Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Reel Obsession

Phone: (888) 855-7335

Quick Links

Riffe Lake Report
Lewis County, WA

Photos

Details

06/11/2011
Trolling
Salmon
Other
Chartreuse
Other
Morning
06/12/2011
5
5555

Wow! I think that I have a new favorite lake. I got up at 2:30 Saturday morning for a 3:30 departure and estimated arrival at Riffe Lake by around 8:00. With the usual early am departure difficulties and a stop for breakfast we arrived at the ramp in Mossyrock Park at around 8:30-9:00. To us the water level seemed low but we don’t have a base line to work from. Boat launched and bladders empty we slowly motored away from the boat ramp, trying to avoid the largest of the floating debris. Although we were headed towards the dam we ended up starting at the point across the lake from the launch area. Running 4 kokanee rod/reel combinations we started with a variety of dodger/lure offerings. We ran four distinctly different dodgers followed by a mini squid, a custom tied spinner, a custom spin-n-glow set-up and a custom smilie blade rig. All lures were tipped with shrimp. All gear down we got to the business of locating the fish and figuring out what depth they would bite at.

The first rod to get bit was dragging a chartreuse swing blade dodger followed by a green mini squid. With this new found knowledge I swapped a couple of the other dodgers for chartreuse dodgers and continued the hunt. We did numerous lure changes and the next fish hit a green based custom tied spinner running behind a wonder bread dodger. As we approached the general dam area a pattern in the fishes lure preference was starting to develop so I changed all the lures to some form of chartreuse and chrome. In the end we were running chartreuse/chrome spin-n-glow, my custom chartreuse and chrome spinners or chartreuse smile bladed mini squids. By the time we made the first pass along the buoy line we had it dialed in and were consistently catching fish with multiple hook ups being the norm.

After some experimentation, our favored trolling speed was 1.7 mph. We metered fish throughout the water column and caught fish at various depths but the most consistent producers were 1 color on the lead line rigs and 12’ on the downriggers. We were running the rigs about 75’ behind the downrigger clips. With limits for the boat we headed for the ramp by 11:00-11:30. Our fish, a mixed species bag of 10”-22” fish. After a series of drag burning runs and aerial acrobatics we lost a much larger fish but are not sure what it was.

Fish identification in this lake can be quite a challenge. We caught fish that I am sure were Kokanee (bright silver no spots at all), landlocked coho (silver/w spots and dark tongue), rainbows and our mystery fish for the day. The fish looks like a bright just in from the ocean steelhead but it had 14 rays in its anal fin, a dark tongue and only had spots along its back. I don’t think that it was a large landlocked coho, in part because it had spots on all over its tail. The identification confusion leads me to a question. When fishing Riffe, if you catch a fish that can clearly be identified as an adult or jack a salmon or steelhead do you mark them on the appropriate catch record, or do the landlocked rules apply?

After we pulled the boat out of the water, we explored the area. We drove thru all the camping areas and boat ramps at Riffe Lake. It is quite a place and we are already planning a camping trip. I am looking forward to learning the fishery and further exploration. On the way home we stopped at the Barrier Dam and watched a guy catch a nice chinook, changed a flat tire and then stopped in Napavine to give great grandma some fish before continuing north. Overall it was a great day of fishing and exploration. Riffe Lake is solidly on our return to list.


