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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Oct. 17

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Fly fishing

Small midges and mayfly patterns have been best on the St. Joe. There are still some October caddis, fall caddis, mahoganies, BWO’s and midges hatching, and some nice fish have also been taken on flashy streamer patterns. Silver Bow Fly Shop recommends a longer 6x leader for fishing the calm water. On the North Fork Coeur d’Alene, similar tactics should take fish. Afternoons will be best.

Fishing the Spokane River has been good this week. For nymphs, caddis pupa have done well, as have flashy streamers. Fish the slower water.

Steelheaders are beginning to pick up a few fish on the Grande Ronde, and fish size has been larger than last year. Indicator fishing is always a good idea. Peacock stones, bead stones, big lightning bugs and egg sucking stones are all good. Sink tips and nymphing work best.

Salmon and steelhead

Saturday will be the last day to fish for salmon in the Yakima River this fall. This year’s return of fall chinook to the river is expected to be the lowest return on record for the past 28 years.

The Vernita Bridge area has been giving up limits of chinook for guests fishing with Captain Dave’s Guide Service (939-6727.) Captain Dave Grove said he targeted the deeper holes with Superbaits, sometimes even removing the flasher. Later in the afternoons, when the fish start to ignore Superbaits, he’s had good success backing eggs into tight pods of fish.

Lake Coeur d’Alene chinook are holding at about 100 feet at midlake. Most of the fish run 5 to 8 pounds.

Trout and kokanee

Four friends fished with Seagull Charters out of Hope, Idaho, on Lake Pend Oreille’s Green Monarchs area this week. They fished six lines on planer boards and two on downriggers. Despite 40-mph winds, they caught a good number of 7- to 8-pound rainbow and a number of shakers, mostly on the downriggers and plugs. They said they were given royal treatment by the skipper.

Guides from Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene say the next 30 days will be prime time for the big rainbow on surface flies on Pend Oreille. Troll bucktails or Apexes from the surface to 30 feet. Some 18- to 20-pound fish were taken this week. If you’re targeting lakers, go to the bottom by the islands on the north end and drag a dodger and baited mini-squid, a helmeted herring or a Lyman plug.

Trout fishermen on Lake Roosevelt say it sometimes takes some searching, but when you find the right spot, the bite is fast for 15- to 17-inch rainbow. Some of the fish are down around 40 feet, but the majority are suspended 15 to 20 feet below the surface. The Hunters area was mentioned several times this week.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye have been scattered in the lake and at various depths. Fishing near Kettle Falls, Hunters and the flats across from Evans was decent this week for “eaters.”

Walleye and crappie action on Potholes Reservoir in Grant County was hit or miss last week, as high winds made fishing difficult to impossible. The humps along the dunes have been good at times for walleyes this week, but many reports indicate the big bluegill and perch are more likely to bite, and anglers also report good numbers of channel cats. Successful walleye anglers say blade baits are the way to go, but when that bite slows down, troll Smile Blades and ’crawlers. It is reported that low water makes the launching at Blithe difficult for large boats. Also, be aware that waterfowl season is in progress, so try to give decoys spreads a wide berth.

Coeur d’Alene Lake pike fishing has been “decent,” Jeff Smith at Fins and Feathers in Coeur d’Alene said. The smaller fish are packed up in pods. When you find one, you’ll catch a bunch. Oversized fish are still prowling the weed beds, though, and swim baits and Husky Jerks will bring strikes. Smith said to look for standing weeds in 12 to 15 feet of water for best results, but if the weeds are lying over, troll the edges with jerk baits or bucktails.

Hunting

Fall migration of waterfowl is on throughout Washington and Idaho, bringing groups of eager waterfowl hunters to Wildlife Management Areas and public waters for the last Saturday’s opener. In Idaho, try the Boundary-Smith Creek and McArthur Lake WMAs for good shooting opportunities as both these wetland complexes normally ice over in mid- to late November. In Washington, Grant County, as usual, is the place to be with Potholes Reservoir and Crab Creek producing a lot of shooting on the opener.

Pheasant season begins Saturday in Washington and that part of Idaho where pheasant hunting is allowed but did not open last Saturday. The highest pheasant harvest in Idaho typically occurs in the Southwest, Magic Valley and Southeast regions. In Washington, the Palouse area, particularly Whitman County, has the highest pheasant population. A lot of uncolored birds were reported by hunters during the short “over 65” hunts earlier this month. With only a couple of weeks to color up since then, it will probably still be difficult to identify legal roosters born this spring.

Chukar populations on the Snake River breaks appear to be about the same as last year in Washington and Idaho, but gray partridge may be up some and quail numbers are up substantially. A friend and I put up several good-sized coveys during a 3-hour walk with dogs near Creston.

Idaho Fish and Game staff is seeking voluntary sample submissions from hunters that harvest whitetailed and mule deer in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions. Biologists will be operating check stations around the region this fall where samples will be taken from interested hunters’ deer. Samples are collected by removing the lymph nodes located near the base of the deer’s jaw. Hunters can sample their own deer or bring deer into a regional office to have samples taken.

Whitetail deer populations in Eastern Washington are down and hunters had below average success on last Saturday’s opener.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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