Silver Bow Fly Shop said the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River still remains an option for those seeking a few more trout before winter truly sets in. The fishing, and open ice-free water, will be the lower river from Prichard downstream. On warmer days, you will have the chance at some BWO or midge fishing on the surface for a short window in the afternoon. Definitely plan on some slow water nymphing and streamers slowly stripped through deep pool.
Nymphing has been good on the Spokane River this week. Make sure one of your flies on a tandem setup is a smaller beadhead to represent a BWO as there have been many of these insects hatching lately. Streamer fishing has been only fair. Fish are still hanging in some heavy currents.
The Grande Ronde is clear and cold, but there are steelhead to be had. Nymphing has been most productive, and there’s not much sense in an early start.
Salmon and steelhead
The recently opened coho fishery on the Icicle River in Leavenworth is providing some action for salmon anglers. The fish are dark but still feisty. They seem to prefer dark-colored jigs.
Trout and kokanee
The following Eastern Washington lakes have been stocked with fry plants in recent years and promise great fishing for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving: Hatch and Williams in Stevens County; Fourth of July in Lincoln and Adams counties; and Hog Canyon in Spokane County. For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking/trout-plants, where they can find reports on stocking that have taken place within the last 30 days.
Rock Lake is providing sporadic trout action from shore and boat. Bank anglers are tossing marshmallow and worms or Power Bait below a slip bobber at the public access, and boaters are either trolling Rapalas in a trout pattern or tossing Rapalas and spoons toward shore. You never know what offering will catch a Rock Lake trout’s fancy, so don’t be reluctant to experiment. Jigs and even walleye gear will sometimes be what the browns and rainbows want.
Trollers are working the clay slides to the left of the Hunter’s launch on Lake Roosevelt for some nice catches of rainbow. Pink hoochies are said to be working well when baited with white or pink corn or maggots. Muddler Minnows are also effective. The fish are running 16-20 inches. No kokanee have been reported for several weeks. Some large rainbow (4-5 pounds) are reported to be biting way up the Spokane Arm in the narrows past Buoy 5.
Sprague Lake trout fishing is not fast, but the fish taken are fat and feisty. Rainbow of 24 inches are not uncommon.
Waitts Lake is probably the most consistent trout fishery around. Limits of 12- to 14-inch browns and rainbow have come easily. Waitts production is followed closely by Long Lake with good fishing for 16- to 19-inch rainbow.
Kokanee fishing hasn’t been great on Lake Chelan, but anglers have recently had some success below the Yacht Club toward Mill Bay by trolling relatively shallow along the shorelines.
Rufus Woods triploid fishing has been generally slow, but at least twice a week some lucky angler nets a fish weighing more than 7 pounds. Some of the best fishing, as always, has been with jigs by the net pens.
Walleye fishing around Porcupine Bay on Lake Roosevelt has been slow, with most of the fish in 40 feet of water or deeper – clear down to 100 feet. Smallmouth bass have also gone deep, but they will still hit jigs and spoons if you can get down to them. Some big fish have been hooked recently at 40-plus feet. Anglers fishing north of Hunters are catching quite a few medium-sized walleye and a few burbot. Fishing is best in the afternoon. Jig just off of the sandbars on the inside bend of the channel. Info: Lake Roosevelt Outfitters, (509) 464-9657.
Rufus Woods has been tough on walleye anglers. A lot of fish are being marked, but these could be whitefish, and they aren’t biting either. It has been the same story at Banks Lake for walleye, but trout anglers have had some excellent days.
There have always been misconceptions about whitefish. First of all, they are not a so-called “trash fish,” but rather a native game fish. They are often mistaken for suckers because of their slightly down-turned mouths, but whitefish are in the salmonid family along with salmon, trout, char and grayling. The whitefish season opens Dec. 1 in many local waters, including the Little Spokane, the Kettle, the Yakima, the lower Cle Elum River and the lower Naches, among many others in Washington. In Idaho, the Lochsa, Selway and Clearwater rivers all provide good opportunities to catch whitefish during winter, and also have catch-and-release trout fishing. The St. Joe River provides winter fishing opportunities for cutthroat trout and whitefish, as does the lower section of the North Fork Coeur d’Alene.
The burbot bite near Lake Roosevelt’s Buoy 5 has been excellent to fair, and it appears the fish are almost ready to spawn. Move around in 50-plus feet of water until you find them. The bite has been best early. Most anglers these days are using plastics in green or orange with crawdad scent, but a gob of night crawlers is often just as effective.
Late-season Washington whitetail hunters have until the end of shooting hours Tuesday to get their deer in select units. This includes the more than 65 doe hunts in Unit 124. Idaho’s any-weapon deer season has variable ending dates. Check your regs.
Upland bird and waterfowl seasons continue in Idaho and Washington. Duck hunting has picked up, but pheasant hunting remains poor to fair, though friends did find an isolated pocket of birds in the Palouse this week near St. John.
A lease agreement between Idaho Fish and Game and industrial forest owners provides sportsmen access to over 800,000 acres of private timber land in Idaho. Finalized in October, this agreement is part of Fish and Game’s Large Tracts Program and includes several large landowners and over 500,000 acres in the Panhandle. Visit the Idaho Fish and Game website to learn more or call the Panhandle Regional Office at (208) 769-1414.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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