We get a lot of people asking us about where we fish and here is a photo of walleye fishing in Washington State. What a lot of people do not know is that most of the walleye caught in Washington are in the Columbia river system. It starts all the way up north near Spokane in a lake called Lake Roosevelt which is the pool behind Grand Coulee dam. The story goes that the walleye were released behind the dam and they found their way down river all the way to Portland and Vancouver. Not exactly sure if this is correct or not but the end result is we have walleye everywhere in Eastern Washington and that is great news.
The walleye you see in the picture to the left? That was just a tad bit bigger than the average size of walleye we were catching in Aug/Sept. 2011. Imagine going out and catching a limit in less than an hour, I watched a few guys doing that this summer. It just so happens these guys are my “go to” guides for walleye. They know that river inside out and always are willing to share what they know with you. My buddy catches more fish out of his wakeboard boat than any “fishing” type boat on the river and I have seen him hammer walleye to the tune of a fish every 5 minutes or less. The walleye gods are on him.
From Lake Roosevelt to Hood River We Have Caught Walleye
The Columbia river runs from Canada all the way to the Pacific Ocean. We have caught walleye from Lake Roosevelt (Hunters) all the way down to Hood River (mouth of the White Salmon). However, this is not the only place you can catch walleye because one of the most fished lakes is Banks Lake and it starts right below Grand Coulee dam. But our favorite is the Columbia river near Hermiston/Umatilla Oregon area. To be very honest I have only caught one walleye on the Oregon side of the main channel of the river and that was directly below McNary dam. The area below McNary dam to Paterson is the most fished waters on the Columbia for good reason: state records have been caught in there. Boardman has produced trophy walleye for a long time and that hasn’t changed with one exception………
State Record Walleye Fishing In Washington State
The new state record for walleye was caught a couple of years ago near Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland). The area below Burbank is a good fisheries for walleye and people have fished it with great success. I personally have not fished that area for walleye but have fished it for Steelhead. Our prime location for walleye is Paterson because it is only 30 minutes away from the house and we have a guide that lives there. Hell, he is not a guide but he is my “go-to” guy for all reports on the Columbia. The guy catches walleye like no other person I have seen except his father. When he says they are not catching walleye you better believe them, because they fish the waters daily when the walleye are in.
How To Catch Walleye
A good friend of mine is always asking me the tips and tricks to catching walleye. The first thing I always tell him is “get out on the water”. A lot of people want to catch fish but they never will unless they get out on the water and give it a try. We have had most of our success with Columbia river walleye trolling downstream with bottom walkers and spinner rigs. We all make our own spinners because it is a lot cheaper than buying the packs in the store. Plus we use a setup that has produced much better than anything you can get in the stores.
If you are new to the area I highly recommend calling some walleye fishing guides and going out with them. You will quickly learn where to fish, what they use and how they use it. Most of the guides I see on the river especially during trophy season (Feb-March) are all blade bait fisherman. They can sit over a hole all day long during the wind storms and without budging much and they will pull up a few trophy walleye. Some day I will learn that technique when all else fails but right now, we stick to what works.
Each year I hear word from my bass pro buddy that he caught several large walleye fishing at Moses Lake. His bass club has several tournaments each year and they try to rotate their locations. It seems like every tournament someone is catching walleye instead of bass but it normally happens on the central lakes in the eastern part of the state. This particular tournament is normally held during the staging times of spawn or pre-spawn. Anyone wanting to fish for walleye might want to find a club member and ask them when their tournaments are and they head to the lakes and try their luck for walleye instead of bass. :-)
The only walleye that get put back into the river are the big ones. We keep everything else and eat them all winter long. My favorite recipe is beer battered walleye and every successful trip results in a walleye feast. Last summer we were able to catch enough fish to allow us to each walleye almost every week till Christmas. Then we cut back so we had enough for the remainder of the winter before I head out again. Hopefully that will be sometime this spring.
There are all kinds of recipes for walleye and everyone has their favorite recipe. Some like various shak n baks out there and we found one at Walmart that we use not only on walleye but those frozen shrimp. We simply put the meat in a bag shake it a bit and then into the pan with oil. Get some onion rings and fries and you will eat until your eyes bug out.
Once we start receiving reports we will be updating this blog. We love walleye fishing in Washington State and hope you all get to experience it as well.