Trout and kokanee
At Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee, the brown trout go on the bite in the fall and the perch bite remains excellent. Antilon Lake above Manson on Lake Chelan is loaded with brown trout and you can catch them from shore. A Kastmaster lure is a favorite at Antilon Lake. Omak Lake has some huge Lahontan cutthroats. Trolling plugs like Flatfish and J-Plugs, but also spoons, will produce catches in the high double digits. A tribal access permit and boat launch permit are required.
Salmon and steelhead
Steelhead fishing has been slow this week on the Clearwater and Snake rivers near Lewiston, but a few B-runs are being caught at night by trollers dragging lighted lures. IDFG is predicting a decent run of B-Runs this fall, and fishing on the Clearwater should pick up through October.
Fish passage through the Prosser Diversion indicates that fall chinook and coho will return in sufficient numbers to provide sport fishing opportunity for anglers in the Lower Yakima River through Oct. 31. The daily limit will be two adult salmon and no limit on jacks.
The coho fishing in the Columbia and Icicle rivers has taken off in recent years. Anglers have had success from below Wanapum Dam all the way up to the mouth of the Wenatchee River. The Icicle River in Chelan County is open for the retention of coho salmon through one hour after official sunset on Nov. 30. Jigs have been effective. WDFW will be monitoring the fishery closely and may close the season early if necessary due to excessive incidental catch-and-release impacts to ESA-listed summer steelhead.
WDFW has opened coho retention from Priest Rapids Dam to Wells Dam. From Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam, and from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam, the season will run through Oct. 15. From Wells Dam to the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster, the season will remain open through Friday. From the Highway 173 Bridge at Brewster to the rock jetty at the upstream shoreline of Foster Creek (Douglas County side), the season will also run through Oct. 15.
Guide Shane Magnuson has had a lot of experience fishing for coho on the Columbia. “These coho love steelhead-style plugs,” he said. A metallic pink Mag Lip in the 3.5 size as well as a Fire Tiger pattern are his favorites, and small Mag Warts and the Yakima Bait Misty River patterns are also hot. Magnuson said Walla Walla Point near Wenatchee and the flat off the mouth of the Wenatchee River would be an excellent place to troll for coho. “If you’re trolling fast, go faster,” he said.
Moses Lake, Potholes Reservoir and Banks Lake have all had decent walleye fishing, and the smallmouth bite has been good. If you’d like to see what a saucer-sized bluegill looks and feels like, give Potholes a try. For Potholes walleye, troll crank baits and Slow Death rigs on weed lines. You’ll go through a lot of worms, as the bullheads are present in large numbers and active this time of year.
Walleye seem to be easier to catch on Lake Roosevelt, though there are a lot of small fish reported. One angler fishing the Spokane Arm recently reported catching over 30 walleyes but only a half dozen that were worth cleaning. Another angler said the fish were at about 55 feet, decent sized and plentiful by Buoy 5. Two friends who fished near Northport caught a dozen 15- to 16-inch walleye by drop-shotting. They said the water was low and there was a lot of current.
Washington quail, gray partridge and chukar open Saturday, but East Side pheasants don’t open until Oct. 22. Ducks (except scaup) and geese open Oct. 15. Scaup open Nov. 5. In Idaho, Area 1 opens for ducks and geese Oct. 19. Area 2 opens Saturday except for scaup. Idaho chukar, quail and gray partridge are open in Idaho. Pheasants open for Idaho residents Oct. 8 in Area 1 and Oct. 15 for residents in Area 2.
The general season modern firearm deer season in Washington opens Oct. 15 for all three species. Several Eastern Washington GMUs open for modern firearm elk Oct. 29. Some elk muzzleloader seasons run Saturday through Oct. 7.
I was considerably more optimistic about the upcoming general Washington pheasant season when I hunted the Palouse on Friday, the last day of the senior citizen hunt.
Birds were numerous where there were grassy draws with some water, but it was extremely difficult to distinguish the young roosters from the hens.
As much as I appreciate WDFW’s efforts to provide this early one-week hunt for anyone over 65, I don’t think I will participate in this early hunt again.
It didn’t feel right to be hunting birds that hadn’t colored up enough to easily identify hens from roosters, and which were vulnerable to a tight-holding pointer.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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