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Washington Lake Report
King County, WA



46° - 50°
Bottom Fishing From Boat
Hook & Bait
All Day
51° - 55°

Wow! It’s been a while, so much for fishing all the time after I retire. I don’t think that I have made a post since the Lake Washington coho fishery in September. Before I get on with the report please oblige me in sharing a thought or two.

As a fisherman and somebody that loves to talk fishing I tend to provide more information than necessary when posting a fishing report. I am not one to feel that I own a fishery or a productive technique. Since joining NWFR I have tried to share as much information as possible for a given fishery. In some way I feel that it is my responsibility to be detailed in what I share and I do realize that there is a disconnected wire in my head that leads me in that direction. Whether I am writing or standing around the boat ramp flapping my jaw, I take the time to help my fellow angler be effective in their pursuit of a given fishery. Now all that said I do understand that in certain fisheries 2 is a crowd. I intentionally do try to be a little vague when it comes to river fisheries while still helping people catch fish. Apparently, there have been a number of people upset that I share detailed fisheries information.

Specifically, regarding my September Lake Washington Coho report. As I understand it there were a number of people that felt that I blew up the fishery with my report. In the aftermath I ended up losing a fishing buddy and threats were made against my rig if found at a boat ramp. While the threats were second or even third hand the overall response concerned me.

Should I not share information? If I do, am I going to find the tires slashed on my rig when I return from the days fishing? Or worse alienate the people that I enjoy fishing with? I do not know the answer but I apologize that the information I provide is perceived as blowing up a given fishery. I might offer though that the problem is not in what I provide or the paid efforts of a published outdoor writer; rather reduced angler opportunity resultant from short seasons and emergency closures. Instead of beating up your fellow angler, get involved. Join CCA, attend the WDFW council meetings or public forum meetings, support petition drives and have a voice in our recreational fisheries. Ok, thoughts shared I step down from my soapbox.

After driving 60 miles through a monsoon I met Downriggeral and his son Jim at the WDFW launch in Kenmore. I had previously offered to explore the Lake Washington perch fishery with them, sharing a bit of my local knowledge while providing the makings for a Downriggeral family fish-fry. After launching we pointed the boat west out of the “slough” and cautiously motored through the shallows into Lake Washington. Currently the shoaling is significant and there are a few trees in the marked channel, please use caution. Between the rain and fogged up boat windows, after leaving the slough we just idled down the lake and began our search for Perca Flavescens or Yellow Perch. In Lake Washington Yellow Perch are considered an invasive species. Although nobody really knows the exact number of perch in Lake Washington, Yellow Perch are the largest biomass in the lake. For their age the Yellow Perch in Lake Washington are relatively small. Between the size and sheer numbers the Yellow Perch in Lake Washington are un-managed and there is no daily angling limit.

My usual approach when perch fishing it to meter around and mark “scratches” on the meter. A scratch could be a handful of fish or the mother-load perch-a-polusa. After establishing the perch map for the day I start picking away at the different meter marks until the boat finds a willing school of biters.

My general technique is to butterfly rig a small dart type jig including a dropshot hook approximately one foot above the jig. Tip the hooks with either a small piece of worm or a small piece of the sacrificial perch and lower the rig to the bottom. During the winter perch fishery, the fish are not very aggressive. They do not want to chase their meal. I find that after letting your jig settle on the bottom you should lift your rod tip ever so slightly creating a very slight bend in your rod then just hold your rod still. The bite will be subtle and when you do feel the bite just lift your rod until the fish is hooked. If you swing you will miss the bite every time.

It took me ½ the day to locate the fish but once we did it was hammer time. In the end we put 82 nice perch in the live well and released a number of smaller fish. As the skipper it was a bit rewarding. In looking at my “ perch map I had noted a small mark that we had gone back to and set the anchor on. In short order an occasional fish here and there became a perch-fest where doubles were the norm.

All in all a great day on the water with friends and a bucket full of perch!


