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Washington Fishing Report

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Eastern Washington Sponsored by
Date 02-Jun-15
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Conditions : Eastern Washington: The first Saturday in June is the start of river and stream fishing in several of the region’s waterways. Most are in the southeast district – including Asotin and Pataha creeks, and Touchet, Tucannon and the upper Walla Walla rivers – but the upper section of the Spokane River in Spokane County and Harvey Creek in Pend Oreille County also open June 6.

Although some rivers and streams, or portions of them, are open earlier or even year-round, many of those where trout spawn don’t open until the first Saturday of June. Check the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for special regulations, such as catch-and-release, selective gear restrictions, minimum size, and daily catch limits.

One of the June 6 opening waterways is the upper Grande Ronde River in Asotin County, which is under selective gear rules. Although the 2.5 miles up from the mouth of the Grande Ronde is open year-round, mostly under selective gear rules, it’s the longer upper stretch that draws both anglers and other recreationists. Check the public access map to the Grande Ronde available on the Eastern Region webpage under “Regional Fish & Wildlife Opportunities.”

Jeremy Trump, WDFW southeast district fish biologist, said the possibility of a mid-June-opening season for a spring chinook salmon fishery on the Grande Ronde is looking good.

Many of the region’s trout lakes that opened in late April continue to produce good catches through June, including Spokane County’s Clear and West Medical lakes and Lincoln County’s Fishtrap Lake.

In the northeast district, many good trout waters are near public campgrounds so they make for great family outings during this first month of summer. In Stevens County, the Little Pend Oreille chain of lakes – Gillette, Heritage, Sherry, and Thomas – and Cedar, Mudgett, Rocky, Starvation, and Waitts lakes are providing catches. In Pend Oreille County, Diamond Lake is a good bet, as are higher elevation waters like Skookum and Yocum lakes. Ferry County’s Curlew Lake, on a state park, and Ellen Lake, on the Colville National Forest, are good destinations.

In the south end of the region, the Tucannon River impoundments – Big Four, Blue, Curl, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes – continue to be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout and should still provide lots of catches through June.

Randy Osborne, WDFW central district fish biologist, said year-round-open waters are solid bets, not only for trout, but also for warmwater fish species that begin to bite as temperatures rise. Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam, has big rainbow trout, kokanee, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Anglers fishing Sprague Lake, on the Lincoln-Adams county line, are having luck catching rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and catfish. Rock Lake in Whitman County has rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie.

June is a great month to fish Downs Lake on the Lincoln/Spokane County line, and Bonnie Lake on the Spokane/Whitman County line. Osborne says both lakes should offer anglers good opportunity for crappie and perch. Eloika Lake in north Spokane County, and Liberty Lake southeast of Spokane Valley also offer anglers good opportunity to fish for crappie, perch, bass, as well as brown trout.

Trout fishing at Lake Spokane or Long Lake, the Spokane River reservoir just west of the city of Spokane, continues to produce good catches of rainbow trout stocked last June and currently running 14-15 inches. WDFW and Avista’s rainbow trout stocking program resumes this month with another scheduled release of 155,000 trout from WDFW’s Spokane Fish Hatchery and Trout Lodge in Soap Lake. Osborne explains these stocked trout are sterile so they cannot reproduce with native fish in the river system, and they’re marked with clipped adipose fins for ease of monitoring harvest through creel surveys.

Lincoln County’s Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area Manager Juli Anderson reports that Z-Lake’s planted rainbow trout survived the winter with a resident otter family. “It appears the otters have been feasting on the lake’s bullheads, rather than trout,” she said. This walk-in lake can be accessed from the north side, but Anderson notes that those who come in from the south side “will be treated to a close-up view of some restored wetlands along the trail to the lake.”

Anglers should note that the public access area at year-round Newman Lake in eastern Spokane County will be closed June 2-4 to allow treatment of the lake with herbicide to control Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic invasive weeds. Swimming is restricted and boating is discouraged during the treatment

Newcomers to fishing have a chance to try out the sport during Free Fishing Weekend, June 6-7. During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. No vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by WDFW.

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