North Central Washington: Steelhead and rainbow trout fishing is under way on the Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to the powerlines crossing the Columbia River at Doroga State Park; the lower Wenatchee River from the mouth to the Icicle Road Bridge; and the Entiat River: from the mouth to about a half mile upstream of the intersection of Entiat River Road and Hedding Street.
The fishery is under mandatory retention of hatchery steelhead, marked by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar, with a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead. Up to five hatchery rainbow trout (less than 20 inches) can be retained daily. See all details in the Emergency Rule Change. Anglers should note that this fishery could close at any time, depending on effort and catch of wild steelhead.
Anglers are reminded that steelhead and rainbow fishing on the upper Columbia River (from the powerlines crossing about 3/4 mile downstream of Wells Dam to the Hwy. 173 Bridge at Brewster) and the Methow River (from the mouth to the confluence of the Chewuch River in Winthrop) are closed. Whitefish fishing on the Methow River is also closed.
WDFW fish technician Aulin Smith of Electric City reports trout are biting on Banks Lake, the year-round-open Columbia River reservoir that stretches almost 27 miles from Coulee City at the south to Electric City at the north.
Its a little slow for shore anglers, Smith said. But rainbows around 20 inches are taking power bait and marshmallow-worm combos. Some boat anglers have done much better trolling, but you have to get your gear as far from the boat as you can.
Smith says lots of anglers are also looking for whitefish in Banks Lake, but so far hes only talked with one who has caught fish. I expect that bite to pick up around mid-month like it did last year, with Christmas break being the peak. I did pick up a burbot the other day jigging a blade bait in 40 feet of water. That bite should pick up, too, as we move through December. Bass and walleye have been found randomly by those jigging. Its slow and cold, but if you put the effort in you will catch fish.
Smith reminds anglers to use caution because the water temperatures in Banks Lake are dropping, Coulee City Marina is already iced in, and the launches can be slick.
Three lakes in Okanogan County open for catch and keep trout fishing Dec. 1 Rat Lake near Brewster and Big and Little Green lakes near Omak switch from a catch-and-release regulation to a five-trout daily catch limit. These fisheries provide good angling throughout the winter months, either as open water as they mostly are now, or iced-over later in the month or season. Usually catches of rainbow trout in the 10 to 12-inch range are made on a variety of bait, lures, and flies.
When Chelan Countys Fish and Roses lakes (which are open year-round) become safely iced over, they should provide good ice fishing. Fish Lake has nice yellow perch and Roses Lake has plenty of rainbow trout.
Moses Lake in the Columbia Basin usually provides good yellow perch fishing at this time when the fish bunch up into large schools. WDFW district fish biologist Chad Jackson says Moses Lake freezes over some winters and provides good ice fishing for both perch and rainbow trout. The most popular ice fishing location is near Blue Heron Park.