Fishing Near Clarkston in Asotin and Garfield Counties

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This article will tell you about the best fishing spots in the southeastern corner of Washington state, namely in Asotin County tucked south of the Snake River and bordering both Idaho and Oregon.

This article also includes a few fishing options to be found in neighboring Garfield County to the west.

Asotin County includes the cities of Clarkston and Asotin as well as some very good steelhead, trout and warm water fishing.

Garfield County is Washington’s least-populated county with just a few thousand residents, some of whom live in Pomeroy, the county’s only incorporated city.

Besides the Snake River, these counties also share parts of the Umatilla National Forest and Blue Mountains with Northeastern Oregon.

This article provides a quick look at some of the best fishing sites in this literal corner of Washington.

We’ll first tackle the Snake River, since it’s shared by both counties, and then we’ll look at spots in each county.

After you’ve read about the best fishing in these Southeast Washington counties, check out the “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature below to find even more fishing spots a short drive away.

Snake River

This part of the Snake River includes both reservoirs behind hydroelectric dams as well as free-flowing sections flowing out of Hells Canyon.

The river boarded by these two counties is most enthusiastically fished for steelhead, which are a summer-run but actually arrive here in fishable numbers in the fall.

Good numbers can be caught in the main river from Clarkston on up into areas with current, including below the mouth of the Grande Ronde River (Rogersburg), which can have a very good hatchery summer steelhead run some years.

Expect October and November to bring the best steelhead fishing to this part of the river.

There also are fall and spring Chinook runs that come up the Snake, although catch rates tend to be better in lower sections found in Walla Walla and Columbia counties (see county links below). Read salmon-fishing regulations especially carefully.

This section of the Snake River can be very good for warmwater fishing, especially if you are after smallmouth bass and channel catfish, two non-native species that have found much of the Snake River to be very much to their liking.

Other species you might catch, at least on occasion, including crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and several other species of panfish and catfish.

There are some white sturgeon in the Snake River, but pay close attention to regulations as these slow-growing fish are heavily regulated.

Asotin County

These waters are located in the most southeastern of all of Washington’s counties and include one of the state’s best steelhead rivers and several heavily stocked trout ponds.

Asotin Creek

These days Asotin Creek is closed to steelhead, which are a wild strain (unless a hatchery fish takes a wrong turn out of the Snake River).

Old-timers might also remember when this stream was stocked with hatchery trout, but now it’s strictly managed for wild fish.

However, this long stream’s mainstem and part of its North Fork are open to fishing seasonally for wild trout and other species but do take note of selective gear rules in force here.

The South Fork and upper North Fork are closed to angling, so study up on the regulations to make sure you’re fishing where it’s legal.

The stream joins the Snake River at the city of Asotin, about 10 minutes south of Clarkston, and Asotin Creek Road follows it far upstream.

Golf Course Pond

Golf Course Pond near Clarkston is a small waterway that fishes big for lots of stocked rainbow trout in the early season.

The pond is regularly stocked in February through early June with more than 15,000 rainbow trout, including some fish that are very large. 

Golf Course Pond is cut off from the Snake River along U.S. 12, just west of the local golf course.

There is a parking area reached from Elm Street just off the interstate, and bank access is very good.

Grande Ronde River

You might not realize, but the lower Grande Ronde River out in the southeastern corner of the state is one of Washington’s very best steelhead streams.

The Grande Ronde River (even more so than the larger Snake River) is why Asotin County anglers tend to harvest more steelhead per catch card than just about anywhere else in Washington.

The river, which starts in Oregon, is one of the premiere inland rivers in this part of the Snake River system.

The lower river can put out several thousand summer steelhead in a season, but don’t read that and show up here in July or August expecting steelhead.

The summer steelhead heading to the Grande Ronde typically find colder water refuges downriver into the Columbia system and its tributaries to ride out the hot summers, and then they show up in force in the Grande Ronde in the fall.

The steelhead season here spreads out across about half the year, with good catches possible anytime between October and March.

Since winters can be bitter here, some of the best times to catch Grande Ronde steelhead are soon after they arrive in the fall (and they are brighter then) and again in the final weeks of the season in March.

Also take note that there are special catch and release requirements in the lower river for part of the steelhead season, so move upriver during those times if you’re after keepers.

Steelhead aren’t the only game in town on the Grande Ronde, which has a very nice smallmouth bass fishery during the warmer months.

The lower river might also see some catches of other warmwater game fish, particularly some channel catfish and possibly some panfish.

Spring Chinook salmon migrate up the Grande Ronde but are generally not open to harvest in the mainstem.

Read about Grande Ronde River Fishing in Oregon.

Headgate Pond

This tiny pond in Headgate County Park is eight miles west of Asotin.

Headgate pond is stocked with catchable and large size rainbow trout, typically from February through June.

Fishing is best during spring before the water warms too much. 

It is open only to juveniles, seniors and anglers who have a disability and a state-issued designated harvester card.

West Evans Pond

West Evans Pond is a year-round fishing water that’s planted with more than 15,000 catchable rainbow trout and also some very large trout.

It is a small impoundment off the Snake River between the bottom of Alpowa Grade and west of the City of Clarkston.   

It is normally stocked multiple times from late February through early June, and trout fishing will be best in that time frame. 

There is a parking area and very good access around the entire shoreline.

West Evans Pond is only about five minutes west of Clarkston and just a little over a mile west of Golf Course Pond, which also is generously stocked with trout for spring fishing.

Garfield County

There aren’t any waters in this county that currently appear on WDFW’s stocking schedule, although a few waters here have been stocked in the past.

Tucannon River

The very upper reaches of this river system are in Garfield County, although much of the fishing is downstream in Columbia County (see listing above).

The upper watershed consists of very small streams with rainbow trout, whitefish and protected bull trout.

Fishing in Neighboring Counties

Whitman County: to the north, across the Snake River you’ll find several good trout and bass lakes, including large Rock Lake.

Columbia County: To the west, the Dayton area offers a string of nicely stocked trout lakes and access to a productive section of the Snake River for salmon, bass, catfish and more.

Washington Resources

WDFW Fishing and Stocking Reports
WDFW Fishing Regulations
National Weather Service forecasts