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Monday, September 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Hunting and fishing

Fly fishing

Trout fishing has slowed somewhat on the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe, and the fish taken aren’t particularly large. There is plenty of water and bug activity, however. Caddis and hoppers are best.

The North Fork Clearwater is fishing pretty well, as are the Montana rivers. Long Lake, above Republic, recently provided some fantastic fishing for big fish for a local fly-club outing. The lakes south of Spokane have to be fished slow and deep. Some success has been had recently at Amber, just off the boat launch.

Fly fishermen are having fun with Clearwater River steelhead. Most fish are being taken sub-surface rather than real deep.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead catch and keep opens Wednesday on the Snake River in both Washington and Idaho. The Idaho Snake as well as the Clearwater confluence also opens on that day for the retention of chinook salmon for anglers with Idaho tags.

Steelhead fishing is erratic in the confluence as the fish move in and out. Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston, says this probably has to do with dropping water temperatures.

In the catch-and-release Clearwater, plug anglers are doing well. The Clearwater doesn’t open for catch-and-keep steelheading until Oct. 15.

The chinook fishing at Brewster is about over, but it is picking up at Bridgeport and below Wells Dam. Fall chinook counts at Bonneville Dam are growing, and those fish should be near Brewster by mid-September.

Salmon fishing off the mouth of the Okanogan River has picked up. There has been a very early morning bite. Jacks and even some sockeye are still in the catch.

Bank and boat anglers at the mouth of the Wind River are catching a few steelhead. Drano Lake is giving up almost a steelhead per angler. Some fall chinook are also being caught. Both boat and bank anglers are catching some steelhead in the White Salmon River.

At Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), anglers averaged nearly a salmon per rod last week. The Buoy 10 fishery is giving up a fish for every three anglers. Catch is tilted slightly towards coho. Chinook retention is expected to be allowed through the end of the month.

Olson’s Resort in Sekiu reports coho fishing is improving. Most anglers are fishing about 30 to 50 feet down and out toward the shipping lanes.

On the Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam, chinook catches have picked up while steelhead catches have dropped off.

Trout and kokanee

Curlew Lake trout fishing has been hot all summer, says Jack Beck at Curlew Lake Resort. He says dunking Powerbait or trolling flies is equally successful for fish averaging 14 inches and often much larger.

Fernan Lake near Coeur d’Alene is still producing lots of trout, and catfish are becoming a big draw, with some reports of 10-pounders.

Coeur d’Alene kokes seem to have shrunk from earlier reports. The consensus now is that the fish are only 6-8 inches. Washington anglers who once bought Idaho licenses and drove to Lake Coeur d’Alene are concentrating on Loon Lake, where most of the fish taken recently have been about 16 inches.

Horseshoe Lake is giving up 9- to 10-inch kokanee to trollers just to the right of the public launch.

Anglers trolling a fly and flasher at 30 feet are finding excellent rainbow action on Lake Roosevelt near Split Rock. The fish come in all sizes, with some over 18 inches and many about 13 inches. Trollers are finding big kokanee at 70 feet and rainbow at 45 feet from Whitestone to Lincoln.

Badger Lake has been good for both trollers and still-fishermen. Action has been concentrated at the north end and directly in front of the public launch. Cutthroat are running 14-16 inches and rainbow are averaging 12 inches.

Priest Lake mackinaw are running 3-5 pounds with an occasional 10-pounder in the mix. Anglers who are not drop-shotting plastics are dragging Flatfish near Outlet Bay and around the islands.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt smallmouth are hammering jigs in 15 to 30 feet of water all over the reservoir. Friends who fished out of Seven Bays this week said there were a lot of fish directly across from the marina. They caught a lot of dinks but kept nine fish just shy of 14 inches.

Coeur d’Alene northern pike fishing has been fair to good recently. In-line spinners and spinnerbaits in chartreuse or white are taking fish from 10 to 12 feet of water along the weed lines.

Bass are being taken in good numbers from Hauser, Hayden, the Chain Lakes and the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. They are keying in on plastics like Senko worms and Yamamoto grubs. Crappie and bluegill are also biting in the chain lakes.

Scootenay Reservoir in Franklin County has seen some good perch fishing recently for fish up to 13 inches. Scootenay also has a decent population of walleye.

A friend in Moses Lake says Potholes Reservoir has been “awesome” of late. He is fond of throwing frog imitations onto the weed mats way back in the dunes and has taken several largemouth bass approaching 8 pounds. He said he is also finding suspended smallmouth over deep water by throwing poppers against rock faces.

Silver and Newman lakes continue to produce tiger musky, but the perch fishing at Silver is more reliable. Liberty Lake has also been booting out some decent-sized perch as well as a few big bluegill.

Banks Lake walleye are on the humps and along steep dropoffs. A few large perch are also taken occasionally. The mid-lake launch is unusable.


Wednesday is the opener for grouse and doves. Doves populations are average, but bear hunters say they have been seeing good numbers of grouse.

Contact Alan Liere at
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