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Little Spokane River facts for kids

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The Little Spokane River is a major tributary of the Spokane River, approximately 35 mi (56 km) long, in eastern Washington in the United States. It drains a rural area of forested foothills and a farming valley north of the city of Spokane along the Idaho–Washington border. It has two branches one starting west of Newport and the other comes from Eloika lake which is further west. The two branches come together about a quarter mile east of Milan. The supply from Eloika is quite warm in the summer and has different fish habitat than the colder branch from Newport. The best trout fishing is where the two branches come together, but is on private owned land. It is also a privately owned water body, which is rare.

It rises in southern Pend Oreille County, south of Newport near the Idaho state line. It flows south-southwest past Milan and Colbert. It joins the Spokane River from the east approximately 10 mi (16 km) northwest of Spokane. There is a natural area near the mouth with an Indian painted rock, several trails to walk on and berths for canoes and kayaks. The speed and depth varies in the river but is generally slow moving and 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5 m) deep. The river has an average width of 40 to 60 feet (12 to 18 m).

Flyfishing is popular on The Little Spokane River but standard angling does work.

The Little Spokane River contains both native and introduced fish species: Redband trout, rainbow trout that are residualzied from anadromous steelhead, suckerfish migrated from Spokane River, pikeminnow, longnose dace, speckled dace, sculpin and native mountain whitefish are indigenous to the Little Spokane river. Due to the once anadromous costal rainbow trout now sharing spawning time with the residential radband trout, the trout found in this river are most often hybridized and are neither genetically pure redband or coastal rainbow. Strict rules are placed for the winter whitefish season. Many cold and warm water non-native fish species have been introduced into the river basin. The non native fish species listed by The Washington Department of Ecology are brook trout, brown trout, Grass pickerel, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, largemouth bass, tench, yellow bullhead, and yellow perch. It is probable that these non native fish were introduced through upper portions of the water shed basin such as eloika, chain, sacheen, and horseshoe lake. All of which contain the listed non native fish.

In 1893, the ichthyologists Charles Gilbert and Barton Warren Evermann reported extensive damage to the Little Spokane as a result of human activities:

"The character of this stream is being materially changed by the advent of civilization, a fact which is, or has been, true of most streams in this country. The cutting away of the timber and brush on the immediate bank and the cultivation of the land within the drainage area of the stream have greatly increased the surface erosion and, in consequence, the impurities of the stream."
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