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Friday, February 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 18

Fly fishing

Fall on the Spokane River continues to be solid. Silver Bow Fly Shop said the big dry flies (chubbies) have come to a near end and the focus is mostly nymphing, streamers and BWOs. A stone or heavy jig nymph with a caddis pupa dropper is the best set-up.

Fly fishermen are finding fair fishing on the Grande Ronde with nymphs getting the most looks. Egg patterns are starting to produce. Orange or cerise colors are always winners.

Silver Bow Fly Shop is running a three-hour beginner fly fishing class at 10 a.m. Saturday. This class is geared toward those who have never touched a fly rod, have limited experience or don’t know where to start. Wear appropriate clothing for an hour of outside casting. Cost is $50. To register: (509) 924-9998.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead fishing on the Clearwater has been slow as the low water caused the big B-runs to hold at the confluence. Dworshak Dam released a push of water last week that triggered fish to begin moving into and up the river. The recent rains should also get fish moving. Flows are back to 1,600 cfs, but Reel Time Fishing said backtrolling or side-drifting will often put a fish in the net that is larger than any seen in the last 10 years. Be careful navigating the river as low water conditions have resulted in several wrecked boats.

Trout and kokanee

John Kallas of the Valley White Elephant fished Sprague Lake recently, trolling a muddler fly in the top 10 feet of water. “I had one of the best fishing days of my life,” he said. “You better watch the angle of your pole or you might lose it to one of these 20-plus-inch fish.”

Long Lake (Lake Spokane) has been hot for hefty rainbow trout. Trollers are taking fast limits of 16- to 18-inch fish.

Reliable reports from Rock Lake indicate a few anglers are catching huge rainbow (steelhead) at the north end. Some of these fish are running up to 6 pounds. Unfortunately, the primitive launch at Rock has made launching a boat much over 12 feet long an ordeal.

It doesn’t seem to matter where you troll for rainbow on Lake Roosevelt, as beautiful 14- to 17-inch fish seem to be everywhere. Troll the top 15 feet. Hawk Creek has been hammered , but Lincoln, Split Rock and Hunters are beginning to take some of the pressure and have been equally good. Trollers are discovering that a plain fly tipped with a piece of nightcrawler catches just as many fish or more than those rigs that also include a flasher.

Diamond Lake seems to be full of aggressive 12- to 15-inch brown trout. Flicker Shad, Needle Fish and Dick Nite spoons have been effective. You don’t have to go deep.

Anglers at Lake Chelan are still chasing kokanee with some success, but they are also catching mackinaw down deep and cutthroat nearer the surface. An occasional chinook is also reported.

The rainbow trout population in Lake Pend Oreille supports a world-class trophy fishery. To help evaluate the fishery and keep the positive growth trend on track, volunteer anglers are asked to collect information and samples from the rainbow trout they catch. Anyone interested in volunteering can obtain logbooks and sampling materials from IDFG. The average length at a given age for rainbow trout in Lake Pend Oreille has increased consistently over time. This indicates they are growing larger faster, which means more trophy potential

Spiny ray

The Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt is producing decent walleye catches for some, with trolled spinners and nightcrawlers fairly close to shore being effective.

Long Lake perch are still on the bite. Many anglers have included several dozen perch after catching their five-fish rainbow limit.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike are hitting glide baits in about 10 feet of water. The fish are scattered, but this is the time of year the larger ones come out to play. A friend who fished there recently said 11 fish were landed between two anglers. Three were over 10 pounds and three more were over 7.

Other species

The first reports of Lake Roosevelt burbot have trickled in this week. There doesn’t appear to be any big concentrations, but the appearance of the homely fish is good news for fans of fish and chips.


The opening weekend of the Idaho youth pheasant season on the Palouse River Youth Only Upland Game Area was a success. The Game Bird Foundation will release birds every week through the rest of the season. Besides the Palouse area, there is an area open just south of Lewiston where birds are being released on the Lloyd Ranch Partnership. This area is open to hunters of all ages. Check out: huntplanner/yes/ property/?id=2479.

General season big game hunts in Idaho and Washington and controlled hunts are in full swing. Hunters are reminded to fill out mandatory hunter reports after their hunts end. In Idaho, submit hunter reports online or call (877) 268-9365. In Washington, call (877) 945-3492 or go online to

Pheasant and grey partridge hunters have been almost giddy when reporting success afield since the opener. Rains have enhanced scenting conditions for dogs. The cooler weather has made it easier on man and beast alike. A contact near Rock Lake said it would be hard to throw a dirt clod and not put up a covey of gray partridge in Whitman County. I tried and found he exaggerated, but I did see my first covey of gray partridge near Ewan. Pheasant numbers appear to be up substantially.

Washington modern weapon whitetail hunters who didn’t fill their tags on the general opener are preparing for the late buck season Nov. 10-19. During that time, hunters who are older than 65, youth or disabled may shoot either sex in GMU 124.

Local duck and goose hunting haven’t been particularly good this week, but judging by reports from South Dakota, the migration south is underway. Huge flocks of white front geese, small Canadas and snow geese fill the air mornings and evenings, at least a week earlier than last year.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@

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