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Tuesday, October 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Matt Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 20

By Matt Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River has been doing quite well, with Chernobyls and droppers doing most of the work. Fall caddis have been hatching, so caddis patterns as a second fly on a double nymph rig could produce good results. BWOs and October caddis have yet to show but could be out later this month.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene continues to thrive. Small dries and ants are getting it done for surface feeders. Big cutthroats have been active and should provide plenty of added opportunity as the fall season progresses.

Silver Bow Fly Shop touts the St. Joe River as a great place to be in September. PMDs have been hot for those fishing risers in pools, but the shop’s pros recommend fishing ants, too. Cinnamon ants can be productive this time of the year, especially in the hotter parts of the day. Try nymphing in the morning hours before things warm up.

Salmon and steelhead

The upriver bright fall chinook escapement goal for the Hanford Reach is 31,100 adult chinook, but fall chinook and coho salmon are returning to the Columbia River well below the forecast. As a result, coho are closed and the daily limit at Hanford Reach is reduced to one adult fall chinook. Retention of chinook salmon on the lower Cowlitz and Washougal rivers closes this Sunday. Given the current state of the fisheries, it’s advised to check regularly for fishing rule changes at

Reports of dismal returns and reduced limits have not deterred fishermen from trying for chinook in the Hanford to Vernita Bridge section of the Columbia. Several boats claimed their one-fish limit for all aboard this past week, and many have mentioned the bite has been as good, if not better, than they’ve seen in decades. Pro-Troll flashers and spinner baits are one of the most common setups, but dragging Super Baits, such as a Rotten Banana or Hot Tamale, in 25-30 feet of water has been equally effective. The fish appear to be targeting anything displaying a hint of red color.

Friends fishing the confluence near Clarkston for steelhead did extremely well using dyed shrimp with bobber-stoppers set at 25 feet in 30 feet of water. They say the key to using shrimp is to “thread” the bait on your rig, rather than just hook it through and through. This keeps the shrimp attached longer during a headfirst strike, maximizing chances of a solid hookup.

Trout and kokanee

Fat and spunky Roosevelt rainbows are hitting spinners near Moonshine Bay, with most found in 20-40 feet of water. The typical fish measures 17 inches or better. Bank anglers are still hauling in rainbows using Powerbait off the bottom, but the action has slowed down significantly from its peak earlier this year. The pen releases, however, should start showing soon.

Valley White Elephant’s John Kallas said Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee continue to be hot, hitting just about anything on both the north and south sides of the lake. Beads and corn behind dodgers are a sure-fire bet, but squidders are also working well. The 11-inch fish are still bright and in great shape.

Spiny ray

Plenty of lakes throughout Eastern Washington remain open through October. Clear Lake is producing good catches of brown trout, crappie and largemouth bass as fall advances. Liberty Lake has been good for perch and largemouth bass fishing.

Lake Coeur d’Alene pike action is picking up and should improve as cooler weather moves in. With water temps hovering around 62 degrees, pike chasers this past week managed several fish in the 15-pound range to the boat, most coming out of 10-15 feet of water. Spinner baits and spoons are best on these early fall fish.

Anglers limiting out on chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach area might consider a swap to lighter tackle to finish the day on walleye. The fishing has been quite good, with bottom walkers coaxing plenty of pan-sized fish from the depths.

Trollers have been taking 14- to 20-inch walleye out of Lake Roosevelt’s Snag Cove area. Displaying nearly any color around 50 feet seems to work well.

Other species

The annual Northern Pikeminnow Fishing Derby starts Friday in Grant County. Boats launching from Crescent Bar will compete for prizes in adult and youth categories, such as gift cards, guided trips and gear, and a raffle will award one winner a 15-foot Marlon boat outfitted with a 30-horsepower Mercury and trailer. Registration takes place at Derby Headquarters at Riverbend Park at Crescent bar, beginning Friday from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday from 8-10 a.m. You can also preregister online at The $50 fee for licensed adults – $15 for youths younger than 17 – includes an awards banquet lunch on Sunday at Tower Pizza. Read the full description of the event and rules at


The WDFW is hosting a National Hunting and Fishing Day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sun Valley Shooting Park, 1452 Suntargets Rd., Moxee, 30 minutes outside Yakima. Various hunting and fishing activities will be offered, from target shooting to fishing, under the guidance of experienced instructors. For more information, visit

Idaho offers a special youth waterfowl season before the general season begins to introduce youngsters to the excitement of hunting. The weekend of Sept. 29-30 provides an opportunity for licensed, novice hunters, younger than 18, to experience hunting from blinds, using decoys and dogs, under the guidance of an adult. For rules and information, visit

Hunters hoping to acquire a nonresident elk or deer tag in Idaho better hurry. These sold out in 2017 and have been selling faster in 2018. The limit on elk tags is 12,815, but as of Friday, there were only 1,276 nonresident elk tags remaining. Of 15,500 nonresident deer tags available, only 4,427 remain. Nonresident deer tags are also available as second tags. Hunters may view the number of tags remaining on the website at Updates are posted weekly.

Contact Matt Liere at

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