Stehekin River Regulation Help Needed

Mel King

Active Member
Last time I fished the lake at the mouth the river was braided and tons of floating tree parts all over from the bridge to the open water. Not at all fun in a float tube. Like chic Worthing said you've got to really pay attention to the wind. In the spring it can be dangerous. The river is one of the clearest rivers I've ever seen though. Great hiking and xcountry skiing. I used to get the ferry to drop me off on the east side and hike the ridge line to Stehekin and ride the ferry out. Beautiful views.
 

FlyFishNoob

New Member
I do have a small inflatable kayak. I will probably try to fish the mouth of the river and also the docks at the town of Stehekin for cutthroat trout probably if there is minimal wind. Does my plan sound feasible? Is it possible to catch Cutthroats in shallow water during spring? I think I will just scout out some spots on the river without bringing my rod if I dont feel comfortable about the lake's conditions. I didn't have much hope from the start to be honest xD. This forum is super supportive and thank you to everyone who helped me!
 

Chic Worthing

WFF Premium
I do have a small inflatable kayak. I will probably try to fish the mouth of the river and also the docks at the town of Stehekin for cutthroat trout probably if there is minimal wind. Does my plan sound feasible? Is it possible to catch Cutthroats in shallow water during spring? I think I will just scout out some spots on the river without bringing my rod if I dont feel comfortable about the lake's conditions. I didn't have much hope from the start to be honest xD. This forum is super supportive and thank you to everyone who helped me!
I have fished this lake for over 40 years have rarely, as in count on one hand, caught cutthroat from docs. I have caught them at the mouth of a creek close to spawning. I have caught a lot more along the shore in the shade of trees.

The state of Wa has a hatchery on the Columbia upstream from the outfall that is dedicated to the original lake Chelan Cutthroat. Feds
have another hatchery in Colorado dedicated also to Lake Chelan waters (west Slope) Cutthroat.

In the 1900s, the federal government decided to use Lake Chelan as a Cutthroat breeding lake. They installed weirs on all the tributaries of the lake and yearly would collect virtually all the eggs and milt and use it to populate west slope cutthroat. After a large number of years, they noticed a large drop in the available returning fish. No one said they were rocket Scientists and they proved it. In more recent times, Wa fisheries planted salmon, kings and silvers. the salmon were supposed to grow up, spawn in the tributaries and when the fry hatched, they would enter the lawn, swim down to the end of the lake at chelan and then go down stream to the Columbia and then to the Pacific ocean. Seems the silvers followed orders but the Chinook decided to hang around and began spawning in The Stehekin River. So now we had reident king salmon.
Then a dipstick from washing fish and game planted Lake trout. It was common knowledge what had happened in Yellowstone Lake and what happenned to the resident fish which coincidentally were Cutthroat Trout.

The resident fish in the lake Chelan were rainbows, cutthroat and Kokanee which are offspring of landlocked Sockeye salmon and also freshwater burbot. The Lake trout were devouring the locals and still are. But we are not done. Our fisheries folks decided to plant Mysis shrimp as a feed source for kokanee and their fry. There were 5 or 6 lakes in Idaho and Washington that planted shrimp. warm water lakes and Chelan is definitely not one, the shrimp did prosper. In cold water lakes like chelan the shrimp lived but their main food source a certain plankton that the kokanee fry normally fed on for their first rew weeks of life. So now we have a much diminished Kokanee numbers. All from the minds of our paid experts

The hatchery in Colorado is an attempt to right federal errors.

A bunch got cutoff. I will put it back shortly.
 
Last edited:

BriGuy

Active Member
I have fished this lake for over 40 years have rarely, as in count on one hand, caught cutthroat from docs. I have caught them at the mouth of a creek close to spawning. I have caught a lot more along the shore in the shade of trees.

The state of Wa has a hatchery on the Columbia upstream from the outfall that is dedicated to the original lake Chelan Cutthroat. Feds
have another hatchery in Colorado dedicated also to Lake Chelan waters (west Slope) Cutthroat.

In the 1900s, the federal government decided to use Lake Chelan as a Cutthroat breeding lake. They installed weirs on all the tributaries of the lake and yearly would collect virtually all the eggs and milt and use it to populate west slope cutthroat. After a large number of years, they noticed a large drop in the available returning fish. No one said they were rocket Scientists and they proved it. In more recent times, Wa fisheries planted salmon, kings and silvers. the salmon were supposed to grow up, spawn in the tributaries and when the fry hatched, they would enter the lawn, swim down to the end of the lake at chelan and then go down stream to the Columbia and then to the Pacific ocean. Seems the silvers followed orders but the Chinook decided to hang around and began spawning in The Stehekin River. So now we had reident king salmon.
Then a dipstick from washing fish and game planted Lake trout. It was common knowledge what had happened in Yellowstone Lake and what happenned to the resident fish which coincidentally were Cutthroat Trout.

The resident fish in the lake Chelan were rainbows, cutthroat and Kokanee which are offspring of landlocked Sockeye salmon and also freshwater burbot. The Lake trout were devouring the locals and still are. But we are not done. Our fisheries folks decided to plant Mysis shrimp as a feed source for kokanee and their fry. There were 5 or 6 lakes in Idaho and Washington that planted shrimp. warm water lakes and Chelan is definitely not one, the shrimp did prosper. In cold water lakes like chelan the shrimp lived but their main food source a certain plankton that the kokanee fry normally fed on for their first rew weeks of life. So now we have a much diminished Kokanee numbers. All from the minds of our paid experts

The hatchery in Colorado is an attempt to right federal errors.

A bunch got cutoff. I will put it back shortly.
They messed up Flathead Lake in the early 80's by introducing Mysis shrimp.

https://www.hcn.org/issues/46.2/the-great-flathead-fish-fiasco

I lived there just before this happened and the lake was full of Kokanee and Bull Trout. Not any more.
 

Chic Worthing

WFF Premium
I go uplake on The Lady of the Lake and I am sure you will also as the air service is no longer available and there is no road. I have put a 10 foot pontoon boat on the Lady of the lake as baggage with no issues. The boat was broken down to parts packaged up. They run into things like that all the time. It is a big boat.
 

Chic Worthing

WFF Premium
Only the Big Dawgs are allowed to cast line in certain locales with these 'stehekin' vicinities
Jim, when I first read this I was a bit angry and then it dawned on me how you could get that feeling. What it amounts to is that is a very difficult lake to fish and or to get access to the shore. The best way to fish in the lake is from a boat. My children like fly fishing and I would cruise along the shore with one on the bow and the other on the swim platform. In the majority of the shoreline the dry land is very steep. If you walked 3 feet from the "shore" you would be in water over your head.

From the city of Chelan to 25 mile creek, the vast majority of the land is private, but from there to Stehekin, the property is in Forest service or national parkland, with a few exceptions of private and leased land. My cabin is one of over 30 is on private land and. I belong to a boating club that leases the land from the owners. We as a club maintain the grounds. As one of the Leasees, I have to spend one week each year running our water system, moving sprinklers, and mowing the lawn. I am an early riser and you could guess what I am doing at sunrise. We have 3 docks but I don't fish from them. I fish at the mouth of an adjacent tributary.

There are a number of public docks above 25 mile creek and mostly are used by people that are just on the lake for weekend cruising.

The easiest way to fish the Stehekin River would be to ride uplake on The Lake Chelan boat Co. boat then rent an electric bike (just found out they were renting them) and use that for travel up along the river and wade in likely spots. If you want the best chance to catch some fish, get a guide. If you want to know the name of good one ask for Max Jester, tell him Chic said Hi.
 

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