Upper Columbia Sockeye!

by Adam Hocking of Steel Dreams Guide Service, June 27, 2016
As the blanket of darkness starts to lift on the mighty Columbia River I can make out the faint shapes of boats trolling just outside the mouth of the Okanogan River. I grin and look at my group of four guys “Ready for an action packed day of catching Sockeye?” I get the usual answer thumbs up and “hell yeah’s!” I ease the boat into position and drop the first bait down to 19ft, as I start to grab the second rod to bait it up, the first goes off “Fish On”!

The fishing goes on like this for the next hour, I can’t get more than one rod out before we hook a fish! After a few hours we have 30 fat Sockeye salmon for a boat limit sitting on ice. High Fives all around and we are heading back to the dock.

If you decide you want to try your hand at Sockeye fishing there are a few things you should be prepared for. One, be prepared to fish around plenty of other boats, Two bring sunscreen and lots of liquids to drink, the weather in July is typically very hot, and three be ready to start very early in the morning, although the fishing is excellent by all accounts it is best early in the day before the sun starts to beat on the water. As far as rigging goes it doesn’t get much simpler. I like to run a small dodger with 10-20” double hook leader sometimes I will put a small pink hoochie and Beau Mack’s Smiley Blade and for some smell and taste add a coon shrimp tail on the front hook.

I like to use downriggers to stager my depths until I figure out a depth the fish are biting at, but they aren’t necessary for success. If you don’t have down riggers just use a 3-4oz cannon ball sinker on a slider
to get your bait down to various depths, once you get the right depth figured out to catch fish, run all your rods with the same amount of line out so they are all in the strike zone.

I run 20lb Fluorocarbon leader on all my rods due to the fact that there are plenty of Chinook around too and when one of those bites you want to have gear stout enough to land them.

The preseason forecast was pretty dismal for 2016. So much so WDFW didn’t plan on even opening the season this year, but with record breaking numbers crossing Bonneville Dam I think it’s safe to say they got it wrong and we will have a great season. I typically start fishing the second week in July and the fishing is good for the whole month. Remember be safe and courteous and I will see you on the water! FISH ON!!!

You Can Book a Trip with Steel Dreams Guide Service by contacting Adam Hocking at Steel Dreams Guide Service or (509)869-9694

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