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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, September 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 60° Partly Cloudy

Hunting + fishing

Fly fishing

The Methow’s Miller Hole opened up on Wednesday. This is the easiest piece of the Methow to fish, and just about as close to a sure thing as you can get fly fishing for steelhead.

Amber Lake has turned over and the trout are up in the water column. Fishing is excellent. Try a Bionic Worm or a Boatman.

Sprague Lake fly fishermen say the lake is the best it’s been. Use the same flies as used on Amber.

The Big Spokane experienced a baetis hatch this week. Blue-winged olives are taking trout in both the upper and lower river.

Salmon and steelhead

The Snake River has been generally hot for steelhead. Anglers are averaging a fish every six hours downstream from the Salmon and five hours per fish from the Salmon to Hells Canyon Dam. The Clearwater average is nine hours per fish.

Steelhead fishing out of Lyons Ferry has been excellent. Friends fishing in sight of the fish hatchery this week limited quickly when a windstorm came up. Most of the fish are A-runs, though a few B-run are showing.

Shrimp and bobbers have also been extremely effective at the mouth of the Tucannon River, though some anglers are having good success throwing Blue Fox spinners. The Tucannon can be fished from shore up to the first grain elevator. After that, there is fishing by permission and a pay-to-fish stretch.

Anglers are taking fish by long-lining off the wall at Little Goose Dam, but the rip-rap on the other side is more productive and a lot easier to fish with bobbers and bait.

At Boggan’s Oasis on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail said steelhead fishing has been good for pluggers and bait fishermen, mostly for 5- to 8-pound fish. He said anglers are still taking a fair number of chinook, which must be released.

On the mainstem of the Upper Columbia, steelhead are being caught on jigs under slip bobbers baited with shrimp just below the bridge at Bridgeport. On the Methow, Glo Bugs or tinsel flies drifted under a strike indicator will also get you fish.

Chinook salmon are hitting black and glow Mini Squids and flashers at midlake and the north end of Coeur d’Alene Lake, reported Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers. Troll at a depth of 80 feet for fish mostly 2-10 pounds.

Trout and kokanee

Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee are still biting, though the larger ones are beginning to turn.

Pend Oreille rainbow are coming in now and then for anglers trolling the surface, but fishing should improve. At Hayden Lake, an occasional rainbow trout up to 15 pounds is caught. Troll spoons or plugs up high and Mini squids and flashers deep.

It would be difficult for Lake Roosevelt rainbow fishing to get any better than it is. Anglers trolling muddlers tipped with a piece of nightcrawler are taking limits of mostly 14-inch fish throughout the system.

Sprague Lake fishing is feast or famine, but many of the rainbow look and fight like A-run steelhead.

Rock Lake is picking up again, especially toward evening and into the night.

Spiny ray

The Coeur d’Alene Lake pike bite is late this year. A few 25- to 30-pounders have been taken. Look for weeds that have not died down and cast spoons or plugs along the edges.

The Snake River near Starbuck is still providing good fishing for smallmouth. Some big catfish have been landed, and a 14-pound walleye was taken last week. Near Wawawai, crankbaits are taking smallmouth close to shore in shaded areas.

Oakley Reservoir in Idaho recently produced an Idaho record walleye weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces for Mike Chupa of Twin Falls, Idaho.


The waterfowl opener last weekend was pretty good for mostly local birds. Few limits were filled with mallards, but wigeon and teal were common.

Quail hunters in the Palouse say they aren’t seeing the numbers they expected. Columbia Basin gunners report a healthy population.

Pheasant hunting opens Saturday in eastern Washington. WDFW upland game bird specialist Joey McCanna of Spokane said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that wild pheasant numbers in eastern Washington may be fairly good.

Sunday’s deer check station north of Deer Park showed a slight decline in hunter numbers but an increase in success over 2008. Biologists working opening weekend in the western Blue Mountains said hunting pressure may have been down slightly.

Although opening weekend for Idaho elk was fair, the second week was good. At the Enaville and St. Maries check stations, IDFG checked 106 bulls and 68 antlerless elk for the first two weekends (combined), compared to 98 bulls and 55 antlerless elk last year. Hunter success rates were quite a bit better, because fewer hunters took more elk.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesman

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