Area rivers are experiencing ice-ups, but the North Fork Coeur d’Alene remains an option from Prichard downstream, and the Spokane River is always fishable. Nymphing is particularly effective. This is the time of year Rocky Ford in Grant County starts attracting fly fishermen hoping to catch one of the spring creek’s outsized rainbow. So far, reports have been positive for fly fishermen looking for some warmer water.
Salmon and steelhead
With the Clearwater River closed for steelhead, guides are offering more trips on the Snake River. Initial reports indicate success has been better than expected, and it is possible to book a combination trip for steelhead and catch-and-release sturgeon. Toby Wyatt of Reel Time Fishing out of Clarkston said his clients can catch “as many sturgeon as they want.” Wyatt is also offering steelhead floats on the Grande Ronde River. Info: (208) 790-2128
An estimated 4,500 coho are expected to return to the Wenatchee River basin this year and will be in excess of spawning escapement goals on the Icicle River and hatchery broodstock needs. The Icicle is open for coho retention with a daily limit of two. Fishing with bait is prohibited and night closure is in effect. Barbless hooks are optional. For emergency rule updates, visit fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
Trout and kokanee
Trollers are catching triploids at Rufus Woods, but the fishing is said to be slow up and down the reservoir. Walleye fishing is also slow. Water temperatures are still relatively high, which could account for the poor bite, and some current is also necessary for the best fishing. If water is not being released from the dam, the bite is generally off.
Long Lake is almost a slam-dunk for 16- to 17-inch rainbow in the vicinity of the old Forshees resort at Tum Tum. Two friends launched at the confluence of the Little Spokane and Big Spokane last week, hoping to catch some bass or walleye. Instead, their Shad Raps attracted a lot of trout, most of which were released. They said some of the fish were close to 20 inches long.
Blue and Spring lakes on the Wooten Wildlife Area are open year-round and were stocked prior to the opening of deer season in October so they would have catchable rainbows into the winter months.
Pacific Lake in Lincoln County continues to produce nice rainbow trout. When leaving, anglers should make sure they clean the vegetation from their boat trailers.
Friends who fished Sprague Lake for bass on Saturday said they caught more rainbow than bass, and one of them was 24 inches long. That said, the bite for both species was slow.
Lake Roosevelt trout trollers are experiencing good to excellent success throughout the system, judging by reports from Hunters, Gifford, Fort Spokane and Hawk Creek. Most of the fish are caught at 35 to 55 feet down. A dodger with a hoochie tipped with white corn was mentioned several times as being extremely effective.
Omak Lake Lahontan cutthroat are in the upper 20 feet of water. Target them by bouncing plugs, spoons and swim baits off rocky bottoms. Fishing has been excellent.
Walleye fishing has been good in the Hunters area of Lake Roosevelt. Afternoons have been best, but the morning fish are shallower. Use jigs around the sand bars. The Buoy 5 area up the Spokane Arm has also been good for anglers casting jigs into shallow water and retrieving slowly into deeper water.
Walleye fishing continues this month on Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir in the Columbia Basin. Yellow perch fishing continues to be good, and so is the crappie bite on dinner plate-sized fish.
Spokane Arm burbot are readily hitting green- or perch-colored plastics in about 60 feet of water. If you don’t get a bite in the first 10 minutes, move.
Razor clam diggers should have plenty of chances to come home with clams this month, as two seven-day openings are planned. State shellfish managers have announced that a dig from Monday through Nov. 17 has been approved for most beaches. A Nov. 24-30 dig is tentative, awaiting results of toxin tests.
Waterfowl guides in the Columbia Basin say the northern ducks have shown up early, fleeing the cold front that pushed through Alberta last week. Typically, area waterfowlers cannot expect northern ducks to show until after Thanksgiving, but a nephew in the Yakima area confirmed the positive report of an early migration, saying he limited three times on greenheads last week. He also reported large flocks of snow geese on the Columbia River near Patterson.
Washington’s late modern firearm white-tailed buck deer hunting is Saturday through Nov. 19 in GMUs 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 121 and 124. Whitetail breeding usually peaks at this time, so less wary bucks are traditionally more available. Late archery and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons get underway toward the end of November in select units throughout the region.
Nothing personalizes Thanksgiving like a wild turkey on the table. Late fall turkey hunting runs through Dec. 31 in Washington GMUs 101-154 and 162-186. The big birds are abundant across most of Washington and Idaho.
Having just returned from a four-day pheasant hunt in South Dakota where my party of four limited or nearly limited each day, my dogs and I are in for a reality check now that we’re back home. Pheasant populations are definitely down in Eastern Washington and reports have been dismal. My two hunts before leaving for South Dakota produced only two birds for a lot of burned boot leather.
Contact Alan Liere at firstname.lastname@example.org
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