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And More Central Salmon Fishing!

Dave Graybill - 8/28/2012
This is going to be a great week to get outside and enjoy what our region has to offer. Summer temperatures will be in the mid 80s rather than the low 100s, and there are some super fishing opportunities. Summer run salmon are stacked below Wells Dam and in the Brewster Pool, and there are even big Chinook being taken in the Wenatchee River. The small streams in our area are in ideal condition for fly fishing, and are chock full of small rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout.

I checked in with Shane Magnuson, Upper Columbia Guide Service, and fishing continues to be good in the Brewster Pool. Ron Oules, Reel Lentless Guide Service, reports taking a mix of kings, jacks and even some sockeye. There are still two to three hundred kings coming over Wells every day. Many of the fish have been in the pool for a while and getting very aggressive. Anglers are concentrating their efforts off the mouth of the Okanogan River, but will be checking for kings in the area known as Pelican and a bit further up stream off the white pump right where the river makes it turn to Bridgeport. The same can be said for the fish below Wells Dam. Fishing should be good off the bar on the Chelan highway side and in the eddy on the far side. Fish will also start stacking up in the holes down stream above the Hour Glass. Most anglers are fishing Super Baits, both in the old style and in the newer Plug Cut version. I wouldn’t rule out fishing with herring, though. I have found that they will still hit a plug cut herring. Fall salmon are starting to hit Bonneville Dam, but just the leading edge. In another week or so you will see the numbers take a big jump. I know anglers that like to fish below Wanapum and Priest Rapids dams are eager for their arrival.

I have fished the Icicle River, from the middle to the upper end, and found the wading easy and the small trout eager to hit a fly. On a recent late afternoon visit to the stream earlier this week I caught and released 32 fish. Most were the 6- to 9-inch typical rainbow, but also released a few that were 10 to 11 inches. Anglers should expect to have the same success on the upper Entiat River. The difference will be that you will catch a mix of rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout on the Entiat. I usually fish the Entiat from the Spruce Grove campground down, but have been told that there should be excellent numbers of cutthroat from Cottonwood up rive and even at points along the trail to Myrtle Lake. Remember, you must be above Entiat Falls to fish this stream.

Most all of these streams are now within a hundred cfs of median flows for this time of year. There is plenty of great water to fish on all them. My favorites are the Icicle, Entiat, San Poil and Kettle rivers. I started fishing the Icicle with a size 12 Stimulator and have had no reason to change. The hoppers are out, though, and imitations of these bugs would be good on all the streams, too. Some other patterns that are consistently good on these small rivers are the Adams, Parachute Adams, Royal Coachman and Royal Coachman Trude and the Renegade.

I attended the Watershed Fair at the Ponderosa Community Clubhouse near Plain over the weekend and was very impressed. Organized by Doug Pendleton and others there was a wide range of agencies that had some very good information to impart, plus activities that the kids could enjoy. There were messages from the Watershed group, Trout Unlimited, Rollie Schmitten, retired National Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, and others. I will be sure and share the dates of next year’s event with you and would urge you to attend.

Following the meeting Rollie, his wife Barb and I drove up the White River to see if there were any sockeye spawning. Anglers are still catching sockeye on Lake Wenatchee, but many of them are beginning to look like they would be moving up to the spawning grounds. Schmitten knows a couple of spots on the White River where he can observe hundreds of sockeye staging for the spawn. I had my camera along and wanted to photograph these fish in the dramatic red and green colors. However, we were early. There weren’t any fish on the beds yet, but I will be going back up there in another two weeks and expect to see the large expanses of gravel covered with fish. What we did find was evidence of four legged critters also checking out the spawning beds. We saw tracks of mature and small deer, mink and cranes, and also lots of bear tracks. Most of the tracks were of larger, mature bears, but also some cub sized tracks. It reminded me that this is the time that we often see bears at the edges of town in Leavenworth and the surrounding area. It is important that home owners remove bird feeders from their property. Don’t leave pet foods outdoors and don’t leave garbage in your containers for days at a time. Follow these simple steps and many of the bear encounters can be eliminated, and we won’t have to remove or exterminate “problem” bears.

We are getting close to what many of us refer to as the best time of year to be outdoors. The fall months in this region can be spectacular, not only for fishing for a wide variety of species, but also for the scenic views that comes with the change of season. Don’t miss it. Get out and enjoy it!

By Dave Graybill