Inland Northwest streams and rivers are fishing well for trout. The Coeur d’Alene, the St. Joe and the Clark Fork are excellent. Start with Mahogany Duns, size 14-16. If it rains, blue winged olives will be bank to bank.
Coeur d’Alene and Hayden lake smallmouth are coming on, and incidental catches of pike can make things interesting. Small bunny leeches are a good bet.
There were 66 team entries in last weekend’s Two Rivers Trout Tournament on Lake Roosevelt, and though fishing was described as tough because of the warm, rising water, many anglers brought in limits. Most of the trout were running 13-18 inches. Kokanee were hard to come by. Tournament organizer Dan Kieffer said the winning weight was around 29 pounds with best success near Whitestone, Swawilla and Split Rock on Saturday and at Hawk Creek on Sunday.
“Sprague Lake is also really cooking ,” District Fish Biologist Chris Donley said, adding that because it is open year-round, anglers might want to take advantage of the last couple of weeks of fishing on trout lakes such as Badger, Coffeepot, Fish and Williams, which all close Sept. 30. Badger, in particular, has some nice carryover cutthroat trout.
Clear Lake has brown trout biting and usually produces good catches of crappie and largemouth bass in late fall. It remains open through October. “Amber Lake is taking off now for cutthroat and rainbow trout fly fishing,” Donley said.
Williams Lake trout 12-18 inches are biting for still-fishermen near Tree No. 11.
Diamond Lake trout are hitting again now that the jet ski action has died down. Perch fishing is picking up too.
Rufus Woods has been slow, but should bust loose when the water cools.
On Tuesday, 4,417 steelhead were counted at Bonneville Dam. The Lower Granite count on the same day was 9,278. As of Wednesday, the Lower Granite count for 2009 was 93,371. The average for the last five years was 19,023.
Steelhead anglers on the Snake River downstream from the Salmon averaged a fish every 13 hours last week. From the Clearwater mouth to the Memorial Bridge, the average was seven hours per fish. Fish early. Friends who tried their luck there Tuesday said they couldn’t buy a bite despite the hundreds of rolling fish.
There are lots of steelhead in the Columbia River in the Brewster/Bridgeport area and the season should open soon. New salmon are headed upriver. They are now at Priest River Dam.
Fall chinook salmon commonly referred to as Up River Brights are piling into the Hanford Reach, said guide Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing. Best catches accrued at and around the Waluke boat ramp.
Newman Lake tiger muskies are hitting sporadically. Big swim baits have accounted for several fish the last two weeks. Bass fishing is slow.
Waitts Lake has been better for largemouth than trout recently. The west end is giving up large catches of 7- to 12-inch perch in 20-30 feet.
Liberty largemouth are hanging on the weed edges. Most are in the 2-pound range, but a 5-pounder shows now and then.
Pike and bass on the Pend Oreille River are also holding tight to weed lines. Pike fishing has picked up considerably from two weeks ago.
Banks Lake walleye are suspending in the central and north end of the lake, which is also the place for bass on topwaters. Some good-sized perch are being caught in front of the airport bays.
Boat anglers from Camas/Washougal upstream to Bonneville Dam are catching decent numbers of walleye.
Beginning Oct. 1, white sturgeon may be retained Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam.
The Idaho early fall general turkey season began last Tuesday. Seasons for sage- grouse, quail and partridge begin Saturday. In addition to a valid 2009 Idaho hunting license, hunters need a permit to hunt sage grouse, which will be open in southwestern Owyhee County, most of the Upper Snake Region, Lemhi and part of Custer counties. It will be a 23-day season with a two-bird daily limit. In other select Idaho counties there will be a seven-day season and a one-bird daily limit.
Montana’s first fair-chase wolf hunting season opened Tuesday in some backcountry hunting districts, but the general season opener is still several weeks away. Another opening begins Oct. 25 in statewide Wolf Management Units 1, 2 and 3. Seasons could be extended if the statewide quota of 75 is not met. Wolf licenses and regulations are available online at fwp.mt.gov.
The new four-grouse limit hasn’t enticed many hunters afield in the hot weather. Biologists say this looks like an average year, and more birds will be taken when it cools. A few excellent reports have come in from Ferry County.
Rich Finger, WDFW Columbia Basin district wildlife biologist from Moses Lake, said the Basin is still holding a good number of doves. Depending on the weather, hunting could remain productive through the end of the season Sept. 30. “Some dove hunters are having success around food plots planted by the Washington Waterfowl Association in the southeast corner of Section Four in the Gloyd Seeps area,” he said. Dove hunting has also been excellent in the south end of the Columbia Basin around the Tri-Cities.
In Washington, a special youth-only hunting weekend will be held Sept. 26-27 for waterfowl, pheasant, quail and partridge. Youth 16 or younger, or their parents, can get more information about this program by calling WDFW at (360) 902-2515.
Early muzzleloader season for deer begins in selected game-management units statewide Sept. 26.
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