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Fisherman all seem to have their own time-tested methods of catching fish. Two-year-old James Ward prefers the hands-on approach. Not unlike a big-game hunter, his habit of smearing fish scales and slime all over his clothes tends to mask human odors and allows for a silent assault. Although Thief Valley Reservoir was drained almost dry it is refilling and will soon be restocked with more fish. Pilcher Creek Reservoir is closed for the winter. JIM WARD photo
Weekend fishing opportunities
Fishing for summer steelhead is now goodon the John Day River.
Steelhead catch rates have been improving in the Grande Ronde River.
Rain and cooler temperatures have increased steelhead and salmon numbers moving up the Umatilla River.
Approximately 150 trophy sized rainbow trout have been stocked into Luger Springs Pond for fall fishing.
GRANDE RONDE RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish, bass
Recent creel reports indicate improving catch rates around 10 hours per fish from Wildcat Creek to the Washington state line. Steelhead will have moved from the Snake with the increased flows early last week and will be available to anglers.
Recent creel reports suggest angler catch is two hatchery for every wild fish. Steelhead are taking diverse gear including shrimp, jigs, spinners and swung flies.
Nymphing small flies such as glo-bugs and prince nymphs under an indicator can also be a deadly method.
Fall chinook and bull trout are present in the system and anglers are required to release them unharmed.
IMNAHA RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish
Steelhead will have moved from the Snake into the Imnaha with the increased flows early last week.
Fall chinook are spawning throughout the lower Imnaha and may displace steelhead.
Look for steelhead in pocket water and quick runs where fall chinook are unlikely to be found as well as the usual pools. There is currently no fishery for chinook in the Imnaha, and although they can be visible, anglers should avoid these fish to ensure their successful spawn.
Trout season is closed as of Oct. 31. However, angling for whitefish remains open throughout the steelhead season below the mouth of Big Sheep Creek. Look for whitefish in deeper runs and holes, and target them using beaded nymphs.
Bull trout are present this time of year and anglers are reminded to handle bull trout carefully and immediately release them.
JOHN DAY RIVER: Steelhead
Flows have increased to over 400 cubic feet per second allowing shallow draft boat navigation.
Steelhead have entered the lower John Day river in good numbers and are being caught up to Cottonwood Bridge. Most are wild and must be released without removing them from the water. Steelhead are being caught on flies, jigs, bait and spinning lures.
Trout fishing on the upper John Day River and tributaries closed on Oct. 31.
JUBILEE LAKE: trout
Access is limited to walk-in only. Fishing is good for rainbow trout. The lake has been stocked with legal and trophy-sized fish.
LUGER SPRINGS POND: rainbow
Approximately 150 trophy-sized rainbow trout have been stocked into Luger Springs Pond for a great fall fishing opportunity.
OLIVE LAKE: rainbow and kokanee
Fishing is good for rainbow trout but all large kokanee have spawned and died for this year. The lake should remain unfrozen for at least a few more weeks.
WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout
Kokanee are mostly done spawning for this year in the Wallowa River, and the Wallowa River above the lake closed to fishing Aug. 31. There may be some stocked rainbows available near the north and south ends of the lake. These fish can be found on a variety of gear types, and provide some late-season opportunity.
WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish
Steelhead season remains open, although few steelhead are caught during the fall months. Steelhead will move into the Wallowa River as winter progresses. Anglers will begin finding fish toward the first of the year and catch rates will improve into the spring.
Angling for whitefish remains open with the steelhead season and will produce throughout the winter. Anglers can target whitefish using a variety of light tackle, and fly anglers can find success using beaded nymphs in runs and pools.
SNAKE RIVER ZONE
BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, perch, catfish, bluegill, trout
Current water level is at 2,055 feet. Water levels are rising and most ramps are useable except for Holcomb Park. Fishing for smallmouth bass has slowed. Channel cats are being picked up at the mouth of the Powder River Arm in shallow water.
Perch are spotty but can be caught on worms or cutbait on the bottom in 20 feet of water. Crappie fishing is still poor. OXBOW RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish
Trout should be accessible, especially at creek mouths. Additional fingerling steelhead are being stocked for future fishing opportunity. Fishing remains fair for catfish.
HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish
Trout should be accessible, especially at creek mouths. Approximately 250 surplus steelhead have been stocked in Hells Canyon reservoir. These fish are considered trout and only one longer than 20 inches may be taken per day, with two daily limits in possession. The Idaho Power Co. has announced temporary road closures across Hells Canyon Dam in November.
SNAKE RIVER below HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, salmon, sturgeon
Fall chinook fishing below Hells Canyon dam is closed as of Oct. 31. Steelhead fishing is improving below the dam, and anglers are reporting catch rates around 9 hours per fish caught. Steelhead anglers are reminded that barbles hooks are required. Anglers are also reminded that new for 2012, only adipose-clipped trout may be kept in the Snake River.
Idaho Power will be resuming restrictions on access to the Oregon side of Hells Canyon dam Nov. 10 to conduct maintence on the dam. Anglers should be aware of the closure schedule below:
Nov. 10-Dec. 12 dam closed from 8 a.m. to noon, open from noon to 1 p.m., and closed again from 1 p.m. until sunset, except for Thanksgiving and the Friday following.
Weekend fishing opportunities:
Haines and North Powder Ponds have been stocked with rainbows for a fall fishing opportunity.
ANTHONY LAKE: hatchery rainbow trout, brook trout
The lake has been stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is good. From the bank try PowerBait along shoreline where water is deeper or try trolling spinners from a boat.
PHILLIPS RESERVOIR: trout, perch
The water level is at 38 percent full. Fishing for 8 to 14-inch rainbows is fair.
POWDER RIVER: trout, spring chinook
Catch-and-release for trout is allowed using flies and lures only from Hughes Lane Bridge in Baker City, upstream to Mason Dam.