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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 16

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Silver Bow Fly Shop reports good fishing on the Spokane River as flows increase. Double nymph rigs, Euro rigs and dry dropper rigs are always effective this time of year.

With the road reopened on the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, anglers can again visit this fishery. There’s not much to report since it was closed, but the latest reports indicate fishing is decent. Find water with some depth. Small midges, ants, beetles and small attractors will be best. Droppers under a hopper will work, too. Mahogany duns and October caddis are also showing.

Fly fishing on the North Fork Clearwater and Kelly Creek has been good, and so has the Kootenai River. Chubbies have been the go-to with droppers, and Purple Haze Parachutes and X-Caddis have also been productive in the afternoon and evening hours.

Rat Lake, near Brewster, is a good selective gear option right now. It produces catches of rainbow that average 16 inches in length. You can keep two fish per day measuring a minimum of 14 inches.

My friend, Steve Brisbois fished the Blackfoot River in Montana this week with Blackfoot River Outfitters. He reported “perhaps the best fly fishing of my life,” catching lots of rainbow, cutthroat and cutbows, most stretching 14 inches to 17 inches. He was throwing a hopper and dropper setup and said most of the fish came on the nymph dropper.

Trout and kokanee

Trout fishing has been good this week on Potholes Reservoir. Troll a #5 or #7 Flicker Shad or Wedding Ring with worms in 10 feet to 30 feet of water in front of Potholes State Park, the face of the sand dunes and at the mouth of Lind Coulee to Perch Point.

Fishing for big rainbow at Rufus Woods has held up all summer for 3-to-4-pound triploid trout, and the fish are even larger now. Launch at Seatons Grove for the run down to the net pens. With the new Colville Access Permit, anglers can use the new launch at the middle net pens. A Launch Permit must also be purchased. They are available on the Colville Tribal Fish and Wildlife web site:

Omak Lake fished well for Lahontan cutthroat this summer, and it becomes even more productive in the fall. Troll plugs for fish averaging 18 inches and larger – like the current lake record 18-pounder.

Trout fishing on the Conconully Lakes is always good in the fall, and it can be an excellent time to catch big kokanee, too.

Fish Lake, near Lake Wenatchee, is one of the most scenic places to fish in the fall. There are big triploids in the lake, and the perch fishing can be terrific.

Jameson Lake provides some of the best fall trout fishing in Washington. Trolling is popular, but the lake has accessible shoreline for fishing as well.

Steelhead and salmon

Salmon fishing the Columbia on the Hanford Reach has been very good this week and run numbers are still looking good. I stopped at Vernita Bridge on the way back from a dove hunt near Sunnyside, and interviewed several anglers with large chinook. Most anglers are heading downstream from the launch at White Bluffs, where there are good stretches to troll Super Baits or spinners. Just below Vernita Bridge, the King Hole is a stretch of deep water that attracts good numbers of chinook.

Friends bobber fishing with shrimp at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater already had 3 hatchery chinook and 2 hatchery steelhead when I heard from them at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. They said they had also released several wild fish.

Effective Oct. 1 through Oct. 31, the salmon on the Lewis River will be up to 6 adults, of which no more than 2 may be chinook. Release all salmon other than chinook and hatchery coho.

A section of the lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam will reopen to salmon fishing this weekend, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon announced Wednesday.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing has been slow on Banks Lake, but anglers are getting a few and also some bass and large perch.

Tiger muskie have been reported recently from Silver, Newman and Curlew lakes – the largest from Curlew.

Other species

The WDFW has approved the first nine razor clam digs of the 2021-22 season, with early-morning digs kicking off Friday where low tide at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks is at 4:30 a.m.

Halibut fishing at Ilwaco and Westport/Ocean Shores will open for one more day Sept. 24.


With the sage-grouse season in Idaho just around the corner, Fish and Game reminds upland bird hunters of new sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse requirements for the 2021 hunting season. Hunters are now required to purchase a zone-specific tag for sage-grouse hunting, in addition to a hunting license. A separate permit is required just for sharp-tailed grouse hunters, along with their hunting license.

Contact Alan Liere at