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Riffe Lake Report
Lewis County, WA



71° - 75°
Mostly Sunny
All Day

I met up with my friends Robbie and Luke from the NWFR group (he moderates our Facebook group page and is an expert angler when it comes to hunting kokanee and silvers). Our target was the landlocked coho of Riffe lake, which this year reports indicate they are gettign pretty impressive, in the 16-18 range. The reports are true, with some caveats...

We launched at 7am out of the new boat launch at Mossyrock Campground. Nice launch! They did a great job with it. Water is still low due to concerns with the dam. The weekend crowds were not too bad and we launched and were on our way to fish along the dam in no time.

Luke loves running maximum rods, and my boat is the perfect platform to accommodate his preferences. In short order we had six rods out, running at various depths from surface to fifty feet. And various types of kokanee/salmon gear. Some with bait, some without.

If you've not fished Riffe for land locked coho, it's pretty much the same as kokanee, with, IMO, one exception - speed. The coho are perfectly happy with a faster presentation. Think Puget Sound where we troll 3.5 to 4mph all day. I'm not saying to troll that fast on Riffe, but do feel free to experiment. At one point in the day we bumped up to 2.5 to 2.9 and had a flurry of action from the speed change. That said...

Fishing was great, action was steady, but not what we were looking for. Over the course of the day we caught multitudes of little Chinook ranging 9-11". We only managed to catch three silvers, a couple nice 16" fish and one decent 13". One trout at 14", and other than that, a million Chinook. So many that the bait had to be put away to keep fishing. The Chinook were at all depths, caught on all gear, and at all trolling speeds. We moved to a few different spots and everywhere we went, there they were.

Now, I'm not complaining. It was a beautiful day on the water and I was with two friends enjoying it in my boat (which doesn't see near enough wet time) so I was happy - and perplexed. I would have expected to find more coho, even small ones. I do wonder if the many reports of easy limits we are seeing is a mis-identification of the Chinook for coho. It's pretty obvious - the gum line is total different as is the spotting. We kept one Chinook that was a solid 11" and bleeding, otherwise they all went back. The meat on the coho was a nice bright red vs. a pale pink on the Chinook.

We called it a day at 2:15pm and cleaned our fish, then endured a 4 hour drive up I-5 back home. Kind of killed that "feel good" buzz I had going...


6/18/2018 12:14:21 AM
So what's the scoop with all the "little kings"? Hasn't it been like a million years since chinook were planted in there? Has there been a recent chinook stocking? Natural reproduction?
Mike Carey
6/18/2018 7:31:05 PM
we were wondering the same thing.
8/2/2018 10:00:00 AM
I'm wondering if the juvenal chinook are a result of the adult spring chinook that are trucked above cowlitz falls dam and spawned?
The Quadfather
6/18/2018 7:45:00 PM
I had the same experience on Riffe, the day of that last big eclipse. We couldn’t keep the dink Chinook out of the boat, and the Silvers were few and far between.
6/18/2018 8:41:45 PM
I was fishing there the same day too! I was in a blue kayak. Would have loved to meet you Mike after reading so many of your posts and watching your videos.
Interestingly, I had the exact same experience that you did- a TON of 9" resident chinook, then a few cohos to 16" and 2 bright rainbows to 17"
I fished there several times the weeks prior and the dinks weren't a problem, but the water temperature must have become perfect for them this weekend. Definitely chinook with pure black mouths and large spots on the back. I picked up some dink coho too though.
Mike Carey
6/18/2018 9:09:54 PM
sorry we didn't get to say "hi" to each other!
Mike Carey
8/2/2018 8:04:31 PM
fishslayer60, I don't know, but there sure are a lot of them!
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Salmon Eye Charters

Phone: (877) 777-4344