Lots of fisheries will remain slow this weekend with the colder temperatures and most rivers have switched to predominantly nymphing and streamers. Even the Yakima and the Klickitat have been slow. The Spokane River has been the best local option. Fishing should improve everywhere next week as the weather warms.
Salmon and steelhead
Boggan’s Oasis reports a lot of fishing activity on the Grande Ronde and said the steelhead are more prevalent and larger. Fly fishing has been good and bait fishing better. The fish are spread throughout the entire system from the mouth at Heller Bar to Shoemaker.
Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing said steelhead fishing is fair on the Snake River and “really good” on the Clearwater. He said he has seen more big hatchery fish this year than in the past 30. His boats have netted 12 steelhead between 18-20 pounds, The Clearwater has no size restriction on hatchery fish this year and the limit is two a day.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt trout are feeding again in 20 feet of water. An orange Kekeda fly, with or without a flasher, has worked well.
There were a half dozen vehicles in the parking lot at Rock Lake on Tuesday, but bank fishermen weren’t having much luck. This was somewhat surprising as this is one of the best times of the year to catch brown trout. These fish move into the shallows in preparation of spawning and can be caught from shore with bait or lures.
At Waitts Lake, brown trout are also moving closer to shore. The standard worm-baited fly and flasher will get the job done, but some success was reported on small plugs before the snow came. Moderate temperatures in the upcoming days should see a good bite on Waitts.
Rainbow fishing has been good on Lake Pend Oreille, with most fish caught on top with flies. At least four weighed over 25 pounds. Mackinaw are being caught down deep – at least 100 feet, but one will hit a surface presentation in rare instances.
This year’s Thanksgiving Derby on the big lake run Nov. 21-29, with no fishing on Thanksgiving Day. As always, the derby is well-organized. There are several new categories, including a $500 catch-and-release bonus for a rainbow over 32 inches that is weighed at one of the check stations and released alive. Register online at LPOIC.org after Sunday or visit one of the usual outlets in Sandpoint, Bayview and Coeur d’Alene. Registration fee is $50 for adults but free to anglers 13 and younger. An outlet in Spokane has not been determined since the closure of The White Elephant.
The walleye bite on Potholes Reservoir has been fair this week, but boaters are reminded that the lake has been low.
Water is coming up and fishing could improve, but until this time next week there are a lot of sandbars lurking under just a few inches of water.
Friends who braved the cold snap said the perch bite on Long Lake has remained good. They have been still-fishing with worms or maggots no deeper than 20 feet next to weed beds.
The high freezing winds kept a lot of pheasant hunters home on last Saturday’s opener. Those interviewed agreed the birds were flushing wild – not unusual on windy days. The good news is hunters were seeing a lot more birds than they did last year. A friend and I and our dogs managed a four-hour hunt in the Palouse before cold fingers and achy legs chased us back to the truck. We witnessed probably a dozen points and a lot of hens (or immature roosters), but also had three good looks at mature cocks. Another friend who hunted near Winona said he didn’t see a single pheasant during a midweek hunt and noted the area was extremely dry.
After the brief closure, duck hunting has resumed in Washington. Many small ponds formed an ice skim this week, but birds from Canada don’t appear to have arrived yet.
With luck, the warming weather will open the small waters and keep them from freezing shut until at least mid-November. Plenty of Canada geese appear to be in the area.
The duck hunting on Potholes has been fair to good with a lot of widgeon being taken. MarDon’s Duck taxi is running both guided and nonguided trips.
White-tailed deer remain open for modern firearm in some units in Washington until Friday, but have already closed in many others. Modern firearm mule deer are closed statewide. The late white-tail buck season begins Nov. 7 and runs through the Nov. 19.
A friend who is old enough to know better tried chukar hunting along the Snake River this week. Fortunately, he didn’t have to climb to the tops of the breaks to find birds. He shot three chukars and saw several flocks down relatively low.
Bird hunters in the Columbia Basin around Moses Lake say pheasant hunting is “not bad, but not great, either.” There are pheasants and some huge coveys of quail in thick cover along Crab Creek. Hunt the cattails.
Southern Idaho’s Snake River can be an excellent, uncrowded place to hunt waterfowl, but much of the hunting must be done from a boat.
To find a launch closest to where you want to set out your decoys, check out Fish and Game’s boating access guide at regional offices. You can also see access points between Glenns Ferry and Weiser on the Snake River Water Trail website.
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