Fishing Near Walla Walla

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This article will look at the better fishing spots in Walla Walla County, located at the southeastern confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

Walla Walla County, naturally, includes the city of Walla Walla and county-wide is home to more than 60,000 people.

Other cities in Walla Walla County include East Walla Walla, College Place, Prescott and Waitsburg. Among the cities in the greater Southeast Washington area, Walla Walla is the biggest tourist destination and also is known as home to Whitman College and several attractions and wineries.

The county shares parts of the Umatilla National Forest and Blue Mountains with other counties in southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon. There are wildlife refuges, historic sites, and other attractions.

However, you almost certainly landed on this article looking for places to go fishing in this large and in part remote region of the state.

What follows is a quick look at some of the best fishing sites in this part of Washington.

Finally, once you’ve found the best fishing in Walla Walla County, you’ll see our special “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature below to locate even more fishing spots nearby.

Bennington Lake

Located just a couple miles east of Walla Walla, and formerly known as Mill Creek Reservoir, Bennington Lake is heavily stocked with trout and triploids multiple times a year.

This more 50-plus acre lake is open for fishing, but it will shine the brightest in the spring and early summer, when the trout are plentiful and access is best.

This popular spot receives multiple plants that typically total over 15,000 catchable-size rainbow trout in late spring, and more than 500 very large trout may be planted in early spring.

You might also catch warmwater species including bass, crappie or perch.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir offers good bank access and a boat launch.

Note that fishing prospects become limited after about mid-summer and into the fall, when water levels are drawn well down.

Columbia River

The section of this huge river on the west end of Walla Walla County has all sorts of fishing opportunities, from migrating salmon and steelhead to incredible angling for resident walleye, smallmouth bass and channel catfish.

More: Columbia River Fishing

Fish Hook Pond

This small year-round fishing pond west of Fish Hook Park is about a 30-minute drive northeast of Burbank.

The main catch here are the rainbow trout, several thousand of which are stocked in the spring.

There’s a trail to walk about a half mile to the pond.

This is a bank fishing spot only. Fishing from floating devices is prohibited. 

Hood Park Pond

Hood Park Pond is on the north side of the community of Burbank, at the western end of the county near where the Snake River joins the Columbia River.

This 1-acre park pond is well stocked with trout several times in early spring, when fishing is best. 

You may also catch yellow perch at this year-round pond.

Jefferson Park Pond

This one-acre pond in the city of Walla Walla is set aside for select anglers to have a better chance to catch fish.

Fishing here is restricted to juvenile and senior anglers, as well anglers with a state-issued disability who have a designated harvester companion card.

Jefferson Park is open year-round but fishing will be most worthwhile once it is stocked, typically several times from late February to early June.

WDFW stocks both catchable and jumbo rainbow trout. 

The pond is off South 9th Avenue just north of the county fairgrounds.

Lions Park Pond

This is a small half-acre pond in the town of College Place is open to the same group of anglers as Jefferson Park Pond, described above.

Lions Park Pond also is open all year and stocked several times each spring with rainbow trout. 

Lions Park Pond is located along Garrison Creek in Lions Park, just a few miles southwest of downtown Walla Walla.

Quarry Pond

The pond sitting just off Interstate 12 is open year-round, but it will definitely be busy in the spring, when it is stocked multiple times with rainbow trout.

Quarry Pond is a diked-off section of Burbank Slough along the Columbia River.

Almost 20,000 catchable sized rainbow trout as well as some 400 very large rainbows have been planted at Quarry Pond in recent years.

This is a bank-fishing only spot, so leave those floating devices at home. Shoreline access is excellent though.

Quarry Pond is only 12 minutes south of Burbank and has good access just west of I-12 in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Snake River

The lower reaches of the Snake River are largely tamed by a series of hydroelectric dams, turning these more into reservoir fisheries than the swift-moving waters they had been before humans started tinkering.

For many years now the dams have been the targets of groups who want to restore the Snake River’s migratory salmon and steelhead runs.

Salmon and steelhead still run up the Snake and are caught in fair to good numbers in the lower river.

Salmon fishing here is allowed under emergency regulations when WDFW determines the runs are strong enough to allow fisheries, which is fairly often.

Fall Chinook salmon are caught mainly in September and October, often with the best catches coming from between Lower Monumental Dam in Walla Walla County and Little Goose Dam upstream in Columbia County.

Spring Chinook may also be caught, but typically in smaller numbers in recent years.

Steelhead fishing can range from disappointing to fantastic in the lower Snake River, depending where and when you fish and of course on the strength of the run that year.

These are summer steelhead that take their time working their way up the Columbia River, arriving in the best numbers after the water cools again in the fall. It may pick up again ahead of the closure at the end of March.

Trolling is often the name of the game in the lower reservoirs.

On the whole, the lower Snake River is an excellent choice if you’re into warmwater fishing, especially for smallmouth bass and channel catfish, maybe with some crappie and other species in the offing.

White sturgeon are present and pick up your bait while you fish for something else, but review your fishing rules carefully as this species is heavily regulated.

Most of the Snake River’s tributaries in this part of Washington are closed to angling, unless otherwise listed in regulations.

Touchet River

This major tributary of the Walla Walla River flows through both Columbia and Walla Walla counties and among anglers is probably best for trout fishing but also has a modest run of steelhead.

The stream’s forks headwater in the Blue Mountains before coming together near Dayton and flowing through Waitsburg on the way down to Touchet, where it joins the Walla Walla River near Interstate 12.

The Touchet River has a nice population of brown trout, particularly upriver around Dayton.

It also is home to rainbow trout as well as protected bull trout.

Trout fishing is allowed in the mainstem and up into the forks and a couple of tributaries, with selective gear rules in effect in those upstream areas.

Steelhead fishing is allowed most of the year (except a short spring closure) in the Touchet River’s mainstem below where the two main forks join near Dayton.

But while the season is long, steelhead don’t typically arrive until at least the fall, and sometimes late winter is best for catches, which have been very modest in recent years as steelhead runs have been somewhat weak.

This could be a stream to watch should significantly stronger steelhead runs return to the mid-Columbia region’s streams, because it has produced better in the past.

The lower river also is home to warmwater game fish, including smallmouth bass.

Walla Walla River

The mainstem Walla Walla River offers a variety of fishing opportunities, including some incredible channel catfish, good smallmouth bass and at times pretty decent steelhead fishing.

The river begins as a trout stream in the mountains of Oregon before flowing northward into Washington, where it changes its character somewhat.

This is a nice little steelhead river, with decent catches starting up in about October and stretching into March.

Typically, the very best catches will be in the fall and again in February and March, but even mid-winter can produce fish, especially with breaks in the weather, though expect fewer opportunities.

The lower reaches of this river provide some excellent warmwater fishing.

Warmer weather of spring and summer brings some of the state’s best fishing for big channel catfish, particularly near the mouth at the Columbia River and lowest stretches of the Walla Walla River.

Nighttime fishing with your favorite catfish baits during the hottest months is popular.

Smallmouth bass prevalent in the Columbia River also make their way into the Walla Walla River, as might other warmwater species.

Fishing in Neighboring Counties

Benton and Franklin Counties: To the west and north, the Tri-Cities area offers some outstanding fishing in the mid-Columbia and lower Snake rivers and some nicely stocked lakes.

Columbia County: to the east, the Dayton area boasts a string of generously stocked trout lakes as well as access to some great spots to catch salmon, steelhead, bass, catfish and more in the Snake River.

Washington Resources

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