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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Good turnout for early eastside trout opener and fairly good fishing

Here is a rundown on the Tuesday (March 1) Eastern Washington trout opener from Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Ephrata.

“Overall, I was pleased with the turnout and results of the March 1st lowland lake opening day in Grant County, especially considering the weather and fishing conditions,” Jackson said. “Anglers who participated in the opener in were greeted with temperatures a few degrees above freezing, heavy snowfall, and partially thawed lakes that dictated where anglers could fish. Despite these fishing conditions, anglers fishing the trout production lakes fared well for the most part catching nice sized trout with many limits and near limits reported.”

Jackson says angler effort was significantly lower than in 2010, but that is not too surprising considering the very cold weather, that the opener fell on a Tuesday this year, and Snoqualmie Pass was closed and required traction tires/chains.

Angler participation on the quality waters was virtually non-existent on the opener. Effort will likely pick up this upcoming weekend on all of the lakes.

Here is a brief summary:

Martha Lake was the best “producer” on the opener with harvest and catch (harvest plus release) rates of 3.5 and 5.9 trout per angler, respectively. These rates are slightly down from 2010. Ice coverage (50-percent of the lake) and water temperature (36 degrees) likely affected harvest and catch rates on the opener. As the ice thaws and water warms these rates should increase slightly. Trout size was excellent with most ranging between 11.5-13 inches, with several trout 15-20 inches reported in the creel.

About 80- to 90-percent of Quincy Lake was covered with ice. Only the far west and east ends of the lake were fishable. Despite these fishing conditions, most anglers hiked to the far east end of the lake and caught trout ranging in size between 11 to 16 inches. Harvest and catch rates were the same at 3.3 trout per angler.

Fishing should improve as Quincy Lake thaws allowing boat anglers to access lake and shore anglers to fish more productive areas. Anglers fishing Quincy Lake in the upcoming months should focus most of their efforts on the eastern half the lake.

About 70-percent of Burke Lake was ice free and fishable on the opener. The far east (most productive section of the lake) and west ends of the lake were ice covered and unfishable. Harvest and catch rate were the same at 2.0 trout per angler. Trout size was a little better at Burke Lake than Quincy Lake ranging between 12-15 inches, with one 20 inch trout reported in the creel. As this lake thaws, harvest and catch rates should improve.

An opening day creel survey was not performed on the Quincy Walk-In Lakes.

Only about 40-percent of Upper Caliche Lake was ice free and fishable. Effort was low with a total of 31 anglers fishing the lake. Catch rates were low at 0.25 trout per angler, however, several anglers fished for only a short time (1-2 hours) due to the weather or relocated to fish another lake. Trout, as predicted, were smaller than other lakes ranging between 7-10 inches. The small trout was is the result of not being able to plant last fall due to the early freeze in the basin. As such trout were planted a week before opening day. Stocked trout will continue to grow and should be closer to 12 inches by late spring/early summer.

Only seven anglers were observed fishing on Lenice Lake. Fishing was slow with only one trout observed caught-and-released. However, another half-dozen anglers were observed driving to the lake after 12 p.m. Only one angler was observed at Nunnally Lake with no fish caught.

Only one angler was observed fishing Dusty Lake on the opener. This angler caught-and-released three rainbow trout.

No anglers were observed fishing Lake Lenore on opening day. Currently, about 40-percent of the lake (northern half) is ice free and fishable.

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