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

Alan Liere’s Fishing-Hunting Report for Sept. 21

Fly Fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports excellent fishing on the Spokane River. Dry fly action has been slow, but nymphing is very productive. The prince dropper has been probably the most consistent. Fish will still be sitting in some faster water, but as temperatures cool off the slower currents will begin to fish well again.

A report from Silver Bow guide Scott Ross indicates good fishing on the lower Coeur d’Alene River despite low water. He fished current seams using el Camino, purple Chubbies, and ant patterns.

Salmon and steelhead

The Clearwater River is giving up a few steelhead. Fishing is not fast by any means, but low participation gives the few who are trying a decent shot at hooking one.

The fall chinook run is beginning to build and reports are trickling in from the Hanford Reach. The fish there will be concentrated on the bottom, so 10-12 ounces of lead are generally needed, and Brad’s Super Baits will be popular.

Friends fishing the Snake River near Lewiston say they caught two fish while trolling on Tuesday – a wild chinook and a jack. Elsewhere on the Snake, fishing is also slow.

Coho fishing in Puget Sound has been excellent this week. There have been a lot of shakers, but also good numbers of 6- to 10-pound fish.

Trout and kokanee

Williams Lake has been good all summer for trout and is improving as the weather cools. Both still-fishermen and trollers are catching good-sized rainbow. Anglers fishing with Power Bait in roughly 30 feet of water say that casting out and reeling back slowly is effective. Tree No. 11 is a good place to start.

Coeur d’Alene kokanee to 10 inches are biting well at 50 feet for trollers. Loon Lake male kokanee are beginning to hook a little, but a friend who trolled there this week had enough strikes for a limit of 12-inch fish. He said he had out eight colors of leaded line and noted the fish were spread out in several different bays. Chances are the night bite is still fair to good, too, but cooler temperatures have discouraged participation.

Waitts Lake anglers are trolling spinners and flies at mid-lake and finding an excellent trout bite. Fish are about a foot in length – some of the best eating rainbow and browns around.

Rainbow trout action on Lake Pend Oreille is picking up and should get even better as we move closer to October. A preferred method of Pend Oreille veteran trout anglers is to pull a 4-inch fly on the surface behind a planer board. Pend Oreille’s lake trout are just off the bottom, where big spoons and plugs are getting the hits. The flats in the north end of the lake, the Green Monarchs and the south end around Cape Horn are popular spots.

Spiny ray

Billy Clapp Lake, a 4,000-acre reservoir located approximately two miles northeast of the town of Stratford, Washington, offers good fishing for a variety of species including bass, walleye, panfish, rainbow trout, kokanee and big burbot – up to 8 pounds. Kokanee and perch fishing have been slow this year, but anglers bouncing jigs on the south end recently were catching a lot of nice walleye and smallmouth bass.

Perch and bass have put on their autumn feed bags and excellent success for both has been found at lakes in both Washington and Idaho. Coffeepot Lake perch are large, and though this is a selective fishery, curlytailed jigs will work almost as well as worms. Lake Spokane, Diamond, Deer and Curlew in Washington are also worth trying. Rose, Hauser, Hayden, Twin, Fernan, Kelso, Avondale and Spirit are some of Idaho’s best perch waters.

Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir didn’t see the great walleye fishing they had last year, but the bass fishing – both smallmouth and largemouth – remains excellent. Banks Lake, a good walleye destination, has excellent smallmouth fishing too.

Lake Roosevelt walleye are taking crawlers on bottom walker rigs. The most successful anglers have been dragging the flats – Colville, Bradbury and Outhouse – in 45 feet of water.

Lake Coeur d’Alene northern pike are venturing out of the weed beds at times, cruising for food. Hayden Lake pike have been cooperative lately, as have the tiger muskie at Curlew.

Other species

You are still likely to find a good channel cat bite in numerous locations on the Snake River. The water near the grain elevators close to the Tucannon and at Central Ferry have been productive, as is the Lyons Ferry area, where some nice walleye catches have also been reported recently.


Grouse hunters report finding good numbers of ruffs in both Idaho and Washington. The woods around Republic, Waitts Lake, Deer Lake and Colville have produced some decent shoots for hunters walking logging roads with a dog.

Washington fall turkey season opens on Saturday in units 101-142, 145-154, and 162-186. Check page 43 in the Washington Big Game hunting regs for a map of the units. Fall turkey seasons are in progress in Idaho. Bird populations are high in both states.

Youth hunters can go after pheasants in Washington this Saturday and Sunday when accompanied by an adult. A five-day pheasant hunt for seniors and those with a disability begins on Monday. Young hunters in Idaho will soon have an early shot at waterfowl and pheasants, with Sept. 30-Oct. 1 marking the youth waterfowl weekend and Oct.7-13 set for the youth pheasant hunt. Pheasant populations, particularly in Washington, are higher now than in the last few years.

Idaho bird numbers for this year indicate pheasants in the Clearwater unit are up, chukar are stable, quail and are partridge are down. More pheasants will be planted on WMAs than in previous years. In the Panhandle unit, all upland species remain stable.

Idaho youngsters can join IDFG at the Clark Fork Delta on Sept. 30 for a day of learning methods and techniques of waterfowl hunting while participating in an actual hunt. All participants will be paired with experienced waterfowl hunter mentors. After a couple of morning hours in the blind, youth hunters will come back for lunch and demonstrations on calling, dog retrieving and duck identification. Participation requires advance reservations and space is limited. Contact the IDFG Panhandle Regional office to register at (208) 769-1414. For additional information, contact JJ Teare at (208) 769-1414.

Hunters taking advantage of the Sept. 16 chukar and quail opener in Idaho found birds, with quail hunters doing better than those pursuing chukars. The recent rains should move the chukars away from the Snake River and up into the scabrock, making them even more difficult to find.

Contact Alan Liere at

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