OLYMPIA – Dozens of trout-stocked lakes in eastern Washington open to fishing
March 1, although some are making a slow retreat from wintery conditions.
The best bet initially is likely to be Martha Lake in Grant County, where the greatest number of March opening lakes are concentrated, said Jeff Korth, regional fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“The north section of Martha Lake is ice free with plenty of shoreline space and that’s likely where most of the trout will be concentrated,” Korth said.
Martha Lake was stocked with 8,000 “catchable-size” rainbows last fall and over 11,000 rainbow fingerlings last spring. Those fish could provide catches of 12-inch fish, Korth said.
Upper Caliche Lake is nearly ice-free and Lower and West Caliche are thawing fast, said Korth. Also fairly ice-free are Dusty, Lenice and Nunnally lakes, which are under selective gear rules and a one-fish daily catch limit.
While many Columbia Basin lakes are thawing, some won’t be fishable for awhile, Korth said. The access area at the west end of Burke Lake is thawing out slowly, and Quincy Lake may not be fishable on the opener, he added. Both lakes, however, are well-stocked and should provide limits of 12-inch rainbows when the ice melts.
A small area is open on the south end of Lake Lenore, where a catch-and-release fishery runs through May.
All seven man-made lakes off the Tucannon River—Beaver, Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson—have open water and are stocked with rainbows weighing up to 1.5 pounds each. Fishhook Pond in Walla Walla County and Pampa Pond in Whitman County also open March 1 for rainbow fishing.
Specific fish stocking numbers are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly.
Meanwhile, most March-opening lakes in northeast Washington remain at least partially iced-over. Three lakes are opening for the first time this year—Downs Lake in Spokane County, with bass, crappie, perch and rainbow trout; Liberty Lake east of Spokane, with brown and rainbow trout, bass, and perch; and Medical Lake near the town of the same name, with brown and rainbow trout.
Also opening March 1 are Amber Lake in southwest Spokane County for catch-and-release of rainbow and cutthroat trout; Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County for rainbows, yellow perch and black crappie under selective-gear rules; North Silver Lake in southwest Spokane County for rainbows under selective-gear rules and a requirement to release adipose-fin-clipped fish; and Deer Lake in southern Stevens County for lake trout.