For the serious Walleye angler Banks Lake has to be on the bucket list! Located in the Grant and Douglas County in Washington State, a mere 5 minutes south of Grand Coulee Dam; Banks Lake offers one of the best Walleye fisheries in the entire Pacific Northwest! For the Canadian anglers the drive is only 2 ½ hours from the Osoyoos border crossing.
Not only is the fishing unreal but also the landscape around the lake is true eye candy. Banks Lake occupies in a formerly dry coulee near the Columbia River. The Missoula Floods created this glacier cut out landscape during the last ice age. The lake is created by pumping water up from Lake Roosevelt as part of the Columbia Basin Project, which helps irrigate the local farmlands and communities.
Stretching close to 27 miles Banks Lake offers fantastic Walleye Fishing throughout all regions of the lake. The main times to target Walleye in Banks are between March through to October.
The Pre-Spawn season starts near the end of February and really starts to heat up in mid-March. The north end of the lake near Electric City and Steamboat Rock are great areas to pursue these early season Walleye. Once the water temp hits over 43F the Walleye start to spawn and the fishing slows down for a couple weeks, this usually occurs in the first part of April. It is highly recommended and good fishing ethics to release the spawning female Walleye during this period. This way they can complete their spawn to sustain this amazing fishery. But don’t worry! There are plenty of decent sized male Walleye between 15-19 inches willing to bite. The current limit of Walleye for Banks Lake is 8 fish per day, per angler; and a retention slot size limit of 12-22 inches, and 1 fish can be over 22 inches. Also check the Washington Fishing Regulations before heading out.
As May approaches the large females have completed their spawn and become active again. Sticking around the north end of the lake near Steamboat Rock until early summer will help you improve your odds in locating fish. As the summer and fall move in, the fish will be found throughout the entire lake.
The most effective way to target these fish is by bottom bounce trolling with a variety of rigs from Mack’s Lure‘s Walleye line up such as the Wally Pop Lure, Spinners equipped with Smile Blades and Slow Death Hook Rigs. The bait of choice is hands down the good’ol dew worms. Adding scents to your baits such as Pro Cure Trophy Walleye will give those stubborn fish something they can’t resist.
When trolling speed is critical like in all Walleye fisheries. In the early spring season start off trolling less than a 1 mph and as the water temperature warms you can increase your trolling speed. Best way to find out what the optimum trolling speed is by starting slow and increasing until the fish start to strike consistently.
Banks Lake offers all the amenities that an angler needs to make the perfect fishing excursion. There are numerous boat launches throughout the lake, some of the popular ones being Coulee Playland, Northrup Rec Area, and the Steamboat Rock State Park. If you are planning on using a state operated facility you will most likely require a Discover Pass for parking; which can be easily purchased online. Most of the boat launches offer clean and well-maintained washrooms as well as fish cleaning stations.
There are numerous options for accommodations in the area. If you plan on renting a motel you have to check out the Columbia River Inn located in the town of Grand Coulee. This motel is very clean and cozy that truly makes you feel at home! For near by cabins Sunbanks Resort is a great option! This resort offers cabins, camping and lakeside Villas. It’s a full service resort that will please the entire family! Coulee Playland is also anther great camping option for RV’s and Tenting. The Steamboat Rock State Park is a great way to experience the unique environment that the Banks Lake area has to offer.
Banks Lake is truly an experience that all anglers should come and enjoy. The backdrop will put you in awe throughout your trip and the fast action bite will keep you hooked to want to come back for some more!
One of the best ways ensure a good day of fishing on Banks Lake is by contacting one of the best guides in the Pacific Northwest, Austin Moser from Austin’s Northwest Adventures. Austin’s angling abilities and wealth of local knowledge of the Washington fisheries is without parallel. We at BC Fishn have gone fishing with Austin on numerous occasions and it’s always a highlight of our angling year!
For more information about Walleye Fishing Banks Lake Washington please feel free to contact us or find us on our BC Fishn Facebook Page.