Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, December 10, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 30° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s weekly fish and game report for Oct. 27

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop says that though the water is somewhat high, the Spokane River has been good. They suggest looking for pockets along the banks, eddies, and slower currents. Streamers have been finding fish, but there is also some topwater action on dries such as the Purple Haze. The warmer temperatures on all rivers and streams are keeping fisheries viable longer than normal. The St. Joe around Avery, and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene both have had a good afternoon bite.

The rain has not really affected the Grande Ronde much. There isn’t a ton of steelhead in the river yet, but there are enough to generate some action if you stay with it. Silver Bow says the best tactic lately has been the bobber game with hot bead stones and eggs. The second best tactic has been leeches, intruders, or marabou patterns on sink-tips.

Salmon and steelhead

Fishing for salmon and steelhead is now closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the river upstream to the Hwy 395 Bridge near Pasco.

Hatchery coho can now be kept as part of the daily limit in all of Marine Area 13 (South Sound). State and tribal co-managers previously agreed to keep the area closed due to the low number of coho projected to return this year, but now agree there are sufficient numbers of fish to allow retention.

The Snohomish, Skykomish and Wallace rivers have been opened to fishing for game fish and the coho fisheries on these three rivers has been extended through Nov. 30. The mainstem Nisqually River has also been opened for coho and other game fish until further notice.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt rainbow fishing couldn’t get much better, as limits of 12- to 14-inch trout are the rule. An occasional large kokanee is also reported, but they are running deeper than the rainbow. The big reservoir is consistently good between Ft. Spokane and Lincoln with Muddler Minnow flies tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. You shouldn’t have to go much deeper than 15 feet.

This is a good time to fish Rufus Woods for trout. Trolling cranks or large Wooly Bugger fly patterns have been productive recently, but throwing dark-colored jigs toward the shore and bouncing them back to the boat may be even more effective at times. The fish reported most recently have been between 2 1/2 and 5 pounds.

Jameson Lake in Douglas County remains open through Oct. 31, so you still have a few days to get in on the great rainbow fishing. The north end of the lake has been fishing the best. Trolling practically any fly or spoon at about 20 feet will produce limits in two distinct size classes – 8 inches and 11 inches, with a few much larger. Info: Jameson Lake Resort (509) 683-1929.

There isn’t much of a bite yet on Potholes walleye, but trollers are again taking some really large rainbow.

McGinnis and Twin lake brookies on the Colville Reservation have moved into the shallows to spawn. Although both lakes close after Monday, trolling a Royal Coachman fly now just under the surface will most likely provide some good memories to take you into the winter.

Curlew Lake, which is open all year, is still giving up excellent catches of rainbow trout.

Omak Lake in Okanogan County is booting out lots of big Lahontan cutthroat lately. Fish over 8 pounds are not that unusual.

If you want to keep fishing after Oct. 31, there are a number of Inland Empire lakes open year-round, including Eloika, Silver, Banks, Moses, Potholes, Lake Spokane and Rock. Friends fishing Rock Lake report having red-hot rainbow action throwing Shad Raps at mid-lake. Brown trout have been harder to find. Waitts is open until the end of February. Amber Lake is open for catch-and-release/restricted gear until Nov. 30.

In Idaho, all Panhandle waters are open year-round with some exceptions listed under “special rule waters” on pages 9-10 of the new fishing pamphlet. In the Clearwater region all waters are open year-round with exceptions on pages 14-15 of the pamphlet.

As has been the case all fall, Sprague Lake is not getting much angler attention, but boaters casting nightcrawler and marshmallow sandwiches have found plenty of success between the island and Four Seasons Resort.

Spiny ray

Friends who have spent the fall fishing for largemouth bass in local waters say you’re missing the best bite if you quit before mid-November. They have been throwing “ridiculously large” swimbaits in lakes such as Silver, Clear, Twin and Newman and catching a lot of bass over 4 pounds. They say Loon has been especially good this fall and just seems to get better. Anglers have through Monday to try their luck at Loon and Clear. The others are open year-round.

The upper end of Rufus Woods is famous for walleye fishing. Anglers there are catching some nice fish on spinners and crawlers on the bottom in about 40 feet of water.

Walleye fishing has been slow on Potholes reservoir, uncommon for a fall bite that usually materializes this time of year.

A few anglers who prefer smallmouth bass over steelhead are taking advantage of a good Snake River bite that includes some really large fish. Almost any jig will find fish in relatively shallow water.

Other species

Squid fishing off the docks in and around Seattle is reported to be good at times after dark, and crabbers are also doing well. If you have never tried squidding, you’re missing out on a lot of fun and some excellent eating.


Idaho Fish and Game reports deer hunting success has been approximately as good as last year with the Panhandle check stations all counting a larger harvest than last year.

Washington’s general season for modern firearms ended Oct. 25 for mule deer and will end on Friday for whitetail in units that aren’t already closed. Blacktail deer may be hunted through Monday. Hunters 65 and over, youth and disabled hunts that have not already ended will end on Friday. The late whitetail season runs Nov. 5-19 in units 105, 108, 111, 113, 117d, 121 and 124.

The modern firearm elk season in eastern Washington begins on Saturday. Study your game regulations carefully, as some units are bulls only, some are spikes only, and some are any elk.

The Washington early fall general turkey season ends after Monday in GMUs 101-142. A late fall general season in GMUs 105-154 and 162-186 begins Nov. 20. Turkeys are now in huge flocks. After the five-day closure last week, ducks are now open through Jan. 29.

Opening day eastern Washington pheasant hunters have pretty much confirmed suspicions that the current season will be better than last. The usual areas in the Palouse had more birds, but it was the number of birds seen in marginal habitat that was most impressive. Pheasant hunters report finding quail may be harder than usual, however, as they appear to be grouped in coveys much larger than normal.

Contact Alan Liere at

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email