The wife convinced me that I needed more reel time and the kids wanted to camp again, so we headed out to Riffe Lake. We were here just a few weeks ago for Memorial Day, and the fishing was good then but the weather was terrible so we figured it would be an even better weekend to fish. Long story short, it was better in every way except for the weather.
We hit the water at 1700 after fighting traffic for three hours or so. By 1730, we had our first fish in the boat straight across the lake from the launch. The campground and launch were fairly subdued, and there was no wait to put in or take out at the ramp. The water level had gone up at least 10 feet since our last visit, making the launch much easier to navigate. The lake also had less surface level debris, which makes sense if the dam is retaining water and not spilling enough to create a large current, nice for boating safety.
We fished until 2000 down by the dam and ended up with three nice coho that were 14" to 16", mainly in 150 feet of water while trolling downriggers at 50 feet or so. A few smaller fish jumped on our lines and were all safely released outside the boat.
Saturday morning there was significantly more launch activity starting at about 0530 or so, including three guide boats. I was not aware that anyone offered guided fishing on Riffe, but apparently that is a thing. We were on the water at 9 after a leisurely breakfast and several cups of coffee, making our way East up lake. We dropped the first line at 0930 and had the first fish in the boat less than 10 minutes later. We consistently caught fish all day, all at 50 feet or deeper, in water from 70 to 250 feet deep. The fish liked any change in speed, either speeding up from 1.6 mph to 2 or doing the opposite.
The bite was tenacious at times, and we scored four doubles over the course of the day. Very few of the fish we landed were smaller than 14", and those that were we released. Most of the fish were in the solid 1.5 pound range and 15 to 16", all caught on wedding rings behind dodgers of every sort. The fish seemed keen on chartreuse and pink, but I tried solid red and solid green rings with decent results; however I had no hookups at all with any hoochie pattern. The kids had a blast trying to reel the fish in, and we lost just as many as we landed perhaps as a result of their exuberance. These fish bite soft and fight hard, so watching the rod tips is a must even with good release clips.
The launch pulling out was a mess, but we spent 6 hours on the lake with a total of 12 fish over 14" retained. All were wild coho and smoked up wonderfully, well worth the work. The weather turned for the worse on Saturday night, and when we got up in the morning, all hands were for heading home as opposed to fishing in the pouring rain with gusty winds. As a complete aside, we witnessed a massive 26'+ new Duckworth cruise up and down the lake, I have no idea what they were searching for but I hope they found it with the fuel they must have burned through. That same boat passed us at least 6 times, each accompanied by a decent sized wake that sent the deck a rocking. Just a friendly reminder to my fellow fishermen that just because you can launch a yacht and fish with it, us little guys would like to fish too. Anyways, great time if not great weather, fair winds and following seas to all.