Spokane River report


Active Member
I fished the Spokane this afternoon from 1:30-4:00 and encountered some fairly good fishing for this time of year. This is the third time I have fished the river in the last couple of weeks, and unlike the previous trips, I could not get the fish to respond to small midge pupa patterns fished deep in the water column. Red has been the most productive color this winter for me on the Spokane, but today the only fish to take a pupa imitation took a small black one (sz.18). There was a moderate hatch of a number of different sizes of midges, all very small ranging in size from a 20/22 down to what appeared to be a 26. I saw no visible rises and water temps were still very cold (36-37), so I fished the slower back eddies as the river is still high even though it has come down some the past few days. The key was getting down to where the fish were holding, as I hooked all the fish down near the bottom in about 8 ft of water. Of the six fish hooked (five landed), all but one took a pattern I tested today for the first time. It is a derivation of the Prince nymph except the body is tied with Pearl Ice Dubbing with a blue wire for the rib and peacock ice dub for the thorax. The fish responded well to it, although I am not sure why. One of the fish caught was a nice cutthroat of about 14 inches (the rest were rainbows between 8-15 inches). The weather was beautiful today and I even got a bit of a burn on my face. If you are in the area, I recommed getting out to fish the river as it has been fishing fairly well of late.
Got to admit something here, I haven't fished the Spokane in years,but 15 yrs ago or so, I fished it several times with a lady friend from the area, I never got a thing (fish, that is ) but one time she was fishing, get this, a little bitty spin-glo with a splitshot in front, got a brown of 22", jeesh. We took it home and ate it, probably full of all sorts of chemicals...good though..
thanks for the report, I will try again some day..

Thanks for the report :thumb: I guess maybe I'll start fishing the Spokane again instead of heading for Crab Creek or Rocky Ford. Can I ask where on the river you were fishing?


Active Member
I was fishing both above and below the wastewater treatment plant. There is some good water down there to fish when the flows are above 4000 cfs. I usually just park at the plant and walk down from there. IF you fish it, please submit a report or send me an pm as I would really be interested to know how you did. Thanks.
I also fished the Spoke yesterday from 1-4, however I was a couple miles below you. I have to admit I haven't figured the cold water fishing out yet over the last couple of years. I do well during the summer and fall, but once the water is cold I struggle. I think I might be going too big. I started with a red bionic worm with a 18 black midge dropper and didn't get a look. I finally went to a sinking line and bugger and hooked into a monster that I had on for a good while, ldr, then landed a 12". I know I was down deep enough as I lost 3 flies. There was a lot of insect activity from 2-4 in a variety of sizes from sz16 duns to 22+ midges. Like up your way, no fish were looking up. Were you using a floating line with wt, or do you fish your midges with a sinking line? I saw a bunch of almost shiny or clear midges with easily seen segmentation, not sure exactly what they are, but this might be why your pearl fly was working. What size were you fishing it? Anyway, I will try going smaller next time, kind of frustrating because I can be successful anytime on that water except during the winter. It sure was a beautiful day though.


Active Member

Fishing the Spokane during the winter season is much more difficult and I know what you mean about having difficult "figuring it out" during this time of year. I have my struggles during the winter, but it is not a numbers game and I certainly do not expect to hook the numbers of fish I do in the fall and summer. With that, when fishing midge pupa patterns, sizes 18-20 have been effective for me this winter. As such, I do not think you were necessarily fishing flies which were too large, although I have not tried dropping down to fish 24-26, even though I know such sizes can take some big fish in the river. I think some days the fish are less keyed into midges and after a few color changes/size changes, I will switch away from them unless I notice visible surface activity (which I saw none of yesterday). If the standard colors of midge pupa patterns are not taking fish (such as red, black, olive, cream, etc) then I will usually tie on a larger nymph (attractor pattern of some sort in a 14-16) and then run the smaller midge off the bend of the hook (simply because midges are the main staple I believe in the fishes diet during this part of the year). Another thing I also fish is a caddis larva pattern (olive or tan/brown). You mentioned depth was not a problem, but I am curious to know what type of water you were fishing. Also, the duns you mentioned you saw on the water yesterday, were they baetis mayflies? I saw a few last weekend, but saw none on the water yesterday.
I was fishing with a type III sinking line and buggers in 8-12 feet of water(completely quessing) casting into the run and working the slower water at the tail when I lost the flies. With the midges I was using tungsten bead head on floating line, so I clearly might not have been deep enough with that set-up, but they do sink pretty quickly.
As for the duns, I am a hack at best when identifying bugs, however they were clearly duns and all gray so I am guessing bwo. They were good size too, but no interest whatsoever by the fish.

Latest posts