I covered a lot of territory last week. I fished a couple of days on Lake Roosevelt at Kettle Falls and hit Rufus Woods on my way back. I even spent a couple of hours on the bank at Spring Canyon before heading home. High water is creating some problems for anglers all along the Columbia River.
I had a plan in place to travel to Kettle Falls and fish for walleye with my friend Kevin Witte, owner of Up River Outfitter guide service. The fish were in post spawn mode, and he was filling his live well to overflowing with fish. I knew we were up against a full moon, but what we didn’t anticipate was the huge influx of water into Lake Roosevelt from Canada. Typical flow for this time of year is a bit more than 150,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) and last Thursday it jumped to 290,000. The current was fierce, and both the Kettle and Colville rivers were dumping a lot of very dirty water into the reservoir. We tried fishing above these streams near Evans, but the fish had moved off the flats that had produced so well for Kevin earlier in the week. We covered a whole lot of water that day but were able to put just three fish in the boat. Kevin worked hard, but the timing couldn’t have been worse. I want to get back up there when the reservoir is at full pool. The walleye fishing in this area is tremendous when conditions are right.
In spite of the very poor conditions on Lake Roosevelt, Mike McKee and I fished with Keven Witte, of Up River Outfitter guide service, again on Friday morning. Although the fishing sucked, Kevin was sharing some great information about fishing in the Kettle Falls area and I wanted to get enough footage for a video. Kevin decided to put us in the mouth of the Colville River and pound it. It worked and we got three fish that morning. I then drove down to Coulee Dam and on to the Colville Net Pens site to try for some triploid rainbow. I had a big surprise when I arrived. The boat launch was under water and there was hardly any shoreline exposed. I had to fish well below where I usually do here, and although I landed a fish after about 15 minutes, I just was breaking off too much gear to continue fishing. When I passed Grand Coulee Dam on my way through town I saw that they were spilling water over the dam. This is very unusual. I think I have only seen this once before. They are having a tough time keeping up with the runoff entering the Columbia River from Canada. This week’s photo is of the launch on Rufus Woods.
I had planned to fish Rufus Woods on Saturday morning last week but changed my mind. I just didn’t want to drive all the way up there early enough to get a good spot, and then spend only a half hour or so to get my limit. The fishing is excellent, and it takes no time at all to get your fish, but there is hardly any shoreline to fish from here right now. I opted to give Spring Canyon a try. It’s just a couple of miles from town, and I have done well from shore here. The rainbow average 16 inches and are of excellent quality. I walked down the beach below the swimming area to one of my favorite spots and made a cast with some Power Bait. I got a bite almost immediately and had a nice 19 to 20 inch rainbow on my stringer in about 15 minutes. I fished for two hours and only got one more nibble. I stopped at Northrup to clean my fish on my way home. I talked to an angler here that had limited on walleye on Banks that morning. I better get up there!
I had a friend reach out to me about where I plan on fishing for summer salmon and sockeye on the opening day, which is July 1st. I fished opening day with Shane Magnuson for many years and we started the season at either Wanapum or Chelan Falls. We had good success at both locations. I am thinking about starting out in the Brewster Pool this year. I am watching the dam counts already and both summer salmon and sockeye are on the way. I usually fish the Brewster Pool once or twice each season and we always get our sockeye and have put a few kings in the cooler here, too. I have hooked kings on my sockeye gear and managed to land them a time or two. Wanapum can be great, but it looks like this could be a high water year and that makes navigating the fishing area below the dam a real challenge. Chelan Falls has treated me very well on past openers. It is getting to be extremely crowded in the early season. Mainly because of the high ratio of hatchery fish taken here. I haven’t made up my mind yet, so we’ll see.
The high water we’re experiencing right now may last a while and that may present some challenges for salmon anglers when the season opens. Current is a good thing usually, but when it is excessive it makes fishing difficult in certain areas. It would be nice to get some advice from an experienced salmon angler on how to approach fishing this season. Better plan on attending the free seminar at Bob Feil Boats and Motors on Tuesday, June 28th. Austin Moser will be there with a presentation on his tackle and techniques for catching salmon on the Columbia River. You won’t want to miss this one. No matter what stretch of the Columbia you plan to fish; he can help you be successful. I am sure he will be talking about his favorite methods for catching sockeye, too. The seminar will be held at the Bob Feil Boats and Motors Dealership, on Sunset Highway in East Wenatchee. The fun will begin at 6 p.m.
While we wait for the salmon season to open, go to Lake Chelan for kokanee or the big lakes, like Moses, Potholes and Banks are just now producing good catches of walleye. I can never have too many walleye in the freezer!