Eastern Washington: July is the month when most of the regions warmwater fisheries are in full swing. Warmwater species are more active with elevated air and water temperatures.
Spokane Countys Newman, Bonnie and Silver lakes are good bets for largemouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie, Randy Osborne, WDFW central district fish biologist.
In addition to lakes where warmwater species are found, many of the regions waters can still produce catches of trout this month along with other fish, Osborne said.
Anglers at Liberty and Clear lakes in Spokane County are catching rainbow and brown trout, perch, crappie and bass. Downs and Sprague lakes should also produce catches of bass and rainbow trout.
Fishing at Long Lake, also known as Lake Spokane, is really good right now for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, Osborne said. Anglers are still catching rainbow trout that were stocked the last two years. This years stocked trout are still fairly small, running 7 to 9 inches, but the carryovers from last years plant run about 16 inches.
With air temperatures setting records in the region, anglers fishing the early morning and late evening hours have been doing well on the regions lowland trout lakes, including Fish, Fishtrap, and West Medical. Osborne notes that as the heat persists and water temperatures rise, even the warmwater fish species will be more likely to bite early and late.
Morning and evening fishing is also productive on many northeast district waters, said Bill Baker, WDFW district fish biologist. 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.
Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam, is usually good in July for walleye and smallmouth bass, Baker says. Several other lakes should provide good opportunities, including Deer Lake in southern Stevens County for smallmouth and largemouth bass, Curlew Lake in Ferry County for largemouth bassDiamond Lake near Newport in Pend Oreille County for yellow perch, and Waitts Lake in southern Stevens County for yellow perch.
The Snake and Palouse rivers are usually good this month for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and black crappie, said Jeremy Trump, WDFW southeast district fish biologist. The Grande Ronde River in Asotin County is also good now for smallmouth bass. The Grand Ronde is open through July 5 for spring chinook salmon. Check the emergency rule change for more details.
Due to record hot and dry conditions, Tucannon River water levels are currently lower than the lowest point last year (which occurred in August), reported Kari Dingman, WDFW assistant manager of W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area. Some of the river impoundments on the Wooten that can be fished for hatchery trout are low, she said. And lake water temperatures may soon rise to the point where fish are not biting.
July is a great time to be out on the water to escape the heat, Osborne said, but please remember to use common sense and wear life jackets to be safe.
Extremely hot and dry conditions are dropping river and stream water flows and raising water temperatures throughout the region. Fishery managers are considering some river and stream fishing season reductions or restrictions this month to protect fish from over-harvesting.
Anglers will also want to pay attention to the new way eastern Washington rivers and streams are listed in the new fishing rules pamphlet, effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. As described in New for 2015 on page three, the Columbia Basin (the Columbia River and its tributaries) is now under the statewide stream strategy where all rivers, streams and beaver ponds are closed unless listed as open in pages 50-76.