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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 2

By Alan Liere For the Spokesman-Review For the Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The best fishing for larger rainbow has been the deeper pools and seams of the Spokane River. Dry fly patterns like the Chernobyl and Gypsy King, fished at first daylight or late afternoon, have been effective. Lakes like Roosevelt, Amber, Fishtrap, Medical and Clear, fished with Swede’s Electric Bugger and Olive Willy and a fast full sinking line, should be productive.

Fishing at some of the selective-gear lakes in Okanogan County is picking up. Big Twin near Winthrop and Blue near Sinlahekin are good bets for big rainbow, as is Chopaka above the town of Loomis.

The North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek have been good in the Idaho Panhandle. Plan on terrestrials and small attractors, but don’t overlook the small dries or nymphs.

Good summertime dry/dropper fishing has been reported on the Yakima River. The Kootenai River is also a good summer option. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends caddis, PMDs, hoppers and Chernobyls.

Trout and kokanee

Badger Lake is full of rainbow and cutthroat trout and has good numbers of kokanee which are running up to 17 inches. Clear Lake has been good for brown trout as well as largemouth bass and some big crappie.

It has been written that the Colville Indian Reservation may be the best fishing destination in Washington where most Washington anglers have never wet a line. It has close to 35 fishable lakes open to nontribal anglers, and fishing ranging from good to outstanding. Buffalo Lake is one of the outstanding ones. A friend who fished there this week said he boated several kokanee that stretched 17 inches. He said most of his fish came at a depth of 40 feet.

Fernan Lake will be stocked this month with 6,000 catchable rainbow trout. A popular fishing spot 10 minutes from downtown Coeur d’Alene, anglers of all abilities can enjoy fishing from floating docks, miles of shoreline or from boats.

Steelhead and salmon

Earlier than expected, Buoy 10 has been closed to the retention of chinook salmon but remains open with a two-hatchery coho limit and is scheduled to increase to three hatchery coho on Tuesday. Chinook fishing remains open upriver of the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line as listed in the 2021-22 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Spiny ray

The cooling weather has made bass, crappie and perch more active. Some large crappie have come from Potholes Reservoir, Long Lake and Newman Lake this week. Largemouth bass fishing has been excellent in these same waters as well as at Silver Lake west of Four Lakes and Twin Lakes near Inchelium. Curlew Lake has remained a consistent producer of perch all summer.

Many other local mixed-species lakes are providing good panfishing. Bonnie and Downs are two others, and Rock Lake in Whitman County has some nice largemouth.

Smallmouth bass are abundant around rocky shorelines and submerged islands throughout Idaho and Washington. Banks Lake has been good for topwater smallmouth and some large perch are beginning to come in. There has been some excellent smallmouth fishing on the Pend Oreille River.

Fishing for bluegill at night is not the normal way to find these tasty panfish, but anglers who shine lights in the water at Loon and Deer lakes after dark say the water nearly boils with fish attracted to the insects the lights bring in. They aren’t huge, but a palm-sized bluegill makes for some good eating and a lot of fun on light tackle.

Bear Lake, just north of Spokane off Highway 2, can be an excellent place for perch and bass. Youths 15 and younger with an accompanying adult as well as handicapped anglers can find fishing success at this small, often overlooked lake.

Other species

The WDFW announced 62 tentative dates for razor clam digs at beaches along the Washington coast beginning in mid-September and running through the end of the year. This year’s season is looking good. Preseason indications suggest strong razor clam populations at most coastal beaches. All open beaches (Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Copalis) will also have increased limits through the end of the year, with diggers allowed to keep 20 clams instead of the usual 15, but the Kalaloch beach will not open due to continuing issues with depressed populations of harvestable clams. Licenses are available from WDFW’s licensing website at, and from hundreds of license vendors around the state. More information can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at


The early Canada goose hunt in Eastern Washington will be on Saturday and Sunday in GMUs 4 and 5.

Idaho archery hunters took to the field starting Monday and depending on the hunting unit or elk zone, most seasons will remain open through September. To see what areas are open for archery hunting, go to the 2021 Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules. Deer and elk hunters can see what to expect for the season in the big game outlook.

A variety of small game and upland bird hunting seasons await Idaho hunters in September. Hunters need only a valid hunting license to hunt most small game and upland birds, but tags are required for turkeys and – new for 2021 – sage grouse. Sage grouse tags numbers are limited and restricted to certain areas, so hunters who want to hunt them should buy them immediately. Sage grouse season runs Sept. 18 through Oct. 31

Hunting seasons in Idaho have already begun for forest grouse, red squirrel, cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares and general fall turkeys. (Some general seasons in eastern Idaho open Sept. 15. See page 22 of the Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer rules.) Chukar and gray partridge seasons run from Sept. 18 through Jan. 31. The daily bag limit is eight chukar and eight gray partridge. Quail seasons run from Sept. 18 through Jan. 31. Hunters are reminded that there are no seasons for Gambel’s or mountain quail.

Washington’s Wednesday dove season opener found a lot of hunters headed south for their birds. Harvested fields in Yakima, Sunnyside, the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake and above the Snake River breaks seemed to hold the most birds a week before the opener.

The early turkey opener in Washington began Wednesday in units 101-154 and 162-186. If you want to buy the tags, you can legally take two beardless birds and two of either sex.

Filling them should not pose much of a problem as big flocks have been conspicuous lately almost anywhere you look, especially on the edges of harvested grain fields.

Contact Alan Liere at