Discover Eastern Washington

Hills and trees reflected in a lake

Counties served: Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman

Director: Steve Pozzanghera

2315 North Discovery Place
Spokane Valley, WA 99216-1566

Email: TeamSpokane@dfw.wa.gov

Telephone: 509-892-1001

July fishing tips and news

New regulations

A man holds a bass
Photo courtesy Keith Franklin

The 2021-2022 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet is now available, outlining regulations for rivers, streams, and lakes throughout the state. Visit our fishing regulations webpage to download the new regulations.

Paper copies of the pamphlet are typically available at hundreds of license dealers throughout Washington at the end of June. This year, however, the pamphlets will not be delivered until mid-July because of difficulties obtaining the materials needed to print the pamphlets, due in part to widespread supply-chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Celebrate Bass Week July 11-17

Grab your pole, because there are more than 1,000 lakes containing bass statewide, and some outstanding river fishing opportunities as well. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass are plentiful in Eastern Washington waters. And you don’t need a boat to catch them – some great bass fishing can be done from docks or shore. Bass Week will highlight the best bass waters in Washington, provide bass fishing tips, suggest some tackle to try, and answer your questions on all things bass.

Catch a fish, win a prize

As the water warms up, so does the competition in the Department's lowland lake trout derby, which continues through Oct. 31. Anglers with a 2021-22 freshwater, combination, or all-in-one Washington fishing license who catch one of more than 1,000 tagged fish can claim prizes provided by license dealers across the state. A list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes is available at the derby website.

Other fishing

Sprague Lake, on the Lincoln-Adams county line alongside Interstate 90, generally has good bass and channel catfish fishing this time of year.

Bass fishing has been great at Newman Lake, east of Spokane. Newman also has tiger muskie, as does Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County. Tiger muskie fishing gets better as the weather warms up so now is a great time to give it a try if you haven’t in the past. Both those lakes also have black crappie and yellow perch if you would like to try for something different.

Another option is walleye. In past years, Lake Spokane (aka Long Lake) has had some great walleye fishing this time of year. Lake Spokane also has rainbow trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie. 

The white sturgeon fishery is still open on Lake Roosevelt, the Columbia River reservoir off Grand Coulee Dam.

Hot weather fishing practices

With a heatwave forecast for early July, there are some hot weather fishing practices to observe. When the weather is this hot, it's especially important to help keep fish cool. As the summer weather continues, fishing in the early morning or later evening, when air and water temperatures are cooler, can help reduce stress on fish -- and on the angler.

If you are practicing catch and release, it's critical to take steps to minimize impacts to fish. Using appropriate gear and landing the fish quickly can help, as can making sure not to remove the fish from the water once it's reeled in. Quickly remove hooks or cut the line if the hook is especially deep. You can also help revive the fish by pointing it into a slow current and letting it swim out of your hands whenever possible.

Fire restrictions

If you fish at WDFW-managed lands or water access areas, a reminder that annual fire and target shooting restrictions recently went into effect a little early due to the extremely hot and dry weather. Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all WDFW-managed properties. There are a handful of other annual restrictions in place as well.

Wooten Wildlife Area closures

A project underway in the Tucannon River will improve salmon habitat by adding human-made log jams but will mean some lakes on the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia and Garfield counties won’t be available for fishing during the week. The Monday through Thursday closures will include Campground 3, Rainbow LakeDeer Lake, and Watson Lake. The closures, to ensure public safety while large trucks haul material from south of Deer Lake to the project area behind Rainbow Lake, will last into July. The affected areas are open on weekends for people to enjoy.

Liberty Lake access closure

Improvements to the very popular Liberty Lake access area in eastern Spokane County are scheduled to begin this summer, so you may want to start thinking about other places to launch your boat or fish from shore when that area is closed for construction. The access area closes Sept. 7 through December. Work includes improvements to the boat ramp, replacing old vault toilets with ADA-accessible toilets, sealing and striping the parking lot, adding new signage and an extended dock for launching boats, and a brand new fishing pier with benches. This work means the access area will not be open to launch or remove boats from the lake, or for shore fishing. WDFW will work with lake residents on at least two dates prior to Oct. 31 for people to be able to get boats out of the lake.

July hunting news

A child in hunter orange
Photo courtesy Matthew Gullikson

Hunter education courses

Avoid the fall rush and sign up now for a virtual hunter education class. All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education training requirement.

Wildlife viewing

Give wildlife space during heatwave

A deer lies in a field

The extreme heat takes a toll on animals, just like it does on us. They seek cool areas with thick tree cover, like creek drainages, to rest during the hottest parts of the day. That means they do most of their feeding at night, and during the early morning and the late evening when temperatures are lower.

The best thing we can do for wildlife during extreme heat is to limit disturbance. Do this by keeping your dog on a leash when you hike or do other activities in nature, don’t drive around natural areas at night, and keep your distance from wildlife you do see.

