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Rufus Woods Lake Report
Douglas County, WA



Put boat in water around 10:30, overcast and light sprinkles.
Went up river 4-7 miles, and saw drillers and casters along the shoreline.
Saw several fish caught by casters during the day, and caught plenty of 12-18 inch trout. did catch one around 3 pounds, but didn't keep any trout today. all were lip hooked so were shook off in the water. we did however keep 11 yellow perch that were large enough to fillet, and caught several more that weren't. We were off the water around sundown.
I experimented with "Circle hooks today, and was surprised by the results.
I rigged a #8 "Circle" hook like I was going to "Bait" fish, Slip sinker and around 24 inches of leader. On this I put a small rubber/plastic grub/nymph imitation lure in dark color. This I fished on bottom and through the weeds. Got 4 bites and was able to hook-up with 3 of those. When I detected a bite, I would give the fish line and then apply pressure (not set the hook) and the fish would set the hook. ALL 3 of the fish were lip hooked in the corner of the mouth. WHICH is why I was trying the "Circle" hooks in the first place. Even though the fish had time to swallow the hook, it was still lip hooked. I see "Some" bait fishermen who Can't OR Won't keep the bait caught fish they catch, and will "Dig hooks out of the trout's gullet then toss the fish back in. Or the line will be cut and the fish will swim off with a hook in the gullet. I know it is better to cut the hook rather than "Dig" the hook out, but the point is IF you are going to use bait, then abide by the regs and keep those that are caught as part of the Daily limit. Sorry for the venting, but My two cents worth.

Another good day on the water.
Tight lines everyone
If anyone wants to contact me off forum, my email is lleonard@nwi.net. Please let me know if my interpretation of regs is incorrect.


11/2/2008 7:39:00 AM
Thank You for venting. That is pretty difficult to watch. An extremely low percentage of fish released in that manner survive.
blufin loui
11/2/2008 9:45:00 AM
Thanks FishLoveMe, for your comment. It is a shame to lose those fish that have a potential to grow into lunkers. But enough brooding, I hope you have a great fishing fall & winter.
11/2/2008 8:47:00 PM
The 'fishermen" mentioned know the rules. They just don't want the rules to apply to them. Enforcement can't be everywhere so the law breakers just gamble on the chance that they probably won't get caught.
11/2/2008 8:54:00 PM
Of course it is legal to release those fish as long as they are counted as part of your limit. The problem is that folks don't often "remember" to count those fish as part of their limit.
blufin loui
11/3/2008 6:25:00 AM
Hey Wolverine and Reigndawgs:
Glad to see your comments. I have no trouble keeping and Eating any fish that are damaged by the hooking, and we have brought home 8 inchers in the past because didn't want to toss back--and waste-- a fish that would die as a result of hook injury.
We usually CNR for the fishing experience, but truth be known, we usually try to keep larger fish for the smoker. Because of the increased fat content of the RW Triploids, they smoke up wonderfully. My theory is when they have been in the river long enough to reach 4+ pounds (provided they weren't released this size), they have been foraging on natural river food sources, hense a different flavor than commercial fed fish. Just my perspective! Anyway, these guys marinated and smoked with alder wood turns out gourmet tastees.
Since I'm still kinda new, I haven't read alot of the posts, look forward to reading yours.
Take a kid fishiing and gain new insight to the love of fishing.
11/3/2008 11:04:00 AM
I read on another post, there is a special regulation on hooks in Rufus Woods ( single barbless). Is this true? I called the WDFG and they said it is only the statewide and local regulation. Could some clarify this for me.
blufin loui
11/3/2008 11:31:00 AM
Hello gxl,
I have not been able to find any regulations stating a special regulation on hooks in Rufus Woods ( single barbless). It is possible I missed it, but I think the posts were possibly erroneous in this matter. There are several fishermen who use the "Single Barbless Hook" for reasons of Easy Release, potentially Less damage to fish, and some just prefer the challenge.
I do use the single barbless at times, but I'm no purist, and have no qualms using barbed hooks.
If I'm in error there is sure to be someone who could/will let us know.
You're checking with the WDFG was a good move, and sounds like the didn't have anything to add.

