Dave Graybill - 9/8/2012
We’ve got great weather forecast for the days ahead, and that should encourage anglers to take advantage of the many great fishing opportunities in our region. Summer-run salmon are abundant in the upper Columbia. Fly fishing the small streams in our region is at its peak, and don’t forget the spiny ray fishing should be terrific in our area’s reservoirs and lakes.
I told folks in my report earlier this week that I was changing my plans to fish below Wells Dam to head up to the Brewster Pool to do my salmon fishing. I did just that but, boy was I disappointed. I got out there the earliest I have ever been, and even had to wait until it was legal to fish. I was surprised how few boats were on the water off the mouth of the Okanogan. I told my fishing partner that I have reservations about fishing that particular day. There was a full moon, but you know how it is, you go when you can.
I set out our rods and started trolling and was glad to see a couple of other boats show up. I was watching for rolling fish, and to see if any nets were out. We did see a few fish roll, but no nets being used. I finally got a good hit, but whiffed on it; didn’t even feel any weight when I set the hook. As we passed other boats we got nothing but shrugs, as no one was getting any action at all.
I moved over to the area known as Pelican to see if the fish were in a better mood. We saw even more fish rolling in this spot, but they weren’t interested in what I was offering either. I passed two other boats here, and they reported the same luck, which was zero. We had an osprey and a golden eagle watching the water, and even they gave up after a while. I moved back down into the pool and was very busy pulling weeds off our rigs. I did get a small smolt on the line. I wouldn’t even consider it a jack, it was so small. That was the extent of our luck. With my tail between my legs I ran to the ramp.
My fishing buddy offered to buy me lunch at the Super Stop so we stopped there on the way home. As were eating Shane Magnuson, Upper Columbia Guide Service, walked up to our table. I am sure I turned red, thinking about having to report my poor luck that morning. Turns out he had the same experience; lots of fish rolling around him and no bites. He had thrown in the towel for the morning, telling his clients they would give it a try later in the day. As we walked to my rig another boat pulled up. This time it was Ron Oules, Reel Lentless Guide Service. He had fished a different area than Shane and I and he also had the same bad luck. He caught one smolt and that was it. Boy, I can’t tell you how happy I was to get a bad fishing report. I felt a whole lot better knowing that even these excellent guides had a tough morning of fishing, too. There are plenty of fish around and when the moon fades the fishing will get hot again.
Summer run salmon anglers have lots of places to fish on the main stem Columbia River, and even the Wenatchee River is open to fishing. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has added a new location to take summer runs. Now open is the Lake Chelan Tailrace, which is the area from the powerhouse to the railroad bridge, which is at Chelan Falls. Night closure and anti-snagging rules are in effect. Internal combustion engines are prohibited. Anglers must stay downstream of the Chelan County PUD boundary signs on the northern shoreline. Fishing along the southwest shoreline is limited to wading only, no fishing from the bank in this area. No fishing is allowed in the Chelan Powerhouse Park swimming area. All fish with a floy tag or holes punched in their tails must be released. The limit is six Chinook, with up to three being adults, with only one being a wild adult salmon. Anglers are required to have a current fishing license, plus the Salmon Steelhead Endorsement Stamp. This fishery was made possible through funds generated through the Endorsement Stamp program. For more details visit the WDFW web site.
One other oppotunity that is very good on the upper Columbia and Rufus Woods Reservoir this time of year is the walleye fishing. I have had good reports from Rufus all the way down to below Wells Dam. Dave Lorz of Bridgeport is trying to get me out on Rufus, as he claims that this is his favorite time of the year to fish for walleye. While most of the walleye fishing is going on at big impoundments like Banks Lake or on Lake Roosevelt anglers often overlook the really great walleye fishing on the Columbia. I am going to give this a try soon, and I am going to put my bass gear in the boat when I fish the Brewster Pool. After the morning bite I can run up into the Okanogan and take advantage of the smallmouth bass fishing. I should have thought of this the other day!
Well, I hope you all get a chance to take advantage of the good weather coming our way, and spend some time on the water. There’s some much good fishing going on out there you just can’t lose no matter which way you go.
By Dave Graybill