Fishing has been good on the Spokane River, but cold temperatures have slowed dry fly activity. Nymphs and streamers are your best bet, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. They recommend stones or attractor nymphs combined with something small to represent a baetis nymph.
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is still getting some attention from fly fishermen. Find a deep, slow pool and you’ll probably find some fish. Nymphing down deep with smaller patterns like beadhead PTs, small copper johns, midges and small jigs can produce. Streamers fished slowly are also worth trying.
Trout and kokanee
Four Washington winter lakes open Friday – Hatch and Williams north of Spokane and Fourth of July and Hog Canyon to the south. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist Bill Baker said Williams Lake should fish “pretty well,” with most trout running over 16 inches and some stretching over 20 inches. The lake was ice free at midweek, and the aerator should keep it that way until safe ice forms. Baker said Hatch Lake has an infestation of small perch and probably won’t be good for trout. There was some ice this week at the boat launch and the lake could be covered by Friday, though it won’t be safe to walk on.
WDFW fish biologist Randy Osborne said Fourth of July Lake was pre-fished with Roostertails recently, and it is full of big fish. The average size was 18 1/2 inches and the range was 15 to 24 1/2 inches. Although the limit is five fish of any size, if everyone kept five fish of this size, the fishery would quickly be diminished. Osborne said there is enough water at the primitive launch to put in a small boat, but it wouldn’t surprise him if the lake had a covering of thin ice on the opener. Hog Canyon will probably have some ice on the opener. It has some “nice fish running 15 to 19 inches” Osborne said, but not many.
The Lake Pend Oreille Fall Thanksgiving Derby saw a good start, and competition continues through Sunday following a break for Thanksgiving. As of this writing, Mike Mitale lead the adult rainbow division with a fish weighing 19.44 pounds, but Lauren Porter in the Youth B division was close behind with a rainbow weighing 18.18 pounds. Becky Sturgis lead the adult mackinaw division with a 17.58-pounder.
Sprague Lake continues to give up rainbow trout over 4 pounds, though there hasn’t been much fishing activity. Long Lake is fishing well and the trout are big. Some anglers have questioned whether the Long Lake (Lake Spokane) fish are safe to eat, but fish biologists say that’s not a concern if the Department of Health advisories on page 16 of the Washington Sport Fishing Rules are followed.
Rock Lake rainbows and browns continue to hit angler offerings. Fish averaging 14 inches are being taken on spinners, spoons and plugs by boat fishermen and on bait by those fishing from shore at the access. Rock is known for occasionally giving up a brown trout well into the teens.
Baited perch and orange flies are working well for Lake Roosevelt rainbow, but so are Mag Lip and jointed Rapalas in the same color, guide Dave Grove said. He has been trolling three colors of leaded line under planer boards right along the shoreline in the Spokane Arm.
Rufus Woods walleye have been hitting blade baits, with chartreuse said to be the best color fished in 30 to 40 feet of water.
The Hunters area of Lake Roosevelt continues to fish well for walleyes. Jigging deep water has been best. The Spokane Arm has also fished well, and the walleyes aren’t so deep. Red or black jig heads with a plastic grub have done well recently in about 60 feet of water.
Perch fishing has been excellent on Long Lake. Anglers launching at Willow Bay ($17) do not have to go far to find buckets of 8- to 10-inch fish in about 35 feet of water.
The Spokane Arm continues to give up burbot, especially from the deeper holes up around Buoy 5.
Two marine areas of Puget Sound will reopen for recreational crab fishing beginning today. Waters reopening to recreational crabbing are Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay) and Marine Area 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner.)
There are still a few days in November for clam diggers at Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Long Beach. Low tides and times are as follows:
Thursday, 7:44 p.m., -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Friday, 8:29 p.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Saturday, 9:10 p.m., -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Idaho’s newest game species, the red squirrel, is getting some attention these days. Native to Idaho, the red squirrel became a game animal in the state in 2018. They are found in abundance all over its forests. Fall is one of the best times to hunt them because they are typically active throughout the day as they work to stockpile food for the winter. The season runs from Aug. 30 through March 31. For more information on this opportunity, refer to the Red Squirrel Seasons & Rules booklet on Idaho Fish and Game’s website.
“Hunting turkeys in the fall can be just as exciting as in the spring,” said Jeff Knetter, Idaho Fish and Game’s upland game and migratory game bird program manager. Idaho’s Panhandle and Clearwater regions both offer general fall hunting seasons and hold the majority of the state’s birds.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comments on proposed changes to the 2020 and 2021 upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons. Season proposals are available for review and comment on the Fish and Game website through Dec. 13 at idfg.idaho.gov/comment. Interested individuals may also provide their comments by attending one of several open house meetings where they can view the proposals and speak directly with local biologists. Written comments may also be mailed to “2020 & 2021 Upland Game Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise 83707.
Nonresident Idaho hunters may buy 2020 hunting licenses and deer and elk tags starting Sunday, except Sawtooth Zone elk tags, which go on sale May 11. Pioneer Zone elk B tags and Big Desert Zone elk B tags which were not available at that time last year will also be available to nonresident hunters on Sunday. Nonresidents are encouraged to buy licenses and tags early to ensure they have the opportunity to hunt in Idaho.
Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@ yahoo.com
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