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Alan Liere’s fish-hunt report for Sept. 17

By Alan Liere For The Spokesman-Review

Fly fishing

Cooler temperatures created by the smoke (false cloud cover) and the cooler nights have improved fishing, though not many are venturing out.

Silver Bow Fly Shop said a few anglers are finding steelhead on the lower Clearwater. It’s by no means great, but a lot of casting will be rewarded with an occasional grab. The Grande Ronde River should be seeing some early steelhead soon.

At Swede’s Fly Shop on Garland, Allen Petersen said the Clark Fork is good between St. Regis and Superior, launching from Forest Grove campground and fishing downstream past Sloway and taking out at Dry Creek.

The 10-mile drift is best fished from a pontoon boat and the best-producing fly is a size 14 olive Humpy. Petersen said he likes to beach on the gravel bars and fish the length, choosing the head, run and tail outs that are associated with these pools and seams.

Salmon and steelhead

A friend who continues to bobber fish the Clearwater confluence with shrimp for steelhead and chinook has not gone a day without at least one hatchery fish boated and several wild fish released. He said there were about 50 boats in the area on Tuesday morning, but most were trolling and a few fish, primarily chinook, were being caught.

A coho season for the Clearwater River has been approved for the mainstem Clearwater River downstream from Memorial Bridge beginning immediately with fishing allowed seven days a week.

Beginning Thursday, coho fishing is allowed on the Mainstem Clearwater River from Memorial Bridge upstream to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks of the Clearwater River, the North Fork of the Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam, and the middle for Clearwater River form the South Fork Clearwater River upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers. For these sections, coho fishing is only allowed Thursdays through Sundays until Oct. 18. Beginning Oct. 19, all of the listed sections of river are open for coho fishing seven days a week. Daily bag limits for all open sections are two coho, which may be adipose-clipped or unclipped.

Some salmon and steelhead retention rules have been amended from the Buoy 10 line to the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line. Until Tuesday, two hatchery coho with a minimum size of 16 inches may be retained daily. All other salmon and steelhead must be released. From Wednesday through Sept. 30 the daily salmon limit is two. Up to one may be a chinook of at least 24 inches and both may be a hatchery chinook. Release all steelhead. From Oct. 1-Oct. 31, six coho of at least 16 inches may be retained. Up to two may be adults.

Trout and kokanee

Although anglers at Rufus Woods Reservoir say the smoke and ash are terrible, the triploid fishing for those who venture out has been outstanding. The trout are in 40-50 feet of water, so you’ll need a heavy (3-ounce) bottom bouncer. Add a spinner baited with nightcrawler and you’ll probably catch a few walleye while trolling downstream below the upper net pens. The triploid limit is only two, but the average weight is 4 pounds.

Spiny ray

Lake Roosevelt walleye seem to be scattered, but anglers are picking one up here and there. A lot of walleye fishermen end up targeting the big Roosevelt trout, which have been more cooperative downstream of the launch.

Perch fishermen are taking advantage of a healthy bite on Long Lake. Many of these are 10-11 inches. The Willow Bay area has been mentioned most, but last week there was a good bite all the way to the dam. Find weed edges in 20 feet of water and you’re in business.

Crappie and bluegill fishing continues to be excellent on Potholes Reservoir on the face of the dunes and the mouth of Crab Creek. Largemouth bass fishing has also been good for 1- to 4-pound fish.

Other species

A friend who fishes at Northport said fishing there is completely dependent on stable or rising water levels. If it falls more than an inch an hour, nothing bites. He has been trolling for walleye with bottom bouncers and nightcrawlers but has taken a lot of sturgeon up to 48 inches.

Washington shellfish managers have scheduled 39 razor clam digs on ocean beaches for dates through December. State shellfish managers have also approved the first four days of razor clam digging, which started Wednesday, after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. Final approval of tentatively scheduled openings depends on results of marine toxin tests. Digging is also contingent upon continued guidance by public health officials monitoring COVID-19 in coastal communities.

The approved razor clam digs to date, along with low morning tides and beaches, are:

  • Thursday, 6:58 a.m., -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Friday, 7:39 a.m., -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Saturday, 8:19 a.m., -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

The first tentative dates are Sunday and Tuesday at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis and Monday at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. Many more digs are scheduled for October, November and December.

Hunting

Eastern Washington’s youth hunt for pheasants runs Saturday and Sunday and the youth-only hunt for chukar, gray partridge and quail runs Sept, 26-27. The five-day senior-only pheasant hunt begins Monday and the general season quail, gray partridge and chukar season begins Oct. 3. Oct. 24 is opening day of the Eastern Washington general pheasant season.

Idaho Department of Fish & Game will release over 1,300 pheasants this fall at four locations throughout the Clearwater region. In addition to a hunting license, an upland game bird permit is required to hunt stocked pheasants in these areas.

Permits are not required to hunt pheasants or any other upland game birds outside these stocked locations. The cost of the permit is $23.75 (price locked), $28.75 (not price locked) and $51.75 (nonresident) and will be valid for six birds – multiple permits may be purchased during the season. The daily bag limit is two roosters at release sites.

An online sign-in process is used to manage hunter numbers at each of these properties. Each individual hunter has to register online to use Access Yes! properties in the Clearwater Region. More information is available on the sign-up website (idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/pheasant/stocking), or contact the Clearwater regional office at (208) 799-5010.

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