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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Nov. 19

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 3, 2020

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

There are some good opportunities for fly fishing in Dry Falls, Lenice, Nunnally and Lake Lenore until the end of November when those lakes close for the year. Lake Roosevelt is not normally noted as a fly fishing destination, but the hefty 17-inch rainbow are a lot of fun on a fly and can be readily taken in many of the bays.

Good fishing reports come from Rocky Ford lately. Midge hatches at mid-day have some fish looking up. Midge pupa and scud rigs have been productive. Nevertheless, one report indicated chironomids were the ticket, and another angler said stripping Buggers was good. Silver Bow Fly Shop says the creek is a little weedy right now so fishing/landing fish can be challenging. The trout in Rocky Ford are generally smaller this year, but there are still some bruisers on the prowl.

As it is the warmest steelhead river out of the Lewiston/Clarkston area, the Snake River typically fishes best during these colder months. There have been good reports this past week. Silver Bow guides suggest sticking to sink-tips and big patterns with some movement and flash. T-7 or T-10 are best choices for sink tips when swinging the Snake at its current level. Patterns can include anything from reverse marabous, intruders to loop leeches

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead catch rates on the Clearwater River have dropped to an average of six to eight fish a day, says Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing out of Clarkston. He says the fish they are catching have been “big fatties with lots of spunk” averaging a pound or two larger than last year’s fish. With a healthy forecast of hatchery fish destined for the Clearwater, catch rates should increase as more of these fish enter the river.

The Snake River has been kicking out some larger than average fish, too, and catch rates have picked up this past week. Normally the Snake produces 6- to 8-pound fish, but this season an average size is 8 to 10 pounds.

Water flows and temperatures on the Grande Ronde are pointing to prime fishing conditions. Fishing reports from the upper river are showing catch rates picking up above Boggan’s Oasis.

Trout and kokanee

Four winter lakes in eastern Washington open the day after Thanksgiving – Fourth of July, Hog Canyon, Hatch and Williams. All should provide good trout fishing, with Fourth of July having the largest rainbow.

Lake Roosevelt has been good for trout all week in numerous locations from Porcupine Bay up the arm, near Hunters and places in-between. Many trollers are pulling either orange or red Old Goat Lures tipped with a piece of nightcrawler or orange Kekeda flies sweetened the same, but two friends who fished near Keller on Tuesday used a pink Alex for a quick limit of 15-to-17-inch ‘bows. He said he also had to release six unclipped fish that were substantially larger. Three colors of leaded line with 50 feet of leader will put you in the zone. A few kokanee are also being taken.

Lake Spokane (Long Lake) remains good for big rainbow suspended at about 20 to 30 feet over deeper water. The orange Kekeda fly is working there also.

Rock Lake is a good water now for rainbow and browns if you can hit the lake when the wind isn’t blowing. Waitts Lake is still good for both, and wind isn’t usually a factor. Sprague Lake trout are huge and feisty. Once again, shoot for a windless day. Catching on Sprague hasn’t come as fast as it did last year, however. Diamond Lake is usually overlooked this time of year, but it has a good population of rainbow and browns, both susceptible to a trolled fly, Apex or Old Goat tipped with worm.

Up north, Curlew Lake rainbow seem to get smaller each year due to the competition with perch, but there are a lot of trout in the lake, and they seem to love a fly and flasher trolled at about 20 feet down.

Lake Chelan has been good for kokanee above the Yacht Club on the east side, but some anglers are launching at the State Park and going up lake as far as 25-Mile Creek. The fish are deep – as far down as 130 feet.

Spiny ray

Potholes Reservoir water level is coming up quickly. Walleye anglers are using blade baits on the humps for some good fishing. As the water rises in Potholes Reservoir, it is dropping in Moses Lake.

On Banks Lake, Lou Nevsimal at Coulee Playland says the lake isn’t getting much attention these days but the few walleye fishermen are finding their fish on jigs in 45 to 50 feet of water. With the water temperature at 46 degrees on Wednesday, anglers are still finding a good smallmouth bite in 20 to 30 feet of water.


Last Friday was a wet, muddy, windy day in the Palouse, possibly the worst pheasant hunting conditions I have ever been out in. Nevertheless, two friends and I found a few roosters on a relatively short hunt that seemed much longer. All the birds were in or near trees and heavy brush.

With the late buck modern rifle season ending in Washington, many hunters, including myself, have no venison in the freezer. But from my tree stand this week, I saw turkeys, pheasants, a bobcat, 2 coyotes, 14 elk and lots of distant whitetail. Though no deer ventured close enough for an ethical shot, it somehow didn’t matter, given the wildlife viewing opportunities. Late archery and muzzle loader seasons begin soon.

Idaho units 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5 and 6 remain open through December 1 for whitetail for hunters with a general season regular deer tag.

It’s not too late in either Washington or the Idaho Panhandle to put a wild turkey on the Thanksgiving table. In Washington, most units remain open through December. In the Idaho Panhandle and the Clearwater region, hunters can take a turkey through January. A simple brine makes all the difference in the world for wild turkeys. I use 1 cup salt, 1 cup brown sugar and several bay leaves in enough water to submerge the bird. Plan on soaking it for at least a day. Rinse before baking.

A nephew who hunts about three days a week during the Washington waterfowl season says there MAY be some new birds down, but he is just not seeing the numbers this year. He was particularly perplexed by a Crab Creek hunt this week where he didn’t even see a duck until after 8:30 a.m.

Contact Alan Liere at

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