Mike Carey
11/21/2017 8:10:25 PM
Great report as always Randy!
As to your initial comments - it saddens me that anglers attack anglers for helping anglers. The anger is, as you noted, misplaced. The threats are the pathetic words of those who don't have the courage to come out from hiding behind computers and cell phones. Having been part of the web site side of this for over twenty years I know one thing with certainty - when we give in to those that attempt to bully us into silence we all lose. Your reports have helped so many anglers learn about fisheries and improve their angling skills. Yours is the finest example of what we participate in this (and other web sites) for. To improve the average anglers knowledge and chances for success. Cheers to you!
11/21/2017 10:29:01 PM
mike you sure do a great job keeping the internet trollers away and allowing the site to flourish with knowledge. 100% THE BEST PLACE for fishing advice knowledge, and reports going!
11/21/2017 8:25:46 PM
Hey Randy, I'm sorry to hear of peoples dislike of your sharing of information. I have truly enjoyed your reports and learned a lot from you.
I'm glad you and Jim and Alan got into them. Thanks for the report. Andy
11/21/2017 9:04:45 PM
Thanks so much Randy for the great time and sharing your knowledge of the underutilized perch fishery in lake Washington. We have always fished them in shallow water and I had no idea they could be 70' deep in winter mode. Catching them was hoot in spite of the rain. And then there was the family perch fry......yum!
Tight lines and you're always welcome in Eastern Washington - Alan
"The Experiment Must Continue"
Ben Eggertsen
11/21/2017 9:31:22 PM
Randy, I have always enjoyed your reports and advice. I am greatly saddened that someone reacted so negatively to one of them. I hope you will continue sharing your knowledge and enjoyment of fishing. Carry on! And hey, if you ever have an open seat on one of your boat trips let me know! Tight lines amigo.
The Quadfather
11/21/2017 9:47:17 PM
Thanks for your great report, Randy. Thank you also for all the years of camaraderie within this fishing community, and willingness to stick to your ideals.
Fish Dawg
11/21/2017 9:51:33 PM
Another great report Randy! Thanks for sharing. I’m just disappointed I could t join you Monday.

Too bad some folks are giving you a hard time for helping others catch fish. I also do my best to share what I’ve learned to help others be successful as I believe that’s the only way our sport will survive. Agree that getting involved in resource management is a much more productive way for the detractors to spend their energy.

Glad to see you guys whacked a pile of perch out there. Makes a soggy fishing day worth the effort!
11/21/2017 10:24:05 PM
Randy you're a legend and fantastic report ! As the others before me said i am so sorry to hear about the threats, and as an angler who grew up using this wonderful site as my main platform for fishing tips and Knowledge, i cant thank you enough for all of the wonderful reports you have posted throughout the years. Since i didn't grow up in a motivated fishing family, I have this website and posts from you and a select group (Salmonbarry, Steelheadin360, Fish Dawg, D. J. Butler and rmrauscher) of others who take the time to write articles that help others catch fish to thank for my success and ability to become a guide. I can't wait for my next opportunity to hop in the boat with you and slay something!

~Paul (Formerly wafisherman20)

Mike, you sure run a classy site here, thank you!
(back wen the site was Washington Lakes and you had basic and premium memberships, the day you gave all existing members a free premium upgrade was the best day of my life!)
11/21/2017 10:24:49 PM
or still wafisherman20 haha.... also FastActionGS
11/21/2017 11:05:17 PM
I'd like to ad my 2 cents on this.

- on well known urban lakes such as lake washington, it's nonsense. Those who want to keep that secret are greedy. Its a HUGE lake, gigantic, plenty of room for others to spread out and its a boat only game. Not fair for them to threaten you over that.

- on rivers (as youve mentioned being discrete about) secrecy is absolutely without a doubt necessary. Not as much room to spread out, poaching/snagging/flossing can (and does) occur. Sensative stocks can be effected. Sensitive habitats can be destroyed (redds trampled over) much more easily than while floating your boat on lake wa. Increased pressure on streams and rivers can be detrimental and therefor should be reduced as much as possible. I used to name locations or rivers ive fished, this was a big mistake, never again.

