By Marc Martyn
Aug 19, 2002
Amber Lake in Spokane County lies on the threshold where the farm country of the Palouse ends and the mountainous treed portion of Eastern Washington begins. So much so, that the north end of the lake is wooded and the south end is farm land. It is without a doubt one of the foremost trout lakes in the eastern part of the state.
As a favorite lake for many fly fisherman today, Amber once had two resorts on it, Decker Resort and Amber Lake Resort. The resorts are now gone and the public launch has been modified for the use of only small boats, pontoons, tubes, canoes, etc. Electric motors are the only motors allowed on the lake. Recently the parking area of the public access was updated to accommodate the Amber Lake Trailhead of the Columbia Plateau Trail. It is an equestrian, biking and hiking trail which was once the track bed for the old Spokane Portland Seattle Railway. As a result of the trail passing by Amber Lake, new toilet facilities have been built and and there is added parking. Additional information on the trail can be obtained through theWashington State Parks & Recreation Commission at www.parks.wa.gov/ada-rec/detail.asp?region=NE
Overnight camping is not allowed at the public access or anywhere else on the lake. However, Williams & Badger Lakes which are a few minutes drive from Amber offer resort facilities with all the amenities.
Home to both Cutthroat and Rainbows, fishing this lake can be both exhilarating and frustrating. A day of catching and releasing up to 50 fish per day, can be followed by a day of wondering where the fish went and asking yourself why they aren't hitting on the same pattern as yesterday. It is truly a challenging lake. I have returned to the lake a day or so after catching dozens of fish on the south end, only to find that they have moved to the north end and are hitting on a completely different pattern. There have been times that I thought my fish finder wasn¹t working. So if you find a honey hole on the lake, don¹t always count on it producing later on in the week.
Both the shallow north and south ends of the lake offer great chironomid fishing in the spring and fall. During the warm summer months the central portions of the lake provide deep water where you can find the rainbows hunkering down in the cool water. The key to bringing in Rainbows during this time lies in one simple technique. It was taught to me by a friend who has fished Amber most of his life. He told me if you aren't periodically pulling up weeds out of the deeper portions of the lake, you aren't deep enough. So when the temperature hits the mid 90s, stock up on Gatorade, put on your fast sink line and hold on. Some feel like they hit like a freight train.
Fall fishing on Amber, especially in the evening, can only be expressed as memorable. As the sun sets on the horizon, the evening serenade begins. It usually starts with the quiet song of the mourning dove and then joined in by the soft, haunting, toad like trill of the Nighthawk. Off on one of the distant rock mounds a pack of coyotes begin to howl. The finale of all this is the call of the Great Horned Owl and an occasional lone train whistle miles off in the distance. If you haven't experienced an evening on Amber, you should. You won't forget it.
From the south end of Cheney, go south on Mullinex Road for approximately 8 miles and then turn right on Pine Springs Road. A sign for Amber Lake Trailhead will be at this intersection. Go for about 3/4 mile on Pine Springs and turn left to the lake and trailhead. Parking at the launch area is not allowed except for 1 handicap spot. Public parking is on the hill just above the launch area.
-The Legal Stuff-
Amber is a selective gear lake. Check the state fishing regulations closely for dates and limits. Also remember that except for the immediate launch area, all of the shoreline around the lake is private land.