Because of a request from a certain "cheesehead" I'll post more info:
This year is supposed to be better than other years, so who knows how good it will be next year. Not sure how long these 100-jumbo-perch days or or dozens of walleye days, will last, though. Not sure how long you’ll still be able to catch 12.5” jumbos.
Am I correct in saying that no lake/reservoir in Washington or Oregon made the 2014 Bassmaster’s list of the top 100 bass lakes in the nation.....except Potholes (not counting the Columbia RIVER)?
Big lake got windy/nasty on me with my 12’ boat years ago, big waves if downwind, so check forecast and try to use at least a 15’ boat. Lind Coulee, or Crab Creek arm are options for less wind if smaller boat. Less wind in the fall, usually.
Like most people there, you’ll probably want to target walleye instead of perch. Haven’t seen too many 3-7 pound perch.....
For the biggest walleye try trolling Shad Raps #5 (or bigger) in light perch color (ask Mardon), and might get a big bass or two as well, at 2.2 mph.
But for the best multi-species experience in the state try off the dunes with an adjustable spinner/bead-worm harnesses with 1.1” smile-blade in chartreuse, with either tandem hooks or one slow-death hook, trolled 1.1 mph, 3.5’ behind 2 oz bottom walker. Gotta get on the bottom! Hits especially come as you troll down the downhill side of drop offs. Ask at Mardon (or save money by getting them online.)
One summer they had a toxic algae warning here, so check on that first, in the summer.
Water is rising, but only Glen Williams and State Park launch were usable for a 20’ boat two weeks ago. Launches at Blythe, and Lind Coulee w/in a few feet of the bridge, were completely dry. Mardon’s was ok for 15’ boat, but probably not bigger. But that changes with higher water levels.
Consider starting fishing near where the most boats are, if they are fishing for what you want. Face of dunes in 8-25’ of water for walleye/perch, Goose Island and towards the dam from Goose Island for the massive schools of perch. Channel cats in Lind Coulee kept me pretty busy.
The rocks get super shallow real fast between Goose Island and shore, so watch out. You’ll also hit bottom with your boat even 1/8 mile from shore near the dunes if you’re not careful. Terry Ruddnick calls the dunes “a nightmare for boaters”.
An almost-two-inch Nightcrawler section (don't get the small Nightcrawlers), or maggot-tipped-1/16 oz. red/white tube jig (top rig for 12” crappie, too), very very close to the bottom, almost not moving, is best for perch. Try a #6 long-shank hook if using Nightcrawlers segments for the jumbos, and THREAD the worm segment on and stretch it out on the hook/line with the end of the worm about at the bend of the hook with the hook exposed. Don't bunch up the worm segment. Use 3/8 oz. weight below the hook about 4 inches., and touch bottom with it. If you get tired of catching fish, then just reel this rig up off the bottom 18 inches, and fish won't pester you anymore. ;-)
July through October (late September is hot) is best for perch, although they also get them under the ice, and even catch them year-round. Perch are “everywhere” a guide told me, but in 20’ of water in the dunes near Crab Creek might be best, but I think they move as the year progresses. I’ve caught perch everywhere there. Shallow water usually yields smaller perch. September and early October are when you want to go, ideally. April 20 – May 5 is best for walleye in Lind Coulee/Frenchman’s. Late summer is best for bass before the water gets too cool. Surprisingly June (super high water here) is not the best month of the year, as is often the case on other lakes.
Overcast/low-light and slightly windy days are best for walleye, but I’ve caught them any time of day.
Be careful of the shallow water out from the State Park launch. I was told to head straight out from the launch, about 1/4 mile, and you’ll do fine, just don’t drive north right along the shoreline there and expect deep water.
Dangerous shallow rock pinnacles (“Not to worry, it’s 30 feet deep here.....hey, what is that horrific sound coming from my propeller?”) near the south shore west of Glen Williams a ways. Mardon has a lake contour map.
For smallies find rock, like the dam’s rip-rap, with crawfish-imitating lures on the bottom. I've heard it's the longest natural-fill dam in the US, so you'll have miles of rip-rap.
Glen Williams, Blythe, and Lind Coulee launches have free overnight camping, but no water/sewer/electricity (just toilets.) Go to Mardon or the State Park if you want utilities. Launch locations with GPS coordinates: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/391/
Mardon had $5/gallon gas on the water/dock.
Store 1 mile west of Mardon has regular-priced gas (not on water.)
For Largemouth bass hit the structure in the dunes.
For huge trout troll or Powerbait at Medicare beach by Perch Point. These bad boys average over 3 pounds.
People get good numbers of fish from shore, w/in 200f from the outlet to the lake (park at Glen Williams launch), if you have no boat.
Just because a resort shows lots of pictures online of big fish caught off its dock doesn’t necessarily mean that the fishing is red hot right then.....
WDFW Potholes walleye video:
Potholes video playlist:
WDFW perch video (nightcrawlers will outfish plastics, however):
Upstream at Moses Lake, by the west I-90 bridge, is the best in the NW for monster perch Feb 16 through March 4 (spawn), although Potholes in September might be just as awesome.
If you want bluegill then join the perch “fleet” off the south end of Gaileys Island on Moses Lake, in 19’ of water. But Moses Lake bluegill were only 3 - 7.5” for me. The west I-90 bridge had schools of bluegill I saw on my underwater camera, too. Potholes can have bigger ones (try around brush, in a bit higher water.) They were also catching lots of jumbo perch from the dock at Blue Heron Park on Moses Lake by the I-90 bridge this October.
If you don’t want to drive that far, Seattle iFishers, hit Lake Washington for perch in September.
If you want bigger (but probably fewer) walleye then hit the Columbia River near Boardman in July....some of the biggest walleye in the world (yes, world.)
If you want possibly even better warm-water fishing than Potholes, consider Brownlee Reservoir (crappie in May - if conditions are right), or Lake Coeur d’Alene, or Hanford Reach smallmouth (summer.)