Allen Petersen at Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland has this to say about fishing the Spokane River: “Fly fishing has actually been quite good where we have been guiding, with much success using streamer patterns such as Dali lamas, sculpin patterns and red flashback copper Johns. The more productive waters are the deeper seams and pools, fishing the head, run and tail-outs of these productive waters.”
Petersen went on to say that lakes such as Amber, Lenice, Nunnally, Lenore, Medical and one of his favorites – Dry Falls – are still open. “These desert lakes really fish quite well,” he said, “as water temperatures recede and the trout actively forage for amphipods, leeches and other late-hatching nymphs. Now is the time to go because as the water temperatures continue to drop, the feeding cycles slow down.”
The North Fork Coeur d’Alene in Idaho still has cutthroats feeding actively on small surface patterns such as the Renegade, Griffith’s Gnat and small Yellow Sally’s. Don’t be afraid to fish those patterns that have been gathering dust in the fly box, as the cutthroat are aggressive this time of year and forgiving on those not-so-perfectly tied flies.
Trout and kokanee
Lake Roosevelt anglers are beginning to connect with trout on many parts of the lake. Although the fishing, especially from shore, will get better as the water drops, it improves each day. Good reports come from Keller, Spring Canyon and Fort Spokane. A friend fishing from shore at Fort Spokane recently took a five-fish limit in six hours of fishing.
A few kokanee have been caught recently on Lake Roosevelt, but nothing big. Native trout (unclipped), which must be released, are frequently caught, and these often surpass 20 inches.
Winter is no time to be broken down on Rock Lake, but brown trout are biting well on the north end. Be careful if you make the run. Rock Lake has pinnacles of rock even in the middle that will gobble your boat’s lower unit.
The kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan has been best above the yacht club at the area known as The Stairs. Fish are deep. Anglers are also catching a lot of cutthroat trout.
Salmon and steelhead
The Clearwater River has seen tough fishing for steelhead the past few weeks due to erratic flows and off-colored water, but on the Grande Ronde, Bill Vail said the fishing is a lot better than expected. Stonefly nymphs, egg patterns or leeches in black and purple have been good for the fly fishermen. Fish the slower water.
Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene said the best action on the big lake is for chinook salmon. Anglers are trolling Mini Squids and flashers between 70 and 100 feet.
Coho salmon success is high on the Icicle River near Leavenworth. This fishery will remain open until the end of the month.
Deep holes between buoys one and three on the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt are producing some large whitefish and small walleye. Blade baits, jigs and Jigging Raps are all producing.
Winter walleye action is picking up on Potholes Reservoir, and bass fishing is still good around beaver houses in the sand dunes. The afternoon bite is best.
Spirit Lake bass are hanging out on the few weed lines still standing. The Pend Oreille River has also been productive for bass anglers probing the weeds for largemouth. A slow presentation will be best.
Some of the biggest walleye of the year are taken from the main stem Columbia from now on. Bridgeport is a good starting place. Throw jigs or spinners.
The perch in Long and Curlew lakes don’t quit biting when the weather turns cold – they just get fatter and go deeper.
You don’t have to wait for the ice cover to fill your bucket.
This fall’s strong razor clam season continues as shellfish managers with the WDFW confirmed the latest round of digs, running through Wednesday. “It’s been windy and rainy out on the coast the last couple of weeks, but we’re still seeing lots of people coming out and getting their limit of razor clams,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with WDFW. Ayres noted that clam diggers should double-check that their destination is open on the day they intend to dig. While Long Beach and Twin Harbors are open each of the days noted, Copalis and Mocrocks alternate open dates.
Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) will reopen to daily recreational crab fishing on Monday and remain open through the end of the year. Recreational crab fishing is also open seven days a week through Dec. 31 in Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet) and the portion of 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point.
Craig Dowdy at YJ Guide Service said he is beginning to catch quite a few burbot on Lake Roosevelt, but the fish have been smaller than usual. Most of his fishing takes place at night.
There are still not many ducks around, but there seem to be plenty of Canada geese.
It remains to be seen if the duck migration patterns have changed drastically or if there are still big numbers in Canada waiting to begin the push.
Despite this week’s success hunting pheasants, I have burned a lot of shoe leather for the few roosters I’ve seen. Monday, for example, when I shot two, they were the only ones I saw.
I did see my first flock of Huns, though, a rare occurrence in the Palouse these days. I rationalize my hunts by telling everyone, “I’m doing it for the dog.” One nice point is worth every bit of shoe leather.
The late general whitetail season in select Washington GMUs ends Friday. Some archery seasons continue into December. Whitetail muzzleloader seasons end Dec. 8.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com
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