Eastern Washington: Warmwater/Mixed Species:As warm summer temperatures arrive, warmwater species fisheries should be in prime shape, says WDFW central district fish biologist Randy Osborne of Spokane. Many are mixed species waters that also provide catches of trout.
Sprague Lake, sprawling across the Lincoln-Adams county line alongside Interstate 90, has nice largemouth bass. Downs Lake, east of Sprague in Spokane County, has black crappie and yellow perch. Liberty Lake, east of Spokane near the Idaho border, has largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, and bluegill. Newman Lake, east of Spokane, and Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County, both have tiger muskie, largemouth bass, and yellow perch.
Osborne reports that anglers fishing Lake Spokane (also known as Long Lake) are doing well on several species including rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, yellow perch and black crappie. An expanding walleye population has created an additional harvest opportunity for anglers on Lake Spokane.
Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam, is usually good in July for walleye and smallmouth bass, says WDFW district fish biologist Bill Baker of Colville. The sturgeon fishery that opened on Roosevelt in mid-June until further notice has been slow, so it remains open.
Several other mixed-species waters should also provide catches, including Deer Lake in southern Stevens County for smallmouth and largemouth bass, Curlew Lake in Ferry County for largemouth bass and yellow perch, Diamond Lake near Newport in Pend Oreille County for yellow perch, and Waitts Lake in southern Stevens County for yellow perch.
WDFW southeast district fish biologist Jeremy Trump says the Snake and Palouse rivers are usually good this month for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and black crappie. The Grande Ronde River in Asotin County and the Tucannon River in Columbia and Garfield counties can also provide fair fishing in July for bass, trout and other species, at least until water levels drop with warmer weather. Anglers and others recreating in the area of these and other streams are reminded to not place rocks instream to dam up flows and create pools because they block fish movement.
Trout: Morning and evening fishing is productive this month on many northeast district trout waters, according to Baker. Even lakes at high elevation, like the Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, provide more opportunities early and late in the day by this time of year.
Osborne also notes that many central district trout waters continue to fish well at this time. Badger Lake, in southwest Spokane County, is producing catches of rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout, plus kokanee or silver trout. Williams Lake, just southwest of Badger Lake, has rainbow, cutthroat, and tiger trout. Fishtrap Lake, east of Sprague on the Lincoln-Spokane county line, has nice rainbows.
Osborne notes that one of the districts typically top-producing trout lakes is not fishing well this year due to illegal introductions of goldfish that are flourishing at the expense of trout. West Medical Lake, near the town of Medical Lake in southwest Spokane County, has been proposed for a fall rehabilitation treatment to restore the once excellent trout fishery. Comments on the rehabilitation proposal were taken through June 13 and a decision on whether to proceed will be made in late July.
The Tucannon River impoundments on the Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County -- Big Four, Blue, Curl, Deer, Spring and Watson lakes -- are still producing catches of rainbow trout from hatchery plants, thanks to recent rain and overall cooler temperatures. WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area manager Kari Dingman reminds anglers that Rainbow Lake is closed this month to allow draining and re-construction completion. The access road to Deer Lake and Campground 3 will be closed soon, too, for re-construction work. Deer Lake will remain open for fishing throughout the project, but anglers will need to wade the river to reach it.
Z Lake, on the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in Lincoln County, is still at a fairly high level of water this summer so planted rainbow trout are likely doing well. Area manager Juli Anderson notes the number of anglers plying those waters is limited by the walk-in only requirement.
Other trout waters in the region have rule changes that go into effect July 1 with the new regulations pamphlet as part of the rule simplification process. Amber Lake, in southwest Spokane County, remains under selective gear rules and no internal combustion motors, but now has a daily limit of one trout at least 18 inches in length from March 1-Nov. 30. Sprague Lake anglers will be allowed to harvest five trout of any size daily since the minimum size regulation was dropped.
Also as of July 1, the Spokane River from Nine Mile Dam upstream to the Idaho state line will now be managed as one stretch of river with selective gear and catch-and-release rules, except anglers are allowed to harvest a daily limit of two hatchery rainbow trout (those that are missing the adipose fin and a healed scar at the location of the clipped fin).