The Spokane area includes Washington’s largest city east of the Cascade Mountains and some of the best fishing at the eastern edge of the state.
This east-central area includes some incredible trout and bass fishing, including several of the premiere fishing lakes in the state, and a few more angling surprises.
Spokane County has more than a half million people in the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Cheney, Medical Lake and Airway Heights, as well as in surrounding areas.
In addition to some spectacular fishing lakes and rivers near Spokane, the county is home to Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, Riverside State Park, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, more than a dozen ghost towns, and many wineries.
We’ve listed the fishing spots alphabetically by counties to make them easier for anglers to locate the best fishing near them.
Before we go there, we realize that these three counties have plenty of fishing options, but we’d be remiss in pointing out that even more of the state’s best fishing holes are just across county lines.
Once you’ve checked out the three counties listed in this article, we recommend you take a look at the “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature that follows. The links there will take you to even more hot spots not far away.
This approximately 100-acre lake is most popular among fly anglers, who test their skills against lots of rainbows and some westslope cutthroat trout.
Selective gear rules are in effect here, meaning no bait is allowed and lures and flies must be barbless.
There also are strictly harvest limits of one trout at least 18 inches in length per day. Most anglers who come plan on catch and release fishing, which limits the angling crowds here.
The lake is open from March through November, with cooler spring and fall fishing often the best options.
No internal combustion motors are allowed and there is limited shoreline access around the public boat launch.
This lake is located about 13 miles southwest of Cheney.
Badger Lake is a popular lowland lake for catching trout and kokanee.
It’s decent size at over 200 acres and well stocked with young cutthroat, rainbows and kokanee that grow to catchable sizes here.
In addition to the small fish, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife also stocks some “jumbo” trout for some immediately available trophies.
The fishing season is late April through September, but check the latest regulations to make sure.
When kept clean of nuisance fish species, this lake is one of the best opening day trout lakes in the state.
Badger Lake is a great family fishing destination, whether you enjoy the lake from a boat or try your luck bank fishing from the WDFW access area.
It’s located about 25 minutes south of Cheney.
Bear Lake is a smallish lake set aside primarily for young anglers and others who can benefit from easy access.
The lake is open all year but likely will fish best in the spring, when it is stocked with modest numbers of rainbow trout.
Channel catfish also have been periodically stocked.
It is open to fishing for juvenile and senior anglers and anglers with a disability who have a designated harvester companion card.
Bear Lake is part of Bear Lake Regional Park along Highway 2, a little more than 30 minutes north of Spokane.
Kind of out of the way as it is sitting on the border with Whitman County, Bonnie Lake at times is worth the drive and little hike to its undeveloped shores.
The lake is primarily a warm water fishery, ranking among the dozen or so best crappie fishing lakes in Washington and fair to excellent for largemouth bass and yellow perch, among a variety of game fish species.
Note: This is entirely a different lake (and slightly different spelling) from little Bonney Lake in the community of the same name near Tacoma in Pierce County.
Chapman Lake offers an excellent variety of opportunities for anglers, ranging from kokanee to bass and panfish.
The lake is over 100 acres and over 2,000 feet elevation, with fishing allowed from late April through October.
The lake is planted with about 100,000 young kokanee in the summer, and these landlocked sockeye salmon reach catchable sizes for future seasons and are typically the main attraction here.
Chapman also offers good warm-season action for largemouth and smallmouth bass, along with opportunities to catch black crappie, brown bullhead catfish, pumpkinseed sunfish and yellow perch.
Chapman Lake has somewhat limited bank access and a boat will serve you best for reaching more fish.
This lake is about 20 minutes south of Cheney.
Clear Lake is over 300 acres and is definitely a go-to spot in this region for catching lots of fish.
It is very well stocked with all sizes of rainbow trout, as well as young brown and tiger trout that grow to catchable sizes. There may also be some brook trout.
Fishing season is open from late April through the end of October.