Comments

Acefishon
6/12/2011 6:30:00 PM
Nice looking fish but hate tell you from looks of picture it's wild steelhead which can get you large fine make sure next time there isn't a adapost fin on it's back.it little piece shin which by tail should be farely flat scared over to be legal fish keep.
Aaidian
6/12/2011 7:46:00 PM
wild steelie is the first thought that popped into my head upon looking at the pic.
EAmon___hoffman123
6/12/2011 7:48:00 PM
Ace your mistaken. this is a coho notice the bottom jaw extend past its eye, and it tail fin has clearly 3 to 6 dots on its rays.
Toni
6/12/2011 8:20:00 PM
Very good report. It looks like a steelhead to me but they have to go to sea and then come back...they can't get back over the dam. Can't find anywhere that says that lake has landlocked steelhead. One thing I know for sure Nice fish.
Acefishon
6/12/2011 10:05:00 PM
I could be wrong but still looks like steelhead yes the are in the res the hatchery releases them about dam and yes they don't return after that.If it is land locked silver one of largest I've ever saw from riffe.
Acefishon
6/12/2011 10:11:00 PM
O yes there are land locked steelhead weather in riffe or not nother story all have look at great lakes .
tpursell
6/12/2011 10:35:00 PM
I have caught fish like that out of Riffe a couple times...I think they are just monster landlocked coho. I have caught some that were more easily identified that looked around that size.
natetreat
6/12/2011 10:51:00 PM
How long was that fish? It's definitely a rainbow, but it looks hatchery to me, no wild fish. They dump steelhead into the cowlitz up above the dams, they may fall abck down, but I wouldn't be surprised if they put 'em in the lake too. As far as whether you punch 'em or not, Riffe Lake has a catch record code of 563, and if it's over 20 inches I think it counts. Seems a bit small to consider it a steelhead though, although it's probably just a jack that got dumped up there. Nice fish though! It could be a tiny jack chinook, but it sure looks like a steelhead to me, I'd have to look at it. The biggest silver I got out of there was 19" but I've seen them come bigger than that.
Acefishon
6/13/2011 7:50:00 AM
I blow up the picture for the heck of it and it's a a ocean going steelhead that was put there from hatchery look at tail and nose of fish a silvers tail is almost strait across and don't have all rays thur out tail and the head is of female stealhead silver are like football shaped steelhead long slender
kenbarb
6/13/2011 10:55:00 AM
Calculating the size of her three fingers supporting the fish, it is around 16". It is a hatchery Rainbow/Steelhead, as evidenced by the deformed dorsal fin and the other typical markings. rseas, this is a great report with good detail, I envy your talent for custom lures, it's always a plus when you catch them on something you put together yourself.
rseas
6/13/2011 1:14:00 PM
The fish was a little over 18" and with the black tongue it being a steelhead was clearly ruled out. We are not sure what the fish was but feel confident that it was not a steelhead. Further complicating the identification was the fact that it had 14 rays in its anal fin. Steelhead only have 8-12 rays or spines in their anal fin and typically salmon have the longer anal fin. All that said, over the years we have returned many fish to the water where the identification was unclear. In fact we enjoy many trips that are strictly C&R. A few weeks ago we caught a huge bull trout in Diablo Lake and as tempting as it was to photograph the fish on a scale we strictly followed the dolly varden/bull trout catch and release requirements. We thank everybody for their concerns and interest in protecting our dwindling stocks of wild steelhead.
capnhook
6/13/2011 5:11:00 PM
That is definitely an interesting specimen you got there! Base of the tail is real stout (Like a steelhead) but tail itself has a slight V (Like a coho) Color and spots similar to a chinook (Big friendly eyes like my daughters teddy bear!) I don't know r, I'm stumped. The dark tongue, head shape and eye position just muddy the ID that much more. Don't we have a resident fish biologist on here that can hang a label on this girl?
rseas
6/14/2011 5:23:00 AM
Stacie said that the fish was a rainbow.
Idstud
6/14/2011 10:55:00 PM
I did some reading in the Regs On this lake it says Landlocked salmon rules apply. Then on page 19 Top left area "landlocked Salmon Rules- in waters where landlocked salmon rules apply, salmon are regulated at trout. Seasons, daily limits, and size restrictions rules for landlocked salmon are identical to the rules for trout in the same water. The anglers combined catch of salmon and trout applies toward the trout limit. A catch record card is not required to retain salmon in these waters." I hope that helps Great job on the catch. Looks like another lake to add to the bucket list.
rseas
6/15/2011 6:24:00 AM
Thanks John, what makes Riffe confusing is that they transport excess jacks and adult fish from the two collection sites (hatcheries) below the Barrier Dam and release them in Riffe. Are those fish or their offspring considered Landlocked? There is a catch code for Riffe Lake, 563 but I'm still confused, although that is not unusual... I guess that all adult salmon or steelhead caught in Riffe Lake should be recorded on a catch card. But what about limits? "daily limits, and size restrictions rules for landlocked salmon are identical to the rules for trout in the same water" more confusion, oh bother...
Idstud
6/16/2011 6:02:00 AM
I dont I would have to agree it is confusing with the catch code in the regs. I would go with the trout daily size and limit in the state wide rules thats how I read it. Steelhaed have a different added thing under the trout limit about min size 20" and no more than 2 counted in the 5. I would e-mail the wdfw and ask them to clarify it see what they say. The regs in this state are such a pain.
Jake Dogfish
6/18/2011 6:04:00 AM
Nice holdover coho. Thanks for another great report.
Steelhead6438
6/23/2011 10:31:00 AM
rseas - That is definitely a Landlocked Coho. The limit on the total catch of salmonids (trout and/or salmon) is 5. You don't need a catch-card to record catching these fish. I believe the State calls any wild Rainbow Trout over 20 inches a "Steelhead" Lakes have different rules on Steelhead based on time of the year, etc. but don't worry, the fish you have here is a Landlocked Coho. That's a nice sized fish for them. This lake also has Landlocked "Sockeye" (Kokanee). They are smaller and have different markings. Again the combined limits on these fish are a maximum of 5 of any type.
Thanks for the Great report.

Scott
fishslayer60
6/27/2011 11:01:00 AM
this looks like a land locked salmon to me(coho) have caught several nice ones since there introduction into the lake myself.nice job!and thank you for the info...by the way tacoma power does truck up hatchery fish bolth salmon and steelies and dump em in the lake...can make for some interesting fishing!
1goingfishin
6/14/2013 10:47:00 PM
This fish is a steelhead. The spots on a coho (landlocked or not) are round also they do not cove the entire tail as in this fish. Also with these landlocked fish either Kokes or silvers you rarely see any spots. they are almost all silver. This is a steelhead without a doubt.
Leave a Comment:

Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Reel Obsession

Phone: (888) 855-7335