Winter-only fishing opens Wednesday (Dec. 1) and runs through March 31 on several eastern Washington lakes stocked with hatchery rainbow trout.
The fishing is expected to be on open water rather than ice, at least at the outset, due to unusually warm fall weather.
Some of the best fishing of this special season may be found at Fourth of July Lake on the Adams-Lincoln county line south of Sprague. Rainbow fry stocked there earlier this year are about 10 inches now, and those that carried over in the lake from last year are running between 13.5 and 19 inches. Fishers may only keep two trout longer than 14 inches in their daily limit of five trout. The lake has a boat launch but no internal combustion engines are allowed.
Hog Canyon Lake, about 10 miles northeast of Sprague in Spokane County, was treated to remove tench last year and now offers 9- to 13-inch rainbows. The public access area to the lake will be closed through Dec. 17 for repairs to the dam, but until then fishers can park on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property above the lake and hike about a half mile to the lake.
Williams Lake in Stevens County, about 14.5 miles north of Colville, has 10-to 13-inch rainbows. Hatch Lake, also in Stevens County, was just treated with rotenone and will not be re-stocked until next year.
Four lakes in Okanongan County are open for the winter-only season. Green Lake and Lower or Little Green Lake, about five miles northwest of Omak, will produce catches of 9- to 14-inch rainbows. Little Twin Lake, about two miles south of Winthrop, has mostly 11-inch rainbows with some up to 16 inches. Rat Lake, about 5.5 miles north of Brewster, offers rainbows from 11 to 16 inches, plus 14-inch brown trout.
North Elton Pond in Yakima County near Selah, alongside Interstate 82, will be stocked just before the Dec. 1 opener with half-pound rainbows. There is a two-trout daily catch limit and no internal combustion engine boats are allowed.