Skill: 1 (easy) in summer. There is some fast moving current but no rapids at the start of this trip and water with almost no current in Pateros Lake. The main hazard is in late July to mid-August when a fishing weir spans most of the river at the waypoint noted on our map. You can sneak the weir on river right next to the bank.
Note: We researched this float trip in summer and expect that the currents and difficulty of the river is harder and more serious in spring when the currents is stronger and the water is much colder. When the river is high, study it closely when shuttling vehicles to make sure it is within your skill level.
Fitness: 2 (intermediate) to paddle to Monse and advanced (3) to paddle down to Brewster where you can take out at Columbia Cove Park.
Put-in. Drive Highway 97 to milepost 278.6 and turn west off the highway. Cross the bridge into Malott and launch your canoe on either the upstream or downstream side of the bridge once in Malott. There is no real formal public boat launch so you’ll need to portage a bit but with a paddlecraft this is a feasible task. Park your car in Malott itself,by the post office (200 yard walk back to the river).
Take-out. Use the Monse Boat Launch used by the PUD 12.7 miles downstream. The boat launch is on river right after you go under the bridge. You can also extend the trip another 8 miles and take-out in Brewster at Columbia Cove Park.
Shuttle: It’s easy to do the shuttle for this trip on a bicycle by riding the Monse River Road and Old Highway 97 back to the put-In.
Fishing the Okanogan. The Okanogan River delivers a broad quiver of fishing options from bass to salmon to steelhead. To read about bass fishing check out these fishing reports at WashingtonLakes.com.
Meanwhile if you’re interested in fishing the river for salmon or steelhead, here what Griff’s Fly Fishing Adventures writes:
“If there is a sleeper steelhead river in this state, it has to be the Okanogan. To look at it, you would never know that steelhead and salmon swim this river. Bass, yes, but not steelhead. Well, I am here to tell you that it definitely has steelhead. It normally opens for steelhead fishing the first part of October at the same time the Wenatchee, Entiat, and Methow Rivers open. However, steelhead enter the Okanogan a bit later than the other 3 rivers with the best fishing kicking in late November. February and March are normally the best months.
The Okanogan also receives a large run of sockeye salmon starting in July. The last few years those runs have been phenomenal. They are heading to Osoyoos to spawn. Along with the steelhead and salmon. The river contains good numbers of smallmouth bass, and some locals believe that the next state record smallmouth will come from this North Central Washington stream. The smallmouth fishing normally picks up after the run-off in June and lasts throughout the summer.
Bank access throughout the river is not easy. Most of the shoreline is private property, and the east shoreline from the mouth to just upstream of Omak is on the Colville Indian Reservation. A Tribal Permit is required to access the river on Tribal Lands. There are boat accesses just upstream of the mouth, at the Monse Bridge, at the mouth of Salmon Creek in the town of Okanogan, at the Omak Stampede Grounds, at the town of Riverside, at the town of Tonasket, and at the Oroville Bridge. “
Permits: None required
Map: See our map.
Waypoints: Download the waypoints (.GPX) from our map here.
Leave It Better than You Found It. This should be every user’s goal. Do no damage and pick up trash left by others.
Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or not know all the issues affecting a route. You are responsible for yourself, your actions, and your safety. If you won’t accept that responsibility, you are prohibited from using our information.
This post was originally posted on 8/18/14.