Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Crappie, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Lake Whitefish, Brown Bullhead Catfish, Burbot.
Between Grand Coulee at the north and Coulee City at the south.
Take Highway 17 or U.S.2 to Coulee City and turn north on Highway 155 to parallel the east side of the lake all the way to Electric City.
From Moses Lake take SR 17 north to the junction of SR 2 at the southwest corner of Banks Lake. Turn east (right) toward Coulee City and proceed across Dry Falls Dam. About 1/2 mile past Coulee City is the junction of Hwy.155 and SR 2. Take Hwy. 155 north along the east side of Banks Lake. Highway 155 connects to Hwy. 174 in the town of Grand Coulee at the north end of Banks Lake.
Anglers at the south end of the lake will find a boat ramp, camping, food, gas, and lodging in and around Coulee City. The best source of fishing tackle and information at this end of the lake is Big Wally’s, which is right along the highway just north of town. A guide service is available there. Steamboat Rock State Park, at the north end of the lake, has tent and RV sites (Reservations Recommended), boat ramps, floats, restrooms with showers, and a small store with ice, snacks, and groceries. A little farther north, in Electric City, are Coulee Playland and the Skydeck Motel, both right on the water. Groceries, restaurant, watering holes, gas stations, and motels are available in Electric City. For tackle and angling information, check out George’s Tackle, which is right along the highway. Between the north and south end of the lake is a big Department of Fish and Wildlife access sites where overnight camping is permitted.
Rules and Regulations:
The statewide regulation for smallmouth bass applies here: no minimum size, 10 fish bag, with no more than 1 over 14 inches. The statewide regulation for largemouth bass is also in affect: no minimum size but only fish under 12 inches except one over 17 inches and a daily bag of 5 fish. Walleye fishing can be very good.
Fishing Banks Lake:
It’s not always easy to find a place where both anglers and non-anglers in a family can be totally content for a week-long vacation, but Banks Lake is such a place. The fishing variety and quality are enough to keep any angler busy and happy.
A cooperative rearing project between WDFW, an Electric City sportsmen’s group, and Coulee City Chamber of Commerce offers improved fishing for rainbow trout up to 5 pounds. Most trout that are caught accidently by bass and walleye fishermen, but when you catch them on any of the usual trolling gadgets or by still fishing with worms, salmon eggs, or Power Bait. When you catch one, it’s likely to be in the 15-18-incher, red meated and in prime shape for the dinner table.
Approximately 1 million kokanee have been stocked annually in recent years, some of which the net pens also help raise. Angling for kokanee up to 19 inches has been variable during mid to late summer. Chumming is permitted.
Banks Lake is 27 miles long and offers over 90 miles of shoreline. In the month of May smallmouth show up like clockwork in the area known as Barker Flats. The “Flats” warm up early in the spring and smallmouth gather in numbers for their annual spawning rituals, and anglers can find aggressive fish in attractive water that covers acres at the upper end of the lake. Banks Lake is the first irrigation impoundment that is filled from the water backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam. Water is pumped up over the hill to meet the needs of farmers further down the line. As the cooler water of Lake Roosevelt is delivered to Banks Lake, the spawning period here can last months, rather than weeks, like other lakes in the region.
The south end of Banks Lake also has some excellent shallow areas. There are areas where flat, basalt islands show above the water line and smallmouth can be found in that part of the lake, too. It takes some time to learn to navigate this region of the lake, due to the structure that is not always obvious to boaters. The north end and Barker Flats is where most anglers chose to start their bass fishing season on Banks. Smallmouth are so plentiful on Banks Lake that smaller fish will far outnumber the big fish in a day’s fishing. Most expert anglers will take more 2- to 4-pound fish than most, but if an angler puts in the time they should expect to get one or two smallmouth weighing 2, 3 or 4 pounds for their efforts. Most tournament winning fish will be in the 4 to 5 pound range. Banks Lake is big water and it can handle big numbers of anglers Although smallmouth bass are dominant on Banks, largemouth have made a strong comeback in recent years, and they can be found in the spring here, too. The Punch Bowl can also be a good bet for bass, especially largemouth that move into the shallow, weedy bays to spawn in late spring. Farther north is Osbourne Bay, another big, shallow flat that draws alot of bass, especially largemouth. There are some nice largemouth being taken from Banks Lake again, but you won’t find them very often on the flats,” he said. You’ll have better luck for largemouth if you fish the edges and the weed lines.
Banks Lake is loaded with crayfish and perch. If you are wondering which crank baits to put in your box for a trip to Banks, be sure to have a selection of these patterns along (Crayfish). Yellow perch and crappie angling is good, but bluegill fishing will be poor-to-fair. There is a 25-fish daily limit on perch to prevent over harvest of this important forage and sport fish species. Lake Whitefish are a very abundant and overlooked game fish.
Night fishing in the shallows will produce brown bullheads, but hardly anyone bothers fishing for them. Winter fishing for burbot is similarly overlooked, but an average growing number of anglers are taking the lake, especially the upper end around the feeder canal from Lake Roosevelt to fish for whitefish during the winter. Lake whitefish of two to three pounds are common here, and the key is to locate a concentration of fish and jig vertically for them.