Dave Graybill - 6/4/2012
I’ve had a busy week sampling some of the fishing opportunities here in our region. My travels took me from Fish Lake near Lake Wenatchee to the Columbia below Chief Joseph Dam and finally to Lake Chelan. I had great fishing at all of these locations, but the big news for anglers is the fantastic kokanee fishing at Lake Chelan. Not only are the kokanee plentiful they are consistently bigger than anyone can recall for Lake Chelan.
My brother Rick and I fished Lake Chelan this past Sunday. We found a big pack of boats out in the middle off Chelan Shores so we went to work there. Rick soon hooked up and I netted a kokanee that was almost 17 inches long. That’s a whopper for Chelan but there are lots of them this year. Rick got two more nice fish while reeled in a 10-pound lake trout. The bite slowed somewhat and a local angler that had limited already advised us to try further up lake. We moved up towards Pat and Mike’s and started looking for fish in a hundred feet of water. We found them, and got very busy. The same angler stopped by to see how we were doing and when he slowed his boat next us, we had a triple on (Rick and I both have the two rod license)! We thanked him for the tip on where to find fish.
A hot lure this season has been an orange Macks Lure Squidder, trailed behind a Double D dodger. Many anglers were using this rig last Sunday and catching fish. We tried this and a variety of other lures. Rick’s purple squidder or mini hoochie with a smile blade was hot for him, and I was way behind in getting hits until I switched to one of my old favorites, an orange Super Duper. I helped me catch up. The kokanee loved it. We got 20 fish that were mostly 15 to 16 inches. That’s good kokanee fishing anywhere in our region and outstanding for Lake Chelan. It’s just getting started, too. Kokanee fishing at Lake Chelan will get even better as the fish move even further down the lower basin. The fishing off Lakeside Park should be hot very soon. I just hope the fish size holds up, too.
A big disappointment to many anglers was the June 1st opener of the special season for triploid rainbow trout below Chief Joseph Dam. Those that hit the water very early did well, but by the time I launched, about 9 a.m., there were 67 boats between the bridge at Bridgeport to the Bridge at Brewster. The river flow was booming and the water temperature much cooler than when this fishery opened last year in August. The 10-fish limit had anglers primed for action, but as it turned out the average catch was just 1.3 fish per angler when I spoke with Keith Roe, who was checking fish at the Bridgeport Marina Park ramp. I had Jim Passage from Lake Wenatchee and Kevin Anderson from Federal Way on my boat and we got four triploids from 5 to 7 pounds right off the bat. We broke off a few fish and missed a couple of hits, and then things slowed way down. A combination of a drop in current and the fact that the fish had been pounded hard since early morning were both good reasons for a drop in the action. I won’t give up on this fishery, though. Conditions should only get better as water temperatures warm and flows gradually fall into more normal patterns as we move into summer.
I was on Fish Lake last Wednesday with Mike McKee, owner of Mike’s Meats and Farmers Market, on Wenatchee Avenue, and two of his buddies. Conditions were great: low clouds and a breeze. We started catching fish not long after we rounded the point from the Cove Resort. We caught a total of 18 fish, including one brown trout and Mike got a 6-pound triploid! The hot lures were the High Lakes Special that you can get at the Cove Resort store, and a good ol’ F-4 frog pattern Flatfish. We tipped these lures with a piece of worm and dabbed them with Graybill’s Guide Formula scent. I just took a couple of split shot to get all of these lures deep enough to be in the zone where fish would find them. The triploid hit a small Wooly Bugger fly that I had rigged with the Wiggle Fin Action Disc. We found most of the fish trolling in 23 feet of water toward the bottom end of the lake. Most of the trout were in the 10- to 12-inch class, but you never know when one of the big triploids will come by.
Last Saturday was the annual Fish-In Kids event in Leavenworth. I don’t know what the final count was, but somewhere around 400 kids and their families came to the event and all the kids got to catch two fish from the raceway at the National Fish Hatchery. I have got to give a big shout out to the folks that make this happen every year, especially Lynann DeJarnett, and Corky Broaddus who has welcomed us here for the past seven years, and the whole hatchery staff. The Central Washington Bass Club handled registration. The Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association handed out the rods and reels and helped the kids catch their fish. The Icicle Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited worked tirelessly all day cleaning and bagging all the trout. That was a big job. Thanks to Tom Kallas at Hooked on Toys for providing the worms, too.
I can’t wait to get back to Lake Chelan to fish for kokanee, but I am also anxious to get back to Bridgeport for those big triploids. Big bass are waiting for me at Banks Lake, too. It just doesn’t end. So much good fishing just waiting for all of us out there!
By Dave Graybill