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November 2018
Region 1: Eastern Washington
(Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman counties)
Young angler with the Rainbow trout she caught while fishing Liberty Lake
Young angler with the Rainbow trout she caught while fishing Liberty Lake. Photo by Stewart Poulsen

Trout: Lake fishing in the region continues this month at several waters that are open year-round. Good rainbow trout fishing is available at Lake Spokane (Long Lake) and should get even better through the fall.  Rainbow trout fishing is also good at Sprague Lake on the Lincoln/Adams county line.

Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam, provides some of the best year-round trout fishing for anglers willing to brave late fall/early winter conditions.
 
In the southeast district, most of the Tucannon River impoundments on the Wooten Wildlife Area closed to fishing Oct. 31. However, Blue and Spring lakes remain open year-round. Both were recently stocked with catchable rainbows that should provide good fishing opportunities through the month and beyond.
 
Anglers should note that both Hog Canyon Lake (10 miles northeast of Sprague in Spokane County), Fourth of July Lake on the Lincoln-Adams county line just south of the town of Sprague, and Williams Lake (14 miles north of Colville in Stevens County) will open to fishing the Friday after Thanksgiving.  

Mixed species: Waitts Lake in Stevens County is open through February and provides rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass, and yellow perch.

Eloika Lake in north Spokane County is open year-round for largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, and some brown trout.

Newman Lake in eastern Spokane County, and Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County, are also open year-round for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch, plus an occasional tiger muskie.

Steelhead: Fishing for hatchery steelhead continues in southeast Washington’s Snake River. The daily catch limit is one hatchery fish. Anglers must use barbless hooks, and all steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed.

Anglers should refer to the current sport fishing rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits and safety closures.

Hunter with the bull elk he successfully hunted.
Woman with the elk she harvest hunting GMU 127.
Photo by Cassie Wood

Planning your hunt: Hunters should make sure to check this year’s rules in the 2018 Big Game Hunting pamphlet or the Migratory Waterfowl & Upland Game pamphlet before heading out. WDFW’s new Hunting Prospects guide, past Game Harvest Reports and Go Hunt mapping tool can all be helpful in determining where to hunt.

There also is a browser-based, hunting regulations web map for 2018-19 hunting seasons. The web map, available on the hunting section of the webpage, provides more convenient access to Washington’s 2018-19 hunting regulations and allows hunters to find permit and general season hunts based on location, date, weapon choice and more.

Elk: Modern firearm elk hunting runs through Nov. 4 throughout the region. In the northeast district, hunters can harvest any bull elk, while in the southeast district they can hunt only spike bulls. Late archery and muzzleloader elk hunting seasons also get underway later this month in select units throughout the region.

The best opportunities in the region are in the southeast district of the Blue Mountains where there are more elk overall and traditionally milder winter weather. GMU 166 has had the highest success rate for general season hunters recently, but also has one of the higher densities of hunters because it’s mostly U.S. Forest Service and WDFW-owned lands. A portion of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness extends into this GMU and offers backcountry hunting opportunities.
 
Central district elk hunting is mostly on private lands in GMUs 124, 127, and 130. However, elk appear to be expanding into new areas and harvest in GMUs 139 and 142 has been on the rise. Elk appear to be moving back and forth between Idaho and Washington, so timing and access to private lands is key. Hunters on private lands in GMU 130 have the highest success, probably benefitting from animals moving on and off Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.

Northeast district elk are widely scattered in small groups in dense forestland, making them both difficult to survey and to hunt. The best northeast elk hunting opportunities are in the Pend Oreille sub-herd area, which includes GMUs 113, 117, and 111.

Deer: Late modern firearm white-tailed buck deer hunting is Nov. 10-19 in GMUs 105, 108, 111, 113, 117, 121, and 124. Whitetail breeding usually peaks at this time, so less wary bucks are traditionally more available.

Late archery and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons also get underway later this month in select units throughout the region.
 
Moose: Moose hunting, which is by special permit only, has been underway since the first of October in many game management units (GMUs) and continues through the end of November.

Wild turkey: Why not put a bird on the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table? Late fall wild turkey hunting runs through Dec. 31 throughout the region (GMUs 101-154 and 162-186). As usual, the big birds are abundant across most of the region.

Upland game bird:  Pheasant, quail, partridge and forest grouse hunting continues throughout the region.

Waterfowl: Duck and goose hunting is underway. Some of the best hunting is probably still ahead when northern migrants drop in to boost locally-produced duck and goose numbers.

House finches foraging on standing sunflower stalk.
House finches foraging on standing sunflower stalk.
Photo by Jim Cummins.

Birds: November’s changing weather and shortening daylight hours bring lots of bird movement throughout the region. New winter resident birds are arriving and migrants are making stopovers, so birdwatchers never know what they might see from day to day at this time of year.

The region’s large waterways, including the Snake, Spokane, and Pend Oreille rivers, are good bets for seeing ducks, geese and other waterbirds. Those riparian areas are also used during migration by raptors and smaller passerines. The Tucannon River, which winds through the Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County, is a good bird-watching spot and fall tree color is at a peak.

The usual patrons of backyard bird feeding stations, including finches, juncos, chickadees, and nuthatches, are showing up where meals are offered or water is provided. Some have been summer residents, but more are moving in from farther north. Several woodpecker species that normally feed on insects may be attracted to suet feeders. More information about maintaining healthy bird feeding stations is available at WDFW’s Winter Bird Feeding webpage. 

Deer: With the peak of both white-tailed and mule deer breeding season (or rut) in mid-November, this is the time to view antlered bucks vying for dominance over other bucks or seeking does. Buck deer can be less wary of virtually everything else at this time, so viewing may be easy from a roadside. Motor vehicle collisions with deer increase at this time, not just because the deer are less wary but because shortened daylight hours simply have more motorists on the roads in the dark.

Salmon: November is the time when land-locked sockeye salmon, better known as kokanee, spawn in Pend Oreille County’s Harvey Creek. WDFW northeast district fish biologist Bill Baker says the fish can usually be seen near the bridge on the south end of Sullivan Lake, northeast of the town of Ione off Sullivan Lake Road.

Region One: Eastern Washington Region Two: North Central Washington Region Four: North Puget Sound Region Six: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula Region Five: Southwest Washington Region Three: South Central Washington