February 24, 2000
Contact: Madonna Luers (509) 456-4073
Eastside lakes stocked for March 1, 2000 fishing opener
More than 50 eastern Washington lakes, stocked with trout by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) hatchery crews, will open to fishing March 1.
Other eastside waters that are open all year to fishing also are being stocked with catchable-size trout on March 1 waters are yielding catches from earlier trout fry plants.
Seven of the March-opening waters are man-made impoundments off the Tucannon River in southeast Washington's Columbia County. Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County and Spectacle Lake in Okanogan County also open March 1. The rest of the March 1 opening waters are in central Washington's Columbia Basin, most in Grant and Adams counties.
All are listed under "Special Rules - Eastside Lakes" in the 1999-2000 WDFW fishing regulations pamphlet, which is valid through April 30, 2000.
The Tucannon lakes are being well stocked with catchable size (10-to 12-inch) rainbow trout, according to WDFW district fish biologist Glen Mendel. Hatchery fish are planted in batches over three months to spread out fishing opportunities. Many of the lakes also will receive some larger rainbows up to two pounds. Specific stocking plans include:
| Beaver: ||1,500 catchables|
| Big Four:||2,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Blue:||19,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Deer:||3,000 catchables|
| Rainbow:||19,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Spring:||10,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Watson:||15,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
Anglers planning to fish the Tucannon lakes are reminded they have to wade the river to reach Big Four since it doesn't have a bridge. Deer Lake also is without bridge access, but it can be reached by walking a quarter mile up the road or wading the river. Watson Lake is accessible by disabled fishers via a bridge. Curl Lake along the Tucannon is closed until the last Saturday in April because it is used for salmon smolt acclimation.
Bennington Lake in Walla Walla County is a year-round water that will be stocked with 24,000 catchable rainbows and 200 larger rainbows later in March.
Two juvenile-only year-round fishing waters in Walla Walla County will also be stocked now. Lyons Park Pond in College Place will receive 4,000 catchables and 300 large rainbows. Jefferson Park Pond in Walla Walla will receive 2,000 catchables and 100 large rainbows.
Other southeast year-round waters receiving rainbow trout now include:
| Quarry Pond, Walla Walla County:||22,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Dalton Pond, Franklin County:||20,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| Golf Course Pond, Asotin County:||20,000 catchables||300 large rainbows|
| West Evans Pond, Asotin County:||20,000 catchables||400 large rainbows|
| Silcott Pond, Asotin County:||4,000 catchables |
Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County has been stocked with 20,000 catchable size rainbow trout over the last two years and more will go in later this spring.
Spectacle Lake in Okanogan County should provide very good fishing on the opener if it is ice-free. WDFW district fish biologist Heather Bartlett said Spectacle is stocked with30,000 catchable size (four to the pound) rainbow trout in the spring and 30,000 small rainbow trout (10 to the pound) in the fall.
In the Columbia Basin, WDFW district fish biologist Jeff Korth predicts good fishing in many of the 40-plus lakes that are stocked with rainbow trout for the March 1 opening season. Specifically:
Warden and South Warden Lakes: The rainbow fingerlings stocked last year after the 1998 lake rehabilitation should be fat 10-inchers for the opener, and the catchables stocked last year should be in the 14 to 16-inch range. This will be the last year the Warden lakes open on March 1; next year they will shift to the last Saturday in April opener.
Upper/ Lower Hampton Lakes (and other Columbia National Wildlife Refuge lakes): No catchable trout are allowed to be stocked in these lakes on the Refuge, so spring and fall fry plants are made instead, and hopefully they hold their own with the resident sunfish. Upper Hampton received 20,000 rainbow fry last year, half in the spring and half in fall; Lower Hampton received 8,000 total in the same split. Both should produce some nice carryovers and a few 14-inch yearlings. Other refuge lakes and their rainbow fry plants include: Hen - 1,000, Dabbler - 500, Marie - 1,000, and Hampton Slough - 400.
Pillar-Widgeon Lakes: These 10 walk-in waters are open to angling during the months of March and September. All are planted with 5-6 inch fingerlings in the spring and fall (see numbers below), providing catches of small (8-9 inch) yearlings. Fish- eating birds may hone in on these fisheries and vary angling success; last year Pillar, Cattail, and Snipe were very good.
| Pillar||2,000||2,000 |
| Gadwall||1,000||0 |
| Shoveler||1,000||1,000 |
| Lemna||250||250 |
| Poacher||250||250 |
| Snipe||1,000||1,000 |
| Cattail||1,000||1,000 |
| Sago||500||0 |
| Hourglass||250||0 |
| Widgeon||2,000||0 |
Martha Lake: This year's fishery will be comprised of 8,000 spring fingerling rainbows, about 30 percent fewer fish than usually stocked. The department is attempting to boost fish survival by reducing competition. Fish growth has been good, with 12 - 14 inch yearlings and 16-inch carryovers.
Upper, Lower, and West Caliche: These should be the best lakes in the Basin on the March 1 opener. Yearlings are larger than expected (13-plus inches) and there is a fair carryover rate (10 percent at about 16-plus inches). Expect good fishing and crowds. Fry rainbow plants: Upper Caliche - 12,000; Lower Caliche - 6,000; West Caliche - 1,000.
Quincy and Burke Lakes: These lakes were treated last fall to get rid of sunfish, perch, and bass and each is being stocked with 15,000 catchable-size (8-inch) rainbow trout before the opener. The catchables are smaller than normal due to needed cost-saving feed changes at the hatchery, but they're being stocked in greater numbers.
Dusty Lake: While a bit on the slow side for bank anglers (boats do much better), it's the ‘big fish syndrome' that creates a following for this lake. Yearlings averaged 12 inches, with mostly 16-17 inch carryovers and some 19-22 inch giants. Dusty received 10,000 rainbow trout fry and 3,000 brown trout for this season.
Quincy Wildlife Management Area Walk-In Lakes: These small lakes on the west side of the wildlife area offer anglers a chance to explore the scabland and get some exercise. Success rates vary lake to lake and season to season. Yearlings range from 9 to 12 inches and carryovers from 14 to 18 inches. Specific rainbow stocking:
| Crystal||1,000 |
| Spring, Upper||1,000|
| Spring, Lower||500|
Lenice, Merry, and Nunnally Lakes: These lakes will open March 1, but fishing for the few large trout remaining in them will be slow. No yearling trout survival has been observed, few carryovers remain, and no fish were stocked in 1999 in anticipation of this spring's scheduled rehabilitation work. All three will be closed later in March for that treatment.
Lake Lenore: Lenore is catch-and-release March through May, but the opener will be slow since the Lahontan cutthroat trout stocked here don't really seem to be active until April. Extremely high water temperatures in August, 1998 resulted in serious fish kills so last year's catch rates were poor and this year's will be the same.
Korth also noted that several year-round fishing waters that are annually stocked with trout fry are producing well now. These include the "seep lakes" south of O'Sullivan Dam on Potholes Reservoir, like Blythe, Canal, Corral, Heart, North Windmill and Windmill lakes.