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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for September 19

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

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports good fishing on the Spokane River and notes that big dries like Chubbies have been picking up some fish on the surface. Add a deep dropper and you will find even more fish. There has not been much participation recently on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene or the St. Joe. Typically the North Fork Clearwater/Kelly Creek are good until early October.

For a chance at some really big cutthroat trout, give the Methow River a try this month. The fishing is excellent and so is the scenery.

Salmon and steelhead

A friend who spends a lot of time bobber fishing the confluence of the Clearwater says the fishing is not fast by any means, but he is catching at least one steelhead or chinook each day and occasionally gets a keeper. Tuesday morning, he and some friends accounted for four legal chinook and a big B-run steelhead which was released. He said bobber fishermen were doing much better than trollers. Daily chinook passage in the last week has been averaging about 300 fish a day. The steelhead average has been closer to 150.

Fall fishing for salmon on the Hanford Reach has really improved lately as the chinook make their way up to the hatchery below Priest Rapids Dam.

Wind River will remain closed to all fishing above Shipherd Falls as the minimum escapement of 500 wild summer steelhead will most likely not be met.

Trout and kokanee

If you troll Davis Lake for kokanee, you’re likely to have the whole lake to yourself, but you’re also likely to take home a nice mess of 11-12-inch fish

Coeur d’Alene Lake kokanee fishermen are taking advantage of a good bite on fish averaging 14 inches. Kokabow blades and spinners baited with scented white shoe peg corn have been popular this summer. The recent Little Big One kokanee derby on Coeur d’Alene saw fish as large as 16 1/2 inches measured.

Loon Lake night fishing is not nearly as popular for kokanee with the cooler weather, but trollers are still catching 11-to-13-inch fish and a lot of next year’s 8-inchers. The big kokes are definitely beginning to turn, but the flesh is still excellent.

Deep Lake, which is part of the Sun Lakes State Park complex, is loaded with 9-to-14-inch kokanee and the bite can be non-stop. There are numbers from 1 to 9 painted on the basalt walls on the north end, and excellent fishing has been reported recently between numbers 4 and 7 at a depth of 25 to 45 feet.

Spiny ray

The Crab Creek area of Potholes Reservoir is booting out some very nice crappie, including many in the 12-to-14-inch range. A popular method has been to troll slowly or drift with yellow jigs. Anglers are also taking bonus walleye, perch, catfish and bass using this approach.

Silver blades with green beads have been productive recently for Spokane Arm walleye. Anglers are trolling these and perch-colored plastics and Smile Blades and moving around a lot. The weed beds haven’t been particularly productive except at first light. In Grant County, Billy Clapp Lake appears to be loaded with small walleye. But anglers are taking a few “eaters” along with the 10-to-12-inch fish.

Almost all bass lakes and reservoirs in eastern Washington and Idaho are experiencing great bass fishing now. Fall is an excellent time to throw big plastics and plugs on your favorite water for largemouth and tube jigs or smaller plugs for smallmouth.

Other species

Razor clam diggers may be able to return to Long Beach for a three-day opening beginning Sept. 27, pending favorable marine toxin results later this month. No digging would be allowed after noon. The upcoming dig is proposed for the following dates and morning low tides:

Sept. 27, 5:52 a.m. -0.9, Long Beach only

Sept. 28, 6:36 a.m. -0.8, Long Beach only

Sept. 29, 7:19 a.m. -0.6, Long Beach only

Long Beach is going to be open more frequently this fall and winter, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. Additional razor clam digs on ocean beaches have been tentatively set for dates in October, November and December as there appear to be abundant razor clam populations this year.


Idaho quail, chukar and gray partridge open this Saturday and a youth hunt for pheasants runs October 5-11. Panhandle pheasant, gray partridge and quail populations appear to be about the same as last year, though grouse are down some. In the Clearwater region, pheasant, gray partridge, chukar and quail are up over last year. There is no data available regarding grouse. The southwest region is the real bright spot with game bird populations (except sage grouse) up over last year, which was also very good.

A youth-only waterfowl hunt for Washington license holders will be Saturday in western Washington and Sept. 28 in eastern Washington. The eastern Washington special youth season for pheasants runs this Saturday and Sunday and the quail, chukar and gray partridge youth hunt is Sept. 28-29. These are for hunters under 16 years of age who must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is not hunting.

Washington GMUs 101 through 154 and 162-186 are open through Dec. 31 for turkeys with a bag limit of 2 beardless and 2 of either sex. Sept. 28 through Oct. 11, GMUs 382, 388 and 658 through 578 will be open with a limit of one bird, either sex.

Contact Alan Liere at

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