It's Time To Go Fishing

The Lance Merz Fishing Corner is featured every Wednesday in the Wenatchee World Sports Section.

As we awaken from our winter slumber, now is the time to start going fishing. As most lakes open at the end of this month, it’s time to get the boat, rods, tackle gear, and bait ready. Due to our extensive weather patterns this past winter, it appears that fishing in and of itself is about a month behind in regards to consistent catch rates. The weather has played an integral role because most of the lakes have recently thawed from the freezing temperatures.

I’ve had the opportunity to go fishing a few times within the past month and wanted to share with you my results and what was working well. During this fishing season, I will be going to local lakes and rivers, and writing about my experiences and hopefully assist you the reader, to catch more fish. I am a retired Army Combat Veteran who works for a company called Mack’s Lure, a local fishing lure company who is known for their Wedding Ring spinner; a lure synonymous for catching trout throughout the world.

Last Friday, myself and Bob Loomis fished Lake Chelan and had a fantastic time. The weather was gorgeous and the water looked like glass. This past winter, I had been fishing in the areas of Mitchell Creek and 25 Mile Creek and have been able to scratch out limits, but we had to work for them. We decided to try fishing just the lower basin of Chelan for Kokanee. Normally this time of year, the fish are just beginning to school but for some reason this year, these fish are already schooled, which are providing anglers with a fantastic day of fishing. With a ten fish limit lake for kokanee, this type of fishing is fantastic to take out the kids for fun times and excitement to be had by all.

We started fishing at Party Point because most of the boats were in the vicinity of Manson Bay. As I’ve been taught from the beginning, “find the fish, fish the fish, and don’t leave fish to go find fish”. If you think about that tongue twister, it makes total sense. Kokanee fishing is like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time; there are so many variables that must be taken into consideration, which makes kokanee fishing a challenge on a daily basis. What works one day, might not necessarily work the next day. Bob and I began to catch fish at depths between 52- and 62-feet consistently.

Pink and orange hoochies seemed to work the best, tipped with white shoe peg corn and anise bloody tuna scent. We ran our gear 25-feet out of the back of the boat and had quite a few doubles and triples. After the fish decided to stop biting, we decided to break the cardinal rule to check to see if there were fish at the blue roof condo’s (adjacent to Pat and Mike’s Gas station) and Rocky Point. Although there were fish on the fish finder, we didn’t see the schools we were looking for and decided to go back to Party Point. Our leaders were relatively short (between 10-14”) while using Sling Blade™ and Double D™ Dodgers. We both reached our limits by about noon and were off the water.

Banks Lake is still relatively slow. I have fished the lake twice this past month and have only caught a handful of fish. Most of the fish are at the northern end of the lake and in deeper water, between 60-70’. Chartreuses and blues have seemed to be the best colors that are working so far with a 2-ounce bottom walker and a three foot leader with a Smile Blade® Super Slow Death Rig. Fishing the south of the end of the lake this time of the year is somewhat tough because the water is deeper and colder. As the season progresses and the weather warms, these fish can be found and the lake as a whole should start fishing extremely well within the next month.

Lake Roosevelt continues to be a challenge. Water levels are very low and the visibility in the water is extremely poor. As of last week, there was only around two feet of visibility, which isn’t too good for angler’s who are targeting trophy kokanee. Most of the fish can be found from the Keller Ferry area, down to the Coulee Dam. The fishing on this lake should pick up around the mid-May time frame when the water levels begin to rise.

This weekend will be inundated with anglers from throughout the Pacific Northwest on Lake Chelan. The Something Catchy Kokanee Derby will be held from the 21-22nd of April with proceeds going to the organization to help assist foster/homeless children, and veterans go fishing. Last year, my cousins and I won the derby and from first hand experience - it’s a good time to be had by all.