Spokane River

I'm afraid its bleak. And really sad when you talk to guys who fished it not very long ago and the upper river was a jewel. No crowds, big fish in good numbers. I just met a life-long Valley resident the other day who said he finally quit fishing the upper last year for good. This is after years of catching and releasing burley-ass redbands... the last five years they've just tanked.
The lower is holding its own but I talked to a biologist who is worried that the lower river depends on the upper river for recruitment of small fish because the lower river doesn't have the spawning gravels... the normal movement of gravel is cut off by the dams. If his hunch is correct, the fate of the lower is tied to the spawning success of the fish in the upper river. The collapse of the lower river could be right behind that of the upper river.
I think the smallies are absolutely nuking the RB trout. We need some solid research on that but the end of the RB's up river sure seems to coincide with the arrival of the bronze bass in big numbers. Also there have been issues with AVISTA dewatering the redds in June... we'll see if they've fixed that. Whatever is happening, its a shame...


Active Member
Jerry, what could we do as a group to combat this? Is there a "Friends of the Spokane River" group, or anything in place that's sole intention is fish protection.

Rob Zelk

I swing, therefore i am.
One day on the spokane a few years back I caught a giant squaw fish two times, fifteen minutes between takes, on a rainbow trout streamer; weird. He was in the exact same run and spot. I like the spokane, its big, you never know who you'll run into(which can be a minus), and its always an adventure. Its one slippery river though!

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I used to fish from Pines to Sullivan when I was a kid in the early 70's. I caught a lot of brook trout and a few big rainbows. Never any smallmouth. Back then I think there was a bumpy road along the south bank all the way from Pines to Sullivan, but now it's a bike path. Lots of other misadventures out there along the river. Sullivan Road used to be way out in the country side.

Just a few years ago, I went down to Mirabeau Park Christmas Day to try out a new spey rod. Later I found out it was closed waters. Just a few years ago it was only open June 1 to October 31. Old Man Jim scolded me on this forum for not knowing the regulations, but I tried that morning. I couldn't find any stores open, WDFW was closed, and WSP told me they were too busy to help me. Now it's open first Saturday in June to March 15. What years was it June 1 to October 31?

I also saw but never could catch some huge rainbows below Up River Dam.

I was wondering why WDFW didn't have some kind of retention regulation for smallmouth bass in the upper river, but then I saw the consumption advisor for all species for everyone in the river.
I'm going to go to some fly shops this week and ask them about the river. I will try to go to Swede's fly shop, Silver bow fly shop, and the fly shop off of I-90. I'll try and see if they have any info.