New advice for Ralph Bartholdt: Think Salmon Creek, brother.
Earlier today my North Idaho contributor sent me an email looking for advice on whether he should head to the Okanogan or Methow River on a fishing trip.
I advised the latter — little does the fool know that one of my other writers was in his neck of the woods all this week, killing it on the Joe — but I’m retracting that and pointing Ralph instead to this little stream below the twin Conconully reservoirs.
Salmon there opens Monday, Aug. 1, for the first time in perhaps more than a decade.
True, it will not feature this nice rainbows and cutts just now becoming available on the Met due to high water, but it’s part of an effort by WDFW and the Colville Tribes to clean certain predatory species out of the creek and make it more “hospitable” for steelhead, according to state fisheries biologist Bob Jateff (who we earlier this week savagely disparaged for not being available to answer questions on the Wenatchee River summer king opener and today managed to, ahem, find at his desk on the second dingaling).
Through Oct. 31, you’ll be able to keep 10 smallmouth bass and 10 eastern brook trout a day with no size restrictions.
“It’s a nice little creek and it has some nice little pools, especially up by Conconully Dam,” Jateff says.
Tribal survey work turned up 2- to 3-pound bass, which likely came down from the reservoirs, and 10- and 11-inch brookies, he says.
“People are going to have to be very careful about private property,” however, Jateff warns. “There’s a fair amount down low. Closer to the dam, there’s more public land.”
That access dichotomy may impact what managers are trying to do with the creek, but for now it’s a new opportunity.
Get there via Salmon Creek Road or Spring Coulee Road out of the town of Okanogan. State land occurs in the first 4 miles below the Conconully Dam; get a detailed map of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area for more.
With the fishery operating under selective gear rules, your best bets will be small spinners like Rooster Tails and Panther Martins, and caddis, ant, hoppers and other flies.
WDFW is requiring that all other salmonids other than eastern brooks be released, and say that steelhead cannot be removed from the water.
Jateff says he has some creel survey work planned here.