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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 1

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop said that with the big change in weather, fall insects will be on the menu everywhere. Good flies will be October caddis, fall caddis, BWOs, mahogany duns and midges.

Throw nymphs and streamers in the morning and dry flies at midday. Montana rivers are fishing well now.

Fishing has been good this week on the Spokane River. The big Chubby Chernobyl with droppers (Twenty Inchers, Red Darts, Blow Torch and Peeking Caddis) will get it done.

If you want more numbers, just stick to a traditional indicator rig or the Euro rigs with one of the above.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River is moving into fall mode. Most cutthroat are going to be found in the deeper pools and runs.

For dry fly activity look for midday to be the best with caddis, October caddis, BWOs, midges, and mahogany dun mayflies. In the morning, use nymphs or streamers until it warms up.

The deeper pools on the St. Joe will become more important as the cutthroat begin to move out of the traditional summer water, although don’t overlook the riffle runs yet.

Nymphing and streamers will work all day. Take some mahogany duns, BWOs, midges, fall caddis and October caddis.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Coeur d’Alene is still good for kokanee, but you’ll be catching mostly next year’s fish – 10-inchers. The big fish are in spawning mode and turning red. Hayden Lake kokanee are still biting for trollers at about 40 feet. For the most part, these are silver 11- to 13-inchers, but anglers will occasionally haul in a fish over 16 inches in full spawning dress. Loon Lake kokanee have definitely lost their sheen, but they are still several weeks away from spawning and the bite remains good for 11- to 13-inch fish that are still in pretty good shape.

A few of the Washington lakes that remain open through Oct. 31 and still provide decent fishing, mostly for trout, are Clear, Davis, Deer, Liberty, Marshall, Medical, Sacheen and the Skookum. Check your Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other open waters, and remember that lakes that are not listed, such as Bead and Jump-off Joe, are open year-round.

Waitts Lake is again worth a special mention for trout anglers.

Trolling the middle with a Muddler Minnow and a flasher is pretty close to a guarantee for some nice rainbow and browns.

Salmon and steelhead

WDFW has updated salmon seasons on the Columbia River. Beginning today, from Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam, the daily limit will be six salmon. Up to two may be adult chinook and up to two may be coho. The same updates are for the stretch from Rock Island Dam to Rocky Reach Dam, except anglers there may also retain up to four sockeye in their six-fish limit.

Crab Creek below Wanapum Dam has been giving up some nice chinook salmon lately, and fishing should improve as we move into autumn.

The Grande Ronde River is giving up some steelhead, and they are somewhat bigger than last season. Anglers there say the fish are spread throughout the system and there is no particular concentration in any one area. The Clearwater River is showing some steelhead consistency in many parts of the river.

Icicle River will be open for the retention of coho salmon with a limit of two beginning today.

Spiny ray

Long Lake has been good for nice-sized perch, and the hot fishing should continue at least through mid-October. Don’t settle for just perch, though, as Long can provide a smorgasbord of other species – bass, walleye and trout in addition to some big pike and, most recently, some chinook salmon that evidently worked their way down from Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Pike anglers are catching some decent-sized northerns from Idaho’s Chain Lakes, and Lake Coeur d’Alene gets better every week.

Other species

A limited white sturgeon retention fishery for fish 44-50 inches fork length is offered in Washington on Saturday on the Columbia River from the Wauna Powerline crossing upstream to the Bonneville Dam, and the Cowlitz River. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed on all non-retention days.


The Idaho youth pheasant hunting season runs from Saturday through Oct. 9. Youth ages 17 years and younger with an Idaho hunting license can participate in the hunt if they’re accompanied nonhunting Idaho licensed hunter age 18 years or older. Pheasant hunting at release sites starts at 10 a.m. daily with one exception in the Clearwater Region. Youth hunters do not need an Upland Game Bird Permit to hunt where birds are stocked, but they are required to wear hunter orange above the waist during the pheasant season while hunting at those locations. Fish and Game has recently expanded the statewide pheasant stocking program to include the WMAs of Boundary-Smith Creek and the Coeur d’Alene River-Strobel and Lane Marsh Parcels in the Panhandle Region. For a full list of areas where pheasants will be stocked and number of birds to be stocked, go to the Pheasant Stocking Program webpage and click on each location.

Quail, chukar and gray partridge are open in Idaho and open Saturday in Washington. Quail numbers are up, as are gray partridge, and chukar populations appear to be similar to last year’s. Idaho pheasants open in the Panhandle region Oct. 10.

Reports from the five-day senior pheasant hunt last week in Eastern Washington suggest cover is optimal but bird numbers may be down.

There do appear to be pockets in the Palouse country that saw good second hatches, as a lot of young birds were found.

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