Okanogan River

  • Okanogan River

Lake Osoyoos, which straddles the U.S. and Canadian border, is the headwaters of the Okanogan River.  It flows low and slow more than 100 miles to it confluence with the Columbia River just north of the town of Brewster.  It wanders through the farm lands and orchard with many twists and turns that create excellent fish holding areas along its full length.  It is one of the best-kept secrets in the state for fishing for smallmouth bass.  The biggest smallmouth I have ever caught was in the early spring on the Okanogan.  The river is often clouded by the spring run off very early in the spring, but smallmouth find bright plastics or large plugs in spite of the dirty water.  Some anglers take a break from fishing for king salmon or sockeye on the Brewster Pool to fish for smallmouth just above where it enters the Columbia.  This area is known to produce some big walleye at times, too.  The Okanogan has an excellent run of steelhead.   There are miles and miles of good bobber and jig water and also some excellent holes for pulling plugs.  Steelhead fishing typically opens in the fall and is often interrupted by ice.  The slow flowing Okanogan freezes over early in the winter.  When the ice breaks up, usually in late February the fishing for steelhead can be amazing.  There are many good bank accesses for casting bobbers and jigs, and some anglers float it in drift boats or run up from the mouth to some of the best holes.  There are boat launches at Monse, above the confluence with the Columbia River.  There is another popular launch at the town of Okanogan, and at the town of Omak.  There are very long stretches of river above these on the Okanogan River.

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