Mid-day is the best fishing on most area rivers and lakes now, and will remain so from here on out. Look for slow and soft current seams on the moving water. Some nice brown trout have been caught recently on both the upper and lower Spokane River.
Sink tips with egg droppers are coaxing in Grande Ronde steelhead. Focus on slow to medium water during the early morning hours, but try the faster slots in the afternoon. The Clearwater River has been decent this week and the Methow has been better than that. In Montana, the streamer fishing is good on the Clark Fork throughout the whole river, but consistency is coming from the upper end.
Trout and kokanee
Most Eastern Washington lakes that haven’t already closed will wrap up their season after Friday. Some, like Rock, Eloika, Silver and Bear remain open year-round, but check your game regs before heading out. With only today and Friday left to fish Clear Lake, it should be noted that anglers are taking some big brown trout from shore.
Friends who fished Waitts Lake last weekend said “The bites were many, but the fish were small.” They said they kept a few 12-inchers, however, and they were delicious, but Amber Lake lunkers have spoiled them. Sprague Lake has produced big rainbow for anglers long-lining Rapalas.
Lake Roosevelt trout fishing is “on fire” according to several local anglers. Both plugs and flies produce similar results at 10-30 feet down. Fish the windward side of the reservoir to stay on top of the plankton. If trolling isn’t your thing, pop back into one of the bays and toss PowerBait on a slip sinker, or fish from shore. As good as the trout fishing has been, no one seems to be finding kokanee.
Chelan Lake is producing a mixed bag of lakers, rainbow and kokanee for trollers. The kokanee are running about a foot in length. WDFW has made its annual fall triploid rainbow trout plant on Chelan. They can be caught from shoreline locations on a slip sinker rig and bait or by trolling any number of trout spoons, squids and flies behind a dodger.
Lake Pend Oreille rainbow fishermen have been taking some very nice fish up to 21 pounds on both downrigger and planer board, but say the bite is very short. Apex lures have been effective recently. Kokanee fishing is still very good.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead harvest reports from Idaho Department of Fish and Game indicate the best fishing recently has been in the Snake River downstream of the Salmon River with a catch ratio of one fish per every eight hours of fishing. In second place is the Clearwater River with a fish every 12 hours.
The Yakima River is now open to coho fishing from the I-82 Bridge at Union Gap to the closed water line 3,500 feet downstream of Roza Dam. Anglers may retain two coho a day, marked or unmarked. Barbless hooks, single point or multiple points are required. Selective Gear Rules prohibiting the use of bait and knotted nets is temporarily suspended. Fishing for steelhead remains closed and any steelhead hooked must be immediately released without removing them from the water.
The Icicle River at the Leavenworth hatchery has been very good for coho salmon, though they are definitely showing signs of their rigorous 490-mile migration. Silver spinners and small jigs are bringing a lot of strikes.
Fishing for chinook at Wells Dam has been very good, and though the fish are beat up and dark, they are still good for smoking. Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service recommends Super Baits and flashers.
Coeur d’Alene Lake chinook anglers say you may get no fish one day but four the next, and it’s worth the skunk to land one of the beautiful fish, some as large as 18 pounds. Helmeted herring has worked best recently.
Smallmouth fishing has slowed a little on the Snake River, but anglers using crawdad-colored plugs and jigs are still reeling in some nice ones as well as an occasional walleye. Fish are in rock piles at various depths, but you’ll probably want to go deeper than you would have this summer. The Lyons Ferry area has been mentioned several times recently.
Potholes Reservoir continues to offer excellent walleye and perch fishing as well as a few large rainbow. The west end of the dunes has been putting out the numbers for larger fish, but the Crab Creek side is good, too. A bottom walker and worm harness will bring a lot of bites in 12-24 feet of water, but take lots of nightcrawlers as the perch are very active. Friends who often fish there said last weekend they kept six walleye between 17 and 23 inches as well as 40 perch, none smaller than 11 inches with several stretching to 13. Keep trolling speed just under 1.5 mph. The water level is down but slowly rising.
Bass anglers can catch a lot of fish at Banks Lake now, though none are particularly large unless you move away from the weed beds and go deep. The Osbourne Slough area has been excellent.
Coeur d’ Alene pike fishermen are catching a lot of 5- to 6-pound pike in and near the weed beds. On some days, it doesn’t seem to matter what you use, but on other days, the fish are more fickle. Twenty-pounders are still a possibility.
Either sex fall turkeys in Washington GMUs 105-154 and 162-186 will be open November 20-December 15.
Modern firearm elk hunters will be afield in select units through Sunday. The Western Washington modern firearm season begins Saturday.
A few reports of northern duck sightings are coming in, but so far it’s mostly a local game with the primary newcomer being the teal. Friends in Alberta say the birds haven’t moved yet.
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