American Lake (Pierce County) Fishing Report

So for the past 3 weeks I have been busy with mostly work plus a home project that has put fishing on the back burner; but not today! Cleared my schedule as much as I could so got things ready last night- starting line up ready, plug in the boat, bait in the fridge, water in the igloo, food in the backpack and last but certainly not least the coffee machine timer set to go off at 3:45 am!

Woke up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and quickly got ready to head out to try for some of the elusive Kokanee that patrol the depths of American Lake! Got to the Lakewood park boat launch expecting to be fishing soon but the gate was locked and no one in sight to open in so got out to get the boat ready and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited! Finally at 6:30 the guys showed up to open up for myself and another fisherman with a pontoon boat. (Yes I could have used the WDFW launch but I am not a fan of that one especially on a windy day)

Motored out and started my troll to the left of the launch in 85 feet of water with one lead core line set with an arrow flash dodger and Yakima baits spinner hootchie tipped with corn and the down rigger line with a Kaley Schertenleib homemade spinner tipped with gulp maggots and 80 feet back and 45 on the braid. Worked my way along the shoreline and then across to the island without a bump but seeing lots of marks from 35 feet to 70 feet. Soon was over by the VA hospital and the spinner rod goes off and it's fish on! Not a big one and not what I was looking for as it was a rainbow but at least the skunk was off the boat! Set my lines back down when suddenly my one rod buries and soon realize it's snagged on something suspended in the water column as I was only 50 feet down in 80 feet of water. Try as I could was not able to retrieve my set up so sadly ended up breaking it off!

Set the lines back out but this time went with both down riggers as again most of the marks were below 35 feet so hooked up a Franks Fly box fly with maggots and set both lines back 80 feet and one at 55 and the other at 65. Now a light mist had started so was glad I have a top on my boat and soon it turned into a pretty steady shower accompanied with a pretty stiff breeze! Was having a tough time keeping the boat straight so was heading back the way I started my day and was between the no wake markers and a large pontoon boat that people were jumping into the water and swimming. Saw a big mark at 60 feet and figured I was in good shape with on set at 55 and one 65 and no sooner then it passes the spot on my screen where I thought my lures might be when WHAM FISH ON!! on the spinner again! This fish is a dandy as it peels off about 50 feet of line before I can start to get control but now have to navigate between the swimmers and the no wake buoys and soon have a mess on my hand!

The fish starts running to shore so I am trying to keep up with it when I realize I am running over the no wake buoy and now trying to keep from getting my props tangled in the chain and also from losing the fish he starts running back out to the middle of the lake again! All disaster averted and soon have the monster gliding towards my net and see it's a hawg! Got it netted and it's a chunky 17" unclipped unicorn! So after taking a few pictures get back to fishing but now the wind is really starting to take control of the troll so throw in the towel and called it a day! Not the best fishing but it's the largest Kokanee I have caught this side of the mountains in over 4 years!

Not sure of where I will be fishing tomorrow but see you on the water anyway!

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7/8/2018 7:51 AM

Thanks for the report Barry! I am glad you showed the adipose fin. Piece County has had a demise in the kokanee population in its lakes. American has a reputation of being finicky fishery but at least you got a big one.
For those that do not know for kokanee in these lakes a full adipose fin means a fish planted in spring -summer at around 400,000 population for American. A clipped adipose fish is planted in the fall at around 5000-20,000 fish depending on what year it was.

7/8/2018 8:21 AM

That's a gorgeous looking koke. I'll take one of those over a limit of 10" to 12" fish all day.

7/11/2018 5:49 AM

Congrats! That is a unicorn. I just can’t seem to connect with a koke this year. All I can seem to catch is an over abundance of cutthroats. Didn’t used to catch so many. Wonder if they are having an impact on the kokanee plants.

7/11/2018 7:14 AM

Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you were able to get that hard earned unicorn in the boat.