SPOKANE -- Eight eastern Washington lakes open Dec. 1 for a winter-only trout
fishing season that runs through March 31.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) biologists report several of
the lakes, plus others open all year, should provide good winter trout fishing. Many are
beginning to ice over due to freezing temperatures.
Fourth of July Lake, on the Lincoln-Adams county line, may be the best of the
winter-only lakes. Recent WDFW sampling showed fish up to 22 inches are available.
The daily catch limit is five trout, of which no more than two can be over 14 inches.
Hog Canyon Lake, on the Lincoln-Spokane county line, should provide rainbows
up to 17 inches. Hog Canyon also has a five-trout limit with no more than two over 14
Hatch Lake, south of Colville, should be very productive since it was stocked this
spring with hatchery rainbows. Recent sampling shows those trout are about 10 inches
long. Williams Lake, north of Colville, has no fish because it was treated with rotenone
this fall to remove bass and carp that compete with trout and won't be replanted until
There are four winter-only lakes are in Okanogan County also opening on
Dec. 1. Rat Lake near Brewster has rainbows up to 14 inches. Little Twin Lake near
Winthrop has 11-inch rainbows with some larger. Green and Lower Green lakes near
Omak have rainbows up to 15 inches.
Yakima County's North Elton Pond contains half-pound hatchery rainbows. It has
a two-trout daily limit.
Hundreds of fishing lakes across the state are open all year. Some eastside
waters are particularly popular through the winter.
Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River,
provides rainbow trout, walleye, and burbot fishing. Rufus Woods Lake, the reservoir
behind Chief Joseph Dam, has excellent kokanee, rainbow trout, and walleye fishing.
The seven Interstate-82 ponds in Yakima County also provide good open water
fishing through the winter. Four are planted with hatchery German brown trout and two
have rainbow trout. Most also have yellow perch, sunfish, bass, and crappie.
Wenas Lake, a reservoir off Wenas Creek just north of Naches in Yakima
County, offers some winter rainbow and brown trout fishing.
Fish Lake, north of Leavenworth in Chelan County, continues to provide
excellent trout averaging 10 inches and perch through the winter. Fish Lake is one of
the most popular and consistent winter fisheries in central Washington.
Okanogan County's prime winter fishing lakes include: Osoyoos, north of Oroville
on the Canadian border, for perch through the ice; Palmer, north of Loomis, for burbot
by the first of the new year and Sidley, near Molson, for big rainbows.
Chelan County's Roses Lake, which just shifted to a year-round season, should
provide fair to good fishing on nine-inch rainbows.
Sprague Lake, near Interstate-90 on the Lincoln-Adams county line, is another
year-round favorite that produces trout, bass, perch, crappie, bluegill and walleye
through the winter.
Spokane County's Newman Lake, just east of Spokane, is a good winter perch
spot. Eloika Lake, north of Chattaroy, also offers perch, as well as trout and crappie.
Silver and Clear lakes, near Cheney, provide trout through the winter. Long Lake, the
reservoir on the Spokane River, can be productive all year for trout, bass, perch and
Banks Lake in Grant County has developed into a popular winter fishery for lake
whitefish and perch. Whitefish average two to three pounds and are excellent eating
when smoked. Although whitefish are abundant and well distributed throughout the
lake, the most popular fishing spots are around Electric City and near the feeder canal
from Lake Roosevelt. Lunker rainbows and walleye also are common through the ice at
Good fishing for mountain whitefish during the winter is available in the Yakima,
Naches, Columbia and Wenatchee rivers.
Anglers fishing through ice need to be very careful. Snow and rain storms can
create hazardous conditions on the lakes. Ice fishing holes should be limited to the size
necessary to catch fish. Fishers could slip through large holes.