The pros at Silver Bow Fly shop say finding water with good depth is key this time of year, but warmer temps will certainly help things out. Weather this past week made for some good fishing on the Spokane River before the cold front came through, but should return this upcoming weekend. Chernobyls should still entice a few fish to bite, but look for BWOs to attract trout in the smoother, glassy areas. If you’re swinging, try zirdle bug patterns with a soft hackle trailer.
The St. Joe River has been giving up fish in the calmer sections with the cooler temps. Midday hours will likely be best, but the promise of nicer weather may improve things. Some October caddis are beginning to show. Plan on using BWO varieties, but midges are a good backup plan this time of the year.
With the Clearwater closed since late September, anglers itching for some steelhead action might look to the Grande Ronde for new opportunities. Swinging traditional dries, such as a purple green butts or Lady Carolyns, are likely your best option. Big princes, peacock– and Larimer stoneflies are favorites for the indicator rigs. There haven’t been a ton of fish in the river yet, but it could ramp up quickly.
Steelhead and salmon
Although the Hanford reach was scheduled to open for steelhead on Oct. 1, it remains closed as the steelhead return is the fourth lowest on record since 1962. It is not likely to reopen.
The steelhead fishery in portions of the Snake River that remain open are expected to remain within allowable incidental mortality impacts. All steelhead must be immediately released unharmed in locations A-C (steelhead fishing is closed in these areas). In Section D, all unmarked steelhead must be released unharmed (steelhead fishery is open with daily limit of one hatchery fish). Anglers may not continue to fish for salmon or steelhead after either the steelhead or adult salmon daily limit has been retained.
Dave Graybill, the Fishin’ Magician, suggests that this is “prime time to get to Vernita” in the Hanford Reach for fall chinook. Reportedly, there are good numbers of brights making their way over McNary Dam. With the season set to end on Tuesday in this section, time is of the essence. Remember, licensed anglers are limited to one adult salmon and may not continue fishing after their adult daily limit has been retained.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife closed retention of wild, adult chinook salmon on Sunday in all areas of the Snake River still open to salmon fishing. However, closing fisheries to unclipped chinook retention allows continued opportunity to catch adipose-clipped fall chinook. The fishery remains open every day. Barbless hooks are required, and fin-clipped fish must have a healed scar at the location of the missing fin.
Similarly, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game also ended harvest of unclipped adult fall chinook on the Snake and Salmon rivers to protect naturally spawning populations. Anglers may continue to harvest adult chinook with a clipped adipose fin and clipped or unclipped “Jack” chinook less than 24 inches long. This rule does not affect the chinook fishing season on the Clearwater River. Get more information on the chinook seasons and rules at idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook/rules.
Trout and kokanee
Kokanee in Lake Coeur d’Alene are still hitting hoochies and beads, especially when dressed with a piece of corn or a pink Berkley maggot. The fish are just beginning to turn, but are still in very good shape.
The triploid action at Rufus Woods Reservoir appears to be picking up. Fishermen this past weekend managed a few 4- to 6-pound lunkers trolling around the net pens. The pace should only quicken as the season moves on.
Lake Roosevelt trollers reported decent catches of 16- to 18-inch rainbows fishing deep near Hunters with downriggers and flat lines. Dodgers with pink hoochies attracted the most fish, especially when tipped with white corn.
Long Lake anglers hammered rainbow trout fishing dodgers, pink hoochies and wedding rings tipped with corn. Krill oil added an extra punch. Most fish were said to be caught in 18 feet of water.
Two friends targeting rainbows at Amber Lake caught a dozen feisty 13- to 15-inch fatties in only a short time. The majority were hooked on a fire tiger F-4 flatfish with a single barbless hook, including a 3-pound hog measuring over 17 inches. Gold, size 60 hot shots fooled more than a few fish as well, including a number of 6-inch throwbacks.
Reports on Roosevelt walleyes have been far and few between, perhaps due to the recent launch closures. If you can get in, it might be worth a look.
Potholes in Grant County is showing signs of increased walleye activity. Trolling the humps along the dunes with chartreuse smile blades and beads has proved highly reliable, as has casting half-ounce, perch-pattered spoons.
Newman Lake bass fishermen braving the cold have found mild success with slow-moving baits and spinners. Casting neutral colored crankbaits along the weed banks convinced large and smallmouths to strike.
WDFW has announced a one-day fishery of white sturgeon to occur on Saturday on the main stem Columbia River, from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam and the Cowlitz River. This change allows retention of one fish, minimum 44 inches to 50 inches maximum fork length. Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.
Washington’s modern firearm deer season opens Saturday, as does the waterfowl season for duck, goose and coot. Elk muzzleloader runs through Friday in all Eastern Washington units, with the general season opening Oct. 26.
The fall turkey season runs through Dec. 31 in most Game Management Units (101-154 and 162-186), but ends Friday in some (382, 388 and 568-578). Check all regulations for the most up-to-date information.
IDFG encourage all big game hunters to fill out hunter reports, regardless of whether they harvested. With archery seasons winding down, hunters can complete their reports online at idfg.huntfishidaho.net/login, or by calling (877) 268-9365. The phone option is always available. Have your hunt tag number available.
Pheasant season opens Saturday in northern Idaho; Oct. 19 for the rest of the state. The season runs through Nov. 30 in eastern Idaho and through Dec. 31 in southern and northern Idaho. The state’s comprehensive stocking program can provide additional opportunities across southern Idaho at select WMAs. The stocking schedule can be found at idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/pheasant/stocking, although exact release times and dates will not be published to give all participants a fair chance. Shooting hours start one-half hour before sunrise, and end one-half hour after sunset. The daily bag limit is three cocks, and the possession limit is nine.
Contact Matt Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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