Trout anglers couldn’t have asked for more favorable conditions for the Monday, March 1 trout opener in Eastern Washington lakes.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better opener, and it has been about five years since we have been truly ice free on all the lakes,” said Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife regional biologist for the Columbia Basin area lakes. “All the lakes were planted with trout pretty well, and there was only a couple of lakes that were worrisome.”
Jackson says those are Quincy and Burke lakes because during his test sample fisheries he found fishing to be quite tough.
“I experienced poor fishing (at Quincy and Burke) and I did do a supplemental trout plant in them,” Jackson said. “It should be pretty good for 8- to 10-inch catchables, and if the fry show up they should be good as well.”
Jackson said folks who are looking for sure success should head to Martha and Upper Caliche lakes that are fishing really well.
Martha Lake, along I-90 just east of George in Grant County, should be among the best on the opener, likely providing lots of five-fish daily catch limits. Martha is scheduled to be well stocked with thousands of half-pound or better hatchery rainbows.
“The selective gear waters are also looking good,” Jackson said.
A small set of collective walk-in lakes in the Quincy Wildlife Area like Upper and Lower Spring, Cliff, Cascade, Dot, George, Cup and Crystal should be pretty good according to Jackson.
“They aren’t great production waters, but they are kind of neat little places that you can walk into each one of them, and they do throw out nice carry over and yearling trout,” Jackson said. “Someone can have good success there, and those looking to get in a little hike to a place that might not be crowded should try them. Fly fishermen fishing Dusty might head to each of these lakes.”
Lenice, Nunnally and Merry lakes, on state Fish and Wildlife’s Crab Creek Wildlife Area just east of Beverly in southwest Grant County, open under selective gear rules March 1. Lake Lenore, north of the town of Soap Lake in Grant County, opens for catch-and-release trout fishing March 1.
The majority of the impoundments off the Tucannon River on state Fish and Wildlife’s Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County are stocked with rainbow trout.
They are: Beaver, 500 catchables; Big Four, 2,000 catchables and 300 jumbos; Blue, 4,500 catchables and 150 jumbos; Deer, 700 catchables; Rainbow, 3,000 catchables and 100 jumbos; Spring, 2,000 catchables and 100 jumbos; Watson, 3,000 catchables and 100 jumbos.
Fishhook Pond in Walla Walla County has 3,000 catchables, and Pampa Pond in Whitman County got 2,000 catchables and 25 jumbos.
Orchard Pond, a year-round impoundment off the Snake River in Columbia County has 1,000 catchables and 25 jumbos.
In Walla Walla County, two year-round fisheries Quarry Pond got 8,000 catchables and 100 jumbos, and Bennington Lake has 2,500 catchables and 50 jumbos.
(Photo taken by Steve Ringman, Seattle Times staff photographer)