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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for Sept. 3

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 2, 2020

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Morning fishing remains the best bet on the Spokane River, with some late-evening action. Silver Bow Fly Shop said to fish the riffles with nymph or Euro rigs. Pat’s rubber legs, caddis pupas and soft hackles all work for nymph or dropper rigs. Fish faster water.

There have been good reports from the St. Joe River by anglers using Chernobyls and hopper/dropper combos in the morning and small dries in the afternoons. Good reports also come from the Kootenai River, which provides great dry fly fishing this time of year.

Trout and kokanee

Friends who fished Lake Coeur d’Alene last week were amazed at the size of the kokanee. Their largest were 18 inches, but they had numerous fish of 16 inches, rounding out limits with the “smaller” 12-inchers.

“Badger Lake is absolutely full of rainbow and cutthroat trout and has good numbers of kokanee which are running up to 13 inches,” WDFW fish biologist Randy Osborne said.

Fish Lake in Spokane County provides a unique opportunity to catch eastern brook trout. Clear Lake has been good and should remain so for brown trout and largemouth bass. Liberty Lake has browns and rainbow and some good perch and largemouth bass fishing.

There are many year-round fisheries in Grant County in the Seep Lakes area, just south of Potholes Reservoir. Katy, Janet and East and West Sage lakes should all fish well this month. Corral Lake, located immediately south of Potholes Reservoir, is a year-round fishery that provides excellent opportunities for rainbow, largemouth and crappie.

Salmon and steelhead

Steelhead are open from the mouth of the Snake River to Lower Granite Dam with a daily limit of one hatchery fish. From Lower Granite Dam upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line, the daily limit is two hatchery fish. Two Spokane anglers on the Snake/Clearwater confluence for Tuesday’s opener said they had good luck bobber fishing with shrimp. They had seven takedowns but noted their luck would have been better had they not left their net at home. They managed to bring one clipped steelhead and a jack salmon aboard, but lost two keeper steelhead at the boat.

Fall chinook harvest is allowed from the mouth of the Snake River (Burbank to Pasco Railroad Bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to Lower Granite Dam with a daily limit of three hatchery adult chinook. There will be no limit on chinook jacks.

The fall chinook season in the Columbia Gorge is open and fishing has been good, but this fishery closes Sunday. Chinook fishing remains open in the upper Columbia River from Priest Rapids to Chief Joseph dams and from Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam. It is also open on the Chelan and Entiat rivers. Up to two adults may be retained, hatchery or wild, but all other salmon must be released.

The Hanford Reach salmon fishery opened Aug. 16. Preseason forecast for fall chinook to the Hanford Reach is 92,000 adults, 65,000 wild and 27,000 hatchery. Returns are expected to be similar to last year. Daily limit is six salmon, but anglers are limited to two adults. Anglers can harvest fall chinook and coho, both hatchery and wild. Anglers can use barbed or barbless hooks when fishing for salmon in this area of the Columbia River.

Chinook anglers are catching some nice fish on Brad’s Super Baits below Wanapum Dam off the mouth of Crab Creek.

The steelhead limit on the Walla Walla, Tucannon and Touchet rivers has been reduced to one hatchery fish daily. The steelhead limit on the Grande Ronde is two hatchery fish. Anglers must use barbless hooks Be sure to identify your catch as chinook, as coho salmon may be present and are not open to harvest.

The Buoy 10 chinook fishery ended Aug. 27 with anglers taking an estimated 12,000 chinook and 2,500 coho. Buoy 10 is open to coho fishing throughout September, and chinook fishing is tentatively expected to resume the last week of September.

Spiny ray

Several of Washington’s best walleye fisheries this month are in the south-central region, including the Hanford Reach, the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam, and the Columbia River below McNary Dam.

Downs, Coffeepot and Curlew lakes should yield good catches of perch in September and all have rainbow trout as well.

Year-round Washington lakes continue to provide good fishing for bass and panfish, including Spokane County’s Silver and Newman lakes. Long Lake is usually good this month for largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as perch, and good trout fishing remains steady.

Other species

Lake Roosevelt’s sturgeon fishery has been open all summer from Grand Coulee Dam to the China Bend Boat Ramp, and a new section from the China Bend Boat Ramp upstream to the Canadian Border opened Tuesday. There are a lot of sturgeon in that stretch.

Puget Sound halibut in Marine Areas 5-10 are open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, through Sept. 30 or until the remaining quota is taken. The all-depth halibut fishery in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco/Chinook) and Marine Area 2 (Westport) will be open Friday. Marine Area 1 will also be open Sept. 11. These openings are in addition to days already proposed to be open.


General fall turkey seasons are open in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions of Idaho, and in portions of the Southwest and Southeast regions. Some general seasons in eastern Idaho open Sept. 15. See page 22 of the Idaho Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer rules, as there are various closing dates. In Washington, the fall general hunting season for wild turkey opened Tuesday. The northeast district is famous for a high population of Merriam’s.

Grouse, rabbit and doves are also open for hunting in Washington.

There have been no grouse or rabbit reports, but dove hunters around Spokane are asking, “Where are the birds?”

The modern firearm general season for elk opens in Eastern Washington’s Elk Area 3722 on Sept. 12. Elk early archery general season opens in Eastern Washington on Monday in select Game Management Units. Archery hunters usually fare best in GMUs 172 (Mountain View), 175 (Lick Creek), and 154 (Blue Creek). In the central district, archery hunters usually do best in GMUs 124 (Mount Spokane) and 127 (Mica Peak). In the northeast district, archery hunters usually do best in GMUs 113 (Selkirk), 121 (Huckleberry), and 111 (Aladdin.)

Youth-only hunting opportunities this year in Washington include the Sept. 19-20 pheasant hunt, Sept. 26-27 quail hunt and Sept. 26 hunt for partridge. A special pheasant hunting opportunity for hunters 65 years or older runs Sept. 21-25. Deer and elk hunters should see plenty of game in Idaho during fall hunts, as mild winters have helped rebound mule deer herds hit hard in recent years. Idaho’s elk herds continue to thrive.

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