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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for Nov. 9

By Alan Liere The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

The Spokane River is one of the top late-fall fisheries in the region, according to Silver Bow Fly Shop. Blue-winged olive mayflies have been out midday and fish have been keyed in on them. Nymphing and streamer fishing will definitely be the main tactics, though soft hackles have had some attention, too.

Even with a rise in flow, the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River is still fishable. It will be a nymph and streamer game. Stick to the lower stretches of the drainage.

Salmon and steelhead

November is peak season for fall steelhead in the Snake, Grande Ronde and other Columbia tributaries, but with the recent rains, these rivers will be tough. Hatchery winter steelhead start to arrive in Puget Sound and coastal rivers around Thanksgiving.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Roosevelt trout fishing has been picking up with some good reports out of the San Poil Arm. Rufus Woods has been fair for triploid trout for anglers bouncing a jig baited with coon shrimp. Another big body of water known for good late-fall trout fishing is Lake Spokane (Long Lake). Sprague Lake on the Lincoln/Adams county line is also a popular option for trout fishing this time of year. Amber Lake in south Spokane County remains open through November. Anglers are reminded that this water is managed as selective gear rules, and harvest is limited to one fish over 18 inches daily. In southeast Washington, the Wooten Wildlife Area lakes – Watson, Blue, Spring, Rainbow and Deer – draw a lot of fall anglers and are open through the end of November.

Spiny ray

Potholes Reservoir walleye and largemouth bass have been feeding aggressively, hitting blade baits and baited jigs. At MarDon Resort, Pete Fisher said the fall bite is going well for all species, including some big crappie and lots of decent-sized bluegill in addition to a few “dinner plates.”

Long Lake perch fishing remains good for the hardy, but not many anglers are willing to suffer through rain squalls and wind to find them. A friend who fished weed edges in Willow Bay this week said he put 39 perch in the live well but had to quit fishing when his “waterproof jacket” ceased to be waterproof.

Other species

Coastal razor clam digging opportunities will begin Sunday and run through Nov. 18. Not all beaches are open for every dig, so diggers are encouraged to make sure their intended destination is open before heading out. Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist, said the last dig was about as good as it gets with low swell and early digging. This latest dig, however, will be tougher, as it will be on evening tides.


If you’re a waterfowl hunter, or want to give it a try, there are lots of good opportunities in northeast Washington on the Pend Oreille River and Lake Roosevelt, as well as in the Colville and Kettle valleys on private lands. The District 1 Hunting Prospects include a lot of good information on where to hunt waterfowl in the area, starting on page 37.

Duck hunters were more active this week than pheasant hunters, as the inclement weather was just what they have been waiting for. Columbia Basin reports indicate hunters are beginning to see a few northern mallards. There was spotty success for local teal, widgeon and wood ducks in the Moses Lake area. Idaho Fish and Game along with Winchester State Park has announced the opening of limited waterfowl hunting at Winchester Lake. Specific rules are in place to help limit the number of people hunting and where they are allowed to hunt. Hunters will be required to sign up in advance before hunting. For more information go to

Serving your guests a wild turkey on Thanksgiving that you harvested yourself can become a special tradition, and you can get four (two hens and two of either sex) in Eastern Washington because they’re plentiful. Late-fall wild turkey hunting runs through the end of the year throughout GMUs 101 through 154 and 162 through 186.

The modern firearm late buck white-tail season begins Saturday, and the peak of the white-tail rut is Tuesday.

To maximize your chances of shooting a buck, do the following: Locate resident does and set up on the downwind side of their feeding and bedding areas; focus on funnels and well-used deer trails; and hunt the backside of storms and during weather events such as sudden temperature drops.

Upland bird hunters were evidently hunkered down by the stove this week, as few reports came in.

The nasty weather may be a boon later in the season, as there should be more pheasants, quail and chukars available. The one chukar hunter I spoke with said there seem to be more birds up high in the Snake River canyons from Wawawai to Clarkston than he remembers from year’s past.

Contact Alan Liere at