By Mike Carey
Our Focus on Fishing is "All About Chelan". As in, All About Kokanee. In 2013, the word got out that kokanee fishing had rebounded big time on lake Chelan. Not only did the fishing start off red-hot, the kokanee were HUGE. 15-17" kokanee were the norm, and rumors of fish breaking the 20" size circulated. Although I never saw a picture of one a 20" fish, my personal best was 19". That makes for some big kokanee fillets. Even better, the kokanee that come out of lake Chelan have a rich pink meat and an oil content second to none. The table fair is out of this world. To top it all off, lake Chelan is probably one of the most scenic places to fish. Early spring finds the hilltops still dusted with snow. The pleasure boaters are not out in numbers yet, and the lake is plenty big to share with other anglers. In short, it's the perfect time to go fishing lake Chelan!
So, how do you get in on this great fishing so you can fill your frig with tasty kokanee? Kokanee fishing techniques are well documented on the web. Just browsing WashingtonLakes.com's lake Chelan fishing reports will give you a wealth of information. One trick to narrow your search of the reports section is to use our filter device (lake Chelan has over 1,270 reports after all). Under "species", select kokanee. This will refine your results to a more manageable 72 reports. In addition, go to our "Articles" section and use the "Search Articles" feature to search for "kokanee". You'll come up with all the kokanee articles on WashingtonLakes.com. Finally, we have a lake Chelan Kokanee video in our Video Section that will give you more great tips and techniques.
Another excellent source of information for the angler new to fishing for kokanee is "Kokanee University" articles on the website FishWithGary.com. Gary Gordon does an exellent three part series going in great detail in all facets of kokanee fishing. You'll come away with a greater understanding of kokanee physiology and methodology to help you catch more kokanee.
All this information isn't much good if you don't know where to go, right? So let's take stock of a few essentials. First, boat launches. There are four to chose from. In the town of Chelan itself is the Riverwalk Park Boat Launch. This is a free boat launch located just up river from the dam on the Chelan river. The disadvantage to this launch is it only has two lanes and limited parking. In addition, there is a quarter mile no wake zone you'll have to go through before hitting the lake itself. The next launch up is the City of Chelan Lakeshore Marina & Boat Launch. I've not used this launch. It has a good two lane concrete ramp and adequate parking. Once launch you're on the lake and ready to run up to the various locations. Next launch up - Manson's Old Mill Park & Boat Launch. This boat launch is a gold standard for boat launches. Four lanes, docks, a huge parking lot, and a fish cleaning station. And once launched you are minutes from some great fishing. Disadvantage is it's a 4-5 mile drive from downtown Chelan. Last one to mention is the Lake Chelan State Park Boat Launch. This is a two lane launch with pier located on the west side of the lake. It's the farthest launch and least convinent, unless you are staying at the park. It's also the furthest away from the primary fishing locations. That said, it is the closest to sme lesser fished areas that also hold some nice fish.
So now you know launch locations, what about where to fish? Well, as a Premium Member on WashingtonLakes.com we make it easy. Just go to our GPS Hot Spots tool, then search lake Chelan Hot Spots. Use the Hot Spots filter to only pull up the kokanee hot spots. Now you can either export those locations to your GPS or print out a screen shot of the map. What, you don't have a Premium Membership? No worries, check out the map below for locations to concentrate on when you come fishing lake Chelan.
Editor's Note: This article was first published April 2014 on WashingtonLakes.com