WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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February 28, 1997
Contact: Madonna Luers, 509-456-4073

Tomorrow's fishing opener could be slow

Some eastern Washington lakes open to fishing tomorrow, but winter conditions in the Columbia Basin and limited hatchery stocking in the southeast could mean a slow opener.

Approximately 40 small lakes in the Basin's Grant and Adams counties open tomorrow, but many are still at least partially iced-over or access is difficult because roads are in bad shape. Anglers are advised to be cautious about venturing out on ice.

The Pillar-Widgeon chain of lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is mostly still frozen and may reveal some winter-killed fish when it does open. Upper Hampton Lake, on the other hand, is about two-thirds open water and Lower Hampton is completely open. Both should yield trout up to 19 inches.

Morgan, Halfmoon and Para-Juvenile lakes remain covered with ice. They are full of roach, sunfish and stunted bass that are outcompeting trout. Marie Lake is about half open, but is so shallow that it may not produce much this year, due to the harsh winter.

Burke and Quincy lakes are mostly iced-over and fishing will be slow for modest numbers of 10 to 11-inch rainbows. In the nearby chain of approximately 10 small lakes, only Spring and Cascade have open water. Main roads into the Quincy area of lakes are in good shape, but other roads may be soft and difficult to travel.

Dusty Lake has open water on the southwest side for anglers willing to hike in for trout up to 20 inches.

In the George area, Upper Caliche Lake is ice-free and should produce 11 to 12- inch rainbows. Lower Caliche Lake is also ice-free, but since it was treated with rotenone last year to get rid of carp and restore trout, this season's catches are unpredictable, especially given the winter conditions. Martha Lake is mostly ice- covered. It should produce well, if winter survival was good.

Lenice, Merry, and Nunnally lakes are ice-free and open and should have good catches of rainbow and brown trout. These three lakes are new to the March 1 opening season this year and are under "selective fishery regulations" no bait and only single, barbless hooks with a one-trout daily catch limit.

In southeast Washington, only two of the seven March 1- opening Tucannon River man-made lakes in Columbia County have been stocked with normal numbers of hatchery rainbow trout. Rainbow Lake is getting a total of 40,000 catchable-size trout in plants throughout the season, and Spring Lake is getting 30,000. Two other lakes, Beaver and Watson, will get a few thousand trout, but access is limited to wading the river. The other Tucannon lakes will not be stocked because they have intake, access, or sediment problems caused or worsened by recent flooding.

Anglers should check the fishing regulations pamphlet to find all eastside lakes that open tomorrow and all other regulations. The 1996-97 pamphlet available now is effective through April 30.