Lake fishing isn’t for everybody. Some anglers aren’t home unless they’re drifting down a river or feeling the grip of flowing water around their waders.
Eastern Washington has numerous stream-fishing experiences to try. Among them:
The Spokane River has a good rainbow trout fishery in certain stretches. Some of the best trout fishing is in the catch-and-release section upstream from Upriver Dam to the Idaho stateline. This section opens June 1. Sometime in July, the flows get low and warm in much of this stretch and the trout congregate in runs (such as the Mirabeau Park area) cooled by 50-degree water seeping in from the aquifer.
The other good Spokane River trout water, open year-round, is from Monroe Street Bridge downstream to Riverside State Park. Check the regulations carefully for rules that vary by stretch.
The Columbia River near the Canada border is big water that holds big rainbows on the seams of strong eddies. Anglers who learn to fish this water keep tight lips.
Crab Creek in Lincoln County (watch for springtime ticks) can be good for brown and rainbow trout in some stretches. Much of the stream runs through private agricultural land and has limited access. But the river is open to the public on BLM lands.
Grande Ronde River near Asotin is excellent for smallmouth bass through much of the year and is a Shangri-La for steelhead anglers during fall and early winter.
Kettle River has potential for being a great rainbow trout stream in some stretches, but poaching appears to be a chronic problem.
Methow River in Okanogan County has a catch-and-release trout season, June 1-Sept. 30. River flows could be down this year as early as mid-June to provide good fishing for rainbows and especially for cutthroats that get into the 16- to 18-inch range. New rules this year open fishing in 8 miles of river below Gold Creek.
Okanogan River is a choice stream to float and cast for smallmouth bass.
Palouse River has some smallmouth bass in some stretches. The best fishing, however, is for crappie and catfish in the Palouse near its confluence with the Snake River.
Pend Oreille River is best known for bass fishing. The Box Canyon area is better for largemouth, the Boundary area best for smallmouth. Some trout also are stocked in the river, and small brook can be found in many of the tributaries.
Rock Creek flows through public land in the BLM’s Escure Ranch providing access to decent brown trout fishing before the stream heads into Rock Lake. The stream fishes best in spring (watch for ticks) and fall.
Rocky Ford Creek is a year-round, fly-fishing only trout stream north of Moses Lake renown for very big rainbows that tend to like tiny flies.