelhead.

Marine areas 5 and 6 (Sekiu and eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) closed Thursday to the retention of hatchery chinook salmon. Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says anglers can continue to fish for pink and hatchery coho, which are starting to hit their peak.

Spiny ray

The Spokane Valley Marine Bass Tournament on Banks Lake last weekend saw limits for everyone. Most fish were caught on topwaters. First place went to the team of Andy Smith and Rick Innocenti with 25.08 pounds. The big fish of 4.65 pounds was caught by the team of Henry Dover and Mike Koppel.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing continues to be productive during early and late hours at many mixed species fisheries, including Downs and Chapman. Long Lake is good for both bass species, along with crappie and perch.

In Idaho, Hayden smallmouth are biting aggressively on Yamamoto plastics in 15-20 feet of water. Some pike and huge crappie are also showing. The chain lakes are booting out slab crappie. Coeur d’Alene has been fair for pike.

A friend reported excellent perch fishing at Jump-Off Joe Lake. He said he and a friend kept 50 of more than 9 inches, including a couple of 12-inchers. They fished in 15-20 feet of water.

Moses Lake smallmouth are cooperative despite the heat. At Potholes Reservoir, fish the mouth of Crab Creek for a mixed bag of bass and walleye.

Other species

WDFW fish biologist, Debbie Milks said catfish and sturgeon fishing has been productive in the Snake River system in the southeast part of the region. “Fish have been landed near Lyons Ferry Hatchery as well as upstream by the railroad bridge,” she said. “Catfish have also been caught up the Palouse River and near the mouth of the Tucannon River.”


Hunters wishing to pursue big game in Montana can soon buy over-the-counter antelope and Deer B licenses, surplus deer B, elk and antelope hunting licenses and permits. These will go on sale Monday and can be purchased online beginning at 5 a.m. at

Contact Alan Liere by email at

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