Good fishing
blufin loui
11/3/2008 11:31:00 AM
Hello gxl,
I have not been able to find any regulations stating a special regulation on hooks in Rufus Woods ( single barbless). It is possible I missed it, but I think the posts were possibly erroneous in this matter. There are several fishermen who use the "Single Barbless Hook" for reasons of Easy Release, potentially Less damage to fish, and some just prefer the challenge.
I do use the single barbless at times, but I'm no purist, and have no qualms using barbed hooks.
If I'm in error there is sure to be someone who could/will let us know.
You're checking with the WDFG was a good move, and sounds like the didn't have anything to add.

Good fishing
11/3/2008 12:21:00 PM
Thanks Bluefin, I thought I was missing something. I don't always trust WDFG. A friend of mine was told to leave Tuccanon because he was fishing C&R. He told him he had to keep the fist two he caught. He double checked the Regs. and called to report the officer. He later received an apology from the officer.
11/3/2008 12:27:00 PM
Now that I have the barb less issue figured out. I will be going to Rufus for the first time with my two boys. Can I get a little help with tips and tackle. My boys novice to beginner fisherman, so trolling or drifting should make it easy for them. Any help would be appreciated.
Gringo Pescador
11/3/2008 1:12:00 PM
Blufin & GXL - There are different regs if you are fishing on the Indian Reservation (where the net pens are) - you have to buy a special permit for fishing on the reservation as well. I got mine last spring at Coulee Playland, they knew the regs too. I think at that time is was single barbless, a 2 or 3 fish limit,and any caught with bait (released or not) went toward your limit.

I doubt this applies to boats but I am not sure. Someone with more knowlege than me can speak up if it does.
11/3/2008 3:02:00 PM
Gringo, I think you also need Indian permit if you launch from the reservation. I'm staying at the sunbanks resort. Where is the best place to launch from. I have a fiberglass boat so a gravel launch would be out of the question. Another question, can you tie up to the net pens?
Thanks again Gringo

blufin loui
11/3/2008 3:22:00 PM
Thanks Gringo Pescador for the input. It's amazing how small things are overlooked if we aren't dirrectly involved. Such as me and the tribal permits. I've always been in a boat while fishing (last couple of years) that far up and didn't think of the permits. Although I know not to tie up to or get out of the boat on the tribal side of the river while fishing RW. That would constitute needing a tribal permit. There is great fishing to be had from the reservation side of the river, and . Go to the WDFW website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/2008/2008sportregs.pdf) and go to page #99 for the regs for RW.
Here is another good article to read ("WDFW NEWS RELEASE December 17,2007" (http://wdfw.wa.gov/do/newreal/release.php?id=dec1707a), which I found while writing this comment. It puts to rest the question of Tribal Permits needed for boaters. If you are fishing FROM a boat, No special permit is needed according to the article.
gxl, I'll gladly share my meager two cents worth. First tell me a bit about your planned trip.
Are the kids able to cast, and if so what gear will they use
Do you want to bait fish or lures (both as an option is not a bad idea. )
Age of kids and what do they expect of the trip (just want to catch a fish and enjoy the great scenery, or CNR
size and capabilities of boat (short vs longer run)
Type of equipment you plan to use.
I know it sounds like a lot, but there are so many variable that answers (mine and others) would be better geared to you with more info. There is a ton of fishing info out there, and these guys on the forum have been more than gracious with the information they have gleaned from past fishing trips.
Look forward to your next comment
Happy planning.
Gringo Pescador
11/3/2008 3:43:00 PM
I would suggest going into Forums area of this site, using the search function and doing a search on Rufus Woods. There is a lot of information out there - last year there were two or three different strings that were specifically about Rufus.... lots of good info..
outdoor chris
11/3/2008 4:25:00 PM
You do need to be fishing with a single, barbless hook...when fishing catch and release, this is not a Rufus Woods rule but a statewide general regulation rule. This pertains to fishing any waters be it stream or lake when fishing catch and release. The thing of it is, that many fishermen think that it is much harder to keep a fish on the hook when using barbless, when in fact, its easier to get deeper hook sets when the fish bites because the diameter of the hook is cut in a third by trimming the barb off so you have a better chance getting that hook set deeper and more firmly, play the fish as normal, just don't let your line go slack, let the rod do the work.

