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

Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 15

Sept. 14, 2022 Updated Wed., Sept. 14, 2022 at 7:57 p.m.

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Hoot owl restrictions have been lifted from most Montana rivers. The Clark Fork is said to be fishing well. Terrestrials, attractors and caddis are still the top attractions. The North Fork Clearwater, Kelly Creek and Kootenai are all fishing well.

Trout and kokanee

Several regional rainbow and/or cutthroat trout fishing lakes near Spokane close at the end of the month. Fishtrap and Coffeepot lakes in Lincoln County, and West Medical, Badger, Fish and Downs lakes in Spokane County all close Sept. 30.

Deep Lake near Ephrata in Grant County has been good recently for kokanee. Anglers trolling at around 45 feet are doing well.

Salmon and steelhead

The Hanford Reach fishery should be good this year as counts over Bonneville Dam are way up. If you’re planning a trip with a guide, though, you had better make arrangements immediately. Last week, anglers averaged one salmon per 34 hours per fish, but that will improve as we move further into September.

Friends fishing shrimp under a bobber at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers say the bite has been slow, though they have had a number of take-downs each morning. Tuesday, they released two wild steelhead.

Spiny ray

Smallmouth fishermen report catching lots of fish from Banks Lake and Lake Roosevelt. Most of these are less than 1 pound, but the bite is consistent and the fish have not gone deep. Paddletail swimbaits on a jig head have been effective.

The bass fishing has been extremely good this week at Potholes Reservoir. Large numbers of 2- to 4-pound fish are being caught. Top baits are hard jerkbaits, three-eighths ounce, Chatter Baits, 5-inch wacky rigged Senkos, deep diving crankbaits and topwaters like the Zara Spook.

The docks at Liberty, Loon, Deer, Clear, Long and Silver have served up some nice-sized largemouth bass. Some catches of large Long Lake perch have also been reported.

Other species

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced 56 days of tentative coastal razor clam digs, including winter holiday opportunities beginning Sept. 22.

“The 2022-23 razor clam season will mirror the remarkable digging opportunities last season pending marine toxin levels stay below the health guidelines,” said Dan Ayres, the WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

On all open beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis – the daily limit is 15 clams per person. Kalaloch beach off the northern Olympic Peninsula coast won’t be open due to continuing issues with depressed populations of harvestable clams. The open September dates will include five digs on morning tides and four digs on evening tides.

The fishery for white sturgeon on Lake Roosevelt closes one hour after sunset on Sept. 30 from Grand Coulee Dam to the China Bend boat ramp (including the Spokane River from the Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400 feet below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam and the Kettle River upstream to the Barstow Bridge).

There is no better time to fish for channel cats at night. Waters like Fernan Lake in Idaho, Liberty, the Snake River and particularly the Frenchman Wasteway and Lind Coulee areas of Potholes Reservoir in Washington are giving up fish weighing over 10 pounds.

Several fish over 8 pounds have been caught this week. Fish in 2-10 feet of water with nightcrawlers or Magic Bait. Use a three-fourths- to 1-ounce Egg Sinker and a 1 or 1/0 Whisker Stickerhook. Fish the face of the dunes where the main flows come in from the sand dunes, around Frenchman’s Wasteway, and in Lind Coulee areas of Potholes Reservoir in Washington. They are giving up fish weighing over 10 pounds.


The Washington senior citizen pheasant hunt will run Monday through Sept. 23 this year. There are still a fair number of uncolored birds out there, so choose your targets carefully. High, thick cover and warm weather could make for short hunting days.

Get an early start and take plenty of water for your dog.

Idaho Fish and Game Upland Game and Migratory Game Bird Coordinator Jeff Knetter said a mild winter and a wet spring could be beneficial for upland bird populations in the state. “Cool and wet weather during the hatch is typically not a good indicator of strong numbers in the fall,” he said. “However, spring brought much needed precipitation to Idaho.” While much of the state is abnormally dry, drought conditions have improved from last year, habitat is in good shape, and there have been an abundance of insects for brood-rearing. Bird populations are looking particularly good in the Panhandle Region where the mild winter contributed to good survival rates.

The southwest region is looking promising. Chukars had good production, and average over-winter survival. There may be locally abundant pockets of chukars in places where they over-wintered well.

Idaho hunters wishing to take their young ones out for their first duck or goose hunt can circle the weekend of Sept. 24 and 25 on their calendars. Veterans and active-duty military personnel can also participate in the early, two-day hunt. Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host a youth pheasant hunt in Salmon on Oct. 1. Designed for youths ages 10-17, the event is free and will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dove hunters around Spokane have not done particularly well this year, but there seem to be a lot of birds available from Reardan south, along the Snake River breaks, around Moses Lake and in the fruit country around Yakima, Sunnyside and Wenatchee.

Forest grouse open in Washington on Thursday, a season which is shaping up similar to that of last year. Some areas have done well and hunters are likely to find multiple coveys. The ruffed grouse will generally be down low and around water. The dusky grouse (blues) are generally higher later in the year, but early on can be found in much the same elevation as the ruffed. Huckleberry patches are a good place to start for either species.

Contact Alan Liere at

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