Eastern Washington Fishing Report

Lake fishing takes second place to river fishing in most of the West, but in eastern Washington that may not be the case. That’s because eastern Washington, and especially north-central Washington, abounds with quality lake fishing options. Rainbows, browns, and the unique Lahontan cutthroat, which may grow to 15 pounds or more on some waters, slam flies on a regular basis. That said, don’t forget your river options here—you’ll find steelhead on the Okanagan, Similkameen and Methow rivers, and big cutthroats and ‘bows on other area streams. If you’re headed to north-central Washington we have advice—pack a variety of rods because you’ll need them.

    Rufus Woods (WA)

    Fishing on Rufus Woods is still producing well for those who know where and what to look for. First off, be on the water before the sun shines above the horizon. First light is going to be your best starting time. In total, you’ll have about five or six hours of prime fishing time. You’ll want to look for any surface feeding activity. Chances are you will find the trout feeding just under the surface on small minnow/fry. They may also be feeding on emerging midges or mayflies. A floating line or an intermediate tip line will fit the bill for both feeding activities.

    Another event that is happening right now is that some of the crayfish are molting. The rainbows love crayfish in Rufus Woods, and a molting crayfish is a soft-shell treat for them. Once the sun his high overhead, call it a day. The fishing will have slowed down, and it will be getting quite warm out on the water. For flies I would recommend; a #8 brown or olive rainbow alley minnow, a #8 olive cutthroat epoxy minnow, a #8 olive/white or rainbow Tak’s Mini Minnow, a #6 orange zirdle, a #4 dirty olive near nuff crayfish, or a #8 brown dead drift crayfish.

    Methow River (WA)

    The Methow is running low at 343 cfs. Water temperatures have come down a little in the last week, but I would still have your thermometer handy and check it periodically. The section of the river from Weeman bridge downstream to Foghorn Dam closes today, along with the Twisp River and the Chewuch River and a few of the other tributaries too. Make sure to consult the rules and a regulation pamphlet for more information.

    It is still a hopper dropper game for most anglers. Some anglers are opting to fish just a single foam fly with good results.  Caddis patterns are still getting some action in the morning and the evening. I went out with my 6-weight glass rod the other day and did some single hand spey casting with a couple of small streamers and a zirdle.  I picked up a couple of 14-inch cutties on the streamers when I swung them. The zirdle picked up a fair number of a mix of cutthroats and rainbows.

    For hoppers, I would make sure you have a selection of the following; a #8-#12 pink, tan or golden Morrish hopper, a #10 tan or peach more or less hopper. For foam flies use; a #8-#10 pink, purple, or tan chubby chernobyl, a #12 purple or tan Evan’s baby foam.

    For streamers, this time of the year and with the water level, just a few different styles of a bugger pattern have been doing well. You’ll want to use; a #8 peacock/black gold bead flash a bugger, a #8 black mini bugger, or a #12 strawberry blonde bugger. And, let's not forget, you’ll want to use the one bug that gave me the most action, a #8 or #12 orange or olive zirdle.

    See past reports from the Omak region, or click here to view all northwest regional reports.