Franklin Roosevelt Lake

This Columbia River impoundment stretches more than 150 miles from Grand Coulee Dam into Canada and is managed cooperatively between WDFW, the Colville Confederated Tribe of Indians and The Spokane Tribe of Indians. Fishing season is open year-round, except for sturgeon, which are subject to special rules and seasons. White Sturgeon, Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, Walleye and Smallmouth Bass are the star attractions. Cooperative net-pen rearing projects at numerous locations provide the Rainbow Trout fishery. The cooperative net-pen project plants approximately 750,000 triploid catchable Rainbow Trout annually into Lake Roosevelt. Check the latest regulations pamphlet for special trout and Kokanee rules and redefined San Poil River boundaries. Other fish available to catch are Burbot, Lake Whitefish, and Yellow Perch. Bow-and-arrow fishing for Common Carp is prohibited.

Fishery managers in Washington state and British Columbia began sturgeon hatchery programs in the early 2000s in response to a decades-long decline in the white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt. Survival rates for those hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon is higher than was anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus of these fish available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.  The sturgeon fishery is opened only by emergency regulation.  In order to effectively manage this fishery, rules may vary by year, and anglers should note these changes.  In 2017, a harvest sturgeon fishery opened in Lake Roosevelt for the first time in more than 20 years, and anglers harvested an estimated 3,200 hatchery-origin sturgeon. 

Lake Roosevelt 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.  Check our publications page for FWIN survey reports.

The National Park Service operates 35 recreation areas along the 660 miles of shoreline. Maps are available at the dam's visitor center and WDFW Spokane office.  Water level fluctuations can be a problem for boat launching. For current water level information, call (800) 824-4916. The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has issued this fish consumption advisory for Lake Roosevelt due to mercury contamination: pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children under six years of age should eat no more than two meals of walleye (8-ounce portion) a month. For more information, check the DOH website.

Two-pole fishing is allowed

Shoreline access: Good - Numerous access areas provide shoreline fishing access on Lake Roosevelt.

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: Stevens
Acreage: 77684.50 ac.
Elevation: 1293 ft.
Center: 47.901889, -118.172461
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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

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed Sunfish are ubiquitous in most lowland lakes and readily caught year-round. Fishing is best in the spring and summer, peaking during the spawn in June. 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 to catch Pumpkinseed, but persistent anglers can find nice-sized schools offshore.

Chart of fishing prospects throughout the calendar year

Brown bullhead

Fishing improves throughout the spring, peaking before the spawning period in May and June. 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