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

Alan Liere’s hunting and fishing report for Sept. 21

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review


Travelers wanting to use the BLM’s Eagle Creek Road in the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area east of Lewiston may now do so.

Repair and improvement work have progressed and the road will be available for use on weekends, according to Idaho Fish and Game. The road will be open for travel starting at 5 p.m. Fridays through 8 a.m. on Mondays.

Fly fishing

The Spokane River has been fishing well. Dry/dropper rigs have been working, as has the bobber rig. Try rubber leg stones, caddis pupa, jig patterns and pheasant tail patterns for nymphs. Chernobyls and hoppers are still getting some fish, and swinging soft hackles is working, too, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Some caddis are hatching. Flows are up a little.

Trout fishing is good on the North Fork of the Clearwater, Kelly Creek and Kootenai River. Summer tactics will work almost anywhere, which means hopper/droppers, small chubbies and attractors. Small patterns like blue-winged olives will be important, and don’t forget to take some mahogany duns and October Caddis.

Steelheaders on the Clearwater River have been finding the occasional fish, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. The Snake and lower Grande Ronde are warm still, so give them a few more weeks.

Trout and kokanee

Lake Coeur d’Alene kokanee anglers are catching huge numbers of 10-inch fish throughout the system. Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene said the larger chinook have gone up the river to spawn and that fishery will probably not pick up until November.

Salmon and steelhead

Chinook and steelhead are still being caught at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers.

A friend who has spent many days on the water there dunking dyed shrimp under a bobber caught a steelhead and a chinook salmon Tuesday morning. Trollers are also catching fish.

Fall salmon are making their way up the Columbia River and fishing in the Hanford Reach is going to get good soon. Along with the fall run chinook, there are coho salmon passing through the dams and many of them will be headed for the Icicle River in Leavenworth. They are not only fun to catch, but the table quality in the early part of the season is excellent. Fishing success may occur later than usual this year because of the low water in area streams.

Heavy rain and higher water are much needed.

Spiny ray

Blue and Park lakes in Grant County are famous for great trout fishing, but many anglers look forward to the perch fishing as both these lakes produce some great catches of big perch. Now is the time to take advantage of the action.

A friend who lives on Long Lake said the perch fishing has been good around the island across the water from the old Forshees Resort. His most recent outing produced a lot of fish between 11 and 14 inches.

The Spokane Arm has produced good catches of walleye recently for anglers using jigging raps at the bottom of deep channel edges. Most of the fish are between 12 and 23 inches long. The walleyes are feeding on crawdads and small perch. Potholes Reservoir walleye fishing has also been good recently.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is seeing some good to excellent bass and pike action.

Other species

Shellfish managers with the WDFW have announced 36 days of tentative razor clam digs at coastal beaches from Sept. 29 through Dec. 29. Final approval of marine toxin testing usually occurs about a week or less – sometimes two to three days – prior to the start of each digging series. It will be particularly important for harvesters to check the WDFW website before heading to the beach.

The white sturgeon fishing season on Lake Roosevelt is open until Nov. 30 from Grand Coulee Dam to the Canadian border. Fish 53-63 inches (fork length) can be kept. The limit is one per day and two per season. A few keeper fish have shown, with the best action being above Kettle Falls and in the China Bend area. There has been only a fraction of last year’s participation according to tackle stores that usually sell a lot of gear and bait throughout the summer.

Some large channel catfish are being caught in Potholes Reservoir on the face of the sand dunes and around Goose Island.


Reports from pheasant hunters taking advantage of this week’s early hunt for senior citizens were mixed. I’m laid up until a new right knee becomes usable, but the friend I usually hunt with was discouraged after the opener. Hunting in one of our normal spots in the Palouse with his dog, he said he not only didn’t see a single pheasant, he didn’t see any tracks to indicate the birds had wandered through. Two other friends, however, who hunted around Winona, said they saw lots of birds but couldn’t identify many as roosters because they were so young. Another friend hunting near Rock Lake also indicated there was no a shortage of pheasants. According to WDFW Eastern Washington Wildlife Biologist Joey McCanna, there are more pheasants out there than he expected. Good habitat and water are the keys.

The forest grouse season is open until the end of December. Look for ruffs near water in low-lying areas and the dusky grouse higher up.

Although it’s not a hunter favorite, the late turkey seasons in Washington and Idaho are open well into winter. There are a lot of birds this fall in big flocks and all stages of development. The spring and fall seasons are viewed as separate seasons, so even if you filled your tags in the spring, you my still hunt in the late season. Limits are generous. In Washington, the fall season generally runs to the end of December. If you’re hunting in Idaho, the end of the fall seasons vary. Check page 22 in the Idaho Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer pamphlet.

Rabbits are open in Idaho and Washington and will remain so into the early spring. In Idaho, the red squirrel season runs until March 31. Red squirrels are native to Idaho, and IDFG said they are abundant all over in forests. Fall is the best time to hunt them as they are typically active during the day as they stockpile food for winter. Fried squirrel is good, with an almost sweet taste.

A few doves are still hanging around the Peone Prairie area of Spokane, and hunters say they are still getting some shooting to the south, through the Palouse to the Snake River breaks.

Contact Alan Liere at