Fishing: Fishing is picking up for warmwater species in waterways throughout the south end of the region, especially during cooler evening hours. Smallmouth bass are found throughout the Snake River and channel catfish can be found in its backwaters and sloughs. Both species are caught near the mouth of the Walla Walla River.
Smallmouth bass may be caught below Prescott in the lower portion of the Touchet River. The Columbia River and its connected sloughs have yellow perch, crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel catfish, brown bullheads, an occasional walleye, and other species.
Waters in the north end of the region are also seeing warmwater fish action. The Pend Oreille River’s Boundary Dam reservoir is good for smallmouth bass, and its Box Canyon Dam reservoir is good for largemouth bass. Northern pike are also throughout the river. Stevens County’s Pierre Lake has largemouth bass, crappie, and bullhead catfish. Loon and Deer lakes in southern Stevens County have both species of bass, plus bullheads, perch, and bluegill. Pend Oreille County’s Diamond Lake is usually good for perch this time of year.
Long Lake, the reservoir off the Spokane River in northwest Spokane County has been good for crappie, perch and both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Chapman Lake in southwest Spokane County is also producing both largemouth and smallmouth bass catches, plus some kokanee. Downs Lake, also in the southwest part of the county, has a few perch and some really nice largemouth bass.
Spokane County’s Amber, Badger, and Williams lakes continue to provide good catches of rainbow and cutthroat trout during early morning or evening hours. Rock Lake in Whitman County also continues to be good for both rainbow and brown trout fishing.
Wildlife viewing: As temperatures rise and summer advances, wildlife viewing is best at dawn and dusk when animals are more active. Most species are tending offspring now, so viewing should be from a distance with the aid of binoculars and scopes to avoid stressing young families. And motorists should slow down on roadways where traditional deer crossings now may include fawns.
Bird watching, or at least listening, can be productive throughout the region. Many of the 51 locations featured in the Palouse to Pines Loop of The Great Washington State Birding Trail map provide good summertime birding. Riverside State Park, on the Spokane River just northwest of downtown Spokane, has American dippers and pileated woodpeckers. The Little Spokane River Natural Area further north has ospreys and common mergansers. Mt. Spokane State Park northeast of Spokane has red crossbills and western tanagers. Liberty Lake County Park to the east of Spokane has common nighthawks and northern pygmy owls.
In Pend Oreille County, the U.S. Forest Service Noisy Creek campground on the shores of Sullivan Lake is a good spot to see common loons and red-necked grebes. The Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, east of Colville, hosts white-headed woodpeckers, American redstarts, Swainson’s thrushes and many more species. WDFW’s Sherman Creek Wildlife Area on the shores of Lake Roosevelt in Ferry County can provide glimpses of common and Barrow’s goldeneyes on the water.
Copies of the region’s birding map are available at WDFW’s Spokane Valley office at 2315 N. Discovery Place (509-892-1001).
WDFW enforcement officers throughout the region continue to respond to complaints about problem black bears. Most situations involve bears getting into unsecured garbage, pet food, bird feeders, compost piles, or other attractions. “Many of us live or recreate in bear country, so we need to take precautions to avoid these kinds of problems,” says WDFW Captain Mike Whorton.
Salmon and steelhead watching may be good in southeast rivers and streams, where strong runs of these ocean-going fish are now returning. There’s no non-tribal fishing for these species open right now, said WDFW District Fish Biologist Glen Mendel, but careful watchers can help prevent potential poaching or harassment of vulnerable fish.