Oct 24, 2001
By John Kruse
Lake Chelan is a popular tourist destination in Central Washington. The almost 1500 foot deep lake runs 55 miles from the City of Chelan to the tiny village of Stehekin, which is accessible only by boat, plane or foot. The crystal clear waters and 300 average days of sun make this a great destination for the family. The lake, while very popular with water sports enthusiasts, is also an excellent fishery.
From late winter through early summer, deep trollers go after often huge landlocked chinook salmon or lake trout. In fact, the state record lake trout of over 31 pounds was taken during the 1999 May salmon fishing derby on the lake. From spring through fall, fishermen can find planted and wild rainbow trout throughout the lake. In addition, kokanee salmon are also abundant. In addition to salmonoid species, there are also smallmouth bass and in the winter, burbot (freshwater ling).
Anglers can have success for the trout or silvers from shore at times, especially along public docks in the city of Chelan and in Manson. However, most anglers would be better served using a boat. Anglers targeting the lake trout or chinook salmon will want to invest in a down rigger.
Various techniques are effective, dependent upon the fish you are targeting. Guide Rick Graybill (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) has published an excellent book on
fishing this lake for chinook and mackinaw. Other guides are also willing to help you learn the best techniques for fishing this lake. As of 2001, these include Darrell and Dad's Family Guide Svc. (email@example.com) and Mountain Dew Guide Svc.
If you want to do it yourself, there are various parks, motels and resorts on both sides of the lake. Boat Launches can be found at the City Park or Lakeside Park in Chelan for the lower part of the lake. There are also boat launches at Lake Chelan State Park (on the S. shore opposite Manson) and the Old Mill Park (on the N. Shore near Manson). The road ends not far from 25 Mile Creek State Park. There is also a boat launch there for those wishing to travel uplake towards Stehekin.
No matter how you handle your visit here, you are likely to enjoy some sunny skies, great scenery, and with a little luck, some great fishing!