Fishing Report, Spokane River and Eastern Washington Lakes, June 24th 2022
It is almost the end of June, yet the Spokane River is still cranking along in high water conditions. The river started to level out a couple weeks back, and then promptly did an about-face and shot right back up. As I write this, the current streamflow is around 20,000cfs, so it may take another couple weeks before it becomes fishable. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options around Spokane to help scratch our fly fishing itch.
Spokane is fortunate enough to have a bounty of lakes all within a short drive of downtown, and with the price of gas this summer you don't have to burn a hole in your wallet to get into some exciting fly fishing.
So with stillwater fly fishing in mind, the trout in the deeper, larger lakes have started to head further down in the water column as surface water temps creep up into the higher 60's. As summer marches on, if you are looking for trout then earlier mornings or late evenings are the target hours. Sinking lines will also be needed to reach down to where the trout are starting to station below the thermocline.
Rather than having to lug sinking lines through the air though, I am always excited for when the bass start to move into the shallows and will plan my day around fly fishing for them. It really begins to feel like summer when you are out on the lake, barefoot, the smell of sunscreen, and a bass on the other end of the line. Watching bass torpedo out from under a dock, or slowly roll out of some lily pads to place their nose right on your popper is summer lake fishing at its funnest.
I was out the other day with the pup checking out bass conditions at a particular lake that has great shoreline structure. A few bass were caught in the shallows mixed amongst lily pads, but as I pushed the boat along the shore I sighted a tempting piece of shallow water underneath a collection of tree branches. Overhead cover, shallow water, and a few sunken logs to add into the mix, it shouted bass water. Sure enough a bulldog of a bass was tucked up in shade and rocketed right at the fly. The head shakes of a bass always make me grit my teeth because you can just feel the fly about to pop out of their jaw. Fortunately, I kept heavy pressure on this one and brought it quickly to net.
If you are going out looking for bass this weekend, try out smaller, shallower lakes. Many of the larger, deeper lakes have not quiet warmed up enough for the bass and panfish to really move into the shallows. We will need consistently warmer weather for that to happen, and it looks like next week will be the start of some hotter temperatures.
Whichever lake you pick, target shoreline structure: sunken boulders, logs, overhanging tree limbs, points of land that jut out, etc. A 6, 7, or 8 weight rod with floating line and lightweight streamers will work best. Soon enough the bass and panfish will start pouncing on poppers which is what I really get excited about. Be on the water in the morning hours especially as temperatures continue to climb into next week.
As for conservation news, thank you to all that wrote in to City Council to help pass the water conservation ordinance. City Council voted to overturn the Mayor's veto on the ordinance and it is a positive step towards looking after the health of the aquifer and Spokane River. From the Spokane Riverkeepers:
We are thrilled to say that we are changing our city from the outdated narrative of "our aquifer water is endless" to one that acknowledges our aquifer as a cornerstone of the Spokane River. Conserving our aquifer water WILL keep needed cold water in the Spokane River during critical low-flow seasons just when the Spokane River and its ecosystems need it most.
While this summer has had exceptionally high water conditions, we can all remember the drought and low water that plagued us last year. So again, thank you to those that wrote in to City Council to help get the ordinance passed.
Be sure to keep up-to-date with the Spokane Riverkeepers by signing up for their news letter here.
As always, if you are interested in booking a guided fly fishing trip with us Contact Us, or check out our Stillwater Guided Trips and Spokane River Guided Trips pages for more information. We also offer Fly Fishing Instructional Lessons here in Spokane if you are interested in spending just a couple hours out on the water improving your fly fishing skills.