Dave Graybill - 7/7/2012
The summer run Chinook season is open now, and although fish are showing up later than ever in our region, anglers still managed to get some below Wanapum Dam. Sockeye numbers are much better and anglers are often switching to fishing for them.
When I called Shane Magnuson, of Upper Columbia Guide Service, on Friday he wasn’t sure he would even be able to get out fishing for kings below Wanapum Dam on the opening day. He had just gotten back from the Wanapum ramp and he said that there were big waves crashing against the shore and launching may not even be possible. There was also a large amount of debris in the bay below the dam, where the fishing takes place, and that would make things even more difficult.
When I checked back with him late on the opening day I found out that he had been able to put his boat in and fished for kings. He reported that anglers had varying degrees of success, due to the rough water. He broke off two kings in the morning and switched to sockeye fishing soon after. He landed a total of 19 sockeye for his boat. He did mention that some anglers had good success on the kings. Nathan Schuyleman, a Wenatchee guide, got six kings on opening morning.
Magnuson noted that many of the smaller boats got off the water early, as conditions were very difficult. High waves and heavy currents were bouncing them around, and if you don’t have a boat that can handle these rough conditions you may want to do your king fishing elsewhere. River flows continue to be very swift throughout the Columbia in our region. Most dams are spilling water and may be for a while this year. Similar conditions existed last season, making early season salmon fishing almost impossible in some areas. Combine this with the late arrival of the summer runs, it wouldn’t hurt to wait. The pre-season forecast calls for over 90,000 kings to be coming up the Columbia this year, and only about 6,000 have made it over Priest Rapids Dam. The sockeye run is supposed to exceed 460,000 and about 20,000 have passed Priest Rapids Dam so far.
While you wait for better numbers of kings and sockeye to show up in our stretch of the Columbia, the kokanee fishing at Lake Chelan is still very much worth the trip. Anglers are still having good success catching great numbers of the biggest kokanee ever on Lake Chelan. I made a trip up to Chelan late last week, and although our day started off slow, we managed to put a dozen kokanee in the cooler, with most of them between 14 and 15 inches.
I was fishing with Gary Planagan, owner of Osprey Rafting in Leavenworth and Cory Feil, of Bob Feil Boats and Motors. We put the boat in at Mill Bay, having had good fishing there on Fathers Day. However, I found the fishing slow here, and gradually made my way down to Rocky Point. There were four boats working the water here and one angler said he had a dozen, but fishing was very hit and miss. Cory had to leave to deliver a boat. After we dropped him off I headed down lake to the area near Pat and Mike’s where fishing had been very good earlier in the season. I found some schools of fish here, but not nearly as many as before, and I couldn’t get them to bite. Where I had the best success was clear down near Lakeside Park.
When I got into 40 feet of water and trolled to the park and out along the buoy line was were we got into the kokanee. I have been avoiding this area thinking that all I would get was small fish, but the ones we got were just as big as those I was catching further up lake. It seemed that whenever Planagan’s phone would ring we would hook up, and we had a couple of doubles in this area. We were using the Macks Lure squidder in the white-pink with a green smile blade on two rods on the riggers and a Macks Lure Kokanee Pro on a shallow rod. I put this rod 35 pulls behind the boat with an ounce and a half banana weight. This rod was very busy, too. All rods had a small trout dodger ahead of the lures.
At the rate the summer runs are coming up river, it looks like the timing for the CCA Salmon Derby on July 13th through the 15th will be good. There should be plenty of salmon between Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams to keep anglers busy during the derby. There is well over $10,000.00 in cash and prizes that will be handed out to winners of the derby in several categories and there will be raffles and auctions at the dinner on Sunday afternoon. The derby, whose primary sponsors are Hooked on Toys in Wenatchee and Town Ford in East Wenatchee, will benefit the Coastal Conservation Association, which is an advocate group for conservation of game fish and other species throughout the nation. They have growing chapters in Washington and Oregon states. Better hurry to get your tickets for this one. You can all the information and details by logging onto www.wenatcheesalmonderby.com.
When you open my Home Page at FishingMagician.com you will notice a Travel button on the bottom left. Click this and you will see an announcement for a trip to Loreto, Baja, Mexico. I am planning on taking a small group there in early November and people are signing up now. Call Journey Travel if you would like to come along!
By Dave Graybill