Be bear aware

Black bears have been very visible this year in many parts of the state, including near homes in Spokane Valley and northeast Washington. To avoid attracting bears to your property, keep garbage in a garage or enclosed structure if possible, take down bird feeders, store livestock food like chicken scratch inside, feed pets inside, clean and store barbecue grills where bears can’t get to them, and cage and electric fence domestic fowl and livestock pens. More information is available on WDFW’s Living with Bears webpage.

Wooten Wildlife Area closures

A project underway in the Tucannon River will improve salmon habitat by adding man-made log jams but will mean closures to some areas of the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia and Garfield counties. The Monday through Thursday closures will include Campground 3, Rainbow LakeDeer Lake, and Watson Lake. The closures, to ensure public safety while large trucks haul material from south of Deer Lake to the project area behind Rainbow Lake, will last into July. The affected areas are open on weekends for people to enjoy.

Waikiki Springs Trail improvements

Maintenance work starts July 12 to improve the trail through the Waikiki Springs Unit of the Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area in northwest Spokane. The plan is to keep the trail open, with the construction area cordoned off and spotters used to keep trail users safe, but the trail may need to be closed for short periods of time. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of August.

This project will repair erosion damage created by an unstable slope caused by a mixture of run-off from rain and natural springs, and years of people walking outside of the designated trail area. Contractors will install catch basins  and berms to redirect runoff to locations where it won’t damage infrastructure or water quality. Some side trails will be closed and fencing added to keep users on the main trail. A rockslide area will be reinforced and seeded to establish vegetation to reduce erosion.

Habitat at Home

Create an edible garden with native plants

Strawberries, green onions, and salad greens are just a few of the delicious vegetable garden staples that have native alternatives to benefit both you and wildlife!

Growing native edible plants is ideal for those who:

  • Enjoy eating food
  • Like saving money, water, and time
  • Want to contribute to wildlife conservation

Native plants are a great choice for many reasons. First, they are adapted to the natural rainfall, climate, and soil of the area and as a result tend to be very low maintenance. This means you won’t have to spend as much time and money on watering and caring for your garden.

Additionally, these plants have co-evolved with native wildlife species and are best suited for supporting these species. One drawback of planting non-native plants is that they often don’t support insect species during all life stages. Studies have shown that caterpillar and bird abundance and overall biodiversity are significantly higher in urban gardens that are filled with native plants compared to gardens without native plants. By using native plants, you are helping to support a more robust insect population, which is critical to pollination and the support of many other wildlife species such as birds.

Keep in mind that some species will require you to plant more than one for them to reproduce via pollination. Research your plants ahead of time to gain a better understanding of what will work best for you. Most native plants will come back year after year with no need to replant. If you decide to grow a native edible garden this year, show us how you did! Use the hashtag #habitatathome to share your photos with us on social media.

Strawberries

Close up of wild strawberry plant
Peter Pearsall, USFWS

Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), and wild or blue-leaved strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) are three great native alternatives to traditional strawberries. In fact, the coastal strawberry is one of two varieties that were hybridized to create the modern supermarket strawberry. Coastal and wild strawberries are drought tolerant and prefer full sun and well-drained soils. Woodland strawberries do great in semi-shade under trees and shrubs. If you’d like to make full use of the plant, add the young leaves to salads and soups!

Onions

Close up of nodding onion (Allium cernuum)

The nodding onion (Allium cernuum) is a delicious and stunning alternative to green onions. The entire plant is edible (raw or cooked), including the flowers! It’s a drought-tolerant plant often found in prairies and rocky bluffs. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It blooms in early summer, but you can harvest it for food year-round, though it will die back in the winter. The nodding onion is equally as beautiful as it is delicious and can be used ornamentally in your yard.

Lettuce

Close up of miner's lettuce

Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is an easy-going plant that can be the main ingredient in your salads. It is thin and crunchy and has a mild sweetness to it. Like other lettuce plants, it is shade tolerant and will become bitter in taste if exposed to too much direct sunlight. It’s great eaten raw or cooked like spinach, and the whole plant is edible!

Share your backyard wildlife photos

We want to see what birds and other wildlife visit your habitat. Share your photos or videos with us at wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the category “Wildlife Viewing”. 

Meet your Regional Director: Steve Pozzanghera

Steve Pozzanghera, Eastern Region Director
Steve Pozzanghera, Eastern Region Director

Steve Pozzanghera is the Eastern Region (Region 1) Regional Director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Prior to taking the Regional director position in Spokane, Steve served as the Department’s first Carnivore Section Manager working in the Wildlife Program in Olympia. He then became the Deputy Assistant Director of the Wildlife Program before making the move to Region 1.

Steve has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in Wildlife Science from the University of Tennessee. Steve enjoys hunting, fishing and preparing food to serve others – especially on a barbeque.

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