The Many Lakes to Kayak and Fish Around Spokane

This was a hard article to write because in the Pacific Northwest there are so many great areas to explore and there are not just a few things here or there, there are many. So, for this article I’m writing about five lakes around Eastern Washington that I explored. 

First, I asked others their opinion about what lakes they loved to kayak and fish, and the votes came in with Horseshoe Lake, Loon Lake, Badger Lake, Fan Lake, Fish Lake, Deer Lake, and more. I visited many lakes to check them out and see how great they were. I ended up loving all of them. Living in Spokane, WA you can travel in any direction for about 30 minutes or more and meet a lake, river, or trailhead. If you ever just feel the need to get away and escape your daily lives this is the area for you! 

lake view

Horseshoe Lake 

4 miles north of Spokane County line, through Deer Park, WA Discover Pass/Access Pass needed.

This beautiful lake got its name because of the horseshoe shape. It can only be accessed by a watercraft, kayaking, paddleboard, sailing, or a small motorboat because there is a five mph speed limit. There is no place for shore or dock fishing and no swimming area, just a nice wide boat ramp to enter and exit from, once you find your way out on the water. You can find a cool spot to drift in your watercraft, swim, and cast your line. 

Make your way left from the boat ramp to a beautiful waterfall called Exley Falls with some pools at the base of the falls in the summer months that you can sit in to cool down. There is also a pool that sits above the falls called Corine Pool. Many people like to come here for its beautiful calming blue water and great fishing. There you can find trout, kokanee, bass, sun fish and more. When we were there, we got a lot of bites including one sunfish that got away. We were greeted by turtles, frogs and a deer at the end of the night that came down to the lake for a drink. 

If you would like to leave your watercraft for a unique feature that is a geological marvel called Devils Well, you can make your way directly south of the falls on the east side of the lake. It’s a vertical round hole in a big rock that has a cool feature that goes in a circular motion. This lake and fall are also part of the Little Spokane River. To get to this lake and when you google it make sure you type in Horseshoe Lake Boat Ramp in Deer Park NOT the one out past Cheney.

I-90 To Horseshoe Lake Boat Ramp the last 2 miles is on gravel road, the parking lot is also gravel and the boat ramp is concrete, there is a vault toilet as well.

Horsehoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake Exley Falls

Deer Lake 

Stevens County, WA off US-395 N. Discover Pass/Access Pass needed. 

Deer Lake is known for its very large, beautiful freshwater clear blue lake that has a depth of 75’ feet sitting on 1,150 acres and an elevation of 2,485. Deer Lake is surrounded by the thick evergreen forest and beautiful mountain peaks. The lake welcomes many to its waters all year long but its most popular time is the spring and summer. Springtime is great for anglers to try and catch the many species now in the lake like kokanee, rainbow trout, lake trout, brook trout, yellow perch and more. 

In summertime you will catch people soaking up the sun on a kayak, paddleboard, sailing, swimming or boating. With 1,150 acres, there is plenty of room to explore. You may even see people fishing on private and public access shorelines around the lake. Deer Lake only has one public access boat and fishing area located around the nine miles of shoreline. So please be kind to the many residents who have their own private areas. The lake is open to the public, just be respectful and remember to pack it in and pack it out. The public boat ramp is a single ramp but with a huge parking lot both are concrete, and with 2 vault toilets as well. Getting here from I-90 to Deer Lake Public Access US-395 North to the ramp is all great roads no off-roading here.

Deer Lake
oars at Deer Lake
Deer Lake sign
Deer Lake

Loon Lake 

Stevens County, WA Off US-395 N Discover Pass/Access Pass needed. 

Loon Lake is another great gem that runs along Highway 395 North and is 3 miles from Deer Lake. Loon Lake is a crystal-clear lake, and its water is from a natural spring. It sits on 1,086.4 acres, its elevation sits at 2,385’ ft, it has 12 miles of shoreline, and is home to several species of fish. Loon Lake is surrounded by miles of trees and scenic views, with some trails. If you would like to venture off the waters and explore the dry lands you can hike, bike, and in the winter, snowmobile. A lot of people call this place home all year long and some just come for the summer months to unwind and unplug from their normal daily lives. In the summer you will find many people out there enjoying the lake’s refreshing cool clear water, some people catching a tan, others swimming, and many who will go out with a kayak, boat, or jet ski. Loon Lake is a great fishing opportunity for trout, bass, sockeye salmon, yellow perch and many others. So, grab your kayak, fishing gear, ice chest and whatever else you may need and hit the lake. Loon Lake is part of the Trout Derby and you can win some cool prizes. There are six still waiting to be claimed, so get your fishing on! There is one public boat ramp that is located on the upper northwest corner once you travel off the Highway 395 and get to the Shore Acres Road to Loon Lake Public Access Road the last bit is on gravel road to the parking lot, once you have arrived you will see one vault toilet and one ramp to get your watercraft in the lake to start your adventure! 

