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Friday, September 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

Trout fishing on the main Salmon River in Idaho is giving many anglers a lot of fun. The section between Clayton and Stanley is fishing well. A hatch of caddis flies is beginning, so large stimulators are working.

The St. Joe is fishing well in the afternoon. October caddis, blue wing olives and midges are all good bets. Streamer fishing can be effective. Head downriver to intercept migrating fish.

Calm, cloudy afternoons on the Clark Fork bring out the bugs and fish are rising in the flat water. Big brown trout are hitting well in the St. Regis.

October caddis imitations on Kelly Creek will provide great fishing this weekend if Hoodoo Pass doesn’t fill up with snow. Mayfly hatches are making for good afternoon dry fly fishing on Rock Creek.

Trout and kokanee

Most of the put-and-take lakes in eastern Washington remain open through Oct. 31, but Sept 30 saw the end of fishing in such popular southern lakes as Williams, Badger, North Silver, Fish and Coffeepot.

Sprague Lake water is clearing and trout fishing is still humming along. There has been good action off the docks at both resorts, but especially over the springs. The best bite is before 10 a.m., and there are still many 20-plus-inch fish showing. Sprague Lake Resort recently upgraded the boat launch to make it more accessible in low water.

Big Lake Roosevelt rainbow are showing in good numbers north of Kettle Falls. Smaller 13- to 14-inch fish are predominant around the Goat Farm. Troll a muddler and a 3/0 flasher.

Steelhead and salmon

The Clearwater opens Thursday to catch-and-keep fishing. Judging by success during the catch-and-release season, fishing should be good.

The Snake River has been kind to steelhead anglers in the vicinity of Lower Granite Dam. Night fishermen using lighted lures are doing well.

At Boggan’s Oasis on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail said fishing has been better downriver than upriver, but there are a lot of fish in the system and things should even out soon. Flies and plugs are most popular. Vail suggests calling ahead to set up a shuttle driver (509) 256-3372.

It seems that every river in Central Washington is choked with steelhead. Fly fishermen are doing well on the Wenatchee and Methow. Spoons, spinners and Corkies are also taking their share. Anglers are taking fish on the smaller streams with bobber and jig, and with bait on the main stem Columbia.

Drano Lake boat anglers are catching a few summer-run steelhead. Drano will be closed to all fishing from 6 p.m. Tuesdays through 6 p.m. Wednesdays during October. White Salmon River bank anglers at the mouth are catching adult coho, although a lot of them are unmarked fish that have to be released.

Last week at Hanford Reach, 847 boat anglers kept 374 adult and 115 jack chinook, one adult coho, and six hatchery steelhead The Vernita area was the hotspot.

Spiny ray

Pend Oreille bass and pike are feeding along the drop-offs. Swim baits are working for either.

Northern lakes better known for trout than spiny ray are nevertheless kicking out some nice catches of decent-sized perch. These include Jump-off Joe, Waitts, Diamond and Sacheen.

Wind has made fishing tough at Banks Lake, but the fall feed should kick off soon. Lou Nevsimal at Coulee Playland Resort said water temperature, pH and oxygen saturation is nearly identical at all depths, so fish can be anywhere.

Lake Roosevelt smallmouth fishing has been phenomenal for big fish.

Potholes Reservoir walleye are hanging out in front of the dunes. Some nice walleyes and crappie have come off the new Mardon dock.

Other species

Numerous legal sturgeon were kept by bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam on the Oct. 1 reopener, but fishing has slowed since. Outside the gorge, overall catch was low.


October is the single greatest month for hunting participation in eastern Washington. Quail and partridge hunting opened Saturday. Waterfowl and modern firearm deer hunting opens Oct. 17, pheasant opens Oct. 24 and modern firearm elk opens Oct. 31.

The Colville Indian Reservation upland opener was disappointing for the few Spokane hunters who gave it a try. Quail appeared to have left the country, though chukar and grey partridge may have been up some.

The regular pheasant season opens in southern and eastern Idaho Areas 2 and 3 on Oct. 17. The season opens in northern Idaho Area 1 on Saturday. Idaho hunters 17 and older need a wildlife management area pheasant permit to hunt pheasants on the nine Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are released. The WMA permit cost is $23.75 for residents and $51.75 for nonresidents.

Idaho regular deer tag, general, any-weapon season opens Saturday in most units. General B tag, any-weapon elk season for most zones opens Thursday. Check rules brochure for specific areas before heading out.

The Idaho waterfowl season opens Saturday in southwestern Idaho and the Magic Valley. The season opened Saturday in northern and eastern Idaho.

Last Friday, a hunter in the St. Joe killed the first legally-taken wolf in the Idaho Panhandle in decades.

Cougar hunting will be closed in six Washington counties during the statewide deer-hunting season that begins Oct. 17. The new rule delays the general cougar hunt with modern firearms until Oct. 31 in Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Klickitat counties.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesman

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