The Spokane River is coming up. There is more water, but fewer places to access. Streamer fishing with flashy patterns will work best.
Sprague Lake fly fishermen are finding some large trout in shallow water. Red Bionic Worms have been productive.
Rocky Ford remains good. The preferred patterns seem to change every week. Chironomids have been good recently, but you will seldom go wrong throwing scuds.
Trout and kokanee
The first two days of the Lake Pend Oreille Fall Derby saw some nice rainbow brought to the weigh station and released alive. The top four fish in the adult division were taken by Blake Heather (26.1 pounds), Dan Covey (23.83 pounds), Dave Gillespie (22.48 pounds) and Cory LaRue (22.13 pounds.) Another large rainbow was caught by Fisher LaRue (21.63 pounds) in the Youth A Division1.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has stocked 24 lakes statewide with over 140,000 rainbow trout. In Eastern Washington, Fourth of July received 80,000 of these, Hog Canyon 15,000 and Williams (Stevens County) 12,000. Hatch Lake, which is usually one of the “Black Friday” lakes, was rehabilitated in October and has no fish at this time.
Area fish biologist Bill Baker sampled Williams Lake a few days ago, and found that someone had illegally introduced largemouth bass. Williams was rehabbed in 2017 to remove illegally introduced goldfish and smallmouth bass and this was expected this to be a great year for trout fishing. As a result of the bass introduction, however, there are lots of bass and few trout. The few remaining trout are nice (most 15- to 20-inch fish), but catch rates for anglers will be low.
The Spokane Arm has remained a good destination for rainbow anglers this week. Sometimes, you have to try a few spots before you find the fish, but they are schooled up in certain spots, and when you find the right one, you’re in business.
A friend has been driving to Fort Spokane this week to cast from shore – more just to get out of the house than with any particular need to catch a fish. He said it is a little early for good bank fishing, but he is nevertheless catching a few nice rainbow each trip by casting Power Bait under a slip sinker. He said he is getting the best bites “as far out as I can cast.”
Mild temperatures are keeping the fish in Potholes Reservoir active enough to make fall fishing worthwhile. Largemouth bass fishing was fair this week on the face of the dunes and along the face of the dam. Fish jerkbaits, blade baits, skirted hula grubs, jigs and crankbaits in 10-25 feet of water.
Walleye fishing on Potholes also continues to be fair. Jig half-ounce blade baits, curlytail grubs, Whistle Pigs or troll nightcrawlers behind a 2-ounce bottom bouncer on a slow death hook with a crawler. Target 10-28 feet of water. Mark fish on the humps in front of the dunes. Fish the face of the dam with deep diving jerkbaits as well. For smallmouth, fish the rock piles around Goose Island, the face of dam and the face of the sand dunes with swimbaits, Ned Rigs, Hula grubs and drop shot lures.
Crappie and Bluegill fishing was fair this week along the face of the dunes and at the mouth of Crab Creek. Troll a No. 5 Flicker Shad or fish Baby Shads, DS Frys and Trout Magnets on a 1/32-ounce jig tipped with a maggot and vertically jigged or with a slip bobber.
Walleye fishing is decent but not spectacular at Banks, Rufus Woods and Lake Roosevelt. For the most part, the fish are in water 35 feet or deeper.
Washington’s ocean beaches will remain closed to razor clam harvest until at least Dec. 12 after test results on razor clams dug at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis indicate levels of domoic acid that exceed the threshold set by state public health officials for safe consumption.
“While levels remain too high for safe consumption on Washington’s ocean beaches, those levels have declined since the last test, and we hope to see that trend continue to the point where we can open,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the WDFW.
Nonresidents hunters can buy 2021 Idaho deer and elk tags starting Tuesday, and tags for popular elk zones are expected to sell out quickly. Nonresident deer and elk tags sold out last year much earlier than in previous years, so hunters should expect similar sales for 2021 tags.
Duck hunting in the Moses Lake area is slow. The days before Thanksgiving traditionally see the beginning of the migration from the north, but the ducks aren’t following script, and small ponds are beginning to ice over. There are plenty of geese available, though. A nephew who lives in Sunnyside said there are “darn few ducks” in the Yakima Valley.
Pheasant hunters are finding a lot of young birds in the Palouse, and for some reason they are predominately roosters. I noticed a similar trend during my South Dakota hunt this year, with wild roosters outnumbering hens at least 5 to 1.
I think I may have been the only person in my circle of friends to not tag a deer this year, but I am already making plans to change that next year. There were a lot of things I could have done better – like getting up an hour earlier and staying out an hour longer.
Without venison in the freezer, I am at the mercy of fatty, watery grocery store hamburger to build my favorite meatloaves, chili and spaghetti sauces, and that will never do. I’m not a big fan of fall and winter turkey hunting, but I may consider shooting a second turkey after all and grinding it into burger as a venison substitute.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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