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  • Marc Fryt

Fishing Report, Spokane River, July 21st 2023

Updated: Aug 4, 2023


fly fish spokane

I've hit a steadier rhythm now that we're halfway through this summer. Most mornings, I'm up before five, I can hear the sprinklers spritzing the vegetable garden, and there's enough light coming through the window that I don't need to turn the lamp on. Back when I served in army I waited in bed until the last possible moment then rolled out with enough time to arrive just as they called the formation to attention (I still cringe whenever I hear reveille). But now, I can brew my coffee, walk into the backyard with the dog, and relax in the cooler air before the sun shines overhead. These early mornings are more relaxing.

Driving to the river, I have noticed more people out and about in the early hours this year compared to the previous two summers. These last two and a half summers I think have conditioned people to switch up their routines, knowing how hot midday will be, and it's best to get things done early. It's quiet, calm, and cool, a good time for a walk, to kick a sprinkler head back into place, or load the fly rod into the car. Floating the river is about the same, you get to witness the various animals milling around along the shoreline as they ease into their day, including a family of raccoons that all bathed and waded around the boulders as we drifted flies amongst the pocket water.

When I do have a morning that I can go fish, from the time I wake up until I am wet wading in the river is roughly 35 minutes. With the river so close, it's like going from one dream state to another, and even though I have a thermos of coffee attached to my sling pack, it's the tug on the line that delivers the final jolt to fully wake me up.


spokane fly fishing

Some fly fishing tactics continue to produce results this week, others not so much, and as Heraclitus said "you can't step in the same river twice" so don't expect the tactic you were using last week to work this time around.

Dry-dropper rigs are working well, though it's a 10/90 split with a heavy preference for the nymph. Indicator rigs, for some reason or another, have been in a slump, but not all "indicator" rigs.

I don't really clump yarn indicators into the same grouping as foam, plastic, and cork indicators. Yarn indicators really cut the difference between those traditional indicators and dry flies. In fact, yarn can be more sensitive than a dry-dropper set up, and I am talking about the New Zealand yarn strike indicators, not the ones that come pre-attached to rubber or plastic rings.

Recently, these New Zealand yarn indicators have been performing well on the river, and it's during these low flows that they step up to the plate and deliver. If you have never used a yarn indicator, and are unsure how to rig it up, you should check out this video by Joe over at Red's Fly Shop where he shows a neat way to set it up.

When using the yarn indicator, I like to treat it with fly floatant before sending it out into the river. Even though these things are made from high quality sheep's wool that can slough off water easily, I feel like the floatant helps it to ride higher.

fly fishing guide spokane river

A really cool thing about the yarn indicator is that besides it performing well at suspending lighter nymphs and detecting bites, it also shows you where your mending skills are lacking. Often, fly fishers will mend their fly line by ripping the line through the water. This "ripping" happens because the leader and maybe part of the fly line are just under the surface of the water. When you rip to mend, that yarn will zip under the surface and take on water. As you finish mending, you will notice that the yarn is kind of soggy and fallen over.

To mend better, it really helps to "peel" line up off the water (including as much of the leader as possible), then mending up or downstream. Peeling, rather than ripping, the line will keep that yarn riding nice and high, and looking like as George Daniel has said, "a drowning troll."

Try that out this weekend with a pair of nymphs, and use it around riffles as well, just shorten up the distance between the yarn and first nymph.



fly fishing spokane

Due to the expected hot weather this weekend, it's best to fish the morning hours up to early afternoon and let the trout rest after that. Water temps this week were around 60F in places like the Downriver Disc Golf Course in the morning. The water temperature monitor installed by the Spokane Riverkeeper seems to be glitching, so make sure you carry a small thermometer with you in order to keep tabs on the temps.

fishing report spokane river

Flows are low, but stable around 1,000cfs. This opens up a ton of pocket water to explore and wade fish through. Despite the heat, there's something liberating about not having to wear waders in the morning and just fly fish light and fast (felt soled boots help tremendously though so get some guard socks so you can wet wade with them).

If you are also looking at getting out on to the river with us, but don't want to get blasted by the heat, it looks like it might start cooling down a little next week. Feel free to give us a call at (214) 732-2283 for Marc or (509) 655-0865 for Ethan, and we can float the Spokane while learning some great tactics along the way. We are also running our 2 hour fly fishing and fly casting lessons during evenings hours mid-week, and morning or evening hours during the weekend which is a fun way to improve your skills or to help family/friends get into fly fishing.

Lastly, remember to bring a bag with you down to the river to gather up some trash and practice Negative Trace, it's one step better than Leave No Trace!


spokane fly fishing guided trip


Conservation and Community Events



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


  • People's Park August 12th 1-3 PM

  • Upriver Park August 31st, 4-6 PM

  • Stateline August 17th, 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:

  • August 19 - Location TBD

  • 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 July 26th, 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 lesson spokane

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