I had one fish on, a 9 pounder this summer with a barbless #12 fly and he was on for almost 40 minutes, I was actually giving him slack line because he had sounded on me and got tangled in one of the anchor lines between the pens and the shoreline....I was giving the fish a chance to work his way back out of the tangle, after 5-10 min. of playing with giving him slack line he finally swam back out of the structure and we landed him, the hook never came out until he was in the net.
11/3/2008 6:03:00 PM
Blufin, my kids are 14 and 10 they have used a Zebco 33 spincast and the 14yo has use a spinning reel. They are both able to cast but not very accurately . I would like to lure fish to increase the likelihood of catching a big fish. I will also bring powerbait. I do have the ability to run long distances. My boat is use mainly for fishing Walleye in the Columbia. Though I have never fished for Trout from a boat, just from the bank.

Gringo, I have been reading the past post and I am surprised and the amount of info freely given by fisherman on this site.

Outdoor Chris, where does it state that single barbless is a requirement for C&R fishing in Washington? I know of hundreds of Bass and Walleye tournament fisherman who are not using single barbless hooks. So If you can tell me what page the Regulation is on. I would like to call Fish and Game and let them know they are giving out miss information. Reg or not I do see the merit in using single barbless hook.

Thanks again Blufin, Gringo, and Outdoor Chris I appreciate all the help I can get.
blufin loui
11/3/2008 7:21:00 PM
Gosh what a thread. Keep the great comments coming.
Any of my comments are posted with sincerity and not a cheap shot at any contributor, so please don't anyone take offense, but help me see the light when I error.
Thanks chris for the comment, especially the comment of how to work a fish. it is very important to keep the line tight, and the rod Will do most of the work. To be able to boat and picture the fish using the tackle you use requires a level of competence that comes only from lots of experience (in my case, lots of luck). Keep the useful tips coming.
On the barbless note, I have been using barbed hooks and doing CNR. If I am in error then I'll repent to the fish gods and mend my ways.
I was looking (real hard for tired eyes) at the regs and here is what I came away with. Enlighten me please as to where I'm off track.
Here is the addie for WDFG for the regs: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/2008/2008sportregs.pdf.
I hope I'm not infringing in any way, but here goes.

Statewide regs page 28 under Definitions of Terms used Throughout the Pamphlet
A type of fishing where all of the fish caught
are immediately released back into the water."
Please note the "words "where ALL of the fish caught are released back into the water".
My perception is there are waters where CNR only fishing is allowed, and in these waters It is required to use the Barbless single hook, and not All streams and rivers, and lakes. ( please note, My perception!)

Also: Same addie
Statewide regs page #36 under heading TACKLE
"Where use of bait is prohibited, or where lures
or flies are used voluntarily, game fish may
be caught and released until the daily limit is
retained. If any fish has swallowed the hook or
is hooked in the gill, eye, or tongue, it should
be kept if legal to do so".
Now if you're fishing on the res, then it is an area I'm totally ignorant of. Am going to try and get some tribal regs as I might fish off the shore there someday.
It is My interpretation that when fishing in waters Other than "Catch and Release waters", and in waters with "Selective gear rules", it is not required (but maybe desireable) to use Barbless hooks.

