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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 8

Sept. 7, 2022 Updated Wed., Sept. 7, 2022 at 7:44 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Small ants in the flat/calm water and hoppers in the riffle water are picking up trout on the St. Joe River. Silver Bow Fly Shop said to try a dropper under your hopper or small Chubby Chernobyl for more action. North Fork Coeur d’Alene trout are also attracted to ants and hoppers.

The Spokane River is low but fishable, as wading is an option and the water remains relatively cool. Droppers, nymphs and Euro rigs are finding the most fish.

Lakes for rainbow trout in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are the Pillar-Widgeon Chain (Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Shoveler, Hourglass, Sago and Widgeon). These walk-in lakes are popular destinations for fly anglers.

As the water cools, fishing for cutthroat and rainbow trout has improved on rivers such as the Naches and Yakima and many small streams and tributaries around the state.

Trout and kokanee

Clear Lake is producing good catches of brown trout, crappie, and largemouth bass as fall advances. Medical Lake is open through the end of November under selective gear rules.

Trout are still biting on Spring, Blue, Rainbow and Deer lakes on the Wooten Wildlife Area near Pomeroy, but fishing is slowing down, Fishing in the Tucannon River that flows through the wildlife area remains decent.

Salmon and steelhead

Friends fishing the Snake/Clearwater confluence in two boats were having good luck on Tuesday fishing with shrimp under a bobber. One boat released a large wild steelhead and kept a 10-pound hatchery chinook. The other boat caught six fish, keeping a hatchery steelhead and a chinook.

The Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) hatchery coho salmon fishery is open daily through Sept. 30, but it will close once the coho catch quota of 84,000 is achieved. Westport (Marine Area 2) is open daily for all coho only through Sept. 30.

Anglers can look forward to decent fishing for fall chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach in the coming weeks with a forecast of 89,000 adult upriver bright chinook. A strong proportion of larger chinook in this year’s return (4 and 5-year-old fish) is expected.

The Ringold Springs Hatchery coho are a late run and expected to return in late October through November. The fishery officially kicked off in mid-August, but fishing doesn’t really ramp up until late September.

The Columbia Gorge Fall season between Bonneville and The Dalles is off to a great start reports Munden Rising Son Adventure. Limits on chinook are the rule. Trolling Superbaits and spinners has been the ticket. Try to keep your gear under the boat. Info: 509-492-8852

Chinook and sockeye salmon fishing remains open this month in the upper Columbia River from Priest Rapids to Chief Joseph dams, as well as the Okanogan, Silkameen and Wenatchee rivers. The Chelan River is open until Oct. 15 and Entiat is open until Sept. 30 for chinook retention only. The Okanogan and Similkameen close Thursday. The Wenatchee is scheduled to close Sept. 30, while the Upper Columbia is scheduled to remain open through Oct. 15.

The Wenatchee River is also open for sockeye fishing until one hour after official sunset Sept. 30 from the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge. A night closure and selective gear rules are in effect, but bait is allowed.

Spiny ray

Year-round lakes continue to provide good fishing for bass and panfish, including Spokane County’s Silver and Newman lakes. Lake Spokane (Long Lake) is usually good this month for largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch and rainbow trout.

The Spokane Arm still holds a lot of walleye and smallmouth bass. If the water temperature drops about 10 more degrees, the fall bite should begin. Anglers report catching a lot of small walleyes, but nice-sized smallmouth are being taken.

Walleye and bass are available throughout the Columbia and Snake rivers. Walleye should draw plenty of attention in September and throughout much of the fall. Wallula Junction on the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam and from Boardman on the Columbia upstream to McNary Dam will be good. Smallmouth bass in these stretches share the same habitat with walleye, but sometimes run as deep as 50 feet in the fall.

Anglers at Potholes Reservoir are catching a lot of spiny ray, including some really big bluegills in shallow water. Trollers say that while the walleye bite is fair, they are catching more bullheads than anything. The launch at the state park is very shallow.

Other species

The sturgeon season on Lake Roosevelt is still open with a daily limit of one and an annual limit of two. It is legal to retain sturgeon between 50 inches and 63 inches fork length.

There will be a limited-retention white sturgeon fishery on Saturday, Wednesday and Sept. 17 only from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia, and includes the Cowlitz River.

Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) areas are open to all-depth halibut fishing Sept. 23. The halibut season at Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) is open five days per week, Thursdays through Mondays. Neah Bay and La Push are open seven days per week. Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 to 10) is open daily through Sept. 30 or until the quota is achieved.


Early archery deer hunting began Sept. 1 in some Washington units for white-tailed deer and mule deer. If you hunt deer in WDFW’s Region 1, you must have your deer tested for chronic wasting disease . It has not been detected in Washington to date but was found in Idaho last year. If you hunt or salvage a road-killed white-tailed deer in Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla or Whitman counties, get your deer tested at an area game check station, WDFW office or other location.

Modern firearm general season for elk has been open since Aug. 1, but opens in Eastern Washington’s Elk Area 3722 on Saturday. Elk early archery general season also opens in Eastern Washington on Saturday in select Game Management Units. Archery hunters usually fare best in GMUs 172 (Mountain View), 175 (Lick Creek), and 154 (Blue Creek). In the central district around Spokane, archery hunters usually do best in GMUs 124 (Mount Spokane) and 127 (Mica Peak). In northeast Washington’s District 1, archery hunters are most successful in GMUs 113 (Selkirk), 121 (Huckleberry) and 111 (Aladdin).

Washington forest grouse opens Thursday. Idaho chukar, gray partridge, quail and sage-grouse seasons open Sept. 17.

The fall general hunting season for wild turkey opened Sept. 1 in Washington and Aug. 30 in most Idaho GMUs. Northeast Washington is famous for a high population of Merriam’s turkeys. Although most of the harvest is during the spring season, fall hunters do well, too. Merriam’s are also common in the central district around Spokane, and Rio Grande turkeys are plentiful in southeast Washington.

Contact Alan Liere at

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