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  • Ethan Crawford

Fishing Report, Spokane River, August 24th 2023

fly fish spokane

We caught a slight break from the weather, fires, and smoke this week with the much needed rain and cooler temps this week. Thank you to all the firefighters fighting these fires, and hopefully we will get some more rain next week to help keep the fire danger suppressed even by a little.

Although the weather has been cooler this week, the water flows are extremely low. Sitting in the 700s, the river is needing every trickle of water that comes up from our aquifer. It is recommended to only water your lawns twice a week during drought conditions such as this to help out the river and its inhabitants.

fly fish spokane

These fish will be more condensed than any time of the year. With water this low a few things are important; fish early and late, find the cooler water, be stealthy. I will be hitting the water at 7 am tomorrow but I would not consider it to be unreasonable to hit the water earlier, sun up can be spectacular. Hitting the water in the evening make sure that sun is not directly hitting the water, this pertains to the lower section. As the sun dips below the top of the ridge the fishing can turn on.

At this time of the year the aquifer is a huge lifeline to the river, find areas where it dumps in and there will be fish, especially in the upper Spokane. Dress to impress, or even better, not be seen. Wear drab clothes that can blend into the background because, yes, the fish can see the shoreline and movement therefore mitigating your appearance can help. Another tip, move slowly, or better stake out the spot for ten of fifteen minutes from afar. These will all help put fish in the net.

spokane fly fishing guide

As fly fishers, the industry has released a lot of flies that catch anglers and not fish. But our guys at The Fly Project in Airway Heights have the cutting edge of flies that catch fish. Even for a guide we are always looking for new flies. For this week I would recommend the Jigged Duracell Bomb in Pheasant colors. The reason I like this fly is because it is tough, the instant jig bead rides perfect, and the colors are fishy. If you are not looking to buy this fly, all the materials below can be picked up at any North Forty Fly Shop, here are the materials:

  • Size 12 Genryuu hook

  • 3.8 MM tungsten instant jigged bead copper

  • CDL tail fibers

  • Hairline Pheasant tail dubbing body

  • Med copper wire

  • Amber CDC collar

For me I like to float this fly below a size 8-12 chubby or grasshopper pattern. This fly has been proven killer on the Spokane for me this season.

In other news, I had the opportunity to go fish with the awesome, fishy guys of Long Drift Outfitters up in Sandpoint, ID and with the owner, Aaron. We had an amazing float down the Kootenai River slaying rainbows and the three of us caught a ton of fish during our float on such a gorgeous river. And I can't forget to mention Zach's pasta salad that hit the spot!

Our float started later in the day, but that was no deterrent as the water temps were a cool 56 degrees. Right off the bat, we smacked a nice fifteen inch rainbow on, wait for it, the Jigged Duracell Bomb (yup, it even works up there). After that, there was no shortage of fish as they consistently rose at dries including a secret fly called the Tonka Wolf, named after Aaron's dog.

So, if you've never floated the Kootenai then I highly recommend giving Aaron and Long Drift Outfitters a call and scheduling a float before the end of the season. The fishing up there should stay productive all the way into fall and you'll learn a lot from that great group of guides.

Conservation and Community Events

Spey Clave:

The Fly Project will be hosting a Spey fishing event September 30th. This is an event I

would be sure not to miss. Click here to see more information.

Spokane Riverkeeper Crayfish Study:

The Riverkeeper is starting their crayfish study again for this summer. This is a volunteer event you shouldn't miss. It is a chance to learn some cool things about the river, hang out with the Riverkeeper and biologists, and give back to the community all at the same time. My wife and I love going to one of these events each summer.

The purpose of the study is to collect crayfish that will be sent over to the University of Idaho to monitor the crayfish for mercury, and this is valuable data used to assess health of the river.

There are thwo dates you can choose to volunteer (or heck all three):

  • Upriver Park August 31st, 4-6 PM

More information and sign-up can be found here.

Trout Unlimited CX3, September 27 - October 1, 2023:

Trout Unlimited will be hosting their national CX3 event (Community, Coldwater, Conservation) right here in Spokane! This week-long event Cx3 is Trout Unlimited’s biggest family-and-friends focused gathering featuring outdoor adventures, epic excursions, and hands-on activities with family and friends. There will be all sorts of family fishing events, women-led angling trips, kids activities, tours, conservation films, presentations, and Q&A sessions.

There is going to be a lot to see and do, and it is exciting that TU has picked Spokane to host this event, so mark down September 27th to October 1st on your calendar and check out the event's website for more information as well as ticket purchasing options.

Spokane River Forum and Spokane Riverkeeper:

Upcoming public clean-up events on the Spokane River:

  • September 16 - Stateline to Spokane Valley Locations

  • September 16 - City of Spokane Locations (Lands Council)

More info and registration for these clean-up events can be found on their website here.

Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA):

Every month, the local Washington chapter of BHA meets at the restaurant Hunt in downtown Spokane (225 W Riverside Ave STE C, Spokane, WA 99201) and invites a biologist to provide a presentation and discussion on any number of wildlife, conservation, and/or habitat topics. It's a great time to meet other anglers/hunters, learn something about our local wildlife and how we can be more engaged with looking after angling and hunting opportunities within the state.

The next upcoming event is on August 30th, 2023 at 6:00pm - 8pm, more info here.


For more information on our guided fly fishing trips and instructional fly fishing lessons here in Spokane, check out Our Services (including Spokane River fly fishing trips, and Eastern Washington lake fishing trips). Feel free to Contact Us to book a trip or to inquire more information.

fly fishing spokane



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