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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Weekly hunting and fishing report

Fly Fishing

Amber Lake has held up well for fly fishermen. Chironomids under an indicator have been the most productive. Trolling a hot bead leech or bugger can also be effective.

Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee is a very popular trout lake in the fall, and fly fishermen are having a lot of fun with the rainbow and big browns. Jameson Lake in Douglas County has a special month-long late season in October and 10,000 catchable rainbow were recently added to the lake to spice the action for this late season.

Both the upper and lower Spokane River is fishing well right now. Small hatches of October caddis have been bringing the fish to the surface, but that will probably change now that the weather has cooled.

The Grande Ronde has seen good steelhead action lately. Dredge nymph rigs or leeches on sink tips. There are fish throughout the system, and don’t overlook the mouth. Fish size is up.

The Methow River is in great shape and the bright 7- to 9-pound fish are hitting stone flies and bead droppers. There has also been a coho bite.

Trout and kokanee

A friend who fished Rufus Woods out of Seaton Grove recently said it took him all of 15 minutes to catch his two triploids – each about 3 pounds – by casting Shad Raps against the shoreline. Unfortunately, eight hours of walleye fishing afterwards yielded nothing. He said the fish checker indicated he hadn’t seen a walleye for a month.

Rock Lake is again seeing fishing action both from shore and boat, and everyone reports pretty good action, mostly for brown trout. Water is clear but on the low side, and as usual, launching is tricky.

Trolling shallow-diving Rapalas on a long line is taking both rainbow and cutthroat from Lake Chelan.

Lake Koocanusa in Montana had a mostly disappointing kokanee season this year, but for the past two weeks, anglers have reeled in good numbers of 5- to 8-pound rainbow using planer boards with Rapala’s and Lyman Plugs in black and silver, and purple and silver.  The lake is 11.5 feet from full pool.

Salmon and steelhead

At Lower Granite Dam, a count of 209 adult fall chinook last Thursday brought the 2014 total to 56,722 to set the record since counts began at the dam in 1975. The previous high was 56,565 last year. Since Thursday, several thousand more fish have passed.

Shrimp and bobber fishermen are taking mostly steelhead from the confluence of the Clearwater, though anglers trolling lighted plugs at night are also getting fish. A friend fishing there last weekend said there wasn’t much water flow, but oddly enough, there was a lot of debris in the river.

The Snake and the Clearwater proper are producing some steelhead, but catch rates per hour are low.

Chinook anglers in the Vernita Bridge area said there was virtually no current last weekend and fishing was slow. Nevertheless, most boats took a fish or two. Some of these are fit primarily for smoking, but there are still some semi-bright fish in the river.

Steelhead fisheries for hatchery steelhead with a clipped adipose have opened early in the upper Columbia and select tributaries, thus allowing early retention of adipose-fin-clipped-only steelhead in the Hanford Reach. This will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds.

Steelhead season is now open on several streams in the Central Washington region. Right now you can catch two marked steelhead a day on the main stem Columbia, Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, and Okanogan rivers. The Similkameen will open on November 1st.

It is required that anglers keep all marked steelhead and all unmarked fish must be immediately released without removing them from the water. Also, steelhead with floy tags or with holes punched in their tails must also be released.

Spiny ray

Bass fishing – both smallmouth and largemouth – is holding up on the Pend Oreille River. A friend fishing there for pike this week had no follows from the toothsome fish, but said he caught several decent bass on pike gear.

Some pike exceeding 10 pounds are now being taken in 5- to 10-feet of water near weed beds on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Soft plastics, cranks and spinnerbaits are all working.

Some of the Coeur d’Alene Chain Lakes are seeing a fall bite for crappie. Most are a respectable size. Fish close to the bottom in about 20 feet of water with small yellow or white jigs.

The walleye bite in Potholes Reservoir is holding up and attracting a lot of attention, which sometimes interferes with duck and goose hunters enjoying the same water. Anglers are also catching a few catfish and lots of 10- to 12-inch perch. The best walleye bite has been around Goose Island and near Medicare Beach for anglers trolling a Slow Death rig or pulling plugs in 10-20 feet of water.

The walleye bite on Lake Roosevelt has taken a dive recently, but anglers going deep with spinners and nightcrawlers have had excellent days.

Trout action is excellent near Sterling. Troll the top 20 feet of the water column.


Duck hunters in both Idaho and Washington reported fair success last weekend for local ducks. The Potholes/Moses Lake area was probably the best in the state on Saturday, but hunters there said action shut off on Sunday.

In the Yakima area, waterfowl hunters reported an unusually high number of wood ducks. A nephew there said five of his seven-bird limit were woodies, and he probably saw 150 within range during the morning shoot.

Grouse hunters seem to be having a better-than-average year, though they’re seeing good concentrations in one spot and nothing in other likely- looking cover. A friend who hunted deer just southeast of Colville last weekend said he jumped 60 ruffs.

Deer hunters had perhaps a slightly better than normal opening weekend in Washington. They reported seeing a lot of legal whitetails in what is usually considered to be mule deer habitat in the Palouse. Pheasant hunters on the Yakama Indian Reservation last weekend said much of the cover has been farmed and hunting was not good.

The general Eastern Washington pheasant season opens Saturday.

Contact Alan Liere by email at
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