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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for November 25

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Although they are beginning to die down, Rocky Ford is still full of weeds because it hasn’t been cold enough to kill them off and water is low. There are mats of floating weeds covering the surface 20 feet to 30 feet out in the stream. Most fly anglers are avoiding this fishery for now.

The Spokane River is still a good option to catch rainbow and will stay so for a few more weeks. Silver Bow Fly Shop said double nymph rigs and streamers will be top tactics with some blue-winged olive activity on the surface.

Fishing action on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is a subsurface game. Double nymph rigs or streamers will find fish at the bottom of the deeper, slower pools. Hot bead nymph patterns, rubber leg stones, double bead stones, San Juans, midge pupa and streamers like Conehead Buggers, sculpins and Sculpzillas will be best.

Trout and kokanee

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked 24 lakes statewide with over 140,000 rainbow trout just in time for the Black Friday opener the day after Thanksgiving, but most of the fish planted in Williams, Hog Canyon and Fourth of July were less than catchable size. “It’s a little challenging for the East Side to be represented in promotions like this Black Friday promotion, since the far East Side hatcheries do not have the resources to grow large numbers of larger-size fish like the West Side,” Spokane-area fish biologist Randy Osborne said. “About the only thing we have in common is Black Friday itself. We continue to manage our fisheries through mostly fry plants and put-grow-and-take plants and rely on the lakes to raise them to size rather than the hatcheries. For example, the promotion listed 80,000 fish for Fourth of July, but those consisted of 60,000 spring fry rainbows and 20,000 put-grow-and-take (7-9 inches) that were stocked in April or May. About the only one of the four winter-only fisheries that received actual catchables was Williams Lake in Stevens County.”

Nevertheless, this Friday’s openers for both Hog Canyon and Fourth of July are predicted to be fairly decent based on preseason sampling which occurred last week. At Hog Canyon, fish that were sampled ranged from 10 inches to 16.5 inches in length; a little over half were greater than 12 inches. As in years past, anglers can expect the rainbow at Fourth of July Lake to be a bit bigger than those at Hog Canyon. The fish that were sampled at Fourth of July ranged in length from 10 inches to 21 inches, and averaged 16.5 inches. Although typical for this time of year, one thing that could affect the opener is the weather. Last week, no ice was observed at Hog Canyon, but the neck at the north end of Fourth of July was capped with about a half-inch of ice, which hung around the entire day.

Remember that internal combustion motors are prohibited at Fourth of July, which means they cannot even be attached to the boat. There are no motor restrictions at Hog Canyon. Anglers should also keep in mind that, when using bait, all caught trout count toward the daily limit, whether it’s released or not.

Anglers throwing Power Bait or worm/marshmallow “sandwiches” from shore are catching nice-sized rainbow at several Lake Roosevelt locations. Three of the most popular spots are Fort Spokane, Keller and Spring Canyon. The best bite has been out quite a ways from the bank in deeper water, but as winter progresses, they will hug the shoreline, sometimes just a few feet out in water only 5-7 feet deep.

Rufus Woods Reservoir near Bridgeport, Washington, isn’t providing hot fishing for triploids just yet, but the bite could begin any time. There are fire pits and picnic tables right on the shore above the dam, and Brandt’s Landing, which is 6 miles up lake from the dam, also has fire pits. With a little firewood from home, both are good places to comfortably fish from shore.


The Snake River will continue to produce some steelhead this fall and winter. The Grande Ronde is your best bet now.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye anglers are finding some nice fish, but not a lot of them by jigging the flats around Seven Bays in 40-50 feet of water.


A nephew from the Sunnyside, Washington, area said there are definitely new ducks on the Columbia River and he has had some excellent hunts. A few northern mallards have trickled into Eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, but the small waters have begun to form some ice, so anglers would probably do best on moving water or the large bodies.

In Eastern Washington, pheasants, quail, gray partridge and chukar partridge are open through Jan.17. Grouse close after Jan. 15 and turkeys after Dec. 31. Cottontail and snowshoe rabbits are open through March 15. In Idaho, the season on cottontails is open through Feb. 28 and on snowshoe hares through March 31. Grouse in the Panhandle close at the end of January; chukar, gray partridge, valley quail and GMU 1and 2 turkey close after Jan.31, and area 1 pheasant close after Dec.31.

Contact Alan Liere at

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