ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fly Fishing Eastern Washington's Lakes

Updated on June 6, 2012
Dry Falls, WA
Dry Falls, WA
Lake Fly Fisherman, Eastern Washington
Lake Fly Fisherman, Eastern Washington

Bring on the Wind

Sure, most of us fly fishing folk would prefer to throw dry flies at big rainbow or cutthroat in a gin-clear freestone river in July, but we have to make it through spring first. Spring for a northwest fly fisherman means lake fishing. Eastern Washington’s numerous lakes provide the fly fishing enthusiast with incredible opportunities to catch fish, both big and small.

As a native of Eastern Washington, I grew up fishing the now well-known lakes of the Columbia Basin, like Lenore, Lenice, Dry Falls, and Grimes, to name a few. In all of the years I have spent flogging about on the water, I have learned a few tricks when it comes to fishing these types of lakes. First and foremost, get used to fishing in the wind. I don’t care where you are, or how much protection you think you have, the wind will blow. It could be glass when you pull up at the launch, but the second you pull that 5 weight out of the case, the wind machines will kick on. I swear its God’s way of testing a fly fisherman’s faith. The wind can not only blow, it will shift too, so don’t think you are free and clear if you find a calm spot. The trick to dealing with the wind is to put your back to it and throw downwind. If you can find a jetty or point, get on the leeward side of it, but continue to cast downwind. The spring winds of Eastern Washington can be maddening, so if you think you hear voices cursing in the wind, do not be alarmed. It’s most likely other fisherman.

Another key to successfully fly fishing Eastern Washington’s lakes is to become proficient at fishing chironomids. Most of the lakes in the Columbia Basin open on March 1, and once the ice comes off, the chironomid fishing can be off the charts. Check out this article on chironomid fishing to get all of the details. The most important part about chironomid fishing is that you need to keep the line still, hence the name “still fishing.” The fly needs to sit vertically in the water column, and obtaining this can be difficult, thanks to that darned wind.

Most guys I know fish out of a pontoon boat or a float tube. Either way, make sure you have an industrial-strength anchor, and I don’t mean one of those pansy 5 pounders. If you want to save your legs (and your sanity), having a good anchor will allow you to set up in the wind and remain stable. Without one, you will be constantly rowing or kicking to fight the wind, and that means less fishing. I know of a few hard-core lake fishers who use two anchors to really stabilize their boats.

In terms of rods, reels, and lines, opinions vary. I prefer a 5 or 6 weight with floating line and a 12-15ft leader for fishing chironomids and nymphs in 10-15 feet of water. I see other chaps out there with full sink lines dredging the deep water with leeches. It is up to you. Once the weather warms up, I will many times string up two rods; one with a nymph set up, and the other with a dry fly tied on. That way, when the hatch goes off, I just need to reel in and switch rods, rather than clipping my fly and tying on a new one. Again, it is totally up to you.

In any event, fishing the lakes of Eastern Washington can be a ton of fun. Many lakes have a few 5-8 pound rainbows in them, though most of the waters of the Columbia Basin hold fish that run between 14-18 inches. Make sure and check the regulations before you go, and always display your WDFW vehicle pass. With the rivers not in shape until early to mid July, what else are you going to do?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • bnorthrup profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Spokane WA

      Thank you rip and dig.........hope to see you guys on the water out here in the west one of these days!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      There is nothing better than sitting around a campfire and eating freshly caught fish! I live in Maine so I haven't been able to fish in Washington State - yet. But I look forward to it someday.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Congratulations WOOHOooo for your Hubnuggets nomination. One can aslo read the Hubnuggets team adventure and get the chance to vote for your hub right here Cheers to fly fishing and the Hubnuggets!

    • bnorthrup profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Spokane WA

      Thank you to all who have read this hub!

      Vote for me this week!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Welcome to HubPages, and congratulations on your very first Hub. As a former fly tyer, I am very familiar with chironomid flies. Your Hub tweaked a nostalgic chord or two in my soul. Voted up, awesome, and interesting! Continued best wishes here on HubPages and on the southeast Washington waters.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)