The Spokane River is one of the few good trout options for fly fishing. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends white streamers but adds that a stonefly nymph with a smaller pheasant-tail-type of bug in the slower currents will find fish. Late morning into the late afternoon will be best, but fishing will definitely slow down around 4 p.m.
Salmon and steelhead
Beginning Jan. 1, winter steelhead and spring chinook seasons begin in the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy. 395 at Pasco. Most tributaries remain open for salmon and steelhead fishing, but anglers are reminded to check for emergency fishing rule changes before heading out.
The sixth annual Coastal Conservation Association’s King of the Reach Derby helps improve the fall chinook brook stock at the Priest Rapids hatchery by allowing anglers to catch wild chinook once a year in otherwise closed water and deliver them to hatchery trucks for transportation. The previous record for the number of fish caught over the weekend of the derby was 541. This year, participating anglers in 86 boats turned in 1,200 wild fall chinook. The new King of the Reach angler for this year was Tyler Stahl, who accounted for 76 fish.
A few keeper steelhead were reported caught this week near Clarkston. The best success came from trollers fishing well after dark.
At Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene, Randy Dingman said the chinook bite on the lake is “just OK.” The fish are deep.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt trout anglers sometimes have to change locations to find fish, but there are plenty to be had.
Most recently, the Spokane Arm has not been as good as the main river where Split Rock, Hawk Creek and Keller have been mentioned several times in reports this week. The fish seem to be chunkier than last year, with most running 14-15 inches and up to 20 inches. Three colors of leaded line and a long leader with a fly and piece of worm are all you need, but lures such as the Old Goat have also proven effective. There seem to be more of the unclipped wild trout in the Split Rock area than anywhere else on the reservoir.
I stopped by the Rock Lake launch on Sunday and found several anglers successfully throwing Rapalas and flies from shore. Brown trout are moving into the shallows to spawn, and many of these are in the 20-inch range.
Waitts Lake brown trout are on the bite. Anglers are trolling flies at about 15 feet for fish running up to 20 inches.
At Coulee Playland on Banks Lake, Lou Nevsimal said the steelhead bite has been “lights out” in the top 15 feet of water for fish running 20-26 inches. He said these are some of the 150,000 fish planted six years ago. According to Nevsimal, they “just go nuts” when hooked. The rainbow bite also has been good. Nevsimal recommends trolling anything that has perch coloration, be it fly, Apex, Rapala or Flicker Shad.
On Lake Pend Oreille, the rainbow bite is in full swing. The best luck has come while trolling big flies off planer boards. A lot of fish in the teens have been taken. The mackinaw bite on Pend Oreille is fairly consistent deep.
In Idaho, Lake Fernan and Hayden Lake are kicking out a lot of rainbow trout, the product of recent plants.
Walleye fishermen are scarce on Lake Roosevelt, as the fish are running deep. They are feeding, if you care to jig in up to 150 feet of water. To fish at this depth, you need nearly no wind. Oddly enough, several walleye were reported caught this week by anglers trolling for trout in the top 20 feet of the water column.
Coeur d’Alene pike are spread out, but mostly in 8-10 feet of water. Fishing glide baits has been effective, with one group of three anglers catching and releasing 35 northerns. Hayden Lake has also been productive for pike along the weed lines.
The water is rising quickly in Potholes Reservoir. Walleye anglers are anticipating a better bite in the weeks to come.
Several waters open Dec. 1 for whitefish. These include:
- The Yakima River between Sunnyside Dam and 3,500 feet below Roza Dam;
- Roza Dam to Easton Dam;
- The lower Cle Elum River; and
- The lower Naches River below the confluence with the Tieton River
On a weekend pheasant hunting trip into the Winona area, friends and I saw a lot of birds but only bagged one rooster. Four days earlier, two friends limited in the same area, but on Sunday, the birds were in midseason form – running ahead and flushing wild.
The late Washington buck season ends Monday. These last few days should be your best chance of the year to fill your tag.
Lesser Canada geese have moved into Eastern Washington in big numbers. A friend who was pass-shooting Sunday in the Harrington area said he shot his self-imposed limit of two in about that many minutes.
A few northern mallards are beginning to trickle into Eastern Washington and North Idaho, but small ponds and sloughs are showing some ice. A friend in Moses Lake said there are definitely more ducks in the area than last week and good numbers of teal remain. He said it’s too soon to get excited about duck hunting, as the Thanksgiving holiday is usually when they begin showing in good numbers.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com
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