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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 30

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Silver Bow Fly Shop reports good fishing on the Spokane River. Flows are still low, so the best pockets are visible. Most tactics will move fish.

On the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene, be sure to take some October caddis, Mahogany duns and blue-winged olives as well as some caddis and terrestrials. This weekend’s forecast could be good for streamer fishing and will probably narrow the dry fly window to midday.

Good fishing is still available on the St. Joe River. Pack some streamers for the cooler/wetter forecast. For dries it will be October caddis, fall caddis, BWOs, mahoganies and a few terrestrials like ants. Midday and afternoon this weekend will be best.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt trout are moving up some in the water column and can be found between 20 and 30 feet. Trollers report decent fishing downstream of Lincoln.

Some nice triploid rainbow and a few walleye have been landed by anglers trolling bottom bouncers and spinner and nightcrawlers below the second (upper) net pens on Rufus Woods Reservoir. From the free Seatons Grove launch, it is about 8 miles to the best fishing, but if you purchase the $80 Colville Tribal permit and a $10 launch fee, you can put in at the second net pen.

Long Lake rainbow are cooperating with trollers and bank fishermen, but you never know what you’ll catch on the long reservoir. Anglers have reported being broken off quickly, most likely by a northern pike, but crappie, perch and smallmouth are also commonly taken.

Steelhead and salmon

The Grande Ronde River will be open this year for steelhead fishing, but it is still a little early to expect much action.

At Little Goose Dam, 344 adult fall chinook and 223 chinook jacks were counted on Tuesday. There were also 479 adult coho, 95 coho jacks and 1,381 steelhead counted. At Lower Granite Dam on the same date, 366 adult fall chinook, 207 chinook jacks, 344 adult coho, 22 coho jacks and 796 steelhead were counted.

Shrimp and bobber fishing for steelhead at the Clearwater confluence was not as effective this week as last, but night anglers are catching a few trolling lighted plugs. The chinook seem more likely to hit trolled offerings than still-fished bait.

Current fish passage through the Prosser Diversion indicates fall chinook and coho are expected to return in sufficient numbers to provide sport fishing opportunity for anglers in the lower Yakima River from the Highway 240 Bridge in Richland to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser. Open now, the season will run through Oct. 17.

Coho anglers report fishing the Columbia near Wenatchee is all but futile because there is no flow to concentrate the fish in any kind of seam or current line. A few fish are being caught below Wanapum Dam, but even the Icicle River has low flow and few fish. A few days of heavy rain will change that.

Spiny ray

Rising water in Lake Roosevelt seems to have negatively affected the bite. Some fish are hitting sporadically on bottom bouncers with crawler harnesses and Macks Smile Blades and nightcrawlers on the flats–Colville, Bradbury and Outhouse. Porcupine Bay has recently given up smaller walleyes in water 50-60 feet deep.

Smallmouth fishing on Lake Roosevelt has been good. Anglers are using top water plugs or Senkos, but plastic grubs are tough to beat, and walleye trollers have been surprised to find bass in the deeper water.

Diamond and Liberty lakes have given bass anglers some good afternoon fishing. Crankbaits and plastics have been equally effective. Silver Lake has also been mentioned as a good largemouth destination.

Moses Lake and the Potholes Reservoir remain good destinations for the smallmouth angler. The Potholes walleye bite is fair.


Washington’s quail, gray partridge and chukar seasons begin Saturday. Reports from landowners and hikers indicate an abundance of quail, fair numbers of chukar but few gray partridge.

A friend and I hunted twice during the recent early pheasant season for seniors. We saw quite a few young birds I was unable to identify as hen or rooster, at least two fully mature birds, and a few well-colored birds that appeared to have come from an early hatch this year. Other hunters said the birds they encountered were surprisingly wild, which may have had to do with the sparse cover in some areas. The regular pheasant season opens Oct. 23.

Every year, I try to get in at least one pheasant hunt in Montana or the Dakotas, but I’ll hunt closer to home this year as the drought destroyed a lot of good cover, and a lack of insects for food caused the death of many chicks. Poor alfalfa yields on nonirrigated land in other states have made it necessary for farmers to cut CRP and roadside ditches for livestock feed. In addition to the drought, a farm I often hunt in South Dakota was hit by a massive hail storm in late summer that destroyed 50% of the crops and left prime grassland habitat looking like a golf course.

The Idaho youth pheasant hunting season runs Saturday through Oct. 8. Youth age 17 years and younger with an Idaho hunting license can participate in the youth pheasant hunt so long as they’re accompanied by an Idaho licensed nonhunter age 18 years or older.

Idaho Fish and Game needs all big game hunters to take a few minutes to fill out their mandatory hunter reports regardless of whether they harvested an animal, or even if they bought a tag but didn’t hunt. You can help effective wildlife management and do it quickly and easily by calling (877) 268-9365.

Have your hunting tag number when calling. If you don’t have it handy, you can find it in your account at, which has tag information on file (and you can file your report there, too). If harvest information is lacking, biologists have to err on the side of caution, which typically means more restrictive hunting seasons.

To increase herd size, most antlerless mule deer hunting opportunities in the Southwest Region of Idaho were eliminated for the 2021-22 seasons.

This includes general archery-only hunts, general youth-only hunts, controlled youth-only hunts and extra antlerless controlled hunts.

Turkey hunters taking advantage of the fall either-sex season in Washington and Idaho are having no difficulty filling their tags.

There appears to be an excellent crop of young birds.

Friends are finding pockets of ruffed grouse here and there in Northeast Washington. One good report came from the back side of Mount Spokane.

Contact Alan Liere at

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