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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report

The Spokesman-Review
November 23, 2017

Fly fishing

Bead-head nymphs, streamers, and midge patterns are once again getting a lot of looks from the big trout at Rocky Ford. Amber Lake has also been kind to fly fishermen, but it closes at the end of the month.

The North Fork Coeur d’Alene will not provide fast fishing now, but if you can get a nymph with some flash down deep, you’ll find fish.

I crossed the Clark Fork River in Montana about 15 times last week on a pheasant hunting expedition to South Dakota. The river looked very fishable and there was no snow, but no one was on the water. Most likely, nymphs or streamers would find some fish.

Salmon and steelhead

The lower Snake River has been opened to retention of hatchery steelhead measuring less than 28 inches in length from the mouth of the river (Burbank to Pasco railroad bridge at Snake River mile 1.25) to the Washington/Idaho state line at Clarkston, Washington. The daily limit is two hatchery steelhead less than 28 inches. The Snake is also open from the Idaho/Washington state line at Clarkston upstream to the Couse Creek Boat Ramp, and from there upstream to the Idaho/Oregon state line. The daily limit in this stretch of two hatchery steelhead has no size restrictions.

Both the Snake and the Grande Ronde rivers have been popular lately for fly fishermen as well as the gear guys. Fish the slower currents.

Steelhead anglers who like to fish the Grande Ronde are wondering what to do now upon hearing that Boggan’s Oasis suffered a devastating fire on Saturday that burned the popular café to the ground. Anglers will surely miss the wonderful milk shakes and breakfasts as well as all the great fishing advice doled out by owners Bill and Farrel Vail, and the many guides who used the café as a gathering place.

Trout and kokanee

Trout anglers have been scoring heavily on Lake Roosevelt – particularly in the vicinity of Hawk Creek – but friends who went there last weekend didn’t get a bite until they went into the narrows near the launch and tied on white tube jigs. After that, they took several of the bigger Roosevelt ’bows in 30 feet of water.

Two eastern Washington lakes – Fourth of July and Hatch – open Friday. Fourth of July has been heavily stocked, including fish up to 10 pounds. Hatch Lake will have smaller, catchable-sized trout. It seems odd to report on the Washington winter openings without mentioning Hog Canyon and Williams (the one in Stevens County), but neither of these will have a trout fishery this season as they have been rehabilitated to get rid of scrap fish.

Lake Chelan kokanee are running around 14 inches, and trollers hitting the 75-foot mark over deeper water are still finding bright fish near the Yacht Club.

Spiny ray

Smallmouth bass are providing some of the hottest fishing action now at area lakes. Drop a jig into 20-30 feet of water and drag it across the bottom, and action is assured at any lake, reservoir or river that holds these fish. Good reports recently come from Priest and Coeur d’Alene lakes in Idaho and from Long Lake to the Snake River to Banks and Potholes in Washington.

The largemouth action in the Crab Creek channel of Potholes Reservoir has been good, and there are still perch to be had in 30 feet of water in the vicinity of Medicare Beach. The best perch action though is around Blue Heron Park on Moses Lake. Duck hunters and anglers are sometimes in conflict this time of year in the Columbia Basin. Use common sense. Anglers should not stay long in front of a decoy spread, and hunters must remember the public areas are for everyone.

When the bald eagles begin showing up at Granite Creek and the Bayview shoreline on Lake Coeur d’Alene as they are now, it’s a good bet the kokanee season has ended. Sub-surface plugs, however, are still enticing pike. Look for standing weed beds at Wolf Lodge Bay and by Harlow Point.


Duck hunters say the northern birds are definitely here. There is a lot of shooting going on around Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, and success has been high all through the Moses Lake region. As a bonus, duck hunters are also finding fair numbers of pheasants in the sand dunes and along Crab Creek – a bird that has been scarce in recent years.

Except for late archery and muzzleloader seasons, the Washington and Idaho deer seasons are pretty much over. Evidently, I’ve been doing too much bird hunting this fall, and I ended the late deer season on Sunday without filling my tag.

Turkey season continues in Idaho in most of the Panhandle and Clearwater regions, ending Dec. 31. Check page 21 of your Idaho game regs for specifics. In Washington, the late fall turkey season in units 105-154 and 162-186 continues, but ends on Dec. 15. This is an either-sex season.

Contact Alan Liere at

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