Getting here I-90 To Loon Lake Public Access Boat Ramp

Loon Lake
Loon Lake

Fan Lake

Pend Oreille County, WA Discover Pass/Access Pass needed.

Fan Lake is a little beautiful freshwater lake at an elevation of 1,925 feet and 73.4 acres. It's good for its shoreline access, boat launch, fish, and clear water. It is located less than one mile outside of Spokane County off Highway 2 near Riverside, WA. 

This calm lake is one for fishing so grab your favorite fishing gear and hit this lake. Whether it be fly fishing, spinning, baitcasting, or fishing off your watercraft, chances are you might get some kind of bite. Jump into your kayak, on your paddleboard, or sit in your small engine boat and enjoy the water. Species you might catch here include black crappie, brook trout, bass, rainbow trout and more. 

No internal combustion engines are allowed here, and sorry, swimming is prohibited here as well. This is a great little lake and can get busy at times because right next door is Camp Reed-YMCA. They do have signs posted that they do own the lake and it's kindly open to the public so let’s all please follow the rules and be respectful. While we were there it was nice and peaceful until the last bit when the teens in the area were a little loud. Unless you’re bass fishing, the best spot is the first half of the lake as it’s the deepest and you won’t get caught as much, but if you're set up for bass fishing then the back half of the lake with the overgrown underwater plants is good for you. The area is closed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Getting here off Highway 2 it’s an all-paved road until the last 0.8 miles to the parking. It’s easy to find the boat launch, and vault toilet. There are signs posted that the ramp could get slippery so be careful!  

I-90 to Fan lake Via US-2

Fan Lake
Fan Lake
Fan Lake

Fish Lake

Regional Park, Cheney, WA. Discover Pass/Access Pass needed.

Fish Lake is located 3 miles from Cheney, Spokane County, WA at an elevation of 2,175 feet and is 67.5 acres. It also connects to the Columbia Plateau Trail that is 3,876 acres and 130 miles. You can hike, bike, or horseback for 38 miles of it and it leads you through so many wonders with wildlife, bird watching, and connections to several lakes. So, one day you can take your kayak out on the water, and the next time you can bring your bike or running shoes and hit the trail if you want to wander off the water for a day and explore this trail since the trailhead starts right above the lake’s parking lot. 

Fish Lake has many amenities including a grilling area, swimming area, playground, and a fishing dock. There are two parking areas. From the parking lot you will make your way down to the water and carry all your belongings. There is not a real boat launch. Some can try to pull up with their vehicle and back in to put your watercraft in the water. If not you can just park and make your way to the flat areas to get into the water. You will sit down and push yourself in and start your adventure floating, paddling or swimming. 

Once you have started your adventure on the lake you can cast your rod out and try to catch one of many species out there like brook trout, sun fish, rainbow trout, perch and more. Fish Lake is part of the Trout Derby and there are two prizes waiting to be claimed. This is a paddle zone only lake and no gasoline-powered boats are not allowed. Getting here from the freeway Interstate 90 Via U.S. Route 195 is an all-paved road, and a gravel parking lot. There are a lot of vault toilets, but I’m not sure if they are open yearlong or not. They do have portable toilet there too. 

I-90 To Fish Lake Via Cheney Spokane Rd

Fish Lake
Fish Lake

Williams Lake, Badger Lake, Amber Lake, & Rock Lake 

Cheney, WA Discover Pass/Access Pass needed. 

When you travel down south from Spokane, WA you can wander down on a highway called Cheney Spokane Road that will turn to Rock Lake Road. On this road you will travel through the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge which has many ponds, wildlife, and lakes that you can fish, kayak or boat in. This road runs along the Columbia Plateau State Park Trail that was first developed in 1908 and the Railroad went from Spokane, Portland and Seattle. When traveling down Cheney Spokane Road you will pass McDowell Lake on your right side with many little ponds of water along the route. You will then come up upon the road to turn for Badger and Williams Lakes. Here you can decide which lake you would like to visit, Badger Lake comes up first on a side road to your right or you can travel south more and start to see the opening and upper lake views of Williams Lake.

Williams Lake is great for trout fishing. This popular lowland 319-acre lake is annually stocked with rainbow, cutthroat trout, and tiger trout. Trout dislike the heat so the summer hot days tend to be a little harder to find the. Head out early or later in the day if you’re wanting to catch one. Williams Lake is part of the Trout Derby and still has three prizes waiting to be claimed. 

