Banks Lake

Stretching almost 27 miles from Coulee City at the south to Electric City at the north, this large reservoir is very popular with anglers pursuing many species. Smallmouth Bass and Walleye are the most popular species.  There is also a loyal following of anglers who fish for the reservoirs most numerous species, Lake Whitefish.  Panfish, Rainbow Trout, and Kokanee can also be caught in Banks Lake.  During most winters Banks Lake freezes over providing a popular ice fishery. 

Banks Lake is one of the waters on which we conduct our annual Fall Walleye Index Netting (FWIN) surveys. The FWIN methodology was developed in Ontario, Canada as a means of monitoring a wide variety of biological parameters in Walleye populations in a standardized fashion using gill nets. 

A cooperative net pen rearing project between WDFW and the local communities releases several hundred thousand Rainbow Trout.  These releases have improved the trout fishery in Banks Lake significantly.

Banks Lake can be fished year-round and is a great vacation destination.   

Two-pole fishing is allowed

Good for ice fishing

Shoreline access: Good - There are several places to fish along the easter shoreline of Banks Lake.

WDFW water access areas on this lake

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: Grant
Acreage: 26888.30 ac.
Elevation: 1574 ft.
Center: 47.85385, -119.171805
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Fishing prospects calendar

Rainbow trout

Fishing success for Rainbow Trout is generally best in the spring when thousands of fish are stocked statewide, but they can be caught year-round in most waters with a little patience and persistence. Success remains high into June and gradually declines as water temperatures increase and fish move offshore to stay cool. Fish that escaped the spring harvest return to the nearshore areas in the fall as waters cool off. Some waters may also be stocked again in the fall further boosting catch rates.

Chart showing fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Kokanee

The Kokanee fishery typically lasts from April-October before the adults leave the lake to spawn in tributaries starting in late-October and early-November. Fishing is best in the spring before they move into deeper water to avoid warming water temperatures, but they can be targeted throughout the summer in deeper offshore areas near the thermocline. There may be a slight uptick in some waters in the fall as adults return to shallower water and move near shore towards spawning tributaries.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Largemouth bass

Fishing improves throughout the spring as waters warm and fish move onshore, peaking during the spawn. Summer is a slight lull though dawn/dusk hours can be very good. Catch improves in Fall as waters cool, vegetation begins to die back, and prey becomes more available. Winter is the hardest time because fish are offshore and slow moving.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Smallmouth bass

Fishing improves throughout the spring as waters warm and fish move onshore, peaking during the spawn. Summer is a slight lull though dawn/dusk hours can be very good. Catch improves in Fall as waters cool, vegetation begins to die back, and prey becomes more available. Winter is the hardest time because fish are offshore and slow moving.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Walleye

Fishing peaks before and after the spawn, with the spawning period (April) being more difficult. Summer fishing is excellent, with a lull during the heat of the summer, while Fall sees an improvement as waters cool, vegetation dies back, and prey becomes more available. Winter is tougher, but still fair, since Walleye are readily caught during the winter months in deeper water.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Yellow perch

Yellow Perch can be caught year-round. Fishing is best in the summer after they finish spawning in April-May. Fish can be readily angled through the summer from both the shore and boat. Catch begins to decline in the fall as water temperatures cool and fish move offshore forcing anglers to pursue them in boats. Successful fishing for Yellow Perch in the winter involves either targeting schools in deep water from boats or through the ice.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Black crappie

Fishing improves throughout the Spring, peaking during the spawn. Summer is a slight lull, while Fall sees an improvement as waters cool, vegetation dies back, and prey becomes more available. During winter, the bite is slower, but anglers can have great success fishing through the ice when conditions are safe.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Bluegill

Bluegill can be caught year-round, but fishing is best in the warm months of Summer. Fishing improves throughout the spring, peaking during the spawn in early-Summer. Fish move offshore into deeper waters through the fall as water temperatures cool making it more difficult to target them. Winter is the most difficult season in which to catch Bluegill, but persistent anglers can find them in schools of like-sized fish offshore.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Channel catfish

Fishing improves throughout the spring, peaking before the spawning period in June and July. Fishing may pick up in early Fall, followed by a decrease in action as waters cool. Winter is a difficult time to target this species.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Lake whitefish

Fishing for Lake Whitefish peaks during the summer as fish congregate in large schools over the deepest portions of the reservoir. There is a slight lull in October as fish transition to spawning areas. Fishing success peaks again in early to mid-December as fish congregate along the shoreline to spawn.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Photos

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Image credit
WDFW