the use bait, keep/count the first two fish caught rule still stands.
Thanks all for the help.
I, like the members of WL wish to fish legally and ethically, so please add your comments.
11/3/2008 8:16:00 PM
Blufin, your post did not seem critical of anyone. I know a post can be taken on a different light depending on a person perception. All I see is concern for other who respect the rules.
blufin loui
11/3/2008 9:48:00 PM
Thanx gxl for the comment, one thing I don't want is to cause anyone offense. This is one cool site to visit, and be a part of.
My experiences of fishing for the trout on RW has mostly been the lower pens or the lower 10-15 miles of RW so there are regulars of the upper section that can fill you in on the details of that water better than I (heck, probably the whole stretch of river come to think on it), but here is a run down of my experiences that maybe you can utilize some portion of. For lures (once again my preference) the "Crocodile in the 1/8-1/4 ounce size and perch hammered finish, and the "Cast Master" in firetiger finish or silver and green stripe have worked well for us. These two lures are known for their castability and have consistently caught fish almost if not every trip. One note, they come with a treble attached and the croc comes with a single spare. Replace the trebles with single hooks (easy process) and you will pleased with the results. when replacing with singles, make sure the hook point faces the unpainted side of the lures. These lures predominantly run with one side up and will help with the weed hook-up problem. After the cast let the lure sink for a count of 3-5 (experiment) then start the retrieve. The croc will be more active at slower speeds than the cast master, so have the youngsters experiment with speed. pull them along the boat to see the action. also a "twitch of the rod tip gives the lure an erratic motion, so encourage lots of twitching LOL.My wife has extreme luck by retrieving just fast enough to have action and giving two twitches of the rod every 3-4 cranks (fast retrieve spin cast). It works. If a strike fails to hook-up, stop retrieve for a 2 count the proceed with retrieve. Sometimes triggers a strike. also for trolling these have produced fish. just don't go to fast so as to make the lure "spin". It works best as a wobble.
Jigs have also been very good for us. Casting and retrieving, and vertical jigging. I have watched other fishermen in boats fish straight down (under the boat) with "crappie" jigs in dark colors catch fish time and again. I prefer a soft plastic with lots of moving parts in a small size (crawdad or nymph imitations). My largest (12 pound plus) was caught on a 1 1/4 inch craw imitation (dark color) on a jig head in 20 feet of water. I have used various shapes, sizes, and colors having success at one time or another. But lots of wigglie is still my most productive. On the other had, my fishin buddy predominantly fishes a minnow imitation in the perch color on a 1/16- 1/8 oz jig head (plain, not painted). Her secret to success (ha) is that when she threads the minnow imitation on the hook, there will be a "crook" in the tail section of about 45 degree angle or so. when she twitches the rod, the bait will turn a revolution or so. drives the fish nuts. The key to these is to fish them slow, and we fish close to bottom. Again slight twitches seem to work better than "hopping" the jig. Also the plastic imitations can be rigged up like bait on a slip sinker with leader, and drag across the bottom. whichever works easiest for the budding fishermen. I have had success fishing the jigs over deep water by swimming them, but prefer to fish the shallower depths (to about 30 feet) on the bottom. Patience grasshopper!
We have found these tactics work in most areas for us, casting toward shore and retrieving,
Also fishing the pen area, I'd try the "pellet fly" created by Chris. If you could tie some of these up for the tackle box, it would give more options. And don't forget the mini marshmallows, white color. Many fish have fallen to the humble mellow. The pens and surrounding area should provide a great opportunity for a great day on the water, and I'll ask those regulars to the upper end to comment on the details for you.
A good tool to have on board is a pair (or two) of forceps 8 inches or so long and/or those hook removers that have the squeeze handles that bite when you squeeze. These or something like them are invaluable for releasing the fish as you can just reach over the side and get the hook while the fish is still in the water.
Look forward to seeing pics of the trip.
Good luck gxl and crew
Oh, late question: Is there a word limit? I seem to have taken up a lot of space
Fish On!
11/3/2008 11:00:00 PM
Opps, hit the wrong button!.....The confusion comes in as the Reservation went to barbless hooks last April 1st if you CandR. If you aren't on reservation land then you can go by the WDFW rules which state you can C&R with barbed hooks as long as the fish aren't hooked in a way that will cause them death. Learn how to catch and release. You should never have to man handle a fish. Fish barbless and you can shake off a fish without ever touching it. C&R means fishing without bait or scent. If you are using bait of any kind then you MUST either keep or count those fish as part of your limit. 2 fish in RW that's it period. If you fish bait longer than 30 mins and don't catch your limit then something is wrong!......LOL

