Upper Columbia River Sockeye

Well, it's that time of year again that we get hundreds of thousands of bright little Sockeye salmon swimming the hundreds of miles over all the dams headed all the way to Lake Osoyoos, a lake that splits Canada and Northern Washington and feeds the Okanogan River. We will be fishing these quality fish in the Columbia River from Wenatchee all the way up to Brewster as they move up river. These fish aren’t huge but are very scrappy and lots of fun to catch, they are a perfect fish for kids as that when you are into them the action is hot and they are perfect size for kids and adults with fish ranging 3-7 pounds. Sockeye or reds or bluebacks as they are also called are primarily plankton eaters but will also eat small shrimp in the ocean and also insects and bugs as juvenile fish. Sockeye will spend as long as 3 years in freshwater as juveniles before heading to the ocean to spend 1 to 4 years in the salt making the fish anywhere from 4 to 7 years old when they reach the Upper Columbia Basin.

The gear So now to the fun part, the catching of these tasty ruby red meat having feisty fish. There are lots of ways to catch these fish, lots of people use the old standby of herring dodger and red hooks 18” behind and that will work, but if you follow these steps and invest a little cash in the right gear your success will be greatly improved! We will go over all this step by step but here is the overview of how we fish this specialized fishery. Most of the fishing we do is a herring dodger with sockeye rig about 20 feet back from a downrigger trolled anywhere from 10 feet down to 50 feet. The rod makes a difference and we use Fetha Styx Homewater sh-1045-2 10-20lb rods, they have a soft tip so you can see your action and they are light enough to have fun with these fish and strong enough to land the occasional king we get on sockeye gear also ranging up to the 40lb class. Now onto the gear, we use a tandem hook set up with Macs Lures hoochie skirts with UV (thats imortant) in reds and pinks work best, and Macs lures 1.1 smiley blades above it all tipped with coon shrimp. The coon shrimp is important as I said above that they eat shrimp in the ocean and with good fresh coon shrimp your catch will be greatly improved! The recipe I use for the coon shrimp is right here just follow the link its the best one I ever used, the Pautzkes Nectar is the key to the brine, you can get it at http://www.pautzke.com/fireblog_read.php?read=17. Once you got your gear the rest is the fun part, let it out find the depth that you are marking fish at, sit back and relax in the Eastern Washington sunshine, but don’t get to comfy as you wont have to wait long till your see your rod tip shaking! Your success rate can be greatly improved by going out with a guide for a day and learning the ropes and we are booking sockeye trips now at www.fishwenatchee.com. Good luck and see you out on the water!

What to bring license with punchcard with Columbia River endorsement sunscreen boat fishing is definitely most productive gear with shrimp bbq cause these fish eat great!

Links www.fishwenatchee.com dam counts http://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/adult.html http://www.brewsterchamber.org/