This freshwater lake is great for solo trips or taking the family. They have made improvements to the public boat ramp located on the north side of the lake off West Williams Road. It’s a very large concrete 2-sided ramp so two people can launch or take out at the same time. This lake is so huge you will have plenty of room to fish off the kayak, or boat and not be disturbed by others who may take their water skis, and big water tubs out. The road to get here including the parking lot and ramp is all concrete, there are 2 vault toilets as well. You can get here 2 ways from Spokane: I-90 W & S Mullinix Rd  or I-90 Via Cheney Plaza Rd.

Williams Lake

Badger, Amber and Rock Lake are great lakes that I thought should be mentioned since they are out there along the way. From Williams to Badger Lake is a quick seven-minute 2.9-mile drive north from public boat ramp to boat ramp. This decent sized 244-acre 2.3-mile-long lake is great to cast your line for kokanee, rainbow trout, and west slope cutthroat trout. There is some good shoreline access and a great two-sided boat ramp for two people to use at a time. 

This long-sized lake has enough room that you may be on one end just floating and boaters can be doing donuts on the other far end, and you’ll be fine. 

Route to get here from Williams lake to Badger Lake Boat Ramp or from I-90 Via Cheney Plaza Rd

Amber Lake is another great lake on 117-acres, and 1.8 miles long. This lake runs along the Columbia Plateau State Park Trail. Amber Lake is in the scenic channeled scablands, it's very popular in the spring, summer and fall months for fly fishing. You may catch many anglers coming here to test their skills. Amber Lake is home to many rainbow and cutthroat trout. You may even get lucky to catch up to a 20-inch size fish. With that being said this lake is great for the only two trout that are housed here. 

You are only allowed to fish and use a paddle type watercraft as there are no internal combustion motors allowed in this lake. There is also a Selective Gear Rules here and you can only harvest one trout of at least 18 inches a day. Although there are some rules at play here it doesn’t mean you can’t go out and test your luck in your kayak or small boat and soak up the sun and enjoy the views around you. Getting here from Williams Lake is a fast 10 min 4.9-mile ride or from I-90 Via 195 To Cheney Spokane Rd  

Badger Lake
Badger Lake

Rock Lake is one for the mentions, it was once a forgotten lake that only true anglers that were dedicated to would go. Rock Lake is farther down the beaten path from Williams and Badger Lake, but a great lake to check out. I was so impressed and blown away by how large this lake is. Rock Lake is 2,189.6 acres at 1,728 ft. elevation. At its deepest depth it’s more than 375 feet, over 7 miles long and at an average of 1 mile in width. Rock Lake is the deepest and largest of all the scabland lakes left behind from the Missoula floods. 

Rock Lake is open year-round and is home to several species of fish like rainbow and brown trout, bluegill, crappie, kokanee and more. Bring your kayak, paddle boards, boats and the family to this lake and enjoy this gem, with its characteristic geography high basalt cliff walls, rock pillars and spires from the bottom of the lake. It has steep basalt cliffs and stone pinnacles, the colors on these rocks are just beautiful to look at. The boat ramp is a fair size and privately owned but maintained by WDFW which allows for public access so let's all do our part to keep this beautiful lake public. Have fun, be nice, and remember to pack it in and pack it out. To get here from I-90 Via S Rock Lake Rd        

Other Lakes

My list can go on and on, but I will end with these last few mentions: Silver lake, Medical Lake, Long Lake, Nine Mile Falls, Newman Lake and Bear Lake. Bear Lake is a great little lake but it’s a juvenile fishing lake meaning fishing is only meant for ages 15 and under, senior anglers, or anglers with a disability. It’s only dock or shore fishing and kayak and paddle boards are allowed but besides that it's an open lake to enjoy for everyone.  

Eastern Washington is home to many trails, lakes and rivers. It was a hard choice on which ones I would choose to write about because I wish I could write about them all, but the list would go on forever and I don’t want to overwhelm you all. These are some great ones to start with and hopefully you can get out and enjoy these great places just as much as I have. We sure do live in a beautiful area and not many can say that or say that they can drive a short distance to escape. Enjoy all you wandering souls, remember to Zen and take in the scenery around you, leave no trace, pack it in, pack it out and only leave footsteps.

Bear Lake

Christy Alejandra

Christy Alejandra is a traveling adventure photographer and loves the great outdoors. She loves to seek out places to go hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, biking or anything outdoors. She has a love for nature and capturing natures best shot in our national parks, state parks, or any open land to adventure in. Not only does she take great landscape photos she also captures photos for families, couples, weddings & more including shooting events like Washington Heroes Project, Bloomsday & Honor Flight. Christy is a huge animal lover and a dog mom to two rescue dogs name Chewy & Trapper, who love to hit the trail with her. You can check out her photography portfolio at and also follow her on Instagram

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