North Central Washington: Salmon: Salmon fishing season opens July 1 on the upper Columbia River in most sections above Priest Rapids Dam. From Wells Dam to Brewster, the season opens July 16.
WDFW regional fish biologist Jeff Korth says the summer chinook salmon run is a bit low, but healthy. All wild adult chinook must be released, but up to two adult hatchery chinook can be kept in the daily limit of four salmon.
"Sockeye salmon retention will be allowed above Priest Rapids Dam this season," Korth said. "The run is about two or three times what it was last year when we delayed retention in favor of escapement."
The Icicle River finally opened for hatchery spring chinook salmon fishing in late June and remains open through July. The fishery was delayed by a low estimated run to ensure meeting broodstock needs at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. The daily catch limit is two hatchery chinook (adult or jack), minimum size 12 inches. Spring chinook with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release. Release all spring chinook with one or more round 1/4 inch diameter holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.
Warmwater fish: WDFW warmwater fisheries biologist Marc Petersen says walleye fishing is hot now at Banks Lake. Anglers there should also be able to catch smallmouth bass and a few black crappie.
Petersen considers Banks Lake to be one of the region's top ten bass fishing waters. The other nine in that bass line-up are Moses Lake, Evergreen Reservoir, and Potholes Reservoir in Grant County; Cow Lake in Adams County; Palmer and Whitestone lakes in Okanogan County; and Roses, Wapato and Dry lakes in Chelan County.
Dry Lake now has improved boat access, thanks to private landowners and several sportsmen groups creating a gravel launch and parking area off Dry Lake Road. The shallow 81-acre lake, which is open year-round, is about two miles north of Manson and has largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, crappie, and pumpkinseed sunfish. The access was built by the Wenatchee Sportsmen's Association, Chelan Bass Club, Wenatchee Valley Flyfishers, and Washington Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. To avoid access being revoked by the landowners, all users need to follow posted conduct rules: Pack out all trash, park only in designated areas (not on the road), and no overnight parking, fires, fireworks, shooting or loitering.
For bass fishing success, Petersen recommends trying jigs and spinner baits, and fishing around structures. "Try drop shotting for smallmouth," he said. "Drop your bait with a weight to suspend it right in front of the fish, whether you find them on your boat's depth finder or you cast into a spot where bass are likely to hang out."