Stretching over 50 miles from the town of Chelan to Stehekin, this is the largest natural lake in Washington. Although most of the lake is open year-round, the upper end is closed during April, May and June and tributary stream-mouths are closed year-round to protect pre-spawning adult trout; check the current regulations pamphlet carefully for details concerning size and catch limits, and wild cutthroat (adipose fin present) release requirements. As of May 1, 2006, the Old Mill Stream tributary is closed to fishing year round.
Good fishing for Kokanee is usually best from mid-April through June. In June and July, catchable-size Cutthroat Trout are planted in the lake at 25-Mile Creek and anglers targeting these fish have been having great success in recent years on fish averaging 12 inches with some reaching 17". Anglers after trophy fish have a chance to catch Lake Trout (mackinaw) as well as a few land locked Chinook salmon. The state Lake Trout record has been broken several times here over the years, including the latest occuring in February of 2013. There are no size or daily limits on Lake Trout here. Naturally producing landlocked Chinook are in relatively lower abundance than other targeted species and are occasionally and incidentally caught while targeting Lake Trout and Kokanee. A fairly good Smallmouth Bass fishery with some quality fish exists in the lower portion of the lake near Chelan and Manson.
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has issued this fish consumption advisory for the Lake Chelan due to DDT contamination:the general public, especially women who expect to get pregnant or are pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children should limit [consumption of] lake trout (mackinaw) to one meal (8-ounce portion for adults, proportionally smaller for children) per week. For more information, contact the DOH Office of Environmental Health Assessments at (877) 485-7316 or visit the http://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Food/Fish.
Fishing Prospects Calendar
Species you might catch