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Saturday, January 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 4


Cooler weather is bringing out the larger trout on area rivers. All the fall hatches are going on – October caddis, mahoganies, bwo’s and fall caddis. Terrestrials will still get fish during the warm part of the day, but the window for these is fading.

Fly fishermen are picking up a few steelhead on the Grande Ronde River. If you can’t entice a steelhead, you should be able to catch trout until your arms go numb.

Year-round-open Rocky Ford Creek in Grant County is usually a good bet this month for catch-and-release fly-fishing opportunities.

Salmon and steelhead

Two friends continue to dunk shrimp under a bobber at the Snake/Clearwater confluence. They are averaging about three steelhead a day, with one being a clipped hatchery fish. They noted the chinook appear to have moved on.

Drano Lake remains closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead and closed to retention of steelhead. The chinook limit is one. The steelhead limit on the lower Hanford Reach has been reduced to one hatchery steelhead marked by both an adipose and right ventral fin clip. Fishing has been fairly good for trollers dragging flashers and Super Baits filled with tuna downstream The one-fish limit is often filled. Fishing will remain open below Priest Rapids Dam through the weekend. After that, Fish and Wildlife will crunch the numbers to determine how much longer it can keep this stretch open without going over escapement needs.

The Yakima River can turn on in a heartbeat when the atmospheric weather changes. Several of the fish caught recently have been 20-30 pounds.

Salmon fishing at Vernita has been best in the morning. The same flasher/Super Bait/tuna combination has been most effective.

Trout and kokanee

Many more Eastern Washington trout lakes closed at the end of September. Notable exceptions are Deer, Loon, Waitts, Bear, Long, Liberty, Clear, Amber, Sprague and Medical. All of these but Medical also have spiny ray species.

It looks like another good fall is shaping up for Lake Roosevelt rainbow anglers. Limits of 13- to 16-inch fish are being taken fairly consistently on orange Kekeda Flies. The Spokane Arm of the reservoir is currently the most popular destination.

Trout fishing has been good at Curlew Lake. Still-fishermen and trollers are finding rainbow in all sizes up to 18 inches, although most are closer to 12. Curlew is open year-round.

Rainbow trout seem to be plentiful at Rufus Woods Reservoir, although they can be fickle biters depending on the amount of water coming over Grand Coulee Dam. There are still some monster trout in Rufus, but a lot of those being caught are 18-20 inches.

Spiny ray

The fall bite is beginning on Potholes Reservoir. Walleye are hitting along the face of the sand dunes and the midreservoir humps north of Goose Island. Some big crappie and bluegill are being taken, as well as both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Moses Lake walleye are beginning to bite again and the perch bite continues to be decent.

Sprague Lake on the Adams-Lincoln county line continues to be productive for largemouth bass. Trollers are taking some big rainbow.

October is a great time to tangle with some big walleye below McNary Dam. Fall fishing for walleye is hot between Umatilla and Boardman, said Paul Hoffarth, Columbia River Fish Biologist out of Pasco. “Those fish are putting on the feedbag for winter and are eager to strike big lures,” he said. Walleye fishing has also been fair to good below John Day Dam, and a lot of smallmouth are also being taken.


Judging by the snow, the cold and the millions of migrating geese in the mid-Alberta area, it seems likely the migrations into Washington and Idaho may come early this year. It would be nice to get some good flights before everything freezes up.

Beginning Saturday, the valley quail, chukar and grey partridge season begins in Eastern Washington. Grant County was Washington’s top county for quail harvest in 2017, and quail hunting is expected to be good again this year. Traditional quail hunting areas on WDFW lands in the Columbia Basin district include:

  • The Desert Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area between Potholes Reservoir and the town of George.
  • Lower Crab Creek between Corfu and the Columbia River.
  • Gloyd Seeps Unit between Stratford and Moses Lake.
  • The Quincy Lakes Unit near the town of Quincy.
  • The Dry Falls area at the south end of Banks Lake Unit.

Quail harvest in the Chelan and Douglas county district dropped in 2017. Harvest is expected to be similar in 2018, although the district still offers some of the best quail hunting in the state. Opportunities for chukar hunting are numerous within the district because of the large amount of habitat that falls under public ownership, and more chukar are shot in this district than any other in the state.

Hunters took 8,583 quail in Okanogan County in 2017, up from the five-year average, and the 2018 harvest is expected to be similar. Quail are locally abundant and widespread throughout the district’s lower elevation shrub/steppe and open pine forest habitats. Chukar and gray partridge rose substantially from 2017, suggesting another good year is in the offing.

Contact Alan Liere at

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