Just a small trip north of us here in the Wenatchee Valley
lies a quaint and serene town with great people, scenery, and fishing. The town
of which I speak is Conconully. Rich with history in its own right, the town is
located just 20 miles west of Omak. It’s a small community and thrives on
tourism, camping, hunting, and fishing; and there’s plenty of all to be had!
There are two lakes; the upper and lower, both are great areas for fishing.
The season on this lake opened on April 22 and was stocked with 5,550 rainbow trout by the WDFW just recently. I had
the opportunity to fish it last Thursday with Richy Harrod and Britton
Ransford. We were targeting kokanee knowing that we were probably going to
catch a few rainbows, as well. In my past experiences, I have found the kokanee
fishing to be much better at the upper lake, although both lakes have kokanee
in them in abundance.
Our day started at 5:30 a.m. at the boat launch with no other
boats in sight -- we had the lake all to ourselves. I took the boat to a place
where I have fished many times in the past, and used that as a starting point.
I’ve said it before, but I can’t stress it enough: "find the fish, fish the fish, and don’t leave fish to go find fish." It wasn’t long until we started marking fish, so we decided to drop our gear to
see what we could catch.
The ice has only been off the lake for just over a month.
There are a lot of branches, logs, and other debris in the water, so be careful
when you are getting to your destination so you don’t damage your boat. The
water temperature was 48 degrees, which I thought would be lower because of the
recent ice melt. The visibility of the lake however, was horrible -- two feet, at
We dropped our gear and began to troll at 1.2 mph and began
to zig-zag through the debris. Our depths ranged from 30- to 50-feet. It seems that in
any lake that has kokanee fishing, there is a line in the water and at this line
draws a sort of barrier where the kokanee are under and the rainbows are above
that line. Since this lake has a combined fish limit of five fish per person,
we wanted kokanee. The combined limit means that if you catch a trout with any
kind of bait, then it goes toward your limit. The trick when targeting kokanee
on this lake is to get your gear to where the kokanee are very quickly. If you
drop your gear down slowly, chances are you will catch a rainbow on the drop.
We were using Mack’s Lure kokanee hoochies with Double D™ Dodgers
in a variety of colors, only to determine which color was going to work the best
that day. We found that pink worked the best, so we switched out all our gear
and began to catch fish consistently. This time of year on the lake, however,
it’s a bit of a challenge because the fish are active, and they are moving quite
quickly. We would go through an abundance of fish, catch a couple, re-bait,
then go back through them again. Each time, though, we had to find them again.
Trolling in a straight line on this lake is not the most preferred method.
Changing your trolling pattern is essential to finding those fish.
We were off the water by 11:30 a.m. and decided we didn’t
want to catch our limit because we had to go to Chelan to film a short tutorial
video for the Shuttle Hawk™, a stacking tool that allows multiple lines to be
used on one downrigger that dives and retrieves automatically. It wasn’t long
before we had our limit of fish on Chelan and we were on our way home by 2:00 p.m.
Conconully is a destination and as close as it is, it’s a
great place to spend the day no matter what your outdoor pleasures are. If you
are looking for a great lake to take the kids fishing, this is the lake to do
it. I can honestly say that I’ve never been to those lakes and haven’t caught a
fish. Bring a picnic basket, have a BBQ, or stop by the Red Rock Saloon for
lunch or dinner and make it a day. It’ll be a time you won’t forget and a place
that you’ll want to return to soon.
The Lance Merz Fishing Corner runs every Wednesday in the Wenatchee World Sports section.