You'll find most of the people fishing bait violating this rule. The Reservation fish cops are cashing in on this and making a tidy sum of money with tickets. I've seen plenty of WDFW boats too. All you have to do is tour up and down the river to see what's going on. Please, people don't abuse this resource. This is a special place that will only get better if the greedy people don't wreck it.
blufin loui
11/4/2008 5:29:00 AM
WOW, this is better than having one's private fishing seminar. All the information shared and no commute. Well maybe from the coffee pot and the puter.
Thanks for the info Fish On!. So when I launch my boat from reservation land, I'll need a (1) Tribal fishing Permit, (2) Tribal camping permit, if I camp and (3)use Single Barbless Hooks if I plan on using artificial lures, AND want to CNR , all because I will be entering and removing the boat from tribal land? That sounds pretty straight forward and to the point. And even though I'll be fishing from a boat in RW, I'm still using tribal land for this trip, hence the application of the Tribal Regulations. I can do that.
I don't mean to sound so dense (the above entry), but I moved to the state of WA from Missouri (Show Me state) in '84, so it's great for me to be able to see it in print (show me) LOL.
On the note of enforcement, I have been checked by WDFW agents more in the two years fishing RW than I have the other years in WA state combined. That's impressive to me, what with all the territory these guys patrol. (no tickets yet). My hats off to the men and women in that field, it's a thankless job sometimes.
Can't thank you guys enough
Mike Carey
11/4/2008 6:28:00 AM
B.L. - glad you found the site and are using it to such advantage. NO word limit on these posts, but at a certain point you'll want to consider starting a thread in the Freshwater Forum as this report will get buried with new ones coming in, so people may see less of it. I'm impressed by the amount of info you guys are sharing!
11/4/2008 2:30:00 PM
Blufin, thank you for the tip and tackle info. I will probably launch for seaton Landing and fish down around the first and possibly the second net pen. Mainly vertical jigging and dragging 3in grubs. I have downriggers can bring to troll deeper if there is heavy current. Do you think its necessary? Thanks to all the members for their input on technique and Regs.
blufin loui
11/4/2008 5:27:00 PM
From what I have experienced and observed,I wouldn't bring the downriggers unless you wish to experiment or the downrigger fishing is a favorite technique which you utilize. I haven't observed or heard anyone (in my limited experience) speak of the need or advantage in using downriggers in these areas. I'm sure there are those who have used them with success, but loads of success stories reported without the use of them. for the sake of convenience, your plan should provide quality time on the water, but if you have room, you might stow the downriggers in the "off" chance you wish to try them.
For vertical jigging, the areas right below any of the pens should be a good place to drift. The tripps like to hang in the transition water (where the deeper water comes up to the shoreline), and it is conducive to the jigging style. use jigs just heavy enough to contact bottom.The depths will vary as you travel down the shoreline, but I have consistently caught larger fish in the 20-35 ft depth. I have saw many good fish all the way into the shore line, but these fish were obviously giving me the eyeball too, as they seemed spookier in the shallows. I have even picked up walleye below the lower pen (150-200 yards below) on a minnow imitation in 30 ft or so depth. So try to contact bottom occasionally. Also, below the lower pens (several hundred yards below) there is a pump on the reservation side of the river on the shoreline (pipes running out in the lake) where fish like to hang out. Just below the pump (50-100 yards) there is, or was, a slight depression out from the shoreline 30 ft or so where always pic one up. It is very difficult tp see, but you will sight fish in this area when you drift down (if they are active there).
Keep the lines light enough to make the jigs seem alive, but strong enough where you are comfortable.
Remember to "Pinch" those barbs down on the jigs if you are CNR, since you are launching from the reservation launch.
Look forward to hearing the report, and hopefully some pics. May the fish bite and the lines hold.
11/4/2008 9:00:00 PM
Wow!!!!! You guys have been hitting this hard. gxl- a great place to fish is up river from the upper net pens. It is actually the mouth of the Nespelum River. It forms a huge back eddy. Easy to anchor and cast. Last winter we anchored in 20-30' of water at the upper end and just slayed the triploids on lead head black leech flies ( barbless). Nothing big, most were 2-3# with a few going 5#.
If the swallows are still around - if they start skimming the water closer to shore move over there. There will be a bug hatch going on and the fish will move in to the 8-15' water. That was where we actually caught our biggest fish.
Planning a trip with the brother next month. Last years biggest fish me 13# brother 9#.
If anybody is looking for a ROUGH place to stay- Reynolds Resort has uninsulated cabins with power and a wood stove for $25 a night.
Please leave some for me. LOL
11/4/2008 9:46:00 PM
Blufin and Northfork, this is exactly what I was looking for. I didn't want to take my downriggers but was told it would be a good idea if you fish upriver. Drifting and anchoring sound good to me since I will have two kids in the boat and I would like to fish alittle. I'm shooting for Friday-Sunday. So if you see a Black and Grey Triton with two kids in the back, that would be me.
Thanks Blufin and all the helpful member on this site.
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Port Eliza Lodge

Phone: (949) 456-3719