North Central Washington: The good news in the region is that Lake Wenatchee sockeye salmon fishing is open. The bad news is that last month several rivers in the region were closed to fishing to protect fish from more stress with the high water temperatures and low flows from drought conditions.
Even the Lake Wenatchee fishery could close on short notice, said WDFW Chelan district fish biologist Travis Maitland in Wenatchee. Weve projected at least 30,000 sockeye entering the lake, so with our natural spawning goal of letting 23,000 of them escape, there are some 7,000 sockeye to be caught. But the duration of this fishery all depends on how many folks are out and how well they do.
Anglers can take up to four sockeye of at least 12 inches daily, following selective gear rules (up to three single-point barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, and knotless nets required.) Maitland advises checking the fishing hotline at 360-902-2500 or online emergency rule changes daily.
Closed to fishing due to drought conditions until further notice are:
Wenatchee River (Chelan Co.) from the mouth to the Icicle River Road Bridge.
Icicle River (Chelan Co.) from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
Okanogan River from the Hwy 97 Bridge upstream to Zosel Dam, except open to game fish fishing.
Similkameen River from the mouth upstream to Enloe Dam.
A moratorium on all Columbia River sturgeon fishing above Bonneville Dam, including the Snake River in the regions southeast district, was also imposed last month and continues.
In late July, the upper Columbia River, from Rocky Reach Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, was also closed to sockeye salmon retention because of higher than expected mortalities of sockeye returning to the Okanogan River due to elevated water temperatures.
Despite these river and stream closures, plenty of fishing opportunity is available throughout the region.
WDFW fish biologist Mike Schmuck reports that Roses Lake in Chelan County is still producing limits of rainbow trout and fishing for channel catfish is still great.
Leader Lake in Okanogan County has big bluegill and some nice black crappie, Schmuck said. Whitestone Lake in Okanogan County has a lot of nice channel catfish and some giant black crappie.
Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake in the Columbia Basin have been slow with the extended heat wave. But if fall, like summer, comes early, it wont be long before good walleye fishing can be expected in these big waters when the fish are more concentrated with annual managed water lowering.