As we move into October, terrestrials will still find some fish, but you’ll probably have more success with Mahogany duns, October caddis, fall caddis and BWOs. Nymphs or streamers will be good early. Most rivers are fishing well. While fish will still be found in riffle water, the slower currents are becoming more productive.
You can catch a steelhead on a fly from the Clearwater River, but you’ll put in a lot of hours doing so.
Trout and kokanee
Some Spokane County trout lakes closed Friday, but there are still lots of other options. Clear Lake has rainbow and brown trout, bass and other fish through October, while Amber Lake remains open through November and has rainbow and cutthroat trout. Amber is under selective gear rules, and so is Medical Lake, also open through November and with great opportunities for rainbow and brown trout.
Trout fishing has been just fair on Lake Roosevelt. Anglers are having some success around Lincoln, Keller and Porcupine Bay, but better trolling is anticipated as the water cools.
Trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been good with fish in the 2- to 5-pound range. Troll Wee Gee spoons, Needlefish or No. 7 Flicker Shads at 2-3 miles per hour. Fish along Medicare Beach and in front of the state park. You’ll also catch trout – and a lot of other species – by trolling Wedding Rings with a worm on the face of the sand dunes.
Anglers fishing from shore have done well for cutthroat trout and smallmouth bass in the Manson and Chelan areas on Lake Chelan. Trout should be more active in lakes like Conconully, Beehive, Wapato, Jameson, Curlew, Diamond and Pearrygin, all open through Oct. 31.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead fishing has been slow, but it’s picking up on the Grande Ronde. Fish numbers are better than last year but still below the 10-year average.
Additional areas for recreational salmon fishing in the lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam are again open. Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said “We continue to see coho and upriver chinook moving upstream, so there should be some late-season mainstem opportunity for any anglers who want to brave the fall weather.”
Coho salmon fishing should remain decent in open marine areas this month. The Dungeness Bay hatchery coho fishery runs through Oct. 31. The northeastern side of Whidbey Island (Area 8-1) is open for coho through Sunday. Central and south-central Puget Sound (Areas 10 and 11) are open for coho through Oct. 31. Southern Puget Sound (Area 13) is open for hatchery chinook and coho fishing. Grays Harbor in the south channel of East Bay is open for coho through Oct. 31.
Late morning and early afternoon has provided the best walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir this week. Trolling smile blades with bottom bouncers in 10 to 14 feet of water off the face of the dunes has been good for small to medium walleyes as well as perch, bluegill and lots of bullheads. Some anglers say they are also finding fish as deep as 35 feet, but all agree you’ll need four dozen or more nightcrawlers.
WDFW has reopened many Puget Sound marine areas for recreational crab fishing. Waters reopened to sport crabbing include marine areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and the portion of 12 (Hood Canal) north of Ayock Point. In each area, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31
Approximately 40-50 pheasant will be stocked weekly through Dec. 18 at two locations in the Idaho Panhandle: Boundary-Smith Creek WMA and the Lane Marsh parcel on the Coeur d’Alene River WMA. Both locations have small, naturalized pheasant populations. As such, it is possible hunters may encounter hen pheasants, which are illegal to harvest. In the Panhandle, resident hunters ages 18 and older can begin hunting pheasant on Saturday and can continue doing so until Dec. 31. Nonresident hunters can begin hunting on Oct. 13.
The modern firearm general season for elk starts in late October in Eastern Washington. The best opportunities are in the southeast district of the Blue Mountains where traditionally there have been more elk overall and milder winter weather. GMU 166 has had the highest success rate for general season hunters in recent years, but also one of the higher densities of hunters because it is made up mostly of public lands.
Central district elk hunting is mostly on private lands in GMUs 124, 127 and 130, with harvest numbers increasing in GMUs 139 and 142. Hunters on private lands in GMU 130 have the highest success, probably due to its proximity to the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
The best elk hunting in northeast Washington is in the Pend Oreille subherd area, which includes GMUs 113, 117 and 111.
Saturday was the start of hunting for chukar, gray partridge and quail. Traditional quail hunting areas on WDFW-managed lands in the Columbia Basin district include:
- The Desert Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area between Potholes Reservoir and the town of George;
- Lower Crab Creek between Corfu and the Columbia River;
- Gloyd Seeps Unit between Stratford and Moses Lake;
- Quincy Lakes Unit near the town of Quincy;
- Dry Falls area at the south end of Banks Lake Unit.
Hunters also have numerous opportunities for chukars within north central Washington. The breaks of the Columbia River in District 7 provide some of the best chukar habitat, along with areas adjacent to Banks Lake and Moses Coulee.
On the Chelan County side of the Columbia River, BLM, USFS, DNR and WDFW all own lands that provide great chukar hunting opportunities, such as the Chelan Butte and Swakane Wildlife Area Units. Chukar also occur in abundance on the north shore of Lake Chelan in the rocky exposed grassland habitats below the Grade Creek Road.
Hunters harvest more chukar in this district than in any other in the state.
District 7 also offers some of the best quail and gray partridge hunting in the state, particularly in Douglas County.
The regular Washington pheasant hunting season opens Oct. 22. Grant County is consistently Washington’s top pheasant-harvest county. Reports from the field are painting an optimistic picture.
Contact Alan Liere at email@example.com.
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