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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 27

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 26, 2018

Fly fishing

Amber Lake trout are running up to 18 inches. Fly fishermen are catching some dandies on chironomids.

Although the steelhead fishing is slow on the Grande Ronde River, fly fishermen are catching a lot of rainbow. Joe’s Hoppers are working.

Rivers in Washington, Idaho and Montana are fishing well. As on other waters, the cooler nights have been moving the best of the dry fly action on the Clark Fork closer to the middle of the day. The fishing really gets going in the afternoon.

Salmon and steelhead

The Grande Ronde River is slow for steelhead, but it generally picks up by early October. The Clearwater River is giving up a few steelhead, but you’ll put in a lot of hours for a fish. Friends fishing the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater are finding enough action to keep them going back. Dunking purple or red-dyed shrimp under a bobber, they caught two steelhead and a chinook last weekend, and one of the steelhead was clipped.

Fall chinook and coho are returning to the Yakima and Columbia rivers well below the forecast. The reduction of the daily limit on the Yakima has been cut to one adult.

Most chinook guides have been fishing the Hanford Reach for the past week with great success getting their clients the one allowed salmon. The bite has been coming close to the bottom on flashers rigged with original Super Baits loaded with tuna. Because they are on the move, suspended fish are more difficult to catch than the one’s resting on the bottom.

Trout and kokanee

A friend who doesn’t fly fish said a gold, barbless Hot Shot is effective now on Amber Lake. He said he and friends got a few small fish, but most are 15-18 inches.

The Hawk Creek area of Lake Roosevelt has been good for 14- to 16-inch rainbow. Thirty-five feet of water has been the magic depth. Good action is also reported from north of Hunters.

Several popular Eastern Washington lakes close at the end of the month. These include Badger, Downs, Fan, Fish, Fishtrap, Williams and Coffeepot. Most of the small trout lakes in Grant and Adams counties and some in Okanogan County will also close.

Many other Eastern Washington lakes remain open through October. Check your Washington Sports Fishing Rules booklet. Lakes such as Liberty, Clear and Diamond usually have excellent fall trout fishing.

Waitts Lake will remain good for trout fishermen until ice-up. The rainbows and browns run to 14 inches. Trollers are finding action on flies tipped with worm 25 feet down in the middle of the lake. Trout have been rising from dawn to dusk.

Brook trout are beginning to school up in shallow water at Twin Lakes near Inchelium. Many of these fish are in the 2-pound range. Twin Lakes also has a lot of big rainbow.

Rock Lake trout fishing always cranks up in the fall. Limit catches of rainbow and browns have been common for trollers.

Loon Lake kokanee are showing a lot of red, but a troller interviewed last Sunday who trolled 30 feet down with a Wedding Ring and flashers took a limit of 11-inch fish in less than an hour working the water from Granite Point to the Palm Tree House. The flesh was still firm. The kokes at Priest are also well into the spawn, and Dworshak Reservoir kokanee have gone upriver to spawn. Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee are still in good shape and the bite remains good for 11-inch fish.

When the water temperature at Kootenay Lake in British Columbia hits 55 degrees, the big Gerrard rainbow begin to feed aggressively on top. It’s getting close, and it’s a lot of fun.

Spiny ray

Many anglers choose this time of year to target largemouth bass because the fish are feeding heavily as they get ready for winter. The usual destinations – lakes such as Newman, Long, Silver, Twin, Hayden and Hauser – are always popular, but many bass anglers have excellent luck fishing lakes normally thought of as trout lakes. They are finding excellent fishing at Diamond, Waitts, Loon, Deer, Clear, Sprague and Pend Oreille.

A friend who fishes Lake Coeur d’Alene for pike whenever he can said the cooler water is bringing out the larger fish. A variety of spoons, jerk baits, plugs and glide baits is working.

Long Lake (Lake Spokane) has also been good for northern pike. Fish around 25 inches have been hitting spinner baits in shallow weeds. Perch are also feeding heavily at Long Lake on the outside weed edges. The bigger ones run to 10 inches, but many are much smaller.

Banks Lake has been giving up some decent walleye and perch to trollers probing depths of around 50 feet. Slow Death Hooks and nightcrawlers with a Smile Blade have been effective.


Washington and Idaho’s youth migratory bird-hunting season is Saturday and Sunday. Washington youth younger than 16, accompanied by an adult 18 or older, may participate. Idaho youth must be 17 years old or younger.

To provide an idea of what’s available this hunting season in Idaho, Fish and Game’s wildlife biologists in each region have compiled an update of what they’re seeing and hearing on the ground with bird populations. To learn about upland game bird hunting rules and seasons, and more information, see Fish and Game’s Upland Bird Hunting webpage:

To find places to hunt upland game, check out the Hunting Access webpage: access, which includes Fish and Game’s Wildlife Management Area, and Access Yes! properties.

Idaho nonresident elk tags sold out in 2017 and have been selling at a faster rate in 2018. Elk hunters wanting a nonresident tag or a nonresident tag as a second tag should not wait. Through Friday, less than 200 remained. Hunters can see how many nonresident elk and deer tags are left on the nonresident tag information page: quotas-nonresident. Updates are posted weekly.

Idaho nonresident deer tags also sold out in 2017 and are selling faster this year. Less than 3,000 remained on Friday. Nonresident deer tags are also available as second tags, and remaining tags can also be found on the nonresident tag information page.

I participated Monday on the first day of the Washington early pheasant season, which lasts through Friday for hunters 65 years and older. I found lots of cover (too much in places) and a few birds. Because of the heat and dusty conditions, my Brittany and I hunted less than two hours near Rock Lake, but we had four nice points – two hens and two roosters – and brought home a brace of birds. We saw lots of mule deer.

Contact Alan Liere:


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