Fishing at Wallowa Lake is a popular pastime that is both enjoyable and can be quite productive. Whether you fish from a boat or from shore seems to make no difference- if all you want to do is catch fish, and you just might get yourself in the record books!
Wallowa Lake holds eight state records and the
largest ever Kokanee caught in the World!
In 2001 a 6.7 pound Kokanee was caught that broke the previous (Wallowa Lake) state record. That record held until 2009 when it was broken with a fish of 27" and 7.1 pounds,only to be broken seven months later by a 7.5 pound fish! Then, just a month later on Mar. 24, 2010, Wan Theece of Enterprise caught an incredible 8.23 pound U.S record breaking breaking monster only to have that record broken again by Bob Both with a 8.85 pound fish a little over a month later. But then on June 13th, 2010 Ron Campbell caught what will go down as the biggest Kokanee on record worldwide, a collosial 27 3/4", 9.67 pound pig, again, caught right here in Wallowa Lake. This eclipses the official Lake Okanogan BC record of 9.375 pounds. These Kokanee Salmon are bigger than their sea-going Sockeye relatives!
The trout, though stocked, are of good size as well, (a 28.5" 9.1 pound rainbow was caught on Apr. 7, 2010) but the real lunkers are the native predatory Lake Trout or 'Mackinaw' that can run up to a incredible 38 pounds! See the Wallowa Lake Marina 'Big Fish Photo Gallery.
Nez Perce Legend has it that a Sea Monster lives in the lake, but no one's caught 'Wally'... yet.
The best way to fish for Kokanee or Mackinaw is by trolling. Fortunately there are small motorboats or canoes for rent at the Marina if you don't have one. Also Stop by the Marina or visit their website for tips and the right gear. The hottest time for Kokanee is around Mothers Day, and usually runs till mid-June. Trolling at a depth of 60' or more with flashers and wedding rings seems to work best for Kokanee.
Fishing for trout is usually excellent anywhere within 50 yards of the shore. The traditional spot is at the lake inlet and is always safe bet but the opposite end near the dam can be good too. Because most all of the west shore is private, accessing that area will require a boat or canoe, but some of the best trout fishing is on northwest shore, particularly if fishing with flys. Another good place to park and access the shore is along the southeast side- you'll see a road there that ducks down and runs parallel to the highway on the lake side. Getting to the shore from there is short, but steep and slippery, not the best access for anyone but the fit. It's a good spot with plenty of good sitting rocks and the trout fishing can be very good.
Power Bait, worms or eggs seem to do the best for trout. Try using a light spinning rod with a bobber and about 30" of line under it. Place a small piece of splitshot up about 9" from the hook, bait up and let the fun begin!
Wallowa Lake is stocked with approximately 40,000 trout throughout the season including some 18"-20" 'Trophy Trout'
Be sure to contact the Marina at 541-432-9115 to get their take on weather, boat rentals, etc. As Wallowa Lake is at an elevation of about 4400', the weather can turn quickly, even in early summer, be prepared.