Discover Eastern Washington

Hills and trees reflected in a lake

Staff furloughs

With Washington’s economy hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is planning one day of agency-wide furloughs each month through November.

While public safety-related needs will remain staffed, most other WDFW services, including customer service, will be unavailable Friday, Aug. 14, Friday, Sept. 4, Friday, Oct. 30, and Wednesday, Nov. 25.

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

August fishing tips and news

A fisherman shows the sturgeon he caught
Daniel Moua

Lake Roosevelt sturgeon

The Lake Roosevelt sturgeon fishery is still open from Grand Coulee Dam upstream to the China Bend boat ramp. The daily limit is one sturgeon, with an annual limit of two sturgeon. It is legal to keep sturgeon between 50 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the tail. All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card.

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50-pound test mainline and leader, at a minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to avoid catching or injuring large, wild adult sturgeon. Heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, while also protecting large, wild adult brood sturgeon that – if hooked – should be played to hand quickly and released without being removed from the water.

Warmwater/Mixed Species

Lake Roosevelt has other good fisheries during the summer months as well.

“Roosevelt has been good as always for walleye, rainbow trout, smallmouth and kokanee- if you can find them,” said district fish biologist Randy Osborne.

Long Lake (Lake Spokane) continues to fish well for bass, crappie, rainbows, and walleye. 

“Several other lakes continue to fish decent, despite the hot weather,” said Osborne, “Including Badger, West Medical, and Clear lakes. But because of the hot weather, it’s best to fish early and late in the day for the best success.”

WDFW northeast district fish biologist Bill Baker of Colville reports lots of opportunity for warmwater fish species such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and black crappie across the district. 

“Lakes like Ferry County’s Curlew, Stevens County’s Deer and Waitts, and Pend Oreille County’s Davis, Diamond, and Fan, offer fair to good fishing this month,” said Baker. “Smallmouth bass fishing has also been good on the Pend Oreille River.”  

Many northeast Washington lakes that are stocked with cutthroat trout are good bets at this time of year, especially early and late in the day, Baker said.

Long Lake in Ferry County, as well as Browns and Yokum lakes in Pend Oreille County and Little Twin Lake in Stevens County should all be fishing well,” he said.   

Statewide trout derby

Catch a fish, win a prize! The 2020 Statewide Trout Derby runs through Oct. 31. The free event features more than 100 stocked lakes and over 100 participating businesses offering 1,000+ prizes valued at more than $40,000. Fore more on how it works, visit the derby webpage.

Selective gear rules

A reminder that selective gear restrictions are in place on the Spokane River from Nine Mile Dam to the Washington/Idaho border.

A recent emphasis patrol by WDFW officers checking anglers on the river found a 0% compliance rate with the selective gear requirement, despite the river being well posted with signs.

Selective gear rules mean using barbless single hooks and lures, but no bait with a scent. These regulations are in place to protect the native Redband Rainbow Trout. Using bait can cause damage to fish that swallow the hook when the hook is retrieved. Selective gear rules allow for shallower hook-sets, and easy removal of the hook.

Officers believe most of the violations are occurring because anglers have not taken the time to review the rules prior to fishing. Please review the 2020-2021 Sport Fishing Rules for any body of water you fish if you are not already familiar with them.

Life jackets save lives

Even with temperatures in the 90s and water levels down following high water stages, it is still important to wear your life jacket whether fishing, rafting, boating, or any other kind of water recreation. We want to see you live to enjoy our great resources another day.

Fire precaution

A reminder that restrictions on campfires, smoking outside of vehicles, target shooting, and other activities on WDFW-managed lands remain in effect to prevent fires at wildlife areas and water access areas. Restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases.

August hunting news

A black bear sticks its head out from behind a tree
Debbie Ringhoffer

Black bear

General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug.1 in Washington. Hunters in Northeastern A Zone (including GMUs 101-121) in particular are reminded that it’s possible to encounter protected grizzly bears, so species identification is critical. Successful completion of WDFW’s online Bear Identification Program is required if hunting bears in GMUs 101, 105,108, 111, 113, or 117.

When scouting for other big game hunts, such as deer, elk, and cougar, remember that you are sharing the field with bear hunters.

Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons and Rules

Bird seasons will be here before we know it so get ready. The 2020-2021 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons and Rules pamphlet is now available. It details rules for migratory waterfowl and upland game.

Limited-entry deer hunt

Deer hunters have until Aug. 14 to apply for an opportunity to hunt this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-25), muzzleloaders (Sept. 26-Oct. 4), and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 17-27).

Raffle results

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2020 raffle hunts? The deadline for the drawing was in mid-July and WDFW will notify winners and post the results online by mid-August.

Take your hunter ed course online

It’s a good time to take hunter education classes to get ready for fall hunting seasons. During the COVID-19 restrictions, you may take the online hunter education course and a Virtual Field Day to replace the in-person Field Skills Evaluation. This course takes approximately 10 hours to complete, but students can do it in multiple sittings. You can register for and complete the online hunter education course at https://www.hunter-ed.com/washington/. Next, register for and complete the online Virtual Field Day course at https://www.huntercourse.com/virtualfieldday/

You may also qualify for a once-in-a-lifetime Hunter Education Deferral, which allows a one year deferral for individuals new to hunting who are accompanied by an experienced hunter. 

For assistance, email huntered@dfw.wa.gov or call 360-902-8111.

Fire precautions

A reminder that restrictions on campfires, smoking outside of vehicles, target shooting, and other activities on WDFW-managed lands remain in effect to prevent fires at wildlife areas and water access areas. Restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases.

Wildlife viewing

Recreate Responsibly logo

Bears and huckleberry picking

Huckleberries are plentiful throughout the region this time of year, which means humans will be competing with bears for them.

Huckleberries are a favorite food for bears fattening up for winter. To avoid them, when out picking, make noise and stay alert for bears that may be in the same patch. If they can hear you, they’ll usually avoid you. Don’t let children wander too far while the family picks. Keep dogs leashed or leave them at home. Carry bear spray and know how to use it in case you surprise a bear and have a close encounter.

Also, in the process of fattening up for fall and winter, bears often start looking for easy food sources around August, so remember to store garbage cans in a garage or shed if possible and don’t leave food or trash behind in campgrounds. Easy food sources can cause bears to become too comfortable with humans.

Other tips on avoiding a bear encounter or what to do if you see a bear can be found on WDFW’s Living with Black Bears webpage.

Fire precautions

Wildlife viewers are reminded that restrictions on campfires, smoking outside of vehicles, target shooting, and other activities on WDFW-managed lands remain in effect to prevent fires at wildlife areas and water access areas. Restrictions will remain in effect until the risk of wildfire decreases.

Recreate Responsibly

A reminder to recreate responsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors. Review the guidelines below before heading out on your outdoor adventure! 

  • Know before you go. Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don't go. If it's crowded, have a back up plan (or two). 
  • Explore locally. Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit.
  • Plan ahead. Bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
  • Leave no trace. Respect public lands and waters, as well as native and local communities. Take all your garbage with you.
  • Practice physical distancing. Keep your group size small. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
  • Play it safe. Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained. 
  • Build an inclusive outdoors. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

Event calendar

Types of events

  • Key date
  • Public meeting