Fishing Report, Spokane River, August 25th 2022
While it is an uncommon sight on the river, when it happens it's one of my favorite moments. During one of the floats this week we had the fortunate chance of rowing past a moose cooling off in the Spokane. It was a large bull moose up to its chest in the river feeding on aquatic plants while keeping an eye on us as we drifted by.
As we watched the moose and snapped a few photos, I was asked how long they live for. I wasn't sure, so I did a little internet search and found out that they live for an average of seven years, but some can live for up to twenty. This particular bull looked pretty weathered and had six points to his antlers, so I imagine he's up there in age.
It's also incredible to think that in a space between the Centennial Trail, the frisbee golf course, and the wastewater treatment plant this moose has staked out a life right on the edge of our city limits. I love moments like that on the Spokane, ones that make you really forget that you're still within Washington's second largest city.
This week, the fly fishing has been consistent and any time the clouds rolled through the trout seemed to pick up a little. Again, most of our focus was on dry-dropper fishing using a large buoyant terrestrial dry fly and having a nymph suspended 20-30 inches beneath it. We really worked the pocket water and riffles and were rewarded with focusing our efforts there.
That turbulent water supplies the trout with food, oxygen, and security. Anytime the surface of the water is broken up, even with the faintest riffles, will make it difficult for avian predators (like ospreys) to spot trout. The fish know this and that is why you can sometimes hook into trout in the skinniest of water so long as the surface is disturbed.
The weather this weekend seems a bit interesting for a change. It looks like the highs will only be in the 70's and that there will be a some cloud cover. With this in mind, the fishing should be consistent throughout the day, especially on Saturday which is calling for more clouds. It will be a really nice weekend to venture down to the Spokane to spend time casting a fly line, and it should be cool enough to warrant wearing waders.
For dry flies, focus again on large terrestrial patterns, hoppers and beetles (sizes 8-10) and large caddis (sizes 10-14). Early in the morning you may find a trout or two feeding at the surface just downstream of any runs, and it could pay to have some smaller patterns on-hand (like a parachute adams size 16-18 if you really want to focus on rising trout). Dark bodied nymphs (blowtorches and frenchies sizes 12-14) continue to work and so have more brightly colored nymphs like perdigons (sizes 12-16).
Before heading down to the river, I always like to think about a plan for the day. Where am I going to fly fish? Well, Google Maps comes really in hand for that. If you are searching for trout spots then scout areas anywhere downstream of the Spokane Falls to above Plese Flats and look for areas that have pocket water and runs. Have a back-up spot as well in case an angler is there already. The Spokane River has a lot of public access, so even if you need to do a little hiking/bush whacking you'll find a pleasant spot to hook into redband trout all to yourself.
Second, after I have a couple spots in-mind I like to think about how I might fish those areas. Maybe get there early in the morning and see if I can spot any rising trout, that might be a good opportunity to cast a single dry fly. If no trout are rising then I might prospect with a dry-dropper working the water near to far, then walking upstream and repeating. If the dry-dropper isn't producing I might elect to nymph deeper zones under an indicator or euro nymph. As a final option, I may swing some wet flies or jig a streamer or crayfish pattern before I call it. Point being, be the versatile angler and meet the trout on their terms.
Another tip for this weekend is to practice roll casting. The Spokane River is a very difficult river to wade fish because of the slick rocks, but it is not impossible to fish it from the banks. Often, you can find very fishable spots that are right near the bank, the only problem is that there is vegetation growing right up to the water. This is where the roll cast really comes into play.
The roll cast is a cast that many fly fishers learn first. It teaches the fundamentals of casting and demonstrates how the fly rod really does most of the work. Yet, after we learn this cast we then move on to our standard fly cast and neglect improving our roll cast. That's a shame because it is such an all-purpose cast regardless if you are wading or fishing from a boat.
If you head out to the river this weekend and find your back up against some vegetation while you look at a piece of very "trouty" water, think about using the roll cast. Work on it and perfect it. It's amazing how effectively a roll cast can deliver your flies right into the zone without the jeopardy of snagging them into the bushes and trees behind you. To help with practicing the roll cast, check out this video and go out in to the yard or a park to practice and improve it.
For conservation news, the Spokane River level has been flowing below 1000 cubic feet/second (cfs). When it drops below 1000cfs, the river really relies on the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer that sits beneath our city to supply it with enough cold, clean water to support the trout, crayfish, aquatic invertebrates, and other creatures living within the river.
As residents, we can help out the river by reducing the amount of water we use. The less water we use as a city and as residents means that more water is kept in the aquifer allowing it to flow back up into the river to support our fishery. For more information on this and tips on how to reduce water usage, check out this article by the Spokane Riverkeepers.
As always, if you are interested in booking a guided fly fishing trip with us Contact Us, or check out our 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.