While spring fishing is likely going to be best overall for trout, October can be very good for catching brown trout, which move close to shore and eat heavily to because they are fall spawning fish.
Clear Lake also can offer good largemouth bass and black crappie fishing as well.
Watch for an annual kids fishing derby planned during the spring.
Clear Lake is about 10 minutes west of Cheney off W. Salnave Road.
Downs Lake is a good-sized but shallow lake of more than 400 acres that is moderately stocked with young rainbow trout.
It is open to fishing from March through September.
Besides trout, there’s opportunity for yellow perch, largemouth bass, black crappie and other warmwater fish. (There is a special limit on crappie.)
Shoreline access is limited to the resort property and dock on the north end.
Downs Lake is located in the far-southwestern corner of the county, about nine miles east of U.S. 90 at Sprague.
Eloika Lake is quite possibly the best bass and panfish lake on the far-eastern side of Washington.
This is a very shallow but good-sized lake of about 650 acres with lots of opportunity for largemouth bass, yellow perch and black crappie.
The lake also is stocked with a moderate plant of around 3,000 young brown trout, some of which grow into nice brownies.
The largemouths get the most press here, as the lake puts out 4- to 6-pounders on a fairly regular basis.
There is a special 10-fish limit on crappie that are at least 9 inches in length.
Spring and fall are good times to fish Eloika Lake, and ice fishing can be good when wintertime conditions are safe.
Eloika has a resort with a boat launch and a WDFW access south of Gray’s Landing.
Shoreline access is limited to dock fishing at Jerry’s Landing Resort.
Eloika Lake is about 45 minutes north of Spokane.
More: Eloika Lake Fishing
Fish Lake is one of this region’s most popular brook trout lakes and also has tiger trout to catch.
Both species are stocked by WDFW as fry and grow to catchable sizes in the lake.
This seasonal lake is open from late April through September, and the cooler months will have the best prospects.
The lake has suffered at times from infestations of unwanted fish species, but trout fishing has hung on.
Internal combustion engines are prohibited, which makes this lake a nice quiet destination offering decent trout fishing.
Fish Lake has a lot of elbow room for bank anglers. There are two docks to fish from in Fish Lake County Park and ample room along the east side for shoreline anglers.
The lake is only about five minutes from downtown Cheney.
Hog Canyon Lake
This 50-acre lake is among a small handful of lakes with a unique cold-weather fishing season, opening the day after Thanksgiving through the end of March.
Hog Canyon Lake, also known more simply as Hog Lake, is well stocked with young rainbow trout in spring, and they grow without angling pressure until the holidays.
There’s a gated road leading to access areas on the north end of the lake.
Hog Canyon Lake is about 30 minutes south of Cheney.
Horseshoe Lake is almost 70 somewhat marshy acres, with moderate fisheries for trout and warmwater fish.
About 1,000 rainbow trout are planted in the spring and largemouth bass, yellow perch and bullhead catfish are also caught here.
The lake is open for fishing all year.
Car-top boats can be launched from the unimproved launch area.
Horseshoe Lake is about 25 minutes northwest of Airway Heights.
Liberty Lake is among several trout-fishing powerhouse lakes in the Spokane area.
The lake is heavily stocked with both rainbow and brown trout.
The rainbows are stocked as catchables both in the spring and the fall, and it also receives tens of thousands of young rainbows that can grow into fat trout.
Liberty Lake also is stocked with young brown trout, which can grow to good size. A good time to fish for the browns is shortly after the March 1 opener after ice-out, when these fish aren’t as notoriously difficult to catch as they are at other times of the year.
The lake is open to fishing from March through October, with the best trout fishing in the spring and sometimes again in the final weeks of the fall season.
Between those trout-fishing peaks, Liberty Lake can be quite good for warmwater fishing, with largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch and other species biting best in warmer weather.
Catfish anglers should pay attention to Liberty, which has excellent fishing for brown bullhead catfish and also can be good for the ever-popular channel catfish, which have been periodically stocked.