I think you've made good calls as far as discretion is concerned, and that you've drawn a line about what kind of info you share, and i think it's reasonable. In my opinion you're not in the wrong naming this lake, or reporting on it.
11/21/2017 11:25:12 PM
Great report! Unfortunate someone would correlate one of your reports into blowing up a fishery on the largest west side lake with roughly 4 million people in that general vicinity..... I am all for protecting fragile, unspoiled systems and protecting native stocks that can't handle much pressure. But, vastly reduced opportunity is what's driving folks to fewer and fewer open fisheries, not the internet or anyone's report. I personally fish area 8-1, 8-2, and the Skagit. Guess what? 2 years worth of closures pushed me on to the only open river system near me. The internet or someone's report on that river system didn't send me there. The internet didn't close my usual haunts. Anyway, that's a rabbit hole topic :) I personally enjoy your reports and have got a lot of info from them on different set ups and depths for particular times of year. Posting a report on Lake Washington should in no way garner ire from anyone. It's not like you gave up the location of a hole on a small fragile system.
11/22/2017 8:16:09 AM
I have always felt the Same bud. If your here just to show pictures and then say secret, your just bragging. This has always been a forum foe HELPING others to become better fisherpeople. Fork em all for being selfish about PUBLIC fishing spots and how too. Thank you for being so great about sharing and helping others!
11/22/2017 8:25:03 AM
Keep the reports coming. Appreciate what you do.
11/22/2017 8:26:11 AM
Great report. That you found fish at this time of the year and in the current weather conditions is impressive. I've never been able to find fish this late in the season and stopped trying years ago. My go to for perch is a nickel brass wee dick nite spoon tipped with worm or perch meat. You are correct about the subtle bite. It is a blast though when you find a large school.
11/22/2017 10:03:16 AM
It is too bad that other fishermen would resort that low over a fishing spot. But you have to admit that it is frustrating for most fisherman to find a hundred boats or people in a fishing spot(fragile or not) for a couple months soon after a successful report. I've seen a few fishing holes closed down due to too much pressure.
11/22/2017 11:58:52 AM
rseas; First, great report with plenty of useful detail; don't let the dopes bother you. If your friend chose to burn the bridge of friendship over such a minor issue then he wasn't your friend. I certainly hope those with a militant attitude finally discover the reason we all fish and leave the negativity behind! If they feel threatened, then it's time for them to seek out another fishery making sure they hide their tracks.
11/22/2017 12:17:34 PM
I have come to the conclusion that there are very, very few true ‘secret’ fishing spots. Granted, if you ‘put it out there’ you may have a few more folks show up but Lake Washington would be one where you probably would not notice them.
If you get threatened they were probably not worth knowing or spending time with.
Finding Perch is one of the things newer electronics excell at. I have been amazed at the size of the schools I have found. I’ll cruize at 3-5 mph with the down/side scan on in a Perch ‘probable’ area with a drop shot rig hanging over the side and let it go when they show on the screen. By the time it hits the bottom I have let the boat drift and hit ‘spot lock’ which keeps me at the edge of the school. Then I use Panoptix to keep track where they have moved and fish them. Fun stuff!
Thanks for your report!
11/22/2017 11:35:07 PM
Your comment on the Panoptix caught my eye. Is that the 360 degree or the forward scan transducer you use? Have you found it useful in shallow water - i.e. less than 30 feet? Thanks for any feed back. It's not cheap, so I want to hear what others really think of it. Thanks!
11/22/2017 12:29:38 PM
I can see how fisherman get upset. I went on a multi-day fishing trip last summer. It took me 2 full days to really dial the fish in..
Speed, color, bait, bait size, leader length, scent, location and so on and so on… by the 3rd day we were getting limits while others were getting skunked.

I told some people “some” techniques that are working for me… but I didn’t tell them everything.

There were some people fishing that had no clue what they were doing. I showed those individuals a little more to help them out, but still never told anyone everything.

Fishing is a highly skilled game that also involves a little luck. To be successful and win the game I need to catch fish. If I tell everyone all my little secrets; there is a chance I may lose the game.

My few reports are very minimal.

Does this make me a selfish sportsman?
11/23/2017 12:01:21 AM
We are talking about perch here. Right?
11/23/2017 4:24:15 AM
We are talking about perch here. Right?
Mike Carey
11/22/2017 2:36:03 PM
Great conversation and I thank Randy for bringing it up. I have always encouraged anglers to share as much or as little information as they feel comfortable sharing, including sharing nothing, hence our "secret reports" My frustration is this notion that a fishing reports web site, or Facebook group, or anything else is the cause for locations being ruined. There's a whole lot of factors involved, including our ever growing population. Telling fellow anglers about spots they may not have known about before also helps spread out the angler pressure, rather than concentrate it. If you're upset there's a bunch of weekend anglers up and down the Skykomish, let's accept reality - it's because many other spots are closed. But if I post a lake cle elum kokanee report and it draws five boats off lake Stevens the affect of my report is actually to have reduced pressure in one location and spread it around more. Now take that example and multiple it by 10 and it's easy to see that opening anglers up to consider trying new spots isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not to mention, I personally like to expand my horizons and those of others. Finally, anyone threatening harm to a person or his possessions should be arrested imo. At the least reported to authorities so a restraining order can be obtained. And yes, I have had to deal with that issue on a personal level. The guy never showed up in court, proofing his level of cowardice.
11/22/2017 5:46:36 PM
Nice report! Keeping fishing secrets seems a tad paranoid to me (and probably a lost cause in this age). Especially for those that come here to read what other people say. Two-way street ;) The spread of responsible practices is a huge benefit of this site, well worth the 'spilling of beans'.

