Fishing Near Pullman and Whitman County

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This county, located south of the Spokane area and north of the Snake River, is perhaps best known as home to the main Washington State University campus in Pullman and the rolling hills of the Palouse.

But if you’re heading to the Palouse, there are some great fishing spots nearby, which we tell you about in this article.

Whitman County is largely rural, roughly a tenth the size of neighboring Spokane County, with a good number of its residents living in and around Pullman and Colfax.

Other communities around the area include Palouse, Tekoa and the ghost town of Elberton.

While there aren’t a huge number of fishing spots within Whitman County, we’ve also included our “Fishing in Neighboring Counties” feature below. That serves as a quick gateway to tons of fishing spots just across county lines.

Bonnie Lake

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 from little Bonney Lake in the community of the same name near Tacoma in Pierce County.

Garfield Pond  

This small pond near the town of Garfield is set aside for juvenile anglers.

While technically open all year, Garfield Pond is stocked with a few thousand rainbow trout (including a couple dozen really big ones) in April, and fishing here will be best shortly after the planting.

Gilchrist Pond

About six miles south of Colfax on Union Flat Road, this small farm pond is open year-round, with access by permission from the owners.

It is stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout in the spring and open for bank fishing.

Pampa Pond

Pampa Pond is stocked with lots of catchable triploid rainbow trout (around 6,000 at last check) for its acre of water.

The seasonal lake opens on March 1 and is one of the better early season prospects as the small pond warms earlier than other waters.

You’ll be bank fishing here as fishing from any floating device is prohibited.

Pampa Pond is located four miles southwest of LaCrosse.

Riparia Pond

This very small pond is a few miles below Little Goose Dam on the north side of the Snake River.

Although open year-round, anglers will have the best opportunity for catchable and larger triploid rainbow trout at this somewhat remote location around the early spring planting of about 500 trout (typically in March).

Palouse River

This long stream isn’t one of Washington’s premiere trout streams, although anglers mention the presence of a few brown trout in some of the stretches.

The lower river below Palouse Falls is better fished for smallmouth bass, and there are channel catfish around the mouth.

Access is difficult to much of the river.

Rock Lake

Rock Lake is the largest natural lake in Eastern Washington and is stocked with tens of thousands of young rainbow trout, both typical rainbows and triploids.

Additionally, the lake also is stocked with good numbers of young brown trout.

The lake, with more than 2,000 surface acres, is open to fishing all year. In the north part of Whitman County, this lake is as close to Spokane as it is to Pullman.

Despite all the trout stocking, many anglers come here for the warmwater fishing, with largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie sometimes found in good numbers.

A boat will boost your odds on this big water, but there is some shoreline fishing access near the boat launch.

The ramp is located about a mile north of Ewan and about 10 minutes east of St. John. WDFW has reported that the ramp can be rough, so launch with caution.

The access is a rough boat ramp so launch your vessel with caution. Rock Lake boat ramp is about a mile north of Ewan and about 10 minutes east of St. John.

Snake River

The region’s biggest river and the Lower Granite Dam Reservoir offers a variety of fishing options.

Bass, panfish and channel catfish angling can all be quite good here.

Summer steelhead fishing can get good in the fall, especially for trollers in the reservoir, but salmon fishing is only opened up if the runs are big.

Union Flat Creek

This tributary of the Palouse River is stocked in the spring with 500 triploid rainbow trout, when fishing will be at its best in the planting area in about May and June and then quickly fade.

Union Flat Creek is about 20 minutes west of La Crosse.

BLM provides a boat launch and there is shoreline access at the launch and from a lakeside trail.

Upper Twin Lake is  is about 20 miles southeast of Davenport.

Lower Twin Lake is primarily managed for warmwater game fish.

Fishing in Neighboring Counties

Spokane County: to the north, this county is loaded with some of Eastern Washington’s best lakes for trout, bass and more.

Lincoln County: to the northwest, mostly rural farm country has access to big Sprague Lake and massive Lake Roosevelt and excellent smaller lakes.

Grant and Adams Counties: To the west, an incredible concentration of waters rich with trout, bass, walleye and more around Moses Lake.

Franklin and Benton Counties: To the southwest, the Tri-Cities area includes some of the Columbia River’s best fishing for salmon, bass, walleye and more.

Columbia County: To the southwest, rural county with good stocked trout and access to Snake River salmon, bass, catfish and more.

Asotin and Garfield Counties: To the south in the Clarkston area, excellent steelhead fishing in the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers, plus good spots to catch trout, bass and catfish.

Washington Resources

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