Winter-only rainbow trout fishing opens December 1 and runs through March 31 on several eastern Washington lakes.
With early winter weather conditions throughout much of the eastside, most lakes have some ice, although not necessarily safe enough to walk on and fish through.
Some of the best fishing this season will be at Fourth of July Lake on the Adams-Lincoln county line south of Sprague. The rainbow fry stocked there earlier this year are about 10 inches, and those that carried over in the lake from last year are running 15 to 21 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, also opens on the first and the first casts that day should give a good indication of how the trout population is faring.
Williams Lake in Stevens County, about 14-1/2 miles north of Colville, has 10 to 16-inch rainbows. Hatch Lake, also in Stevens County, was just re-stocked with both catchable-size trout and fry earlier this year after rotenone treatment last year. It should provide some nice 10-inchers in the catch.
Four lakes in Okanongan County are on the winter-only season. Green Lake and Lower or Little Green Lake, about five miles northwest of Omak, should produce catches of nine 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 5-1/2 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 right 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.