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.

    Omak Lake (WA)

    Cold crisp mornings are the norm now, but that is okay. Catch a few Lahontan cutthroats and you should warm right up. The Lahontans are still very active as they continue to feed just out of sight. You might even catch a glimpse of one now and then as they come in to chase some bait fish. Most of the fish are averaging around 20 inches with a good handful hitting over the 26-inch mark. A number of small to medium streamers are working quite well. A few examples would be; a #10 to a #6 epoxy minnow, a #8 deadly shiner, a #8 baby gonga, and a #8 or #6 near nuff sculpin.  These are but a handful that we have been having good success with.

    I was out the other day and decided to play the indicator game. Balanced leeches in blacks, olive, or purple pulled in several fish. I then switched to bloodworms for a while and had some pretty good action with them. You’ll want to find the drop off and use either an intermediate or type-3 sinking line.  Mornings till about noon, then back at it again at 4 p.m. till just before dark are the best time to be hitting the water. Dress warm, the mornings can be quite teeth chattering.

    Aeneas Lake (WA)

    Hungry rainbows are on the feed bag trying to fatten up before winter shows up. It seems one day they will hit just about anything they can get in their mouth and then the next day they only want one thing. Such is the life of fly fishing, but that’s okay. After all, we have to justify the half dozen fly boxes we carry! The brown trout in the lake are in the pre/post spawn mood. Even though they won't be spawning, it doesn’t stop them from acting differently. With them in that mindset, they are in an aggressive mood. So, if you are lucky enough to put your fly close to them, chances are it will connect with one. The booby fly is still getting all the attention and it doesn’t seem to matter which pattern/color is used, they’re all good. One rule when using them, keep them moving using a type-3 full sink line in 5 to 15-feet of water. We have 14 different patterns/colors on hand and they all have been producing. Leeches are the next best pattern. Red/maroon, olive, or black each seem to have their moment depending on the time of day or even what day it is. Rounding the fly action out would be bloodworms in a #14, red, of course. The lake closes to fishing at the end of the month on 10/31/2018.

    Rat Lake (WA)

    It’s always nice when you when you pull up to a place to fish and you have it all to yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind company on the water, but there are those days when it's nice to be able to enjoy the solitude around you too. One thing about Rat Lake, it will always produce fish. It might not be a lot at times, but that’s okay. Any fish you catch is always good. The rainbows are running in sizes from 14 inches to a few over 20 inches. The browns are 14 to 16 inches. Most days, anything in olive in the leech or bugger category will work. The trick is to know which olive pattern works the best. That is why I make sure to carry several olive variations with me. One color that I use a lot at Rat is yellow, whether it is in a bugger or leech pattern. A #10 yellow crystal bugger has made the difference between a so-so day and a great day. Most of the fish are in the 3 to 10-foot depth range. An intermediate or type-3 full sinking line will cover your bases. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any time better than another to go. If you decide to fish Rat, make sure to dress in layers. The mornings are cold and by noon you will be shedding a couple of layers as it warms up.

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