Okanogan River

okanogan river

Species:
Steelhead, Fall Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass
Location:
Joins the Columbia River just east of the town of Brewster
Directions:
Take U.S.97 east or Highway 17 north of the confluence of the Okanogan and Columbia Rivers, and continue north on U.S. 97 to follow the Okanogan River upstream
Facilities:
There are plenty of motels and RV parks along the river, including Okanogan, Omak, Tonasket, and Oroville. Restaurants, groceries stores, gas stations, tackle shops are also available in all four of the towns. Osoyoos Lake State Park in Oroville, at the upper end of the Okanogan River also is a nice place to stay with all your amenities.
Here is a link to all of your North Central Wahington Parks;
http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/region/?selectedregion=northcentral
Rules and Regulations:
Always watch WDFG fishing updates on this river shed as rule changes happen quite frequently
How to fish the Okanogan River:
With the possible exception of the much larger Snake River, the Okanogan offers the best stream smallmouth fishing in Washington. The okanogan has been a favorite destination of smallmouth enthusiasts since the early 1970’s, and it’s just as good now as it was then, perhaps better. Although not something you’ll hook every day, the river has Bronzebacks of five pounds and over, and while your looking for them, you’ll hook and release many number of smaller ones. What’s more, U.S.97 and the side roads off of it will provide miles of good river access for bank anglers. The season is usually open year around, but the best bass action occurs as the water begins to warm substantially, usually around the end of June, and holds up well into September. Leadhead-and-grub combinations, small crankbaits, size 1 or size 0 bucktail spinners, even wet flies and streamers will take them. If you don’t have any smallmouth tackle, invest in a few one-eighths to three-eighths ounce leadheads and a dozen three-inch Berkley Power Grubs in the pumpkinseed color. If that doesn’t take smallmouth, you’re probably fishing where the bass aren’t.

Steelheading on the Okanogan has been an up-and-down proposition for many years, but it’s usually on the up enough to make the trip worth while. The lowest count in the last 20 years was in 1993-94 with only 175 fish taken from the river, but many season top the 500 fish mark according to WDF&G. If you have to pick just one month of the year to fish for steelhead on the Okanogan, make it October. That single month typically produces half of the catch for the entire year. September, November, and March may also provide some pretty good steelhead fishing. Spoons, spinners, diving plugs, fresh roe clusters, ghost shrimp, and most of the popular steelhead bobbers all account for their share of fish. If you are looking for a guided fishing trip anywhere in this area you should get a hold of “Hall of Famer” and legendary fishing guide Phil Lund at: http://methowriverguide.com/home

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