Boaters have the upper hand here as shoreline access is somewhat limited to the WDFW access on the north end of the lake and at a Spokane County park located on the southeast corner of the lake.
Liberty Lake is about 15 minutes southeast of Spokane Valley.
More: Liberty Lake Fishing
This 5,000-acre long, narrow reservoir on the Spokane River offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities just downriver from Spokane. (It’s also known as Spokane Lake and is shared with Stevens County.)
Long Lake has good populations of warmwater species including walleye, crappie, yellow perch and both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
There also are some invasive northern pike, which authorities are trying to stop from spreading farther into the Columbia River system.
Long Lake also has brown trout and at times has been planted with other species of trout including triploid rainbows and may have some lake trout (Mackinaw).
Medical and West Medical Lakes
Both Medical and West Medical Lakes are stocked with rainbow and brown trout and offer seasonal fishing opportunities.
But from there you’ll find some definite differences.
Go to Medical Lake if you’re into a quiet day of fly fishing, thanks to selective gear rules, strict catch limits and a prohibition on all motors.
On the other hand, go to West Medical Lake if you plan to troll around with your motor boat and boat limits of trout, thanks to less restrictive rules and lots and lots of trout stocking.
Both lakes are west of the city of Medical Lake, which borders the east bank of Medical Lake. Trails near the city provide most of the bank and small watercraft access for Medical Lake.
West Medical Lake, which is a bit larger at about 200 acres, is more heavily stocked and has good boat access at the WDFW access at the southern end. There also is a resort with dock fishing.
Medical Lake has an early opener and a longer fishing season than Medical Lake, which has a traditional late April start.
These days Newman Lake is mostly managed as a warmwater fishery, including good numbers of large bass, plenty of panfish and one of Washington’s few tiger muskie fisheries.
The lake is roughly 1,100 acres in size but very shallow, and the state has pretty much abandoned its trout stocking programs here, although there still are some brook trout around.
No matter, the lake east of Spokane (almost to the Idaho border) is worth the trip for its variety and size of fish, including both largemouth and smallmouth bass to good size.
More: Newman Lake Fishing
The county’s largest river flows out of Idaho and right through the city of Spokane.
In stretches, the river from the city upstream has excellent trout fishing potential, especially among fly anglers chasing rainbows, browns and brook trout.
The best sections of the river are restricted in terms of select gear rules, catch limits only for stocked trout and strong health advisories.
With stocking discontinued, this is a catch and release fishery but one you can enjoy close to Spokane.
The river below Spokane is dammed into Long Lake, which is an excellent warmwater fishery.
The Little Spokane River also offers some interesting trout fishing opportunities but somewhat limited access due to private property.
More: Spokane River Fishing
Williams Lake is another good-sized lake that is stuffed with hatchery trout.
By volume, rainbow trout are stocked in the highest numbers and ranging in size from tens of thousands of baby trout to more modest numbers of keepers and larger fish.
The lake also is stocked with good numbers of young cutthroat trout and smaller numbers of young tiger trout, both of which can grow to good sizes in a season or two.
Williams Lake is a popular family fishing lake that tends to fish really well for several months following its late April opener and often picks up again in September before closing at the end of that month.
There is limited shoreline access. Most anglers fish from boats or from the resort docks at the lake.
More: Williams Lake Fishing
Fishing in Neighboring Counties
Pend Oreille County: to the north, accessible to accessible and remote lakes with big trout and several other types of fishing in the far northeastern corner of Washington.
Stevens County: to the northwest, a big county with lots of trout, kokanee, warm water fishing and more, including access to massive Lake Roosevelt.
Lincoln County: to the northwest, mostly rural farm country has access to big Sprague Lake and massive Lake Roosevelt and excellent smaller lakes.
Whitman County: To the south, home of Pullman includes lakes with trout and bass, including large Rock Lake, and borders great fishing in the Snake River.