Fishing Report, Spokane River, September 9th 2022
With the summer heat finally turned down, it looks like we are heading into the beginnings of our fall fly fishing season. I always look forward to the fall season: cooler weather, changing leaves, the rivers and streams still run low and clear, and you don't have to force yourself out of bed to be on the water at daybreak. It's the chance to enjoy a few more weeks of fly fishing and to reflect back on the season. After another intense summer of sweating and blocking the sun from my skin, yeah I'm ready to put my waders on and feel the crisp air of October. But, a couple more weeks until we're into the heart of that season.
For right now, the Spokane River is on its rise as they begin to release water through the dams. We had a nice bump in flows during the week and they are now right around 1200cfs. The flows will continue to trend upwards like this through the fall so be sure to check flow conditions before heading out.
These current flows are still prime for dry-dropper action in the riffles, pocket water, and runs. We had several takes on large terrestrial patterns this week (sizes 10-12) so don't rule those out just yet. All of our dry fly takes were right amongst pocket water and riffles.
A big thing to keep in mind during this time of year as the flows increase is to keep your eye out for the re-formation of any side channels along the river. The most obvious side channels are those that form around islands. Right now, one side of an island may be bone dry or have minimal current flowing over it. As the flows increase, the trout will gravitate back into these areas and it can be productive to fish those zones. However, side channels can also be a little more cryptic than that. Some side channels can form just away from the main current as the river pushes around a large, raised grouping of rocks/boulders. In this case, a good small side channel will be near the bank, with slower current, it will still have depth to it, and there will be plenty of in-flow from the main current. So keep an eye out for those small side channels as well.
Besides dry-dropper tactics, you can also have some success with smaller streamers when the clouds roll in (Brahma Buggers, Wooly Buggers, Mini-Bangtails, and crayfish patterns, all sizes 4-8, with both dark and light colored options on-hand). Downstream of any run, as the current starts to slow back down, can be great places to stalk the bank slowly, cast, and retrieve your flies right along the rocks/boulders. This is very much a sight fishing kind of game. Looking into the weekend, it looks warm and sunny, but Sunday could have increasing clouds in the late afternoon and into the evening. So if you wanted to play that streamer game then Sunday evening into dusk would be a better time to do so.
The last big Spokane River cleanup being run by the Spokane River Forum will be on September 17th. The Spokane River Forum will be hosting two sights in Spokane Valley (from 10:00am-2:00pm) and the sign-up for those locations is here. The City of Spokane is also hosting their 19th Annual Spokane River Clean-Up on September 17th as well, but this will be a DIY clean up that you can sign up and for a pick a spot to clean up on the river. The city will have pre-designated trash site pick ups that you can leave your garbage at (the garbage bags must be at one of those sites before 2:00pm). For sign up and information on the location of those trash sites, please click here.
Lastly, the Spokane Riverkeeper will be hosting the Wild and Scenic Film Festival 2022 at the John J. Hemmingson Center, Gonzaga, on September 15th. Doors open at 6:00pm and the films start at 6:30pm.
From the Spokane Riverkeeper-
"This film festival celebrates the 50th birthday of the landmark federal legislation of the Clean Water Act of 1972. So many waterways, including the Spokane, were polluted to the point of ruin. The Clean Water Act ensured that pollution would be regulated and the health and well being of our waterways would be returned. This festival helps highlight the many ways in which that has happened." - Jerry White Jr., Executive Director, Spokane Riverkeeper
In addition to a line up of spectacular films, there will be fun door prizes at the in-person event, provided by our national partners like Patagonia, Peak Design, EarthJustice, Sierra Nevada, hhmi|Tangled Bank Studios and MiiR.
All proceeds from this event go to support the Spokane Riverkeeper's ongoing programs and operations.
For more information about the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, please visit their event page, where you can find the complete film list.
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.