The Eastern Washington March 1 trout opener went off with a bang, and anglers turned out in strong numbers and catches were good in general.
“There were lots of folks out considering that the opener fell on a Monday,” Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist said in the state’s Weekender news release. “As far as performance, it was a bit of a mixed bag with some good, some bad, and some underutilized lakes.”
Jackson says the greatest effort and catches came from Martha, Upper Caliche and Lenice lakes.
Martha and Caliche lake generated five trout daily limits with several anglers scoring limits in less than an hour. Most rainbow trout at Martha averaged 13 inches with a few winter-carryovers in the 16- to 24-inch range. The Caliche trout were smaller averaging 10 to 11 inches.
Lenice Lake was the most popular draw and the selective gear lake found most anglers catching and releasing about six trout apiece in two to four hours on the water. Most trout were 19 to 21 inches with a few up to 24 inches. A few anglers released some tiger trout, known for their stunning colors, that were planted last year.
Nunnally and Merry lakes, both selective gear fisheries with a one-trout daily limit, were not checked on the opener. Nunnally and Lenice will be restocked with trout in the spring.
Quincy and Burke lakes were very slow, and each one failed to generate a catch of at least one trout per angler. Both were planted were catchable sized trout recently and are expected to improve in the coming months. Trout at Burke averaged 12 to 24 inches, and at Quincy averaged 20 t 21 inches.
Dusty and Lenore lakes didn’t draw too many anglers. At Dusty eight anglers had two trout, and at Lenore (catch and release only through May) 13 anglers released seven trout averaging 14 to 22 inches.
Lakes in the Quincy Wildlife Area worth checking out are Cascade, Cliff, Crystal, Cup, Dot, George and Spring.
The seven impoundments off the Tucannon River in the Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County were good for rainbow trout. They were Beaver, Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson. Best time was in the morning, and Spring had the highest catches with just over three fish per angler. Big Four had the least with just one fish apiece.
In the Spokane area, Liberty Lake bank anglers averaged one fish apiece, and boat anglers scored three fish per rod. At Medical Lake anglers averaged three fish apiece. Amber Lake, open for catch and release only, gave up five to six fish per rod.
In Stevens County, Deer Lake anglers averaged less than one fish per rod, but the lucky ones who caught fish averaged a whopping 24 to 34 inches. Chilly water could have affected fishing and it should improve once it warms up.