Upper Spokane River Fly Fishing

Sean Visintainer - 08/04/12

Upper Spokane River Redband Trout. Photo by Michael Visintainer

From bass to trout water... and almost everything in between! The Upper Spokane River has an interesting diversity of fishing as it flows out of Coeur d'Alene Lake. The river spills over the top of the Post Falls damn which causes the very upper stretches too be too warm during most of year to support healthy trout populations. If it were a bottom release damn it would certainly be a different fishery. That particular stretch of the river however is somewhat of a decent smallmouth bass fishery. The smallmouth will crush everything from buggers to nymphs to mouse and popper patterns twitched across the surface. Look for the slack water to be the most productive. Most smallmouth bass on the upper Spokane River will be around 8-10" but there are the occasional 14-18" lunkers.

Spokane River Redband Rainbow. Photo by Michael Visintainer

As the river approaches Sullivan Bridge recharge from the aquifer spills into the river in the form of springs and drastically reduces the temps of the river and adds a touch of volume. If you are trout angler I suggest focusing on that area down to the Plant's Ferry Park section. Now there isn't as many trout in that stretch like the lower river but there are some very nice fish in it. Most are Wild Redband Rainbows, but there are even a few browns, cutthroat, and a rare brookie. It also seems to get a landlocked Chinook washed over the damn once in awhile, it seems to be every other year that an angler reports catching a 30+ inch chrome... kinda wild!

Good access along the river makes hitting the runs very easy with a little walking from the Centennial Trail. You can find access at most major streets that cross the river... Harvard, Barker, Sullivan, and Trent. If you hunt a little you will find even more. A good urban option!