Streams offer reason to stay close to home
Rivers, creeks hold trout, smallmouths
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. Check rules carefully.
The Columbia River between Northport and Canada 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. A winter flood may have affected this year’s fishery.
Grande Ronde River near Asotin is excellent for smallmouth bass through much of the year. It’s 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, first Saturday in June-Sept. 30. Cutthroat fishing can be very good.
Okanogan River is a choice stream to float and cast for smallmouth bass.
Palouse River has 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, but big northern pike have established themselves in much of the river in recent years. The Box Canyon area is better for largemouth, the Boundary area best for smallmouth.
Some trout also are stocked in the river, and small brookies can be found in many of the tributaries.
Rock Creek flows out of Rock Lake and eventually through public land in the BLM’s Escure Ranch providing access to decent rainbow and brown trout fishing. The stream fishes best in spring (watch for ticks) and fall (snakes).
Rocky Ford Creek is a year-round, fly-fishing only trout stream north of Moses Lake renown for big, well-educated rainbows that tend to like tiny flies.
The Yakima River is probably Washington’s top trout stream. Trout angling is best in spring and then in fall, plus winter for whitefish. During summer, water levels rise to handle water destined for irrigation.