The Eastern Washington early season trout fishing opener was greeted with nice, unseasonably warm weather, and very good action.
“The opener went very well, and the waters in the Columbia Basin saw near limits of fish,” said Madonna Luers, a state Fish and Wildlife information officer. “In the Tucannon area’s six impoundments people averaged about 2.5 trout apiece. There was no snow on the shoreline and it was very springlike.”
Anglers fishing at Upper Caliche, Martha, Quincy and Burke lakes on the opener caught near limits of trout averaging 12 inches in length, and carry-overs ranging in size from 15-24 inches.
Angler effort this year was about the same as last year, moderate to high, according to Luers.
Aside from some sustained 10-15 mph winds in the morning, the weather was very pleasant on the opener with air temperatures in the 50 degree range, and cloudy skies with sun breaks. Anglers camping out at Quincy and Burke Lake made a relaxing day of the opener.
State Fish and Wildlife creel samplers spoke with several anglers who woke up early in the morning to catch a few trout, relaxed in camp for a little while, and then headed back out later to round out their limit.
Lenice, Nunnally and Dusty lakes fished mostly well on the opener with several anglers having double digit trout catches.
Lenice and Nunnally Lakes fished better than Dusty Lake on the opener, and had better weather conditions too reported state Fish and Wildlife biologist Chad Jackson.
“Water temperatures in Dusty Lake tend to stay colder longer making trout a little less active on the opener,” Jackson said. “Trout size from all three lakes was about the same ranging from 12-20 inches in length, with most fish caught being 14 inches.”
Upper Caliche, Martha, Quincy and Burke should fish well (one to three trout per outing) through most of the spring.
State Fish and Wildlife will plant 1,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout (12 inches) into Martha and Upper Caliche in April to help extend fishing opportunity.
Quincy and Burke Lakes should fish pretty well through May.
Fishing on Dusty Lake was fair on the opener with most anglers catching-and-releasing between 8-10 trout each. These catch rates aren’t too surprising because Dusty Lake water temperatures are usually colder than other March 1 opening day lakes.
Dusty lies in a canyon and receives less sunlight to heat up the lake. As such, trout tend be less active compared to the other opening day lakes. Fishing at Dusty Lake will improve later in the month and continue to be good through early June.
Very low angler effort (13 anglers total) were observed on Dusty for the opener. Trout size was excellent with fish ranging in size between 14-18 inches in length. Only rainbow trout were observed caught on the opener.
Lenice and Nunnally Lakes fished better than Dusty Lake on the opener with most anglers catching-and-releasing between 12-20 trout each.
The majority (95 percent) of angling effort was observed on Lenice (30 to 40 float tube anglers). Trout ranged from 12 to 20 inches in length with most fish 14 inches. Water temperatures on the opener were in the low to mid 40 degrees.
Unlike the other opening day lakes, the weather at Lenice and Nunnally Lakes was nice with only light winds and more sunshine. Both lakes should continue to fish well through early June.
Upper Caliche, 254 trout checked with anglers averaging 3.9 trout per rod, 12 to 18 inches.
Martha, 124 trout checked with anglers averaging 3.9 trout per rod, 12 to 24 inches.
Burke, 101 trout checked with anglers averaging 4.2 trout per rod, 11.5 to 15 inches.
Quincy, 106 trout checked with anglers averaging 4.1 trout per rod, 13 to 19 inches.