Fishing Report, Spokane River, September 29th 2023
Updated: Oct 12
It has truly felt like fall this week out on the river, cooler air temps, golden leaves lighting up the river banks, clouds, and a few rain showers. There's also not the mad rush to get onto the river before the sun blares over the Monroe street bridge and sends a wallop of heat your way. No, the sun now swings lower staying just above the top of the gorge and the pines rather than straight overhead, and this of course adds more glare to the water making it tough to see your fly but I'll take that over the heat.
Fall on the Spokane also comes with plenty of surprises for fly fishers floating or wading through its waters. The day can feel slow as the trout begin to ease off of their summertime feeding frenzy, but cast your flies into the fast and turbulent water and you'll be caught off guard by a large redband that is still bulking up for the winter. Any rain shower can also shake your day up. Throughout the week the rain helped to get the trout more into a mood to chase streamers and we brought some nice ones to the net. More interesting was after the showers passed. In the pools and deeper glides, we found pods of redbands rising to BWOs (sizes 18-20) and midges (20), and they were consistently feeding on this little bugs which gave us multiple attempts to land some on a small Adams dry fly.
Amongst these pods of rising trout, it pays to not cast at the splashy, showy rises because those are usually the smaller trout. Instead, look for the rises that set off a large, echoing ring with a few big bubbles in the center. Larger trout will barely break the surface of the water with their noses to slurp down the tiny mayflies, and when they gulp down a bug they leave a couple big bubbles as they expel air out of their gill plates. Those are the trout you want to cast at, leave all the splashy, jumpy small trout to do their thing.
You also need to be mindful that the rising trout are in pools and glides that are very clear and very calm. We spooked enough trout trying to get close to make a cast, so longer leaders, landing the fly well upstream of the rise, and if the fly doesn't land where you want it then letting it drift well away from the trout before ripping the leader off the water. Luckily, if you miss one opportunity the river was kind enough to give multiple other chances. It has definitely been some of the better surface feeding and hatch activity I have seen on the river since June, but it is more fleeting, just like these perfect fall days.
River flows are also slowly coming back up, but they are still low enough to get out and wade fish. It's flowing at around 1300cfs this week and as long as the flows are below 2000cfs, wading is generally "easier." Water temps have been about the same, high 50s, but expect them to begin to cool down as we head further along into October. Most of the mid- and larger-sized trout will also stay in the runs and pocket water until the middle or end of October, so don't skip that water type.
Nymphing, especially euro nymphing, has been the most productive this week. Streamers have also worked (olive and chartreuse was a great color combo). The grasshoppers are still alive and bouncing around so dry-droppers in the pocket water can get some results too.
If you are getting blanked while out on the river, then slow things down and look for the A-Class buckets amongst the white water, and use a heavier nymph for your dry-dropper or nymph rig to punch through the fast current. Be methodical. We had a strange encounter with a pig walking the shoreline while we ate our lunch earlier this week, and I don't know why this huge pig was walking through the rocks because I couldn't notice any food for it there. But, that pig used its nose and methodically sifted through the river rocks picking this up. Point being, be like that pig, work the boulders and be precise.
The river is also a bit more active with Trout Unlimited members coming to Spokane for the TU CX3 event, and it has been fun watching other anglers out on the Spokane River. Our river is a unique urban fishery, I mean where else can you catch a wild redband trout with an AMC Movie Theater and a Nordstroms in the background? The Spokane doesn't boast abundant trout, but I am hard pressed to find a more beautiful urban river to catch wild fish in. I hope that everyone here this week also discovers that as well.
Conservation and Community Events
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.
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.
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.