No matter which river you fish this time of year, midday provides the best fly fishing. Look for deep pools with slow water to find congregated trout. Use long leaders and light tippets with midges, BWOs and mahoganies.
The Red Dart and Blow Torch jigs dominate the nymphing world on the Spokane River, Silver Bow Fly Shop said, but you’ll also get some action on stones, worms and other small jig or bead head patterns that imitate BWOs or caddis. Streamer fishing is always worth trying this time of the year, but nymphing will find fish during most of the day.
Fishing the St. Joe should be best near midday this time of year, but angling pressure has been low with few reports. Fish the slow currents with midges and BWOs.
Decent reports are coming in from the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River. Some days are better than others, but most reported good fishing for risers on small midges, BWOs and mahoganies, and one report of some October caddis action. These chilly, snowy days might shut down October caddis, but there may be a small, dry-fly window in the afternoon.
Salmon and steelhead
You’ll have to work hard to catch a steelhead on the Grande Ronde, but the water is in great shape and there are fish to be had. There doesn’t seem to be any type of water that holds more fish than another. Bite action might not be super impressive, but the size has been, with many fish approaching 30 inches.
Trout and kokanee
Trollers are catching rainbow and kokanee south of Gifford on Lake Roosevelt. The trout are the common 15- to 16-inch variety and the kokanee have been smaller. The fish have mostly been in depths of 30-50 feet. Perch patterns and orange/black Kekeda flies tipped with a chunk of crawler have worked well all over.
Bank anglers were already leaving the Rock Lake access with limits of browns and rainbows when I pulled in this week on the way to a pheasant spot near Winona, Washington. Most of the fish were around 14 inches, caught on Power Bait or marshmallows. Boat fisherman have been doing just as well casting Rapalas toward shore.
Waitts Lake browns and rainbows remain an almost sure thing. Anglers trolling Muddler Minnows down the middle are almost guaranteed a limit of fish running about 14 inches.
Anglers continue to catch limits of hefty 16- to 18-inch rainbow from Long Lake, either trolling or still fishing with bait, from boat or shore. The best action has been near Willow Bay.
Bear Lake, north of Spokane, is nearly forgotten in the fall, but it remains open year-round to disabled fishermen and youth when accompanied by an adult. Bear is planted each year with catchable rainbow trout, and a small, nonmotorized boat would increase catching opportunities as the water is shallow from the public fishing dock.
As usual, fall bass fishing has picked up at lakes like Eloika, Long and Silver. Some good-sized crappie have also been taken from Eloika. This week, Gordy McGlynn caught his personal-best largemouth from Long Lake, a fish weighing in at 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
Walleye fishing on Lake Roosevelt is picking up. Target water just off the sand flats with jigs tipped with night crawlers. The Porcupine Bay area is reported to be good using blade baits or throwing jigging spoons.
Anglers who hit the water early are finding walleye around the I-90 Bridge over Moses Lake by throwing Rattletraps. Once the sun comes up, the walleye disappear and the big crappie become active. If patterns from previous years hold, big perch should soon start showing.
Roses Lake in the Okanogan has some bluegill and crappie that rival the slabs coming out of Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir this fall. If they aren’t biting, the perch usually are. A lot of these are 10 inches and are much easier to fillet than the bluegill or crappie. A simple hook tipped with nightcrawler just above a sinker is all you need. White or yellow jibs will work well, too.
Moses Lake walleye and crappie are still biting near the I-90 bridge. Both are running larger than normal. A few outsized perch have also been caught.
The weed beds are beginning to lay over on Lake Coeur d’Alene, but anglers trolling the edges with crankbaits or swimbaits still have a fair chance of catching large pike. Getting into a pod of smaller fish, however, is more likely.
Burbot are beginning to show again in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt as they move upriver to spawn.
Chukar hunters are finding small coveys of birds on the Snake River breaks, but the birds are high and require some work.
So far, the consensus of bird hunters in Whitman, Garfield and Lincoln counties is there are lots of quail and not many pheasants. Three of us walked some thick cover near Winona this week and only saw four pheasants. Oddly enough, friends in Stevens County say they are seeing good numbers of the birds along the roads.
Idaho Fish and Game has finalized agreements to allow public access on corporate timberlands in North Idaho. This will grant hunters, anglers, trappers and other recreationists access to 336,630 acres of private timberland through an agreement with landowners. You can view parcel locations on Fish and Game’s Map Center at idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/mapcenter/?reference=64.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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