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  • Marc Fryt

Fishing Report, Spokane River May 27th 2024

Updated: Jun 18

fly fishing spokane

  The Spokane River opened to fishing this weekend, and we were glad we got out for a couple days of some fun rafting and fly fishing. Weather was very pleasant with just a few clouds and comfortable air temperatures. Caddis (size 14s and 16s) were hatching in good numbers by the time we were on the river (which was around 10:00am). These caddis hatches will continue in decent numbers until roughly the end of June.

  We launched at Redband Park and pushed the raft out into the cold blue current. It was so good to be casting fly rods on the river again! The redband trout were in heavy, fast water staying closer to the bottom, as they usually do. Deeper riffles and runs were areas that we were finding and hooking into the trout using heavy nymphs to punch through the swift current. Euro nymphing from the raft was the most productive method which kept the nymphs in the strike zone, giving the trout a chance to see and take our flies. Fly patterns that were more productive were a large, olive stonefly and a bright orange perdigon.

  We messed around with streamers and sink tip lines but had no chases. Dry-droppers worked alright, but we were hoping that at least one trout would rise to the caddis pattern, but the trout were just content staying down deep. I eventually tied on a different dry fly pattern, a large beetle (more like a bobber with a hook!), in order to hold up a heavier nymph, and a small trout took the beetle. So, that was the first rise to a dry fly for the season!

  One mountain whitefish was also caught on the euro nymphing set up after we found a pod of them tucked into a pool at the end of a run.

fly fishing spokane

  Water levels are already low (around 4800cfs), our snowpack is minimal again this year, and we're already in a drought emergency. So that is a concern going into this summer. Our river relies on the aquifer beneath us to support the habitat of so many aquatic organisms, including one of our favorites: the redband trout. Our city and region need to do a much better job of conserving water, and one way you can make a real impact is to convert your lawn to a landscape that has plants tolerant to dry, arid regions (known in our area as a SpokaneScape). A how-to guide is available here.

  I killed our grass over the last two summers and have been slowly converting it to a SpokaneScape. Not everyone in the neighborhood likes the look of my yard, but they aren’t my business partners (the fish are). People in the neighborhood also aren’t there to help me push my raft when it gets lodged into the bottom of the river when there’s barely enough water coming up from our aquifer. So no, I just couldn’t turn the sprinklers on anymore. There’s also more bees, butterflies, and birds in my yard, which is another benefit.


  Anyways, back to our float. The pocket water is starting to shape up and some nice buckets of water are forming amongst boulder fields. These spots will be more productive in the coming weeks, especially for any dry fly or dry-dropper action. Side channels are also prime right now, such as the side channels upstream the TJ Meenach bridge on the south side of the river. These side channels are low, clear and easier to wade, and a few trout will hold in them until water levels get too low. These channels are best fished with a dry-dropper rig where the current slows just a little bit, and the water deepens into nice troughs.

  The upper Spokane River is also running with cold water, for now. Brown trout have been on the feed and some nice ones were taken using some streamers. It’s easier to wade the upper Spokane from the Islands Trailhead all the way to the Washington-Idaho border, and now is the time to fish it until water levels warm too much later in the summer.

Restricted Public Access

fly fishing spokane river

(Please read the update further below. Update is as of May 28th 2024)

  We ended our float at Downriver Park and got the raft out of the water. Over the last two years, Downriver Park went through major renovations including the installation of dry retention ponds which will greatly reduce pollution going into our river. The city also built an entirely new parking area (including trailer parking) and a trailer turn-around spot. A lot of money from taxpayers went into this. The city also advertises and celebrates this as improving watercraft access on the Spokane River.

  However, there is also large green gate that is blocking public access to the actual boat launch/take-out. This gate is locked, and the Spokane Department of Parks and Recreation are not unlocking it. That is restricting public access to our river.

  I was able to get some keys to this gate only because we are a licensed business that guides on the river. But I am of the opinion that since taxpayers paid for these park renovations then that gate should be open to the public so everyone can launch/recover watercraft if they need to use a trailer to do so.

  There were some reasons that were brought up, as to why Parks and Rec are choosing to keep the gate locked, but those issues should have been addressed and solved during the design phase of these renovations. These issues still need to be solved, and Parks and Rec needs to solve them, but in the meantime that gate should be open to the public. The float from Redband Park to Downriver Park was fantastic and it made for an easy and fun half-day float. The public should also be able to have full access to that experience.


  If this is an issue that also upsets you, then you should also email or call the Assistant Director of Spokane’s Department of Parks and Recreation:


Carl Strong

Office: (509) 363-5415


  And a call or email to the mayor’s office is also useful: (509) 625-6250 or


  Another idea, if there’s a concern that parking areas will become congested, is to have a shuttle service provided by the city that’ll run between Redband Park and Downriver Park. This shuttle could run throughout the busier summer months. The city already provides such a service on the Little Spokane River. So that might also be something to mention in any comments to city officials.


***Update on the Downriver Park Boat Ramp (as of May 28th 2024)-

I received an email back from Spokane Parks and Recreation and they are going to be opening up the gate for the public to use (by today is what they told me). Thank you to all that called and sent in emails.

However, Parks and Rec may choose to close the gate in the future if the boat ramp becomes a cluster of parked vehicles. So yes, it will take all of us to ensure that the ramp stays free of parked vehicles. However, if the gate is to be closed to the public, then it should be closed for private companies as well (including our own guide service). No private company should have an exclusive right to use a piece of public land that is owned by us all. That is privatization of public lands, and that should upset you too.

The boat ramp will become a problem with people blocking the area, and it will cause headaches, that I can guarantee. But that just shows that people want to be outside and along the river, and that's a good thing. It also shows that maybe a greater slice of Spokane Parks and Recreation's budget should go towards opening up other access points along the river.

These are ongoing discussions, and it is great that I got a quick response back from Parks and Rec because they do also have a passion for getting people engaged with the river. If you have any thoughts on this that you would also like to share, then send us an email:


Upcoming Events


June 5-9, Summer Suds Fishing Weekend

  Spokane Women on the Fly and Spokane Falls TU Chapter are teaming up again in 2024 for their 8th annual Summer Suds Fishing Weekend of fly fishing and hanging out with a rad group of anglers! The group campsite has been booked for Thursday 6/5/24 – Sunday 6/9/24. BWOs, PMDs, Drakes, Salmon Flies, Golden Stones and Yellow Sallies are the flies of choice during this time. More info here.


June 8th, River Clean Up, 10:00am - Noon

  Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Spokane’s World Fair by helping us clean up the river. Join the Spokane Riverkeeper and friends in cleaning up the Spokane River! The Riverkeeper will guide groups of volunteers along the river near downtown, picking up litter from its banks. The Riverkeeper will provide pickers, gloves, bags, and disposal. People of all ages are welcome. Wear good walking shoes. More info and sign up here.


Saturday June 22nd, Free Fly Fishing Clinic starting at 8:00am at the Islands Trailhead

  I’ll be hosting a free fly fishing clinic at the Islands Trailhead. We’ll go over some fly fishing 101 information, gear talks, and insights on how to fly fish the Spokane River. Then we’ll do some casting practice and maybe have time to get a little fishing in right there on the river. I’ll have just a couple fly fishing setups for people to borrow, but please bring your own fly rod if you have one. You’ll also need a fishing license if you plan on fishing with us.  

fly fishing spokane river



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