Experiencing nature in Walla Walla, Washington is a must for its residents and makes it a destination location for travelers. Incredible activities occur all year in Walla Walla. For many, its outdoor appeal is connected to Walla Walla’s waterways. Lakes, rivers, and streams provide opportunities for boating, jet skiing, hiking along the shore, and fishing.

The Walla Walla River

Originating in Oregon’s Blue Mountains, the Walla Walla River begins its journey as a trout stream and starts as the North and South Forks. Flowing through Oregon and then into Walla Walla County, the river runs to the southwest of Walla Walla. West of Walla Walla, the river is joined by Mill Creek. The lower section of the river is part of the McNary National Wildlife Refuge.

Fishing the Walla Walla

Throughout the length of the river, from Oregon down through Washington, the Walla Walla is home to many different types of fish. You will find bull trout, summer steelhead, Chinook salmon, and others in the waters of the Walla Walla.

In the summer, those looking to fish in the river will find channel catfish along with smallmouth bass. October through March are some of the best months fishing for steelheads in the river, with early fall and last winter providing your best opportunities.

As you head to the lower sections of the river, you’ll have access to warm water fishing. This part of the Walla Walla River will find many fishing enthusiasts in the spring and summer. Large channel catfish is one of the main draws for many from all around the state who enjoy fishing. To avoid the summer heat during the day, join other anglers fishing at nighttime for catfish.

Also, near the mouth of the Columbia River and at the base of the Walla Walla River, fishing aficionados will be found along the banks casting their lines for smallmouth bass. Other warm water species might be found in the waterways as well.

Public fishing areas along the Walla Walla River include the Swegle Road. Located at the area of the river, you’ll find about a half a mile opening with easy access to the Walla Walla. This section is also referred to as Bughi. Be aware of other sporting supporters. Areas around this public fishing area are also open to hunters. Check the hunting season before you go. Shotgun and archery are permitted. 

Regulations for Walla Walla River Fishing

Regulations can change. So, before you pack your gear and head out fishing, make sure that you have the most current information. Trout fishing is permitted in the Walla Walla River usually from June until March. This year, they are planning on an earlier opening. May 22, 2023, will be the first day you can fish for trout on the river and its tributaries. There is a daily limit of two trout, which must be 8 inches long to be legal. Other species can be fished for all year, except for steelhead fishing, which will not be opened this year.

Licenses can be obtained on the website of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.