Memorial Day Weekend Forecast

Sean Visintainer - 05/21/20

Fly fishing rivers like the Spokane River, Methow River, Naches River, and Kettle River all reopen the Saturday before Memorial Day Weekend in Washington.

Busy holiday weekend?

2020 Memorial Day Weekend plans probably look a lot different this year for most of us than in years past. This year's Memorial Day Weekend may not include long distance travel and hanging out with large groups of friends, but at least we are starting to see some sense of relief in our world of fishing.

For those that haven't followed the latest fishing restrictions related to COVID, note that Idaho lifted the nonresident fishing restrictions last weekend, while Montana will still have the 14 day quarantine in place until June 1st. Washington currently is not allowing nonresidents access to fishing license sales either, no word on when that will change.

Will it be a busy holiday weekend on the water? I have no idea... this year has me guessing about a lot of things!

NF Coeur d'Alene River / St. Joe River - Forecast
These rivers are going to be a little big from runoff especially during the first part of the weekend. River levels should drop over the weekend and hopefully some good water will start to open up later in the weekend. For those adventurous enough wanting to try these north Idaho classics plan on having to hunt a bit harder for good water this year, but when you find the softer water there should be some fish stacked in there.

I would try prospecting with big stones, stimulator types, and chubbies right out of the gate. When flows are high like this I don't like running droppers because you are often fishing tight to the banks and the dropper can impede your accuracy. Normally this time of the year we begin to see hatches of pmds and yellow sallies so plan on a few of them and don't forget your drakes! Gray drakes are often found on these two during May, but there are sometimes brown drakes and the popular green drakes can hatch this time of the year.

The subsurface game will consist of stones / worm combos and even some other classics like red copper johns, bh (or jig) or jig prince and lightning bugs. If you are wanting new patterns to try, call us about getting some of the new jigs that are available on the market... blow torch patterns, red darts, TJ hookers... all likely players.

Spokane River - Forecast
Opens this Saturday (May 23rd). It's gunna be high and not a viable option. The past few years we have been lucky enough to enjoy some fishing on the "Kan" on the opener, but this year is more classic runoff, big. We really don't recommend this for safety reasons. Caddis and probably some salmonflies will be out if the weather is warm so hopefully it comes down quick to a more manageable level so we can get back to some true "local" fishing opportunities.

Lakes - Forecast
Lots of lake options this year that are going to be good. Coffeepot and Medical come to mind since that's where the best reports have come from. While other opportunities like Bailey and McDowell and Amber come to mind too. There are so many lake opportunities around eastern Washington it's crazy. Damsel and dragonfly activity should be starting to pick up so pack along some nymphs, but really don't leave home without the ever popular balanced leeches and some ice cream cone patterns for the chironomids.

Other Ideas
Have you tried carp fishing? Give us a call to learn about some alternative ideas like carp that are fun fly rod species. Places like the Snake River, lower Grande Ronde, Moses Lake, Banks Lake, Rock Lake, lower Rocky Ford, Newman Lake, Columbia River and beyond all have carp opportunities. Add this species to your list if you are a saltwater angler looking to keep your skill sharp.

Other rivers like the Kettle River, Naches River, and Methow all open this Saturday as well under the general stream rules for Washington. While they might be a bit high, they are worth exploring over the next couple weeks as things settle down.

Fishing regulations:

Washington State

A beautiful rainbow trout caught while fly fishing in Washington

Fly angler Kurt Temple with a trophy 29