by Clint Burgess & r & Fishing the hiddeen Inland Northwest
Fishing is a way to absorb the natural surroundings of the region we call home, to commune with the spirits of generations gone before who dropped their lines the same way we do today. Besides, it's a good way to get out of the house for the weekend.
Whether you're a novice who likes to go for a day along the river shore or a hardcore rod-and-reel junkie who backpacks in for days to find the perfect, undiscovered fishing hole, Spokane serves as the perfect base for numerous piscatorial excursions.
Just getting in the car and heading west will result in a number of places to start looking for the big one. The area around Cheney serves up a hotbed of proven fishing spots that leave recreational fisherman satisfied with a good day's workout. Badger Lake is located just south of Cheney and offers a solid fishing experience. This little gem is stocked each year and offers a good spot to take children or inexperienced fishing partners. There is a dock for the timid and a boat launch for the serious. Motor boats are allowed, and it's a good idea to have some kind of motor to get back to the far corners of the lake for better fishing. A little exploration in this area can also result in discovery of new and secluded fishing holes. If a resort is more your style, Williams Lake offers all the amenities to keep those high-maintenance outdoors types in the lap of luxury. Located just outside of Cheney on Williams Lake Road, this weekend destination will deliver on comfort as well as some good fishing.
The name says all you need to know about Fishtrap Lake. Located just about an hour west on Interstate 90, this local favorite has become a Mecca for area fisherman. Every year, the diehards head to Fishtrap for opening-day festivities -- although it's usually the middle of the night, since the season opens at midnight. The allure of Fishtrap is the off-the-beaten-path feel to many areas of the lake, without anglers actually having to angle too far off the path. An hour's drive is a small price to pay considering the bounty that can be had at the lake by the freeway.
Going Outside the Box
Another not-so-local-spot that brings hopeful fisherman from all over is about an hour and a half south of Spokane, down Highway 195 toward Pullman. Just 14 miles south of Pullman, you'll reach Wawaiwai Road, a place on the Snake River that has more to offer than just a nice view. This is steelhead country. It takes a bit more rod and a lot more know-how to land one of these beauties, but if you've got the patience of a tried-and-true fisherman, this may be the spot for you. Complete with a boat launch and restrooms, Wawaiwai is open year-round, but facilities are only available during the summer and winter seasons. While the steelhead is most coveted here, there is decent bass fishing as well. Locals who have been to the spot say that a jig and float bobber seem to get the fish biting. Add a shrimp to the package and the jagged morsel becomes almost irresistible.
So now you can add Badger, Williams, Fishtrap and Wawaiwai to your list of Inland Northwest lakes to satisfy the Compleat Angler lurking inside you.