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  • Marc Fryt

Fishing Report, Spokane River, June 2nd 2023

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

It was a perfect day on the river, it truly was. But, that's not how these early season trips generally start out. Rather, it's a gamble on what the fishing will be like and there's little more you can do beyond rigging a quiver-ful of rods, lining your fly boxes, and being prepared to lose some tippet. When I am re-connecting with the river, and checking in on our co-workers (the redband trout), I am a bit nervous, nervous until I see that first trout flash under the water and bend a rod over. They're there, never a lot of them, but the ones there are doing just fine.

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The morning started off chilly, and lowering the raft down the tubes at the put-in we stepped down into the cool air along the river. I like these mornings, shivering as I wet wade around the boat getting everything in order before we launch. I don't mind the shivering because I'll be warm and comfortable soon enough.

Caddis, lots of caddis, bump against the surface of the water. Looking upriver, the bugs, backlit by the morning sun filtering underneath the Monroe Street bridge, flutter around the willow branches bobbing up and down. A common hatch for the early summer season, and the first sign of normalcy. The trout are picky with caddis though, they're willing to sit in the main current and feed on rising pupa, all occurring out of your eyesight. The ones that do rise to the adult caddis are tucked in next to some swirling eddy right along the bank, and they're tuned-in to those size 16 tan bugs which are part of their morning routine now.

A few oar strokes and we're moving with the river now. The current is low, too low for this time of year, and that makes me concerned for what the rest of summer will be like. The heat wave throughout May melted most of our accumulated snowpack and now the river, and its trout, will rely more on the aquifer bubbling up beneath us. A quick temperature reading, and the water sits at 60F, that at least is perfect for the redband, and their appetite.

We start off with indicator rigs but looking at how the side channels, or what I at least call side channels, are getting into conditions ideal for dry-droppers we swap out rods and prospect the skinnier water a dry fly and nymph, all while trying to keep the flies from tangling with the willows.

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Further down, we still haven't hooked into a trout and we focus again on indicator rigs with two nymphs suspended beneath. Maybe the trout haven't moved into that skinny water yet. The river flows have fluctuated considerably for them, just a week and a half ago the river was chugging along at 15,000cfs, now it's drifting barely above 5,000. That's a lot of change in a week and a half, but give the fish a little more time and soon those dry-dropper rigs will be a go-to technique.

It takes a little bit, but a cast under a willow rooted into an island strikes the first redband trout, right where it should be, and that nervousness goes away. As the fish is fought to the boat, we quickly release it before rafting through a section of whitewater, we'll just have to admire the next one we catch.

Indicator and euro nymphing techniques are the focus for the day. Dark bodied nymphs (sizes 12-14) produce the most trout interest, and we even received a few bumps with jig streamers. The flows also don't warrant the annoyingly long nymph rigs or drop-shot rigs, the ones that make casting and mending feel like a chore. What matters on this day is reading the water, re-tuning your eyes to the current, especially where the pocket water is starting to shape up.

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Several healthy redband are brought to the boat, others are lost in the fight along the way. Yes, it's a good day.

We pass under the TJ Meenach bridge and take a peek at the construction going on at Downriver Park. The city is still working away at building an improved parking lot, filtration ponds, and a new boat launch, all part of a stormwater management system in conjunction with work being done over at the Downriver Disc Golf Course. The city is still calling for it to be completed this June fingers crossed, but they still have a ways to go. When complete, this conservation project will help filter millions of gallons of stormwater runoff from North Spokane before it spills into the Spokane, and that's a project that will greatly help out our co-workers.

The sun is now high overhead, not hot and oppressing, just warm and pleasant. Plenty of nice trout were brought to the net, and as I dock the boat at the take-out the day already seems filled to the brim. It's the start of a season, and who knows what kind of season it will be, but at least I know what kind of morning we had.

Conservation and Community Events

Trout Unlimited/Spokane Women on the Fly:

Summer Suds Fishing Weekend, June 8-12

  • Spokane Women on the Fly and Spokane Falls TU Chapter are teaming up again in 2023 for their 7th annual Summer Suds Fishing Weekend. Make it a long weekend. The group campsite have been booked for Thursday 6/8/23 – Sunday 6/12/23. BWOs, PMDs, Drakes, Salmon Flies, Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies are the flies of choice during this time.

  • All information is listed at Registration Required if you will be camping at the group site. Please register at

  • More info here.

Spokane River Forum:

Upcoming public clean-up events on the Spokane River:

  • June 10 - U District/Mission Park

  • 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):

BHA will be hosting a clean-up on the Spokane River on July 15th, starting at 10:00am. They are partnering up with the Spokane Riverkeeper, and the meet-up location is at Upriver Park: 1667 E Upriver Dr, Spokane, WA 99252. It's a great opportunity to give back to the river. Those with watercraft (kayak, canoe, etc.) are encouraged to bring them in order to access more difficult pieces of litter, and you can also consider bringing waders if you want to wade around and collect garbage along the shoreline. If you don't have waders or a watercraft, no worries because there is plenty of trash for everyone to pick up amongst the trees! More info available here.

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 June 28th, 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.

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