Monday, March 25, 2013

Little Falls, Spokane and Stevens Counties, Washington

LITTLE FALLS RESERVOIR, From Lake Spokane Dam to Little Falls Dam

The section of the river between Lake Spokane Dam and Little Falls Dam is known as the Little Falls Reservoir and is without question the most unknown and remote part of the river. Yet this  5 miles section of the river has a great white water section as well as a nice reservoir section with unique rock formations. There is actually a lot to enjoy on this section of the river and because it's not highly known, it is a section of the river that is not highly populated with swimmers and boaters. This is an area that is also a secret fishing area that many do not know about (the secrets out now). Before the Little Falls Dam was built, and in particular before the Coulee Dam was built, this was the section of the river known for June Hogs, 80+ lb. salmon. The Little Falls Dam was the only dam on the river built with a fish ladder even though the success of the ladder design was only minimally successful. The Coulee Dam was what really killed the natural salmon and Steelhead run on the Spokane River.

GOOGLE MAP... Zoom in and out, move around on the map to see all there is to see :)

View Little Falls Spokane River, WA. in a larger map

There are two access points on this river as indicated here. If you boat this section of the river in June you will see an array of wildflowers that only bloom this time of year. There is a lot of wildlife along this river such as Bald Eagles, Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Beaver, Bear, Deer, and a lot of fish variety, etc. There are no formal boat launches on this section of the river. Restrictions: Watercraft with motors are not allowed on this section of the river from the Lake Spokane/Long Lake Dam to the Little Falls Dam. Wearing a PDF is required. Click here for Spokane River water levels - http://www.avistautilities.com/environment/ourpart/recreation

ATTENTION - Other than the two access points mentioned here, the rest of this section of the river/reservoir is private land; thus, you must stay off the shore and its few beaches. No motors/wakes are allowed on this section of the river. There are signs near the Long Lake (Lake Spokane) Dam Park that indicate "Keep out, Stay Alive." Kayaks or River Rafts are allowed to launch from the park as indicated by the Sheriffs Department but that is it, no other craft are allowed. Absolutely no swimming is allowed where these signs are posted. Be warned when launching from this park that people fishing here or others may yell at you to not launch your kayak from this park. Kayakers have been launching from this park for many years. To find out about the Spokane Indian Tribes restrictions on this portion of the river contact the tribe at http://www.spokanetribe.com/

PUT-IN AND TAKE-OUT POINTS

1. Avista Little Falls Chamokane Rd Access Site

This access point is suited well for kayaks, canoes, and small fishing craft. It is best to not boat west of this access point so as not to get near the dam. This is the widest section of this part of the reservoir and is a great place to fish. One can boat up river from this site during mid and late summer when the river flow is slow. One can also take-out here after launching ones kayak or canoe from the Long Lake Dam park. This access point is within the Spokane Indian Reservation and officials from this tribe may stop you to ask what you are doing. You must contact the Spokane Indian Reservation to determine current fishing rules that apply to this section of the river. Contact the tribe at http://www.spokanetribe.com/ Restrictions: Watercraft with motors are not allowed on this section of the river from the Lake Spokane/Long Lake Dam to the Little Falls Dam. Wearing a PDF is required. Directions: In the city of Spokane you can take HWY 291 through Tumtum to HWY 231 then to left/south on the HWY to the park entrance sign. Or from I90 you can take Exit 277 A or B through Airway Heights on HWY 2 to Reardan. Or from I90 you can take Exit 245 near the city of Sprague and travel north on HWY 231 to Reardan on HWY 231/HWY 2. In Reardan turn east on HWY 231 until you get to Long Lake (Lake Spokane) Dam Park. You will descend into a canon where you will turn east on Long Lake Dam Rd. to the park. There will be a sign advertising the park entrance. Maps: To view a map see above Google Map.


2. Avista Long Lake Dam (Lake Spokane Dam) Park Access

There are signs at this parking indicating no swimming or boating of certain crafts at this site. The Sheriff Department and Avista representative indicate that those that kayak, canoe, or raft can launch from this site; but again no swimming, float tubes, or craft that can potentially get swamped can access the river from this site. Avista is planning on improving this site for non-motorized launching. Be advised that some people that do not belong to Avista Utilities or the Sheriff Department may yell at you not to launch from this site, but unless they are officials of the before mentions entities they do not have the authority to tell you what you can or can not do. However be aware of Dam river flow warnings, etc. as the river can raise rapidly when the Dam floodgates are opened. Once in the river do not proceed up river closer to the dam as this is not allowed. For river flow info and Avista Dam reports go to link under river map in this section. Directions: In the city of Spokane you can take HWY 291 through Tumtum to HWY 231 then to left/south on this HWY a short distance to the road sign that says Martha Boardman Rd. Or from I-90 you can take Exit 277 A or B through Airway Heights on HWY 2 to Reardan. Or from I-90 you can take Exit 245 near the city of Sprague and travel north on HWY 231 to Reardan on HWY 231/HWY 2. In Reardan turn east on HWY 231 until you dip into a canon and cross the bridge over the Spokane River. Just a short distance from this bridge to your left/west you will come to the road sign that says Martha Boardman Rd. Follow this road (stay on main gravel road) which is also called Little Falls/Chamokane Rd.  until you drive next to the reservoir/river. This is the place. Maps: To view a map click see above Google Map.

3. Chamokane Creek Primitive Campground

(Also known as Tshimkian Creek interpreted into English to means "plain of spring")
This is a primitive campground near the Little Falls Reservoir, and is actually the only campground in this area. The nearest campground to this one is on Lake Spokane, the DNR campground and launch (click here to learn more about the DNR Campground). This park has no sign indicating its name but you can't miss it as it is next to Chamokane Creek and bridge that crosses this creek. There is also one shelter at this site. There are no restrooms or running water. Long Lake (Lake Spokane) Dam park is about 4 miles from this location with restrooms and running water. Not yet known is the question as to whether or not one can access the reservoir/river via the Chamokane Creek at this park. Stay tuned as this will be explored to see if its possible. There are also several sets of water falls up stream from the campground on this creek that one could hike to. This campground is about 2 miles east of the Little Falls Chamokane Rd Access Site and Little Falls Dam. Directions: In the city of Spokane you can take HWY 291 through Tumtum to HWY 231 then to left/south on this HWY a short distance to the road sign that say Martha Boardman Rd. Or from I90 you can take Exit 277 A or B through Airway Heights on HWY 2 to Reardan. Or from I90 you can take Exit 245 near the city of Sprague and travel north on HWY 231 to Reardan on HWY 231/HWY 2. In Reardan turn east on HWY 231 until you dip into a canon and cross the bridge over the Spokane River. Just a short distance from this bridge to your left/west you will come to the road sign that says Martha Boardman Rd. Follow this road (stay on main gravel road until you get to a small bridge over Chamokane Creek. This is the place. Maps: To view a map see above Google Map.

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