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Saturday, August 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 18

Fly fishing

Good fall fishing continues on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe with small fly patterns becoming more important as we progress through October. Take a variety of mahoganies, midges and BWOs in emergers and adults. Streamers have also been effective. Long leaders and light tippets are important this time of year. Midday and afternoons are best.

Good fishing also continues on the Spokane River. Nymphing has been a consistent producer. A heavy stone with a caddis pupa dropper has been the go-to rig.

Egg patterns are starting to pick up some Grande Ronde steelhead, but fishing a sink tip and leech has been most effective. It isn’t fast fishing by a long shot, but at least it’s fishing.

Salmon and steelhead

With steelhead harvest season open on the Clearwater River, anglers are reminded that Idaho Fish and Game is continuing the one-fish bag limit for hatchery steelhead until Dec. 31 to continue reduced harvest on hatchery steelhead and protect wild steelhead.

Drano Lake is closed to all fishing. The return of fall chinook to Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery is projected to be below the number needed to meet egg take goals for 2018. Closing the fishing season in Drano Lake will increase the number of hatchery fish available for broodstock and help ensure future hatchery returns.

The annual “King of the Reach” salmon derby out of the Tri-Cities will be held Oct. 26-28. Anglers will compete for prizes on otherwise closed waters to catch aggressive wild chinook, which will be transported live to Priest Rapids Fish Hatchery in Mattawa and used for broodstock. Tickets for this event are $25 and can be purchased at business in the Tri-Cities or at the Vernita or White Bluffs boat launches where registration and fish collecting will take place.

Trout and kokanee

A fast troll with Kekeda Flies over deep water has proven effective for Lake Roosevelt rainbow fishermen. Some larger native fish have been caught and released, but the “keepers” run a respectable 14-18 inches, and some go as large as 20 inches. The fish are mostly in the top 25 feet. Many anglers are launching at Seven Bays and trolling downstream. The Hawk Creek area has been good.

On Coeur d’Alene Lake, Blue Bay and Wolf Lodge Bay have been productive recently for kokanee running more than a foot long. The fish have been in the 30- to 35-foot level and are still in excellent eating shape. The fishery should hold up for a couple of more weeks.

Antilon Lake in Chelan County is loaded with brown trout. It’s possible to catch them using practically any technique from spoon to fly to worm and bobber. Most fish are 10-13 inches, though fairly skinny.

In Okanogan County, selective fishery lakes are providing excellent action. Rat (near Brewster) and Green (near Omak) have been excellent for rainbow running 14-20 inches. Both lakes have a two-fish limit of trout more than 14 inches.

When Potholes Reservoir walleye are not cooperating, many anglers target the big rainbow trout in the Crab Creek area. Some of these are pushing 5 pounds, though 13- to 18-inch fish are more common.

Spiny ray

Trolled Slow Death rigs on the humps at Potholes Reservoir have been good at times for eater-size walleye, some nice-sized perch and bluegill, and lots of bullheads. Largemouth bass are also hitting in the Crab Creek Arm.

Coeur d’Alene pike anglers are taking some nice-sized fish off the weed lines in 8-10 feet of water. Sometimes a spot that seems barren will suddenly get hot when the right lure is presented. Experimenting is half the fun.

Banks Lake walleye were hard to find this week, but there are plenty of smallmouth bass to take up the slack. Some of the perch are pushing 12 inches.


Deer hunters in Washington and Idaho are finding more legal bucks than they did last year, both whitetails and muleys. From all reports, waterfowl hunters had a better-than-average opening weekend. As expected, Washington’s Grant County accounted for the most ducks, but success was also good in the Yakima and Walla Walla regions of Washington. Hunters report water in ponds that have been dry for years.

Hunting begins Saturday for pheasants in Washington, with most of the action in the region occurring in Whitman County and south of the Snake River. Grant County is consistently Washington’s top pheasant harvest county. Winter and spring precipitation levels were about average, and reports from the field are painting an optimistic picture for the upcoming hunting season.

The largest wild populations of pheasants on WDFW lands in the Columbia Basin district are within the Desert Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area between Potholes Reservoir and George. Mixed bags of wild and released birds are also likely to be had in lower Crab Creek, Gloyd Seeps, Quincy and Dry Falls units.

In addition to wild birds, pheasant hunting opportunities are enhanced with periodic releases of farm-raised roosters at sites across the region. Most release sites are in the southeast district. Many are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along the Snake River (Hollebeke, Mill Creek, Rice Bar and Willow Bar Habitat Management Units), and others are on WDFW-owned property or private lands enrolled in the Feel Free to Hunt program. See details at Eastern Washington Pheasant Enhancement Program.

No pheasant broods were detected this year in the Idaho Clearwater region, indicating the cool wet spring likely took its toll on upland game birds. Population trends were mixed, depending on the species, but pheasants are definitely down. Southwest Idaho is home to five Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Four of those will be stocking pen-reared pheasants for the 2018 fall season.

Idaho Wildlife Management Areas are managed by the department for the benefit of wildlife and those that support that wildlife through the purchase of hunting licenses and tags. Southwest Idaho is home to five WMAs. For details: wma-pheasant-stocking- evokes-good-ol-days

Idaho Fish and Game has sold out of all its nonresident/second deer and elk tags. Nonresidents who want to ensure they get a general deer or elk tag for next year can start buying 2019 nonresident licenses and deer and elk tags starting Dec. 1.

If your hunting dog is bright-eyed, wagging his tail, and appears eager and energetic, a little diarrhea or vomiting is nothing to be too concerned about. Owners tend to overreact to blood in the stool, but it’s usually a normal response to the stress and excitement of hunting. It’s when your dog displays these symptoms and appears lethargic and depressed that you have an emergency on your hands.

Contact Alan Liere: spokesman

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