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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Nov. 14

Fly fishing

Rocky Ford is a little too weedy for good nymph fishing, but streamers fished shallow and callibaetis dries on the surface are producing some nice fish.

The Spokane River is probably the best fall fishing around. Nymphing is most productive. For a guided Spokane River trip, contact Silver Bow Fly Shop, (509) 924-9998.

Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited’s annual holiday party is Dec. 3. This event raises money for future TU projects on or around watersheds connected to the Spokane River. There will be numerous raffles and silent auctions. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. at the Dry Fly Distillery, 1003 E. Trent Avenue. Cost is $20 in advance and $25 at the door and includes BBQ and soft drinks.

Salmon and steelhead

Reel Time Fishing said the Snake River is fishing “incredibly well,” and it is averaging 8 to 10 steelhead a day. The fish have been larger than average. Side drifting has been the most effective. The Grande Ronde is also fishing well and the fish are averaging 8 pounds each, larger than normal for the river. Water conditions have been perfect. Reel Time is offering free lodging at its Lenore Lodge for trips booked December through February. Go to www.lenorelodge.com for details.

Drano Lake has been re-established as a salmon fishery as listed in the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. It was closed to angling in late September to increase the number fall chinook available for broodstock at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery. Hatchery managers have recently indicated that broodstock collection is on track to meet program goals and the fishery closure is no longer needed.

Salmon fishermen targeting coho on the Icicle River this week found that twitched marabou jigs were the only lure the fish wanted. The catching goes from zero to lights out when a pod of fish moves through.

Trout and kokanee

Anglers trolling flies and Wedding Rings out of Hunters on Lake Roosevelt this week were also finding a few large kokanee in addition to limits of rainbow. Trout fishing has been good in several areas of Roosevelt, with the morning bite being best. The fishing around Lincoln, A-Rock and Hawk Creek was said to be particularly good this week. Perch-colored Kekeda flies tipped with a piece of nightcrawler have worked well in the top 30 feet.

Sprague Lake rainbow fishing is not fast, but the size of the fish is impressive. Recent reports indicate fish over 4 pounds are not unusual and even the “small ones” measure in the mid- to- high teens. Trolling with lures is a common technique, but bait fishing with marshmallows and night crawlers can also be effective. The dock at the public launch is out of the water.

Omak Lake on the Colville Indian Reservation is 8 miles outside the town of Omak. The launch is rather primitive, but good-sized boats are using it, and the fishing for Lahontan cutthroat averaging 16 inches has been excellent. The state record cutthroat is from Omak Lake, a fish over 18 pounds. Another good fall trout lake on the Colville Reservation, 10 miles from Grand Coulee Dam. is Buffalo, where the Colville Tribe released a bunch of 5-pound triploids in October. Both lakes require a Colville Tribal fishing permit.

Some Washington lakes close Nov. 30. These are Amber and Medical in Spokane County; Rainbow and Watson in Columbia County; and Lenice, Lenore, Nunnally, Dry Falls and Dusty in Grant County.

Spiny ray

Walleye fishing has been good north of Hunters, but the fish are deep off the edges of sandbar flats. Walleye fishing for smaller fish has also been excellent around Porcupine Bay. Jigs or drop-shot setups in about 70 feet of water have accounted for a lot of fish.

Other species

Burbot are being caught in 60-100 feet of water in numerous spots on Lake Roosevelt. The Spokane Arm has been most productive.

Hunting

My friend Steve and I logged about 3 1/2 hours of hard walking on public scab rock and sage land south of Creston this week looking for quail. Our (my) tired legs and sore feet paid off, however, as we were witness to some nice dog work and lots of shooting. Steve even connected on a long-tailed rooster pheasant. Particularly satisfying was the fact I was using the exact same model shotgun as my “baby” – an Ithaca 20-gauge double lost in my recent home fire. It was located for me by a nephew on an on-line auction site and purchased after a week of back and forth bidding – for three times what I paid for the same gun 30 years ago.

A game biologist tried to explain to me why there are so few pheasants south of Spokane this year. He said pheasant hens go into estrus in February and lose feathers. When the snow and cold weather came in 2018, many of them died.

Large Canada geese are everywhere and lesser Canadas are also migrating into the area. Thousands of snow geese have moved into the Columbia Basin and ducks just keep coming. Although pheasant numbers are down, it’s a good year to be a waterfowler. The possibility of open water for the Thanksgiving holiday is a big plus.

A few any-weapon regular deer hunts remain open until Dec. 1 in select Idaho units. Archery and muzzleloader hunts are ongoing in many units. In Washington, the modern rifle general deer season is over. Many late-archery and muzzleloader seasons will run from late November into December. Check your regs, pages 18 and 19.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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