Eastern Washington: Southeast Washingtons Snake River is open Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 for harvest of fall chinook salmon. A significant portion of the Columbia Rivers 626,000 upriver bright adult chinook forecasted to return are headed for the Snake. Up to six adipose-fin-clipped hatchery fall chinook adults (24 inches or more), and up to six adipose fin-clipped jack fall chinook (between 12 and 24 inches) can be retained daily.
Snake River steelhead fishing is also underway and anglers must cease fishing for salmon and steelhead for the day once they have retained three hatchery steelhead regardless of whether the salmon daily limit has been retained. All chinook and steelhead with unclipped adipose fins cannot be removed from the water and must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River and the Snake River Confluence Protection Area
Also on the first of September, southeast Washingtons Tucannon River steelhead fishing rules changed. The daily limit is reduced to two hatchery steelhead per day, with mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead and release of all wild steelhead. Barbless hooks are required while fishing for steelhead. The area from Marengo (at Turner Road Bridge) upstream is closed to fishing.
These changes were made because natural-origin steelhead returns to the Tucannon River are not meeting management goals for conservation and removal of more stray hatchery steelhead is needed. As usual, anglers must cease fishing for steelhead for the day once they have retained two hatchery steelhead or their two-trout per day limit. All steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be kept in the water and immediately released unharmed. Anglers should be sure to identify their catch because chinook and coho salmon, as well as bull trout are also present in the Tucannon River during this steelhead fishery.
Although drought conditions this year have forced fishing hour restrictions and even some closures on some of the regions streams and rivers (see Fishing Restrictions and Emergency Rule Changes), there are many other opportunities in lakes throughout the region.
This month is the last chance to fish several of the regions rainbow and/or cutthroat trout fishing lakes. Closing Sept. 30 is Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County and Badger, Williams and West Medical lakes in southwest Spokane County.
Fish Lake in Spokane County also provides anglers the unique opportunity to catch eastern brook trout until Sept. 30. Another southwest Spokane County lake changes seasons soon -- Amber Lake shifts to catch-and-release-only on Oct. 1.
Spokane Countys Downs Lake and Lincoln Countys Coffeepot Lake also close at the end of the month but can yield good catches of yellow perch, black crappie, and rainbow trout during September. Coffeepot anglers need to keep in mind that low water levels with drought conditions have left the public access site there unavailable for boat launching.
Plenty of other lakes throughout the region remain open through October or year-round. Clear Lake, near the town of Medical Lake in Spokane County, typically produces good catches of brown trout, crappie, and largemouth bass as fall advances. Other lakes continue to provide good fishing for bass and panfish, including Spokane Countys Silver, Liberty, and Newman lakes.
Year-round-open Lake Roosevelt and Sprague Lake both offer good-size rainbows in September. Lake Spokane (Long Lake) is usually good this month for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and rainbow trout.