There's a very similar dynamic in surfing and it stems from the same type of characters; not too friendly, a little too serious and generally selfish. They use the same kind of arguments. But ultimately you can't stop people from doing what they're going to do.

btw/ Even the threats you got, Randy, are the same kind of thing that happens at certain surf spots in the PNW: damaging someones car while they're on the water - like a coward.
Mike Carey
11/22/2017 7:09:41 PM
Interesting to hear this behavior crosses over to different pursuits.
11/22/2017 11:32:14 PM
Like others, I am sorry to hear you had such a negative response. If you want some perch spots on Sammamish, pleased to oblige. I went out a couple of weeks ago experimenting on vertical jigging for cutts and couldn't get out of the perch. Like you said, they don't like a lot of movement. The sweet spot for depth was 65 to 80ft in 85 fow. They actually liked a small plastic grub better than anything else. Huge school of them. Best wishes to you.
11/22/2017 11:35:52 PM
If anyone wants to know how to catch perch in Lake Wa just look back on the perch posts for the lake on this site for the last few years. There are tons and you should be able to unlock the "secret" in less than 10 min. If you cant figure it out from those and a couple hours on the lake please PM me and I will tell you everywhere I have caught a perch, the time of day, time of year, the bait, depth etc. I have caught bucket loads..... Easily. Many times.

Hey Randy,

Sorry these "fisherman" give you a hard time. I would love to talk about the specifics of where have caught BIG perch and consistent numbers of coho. Happy to share my experiences as well.
11/27/2017 12:49:32 PM
in my above comment i was not talking about perch or lake Washingtonian.. it was a lake up north.. rimes with Taker Take... LOL
11/22/2017 11:48:06 PM
Hey stevertd2010! 360 mounted on an old trolling motor. PM me if you want more info.
11/24/2017 10:44:41 AM
Thanks. Just sent you a PM.
11/23/2017 12:13:52 AM
Thanks rseas for your candid report. I love reading reports that give a few tips on what gear works. I am always learning and improving and catching different types of fish, thanks to reports like yours. General information on location is fine. I have a question about using a live well. Last summer I put a nice steelhead in my live well, only to find that it bloodied its nose and died there. When we ate the fish that night it was not very good. Sadly lacking of flavor. I also had a walleye in the live well at a different time. It remained very perky and I ended its life with a poke to the brain, bled, then on ice.
This fish too had a very disappointing flavor compared to what I am used to. Are there some fish that handle the live well better than others? Until I know otherwise, I won't be using the live well any more.
11/23/2017 2:43:24 AM
Tenor to be honest we rarely use the livewell as a livewell. In my opinion although it does hold some fish well it is not really designed to hold larger live fish. A purpose designed livewell should have radiused ends creating a circular flow. The problem with the long skinny livewell on my TJ is it has square ends with no defined flow.

When I lived in SoCal I owned an off-shore sports fishing boat with a large bait system (baitwell). Even though it would hold 4 scoops of bait all weekend. If I dropped a bonito, yellowtail, skipjack or a small tuna in it they would pass pretty quickly. If put calico, sand bass, lobsters or other smaller sport fish in the tank they were happy and healthy. I think the key was the fish we're able to align into the current nose first.

I am designing (a slow process around here) an insert for my TJ's livewell. My goal is to create a circular flow and better manage the overflow. Currently the existing livewell is utilized as storage or as an ice chest.
11/23/2017 10:25:14 AM
rseas, Sorry to read about the selfish actions of others. I would be willing to bet there is not a single fisherman who has not benefited from the advice of others. That is what successful fishermen do, share ideas (and brag :-) ). I enjoy your reports and the videos on YouTube and learn something each time, and thank you for that. Please keep up your reports, they are appreciated by most of us.
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Washington Guide Services

Phone: (509) 881-9052