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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 24

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

Fly fishing has been good on Amber Lake for anglers throwing small balanced leeches. Medical Lake is clear of weeds, and chironomids are hatching and trout are cruising the edges. Fishing should be good.

Bobber fishing is consistent on the Big Spokane, said Silver Bow Fly Shop. Small BWOs will get you some action. Small midges and mayfly patterns have worked on the St. Joe, but there were few anglers present this week. On the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, mahoganies, BWOs, midges, fall caddis and October caddis will all find takers. Use your finer tippets and longer leaders. Silver Bow recommends running a streamer through the deeper pools.

Eastern Idaho has a wealth of blue-ribbon trout streams, which occasionally means the great rivers overshadow the good ones. Downstream from Idaho Falls to American Falls Reservoir, the Snake River has lots of big – and in some cases huge – rainbow and brown trout. But fall also offers some of the best fishing of the year for native westslope cutthroat on upper Clearwater tributaries. The North Fork Clearwater River and Kelly Creek are two storied cutthroat waters. Other waters in the Clearwater River system are worth visiting in the fall, including the Lochsa and Selway rivers. Be sure to check the 2019-21 Idaho Fishing regulations before you head out, as all of the waters mentioned here have special rules in place.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead harvest seasons listed in the 2019-21 fishing regulations for the Clearwater River and South Fork of the Clearwater River have changed and all steelhead fishing on those rivers is closed. Despite this closure in the Clearwater River system, steelhead anglers still have opportunities to catch steelhead. Fishing continues on portions of the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers and remains open until the end of December. The limit is one fish per day and three in possession.

Hatchery coho retention has reopened in portions of the Columbia River mainstem from Tongue Point to The Dalles Dam. It will remain open through Oct. 31.

Steelhead fishing has been slow on the Grande Ronde, but there are fish to be had and not much competition except at the mouth.

Trout and kokanee

On Lake Roosevelt, the rainbow bite has been good in the Lincoln area, tapering off in late morning but picking up again in early afternoon. Perch-colored flies tipped with a piece of nightcrawler have worked well recently for trollers using leaded line down three colors at around 2.5 mph trolling speed.

The Hawk Creek area of Lake Roosevelt was good for friends trolling flies and Apexes recently for cookie-cutter 15-inch rainbow. They said the fish were scattered and no one lure or color was better than another. Fishing has been generally good from Hawk Creek to Whitestone. John Kallas of the Valley White Elephant said he and a friend trolled that stretch recently at depths of 18-20 feet, catching trout running 19-20 inches long.

The Lake Spokane Campground launch will probably only be open for a little longer, so take advantage. Trout anglers trolling pink Apexes and hoochies near Willow Bay are finding a lot of 16- to 18-inch fish at about 10 feet.

Coeur d’Alene kokes are well into the spawn, but they are still biting. Anglers fishing the north end say the flesh is still nice and red.

Spiny ray

A friend who launched at Northport this week said the water was up and the walleye were biting. He and his son kept 18 fish “on the small side,” releasing many others under 14 inches. They were drop-shotting Berkley Gulp! Minnows in 10-30 feet of water.

There have been a lot of duck hunters on Lind Coulee in Grant County this week, but the walleye don’t seem to mind the shooting as much as the fishermen. Several reports of good catches have been submitted.

Walleye anglers have been throwing plugs and catching some nice-sized fish around the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake, then going under the bridge for some big, bonus crappie by casting right up against the pillars. Crappie fishing is said to be the best in Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir since the 1980s.

Bluegill are a lot of fun to catch no matter what size, but some of the slabs being pulled from Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir put up a tussle. There are also some huge bluegill being taken in Roses and Wapato lakes near Manson, Washington.

Other species

Razor clam diggers can return to Mocrocks and Copalis beaches for a seven-day opening beginning Saturday. Twin Harbor and Long Beach digs remain tentative and not approved.


Rain on the Washington pheasant opener kept a lot of hunters at home, and those who braved the downpour had limited success. Two friends hunting near Winona said they didn’t see a bird on Sunday. Another friend who walked some draws near St. John on Saturday saw two roosters, but a farmer friend told him he didn’t go high enough because he had seen good numbers on top the day before. It is possible that pressure from the overlapping deer and pheasant seasons stirred the birds up and spread them out.

Washington and Idaho waterfowl hunters have had some fair shooting in the early season, which closes for a short time after Oct. 30 in Washington and resumes Nov. 2. The scaup season is closed until Nov. 1. Duck hunting usually begins to pick up after Thanksgiving, but until their food gets covered up in northern Canada, they won’t show up in any numbers in the lower 48. A friend and I hunted waterfowl in Alberta around the first of October, but the birds didn’t show up in any numbers until mid-October after we were already home.

Quail hunters continue to enjoy a bountiful season in many Washington counties, including Whitman, Lincoln, Walla Walla and Grant. Coveys have been numerous and large.

Oddly enough, doves are still hanging around the Moses Lake area. A friend there said they are flocked up. If you find the right field, shooting can be better than it was in September. He also said he is finding a lot of quail.

Curlew Lake area deer hunters reported seeing a lot more grouse than deer last week. The grouse season continues through Dec. 31.

Contact Alan Liere at

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