By Mike Schmuck
Editor's Note: This is a great list of lakes that WDFW recently stocked. Thanks to Mike Schmuck, WDFW District 5 Fisheries Biologist — WDFW Region Two for this great list of places for you to explore in Washington's Grant County!
Martha Lake and Upper Caliche Lake: These lakes, near the town of George, WA, should produce well in spring 2020. In addition to fingerling Rainbow Trout, both lakes received 1,000 11–13-inch Rainbow Trout in fall 2019 and these fish should be in the 14–15-inch range this spring. These lakes also received 1,000 (Martha) and 500 (Upper Caliche) catchable Rainbow Trout in April 2020.
Quincy Lake: Over the years this rather popular lake, located on the Quincy Wildlife Area, has provided anglers with good catches of 11–13-inch trout as well as the occasional carry-over fish that can often be in excess of 14 inches. Quincy Lake fished well in early March 2020 with several fish caught in the 18-20-inch range. WDFW hatchery staff will be stocking nearly 1,000 Rainbow Trout into Quincy Lake in preparation for the May 5th re-opening. These fish are just over a pound each and will provide excellent opportunities for anglers.
Burke Lake: Burke Lake, a next-door neighbor to Quincy Lake, underwent a chemical rehabilitation in the fall of 2019 in order to remove nuisance Yellow Perch and Pumpkinseed Sunfish. WDFW Hatchery staff stocked 3,000 9–11-inch Rainbow Trout into Burke Lake in late-February. Burke Lake will be receiving 1,000 Rainbow Trout in preparation for the May 5th re-opening. These fish are just over a pound each and will provide excellent opportunities for anglers. Burke Lake received very little fishing pressure in early March and should provide excellent fishing for the remainder of the season.
Quincy Wildlife Area walk-in-lakes: While Quincy and Burke Lake get the lion’s share of fishing pressure, there are several small walk-in lakes just west of these two popular fisheries. Crystal, Spring, Cup, Lloyd and Scout Lakes are not on many angler’s radar—but they should be. These lakes receive annual stockings of fingerling Rainbow Trout from Columbia Basin Hatchery and often provide anglers with solitude and big fish. In early March I talked to one angler who caught two 21-inch Rainbows from one of these lakes—I promised not to tell which lake they came from. Scout Lake is a mile north of the remaining lakes on this list and is 530 yards west of the H-Lake parking lot. Those looking to Social Distance should keep these lakes in mind.
Ping Pond (aka Oasis Park Pond): This 2+ acre pond located at the south end of Ephrata is open to Juvenile Anglers (under 15 yrs. old), Senior Anglers (at least 70 yrs. old) and Anglers with a Disability who possess a designated harvester companion card. WDFW hatchery staff stocked 30–40 Jumbo (3 lb.) Rainbow trout and 200 12–14-inch Rainbow Trout into Ping Pond on May 1 in order to give kids a fun opportunity to catch some nice fish.
Park and Blue Lakes: These lakes are two of Grant County’s top trout waters and both should fish well this spring. Catch rates were lower than anticipated on opening day 2019; however, this was likely due to high winds that kept many anglers off the water. Despite relentless winds, catch rates averaged 3 trout per angler on both lakes. Anglers should expect good catches of rainbow trout in the 12–14-inch range as well as some 2+ year-old ‘carry-over fish’, in the 15–17-inch range. Brown Trout and Tiger Trout are also stocked in both lakes.
Vic Meyers Lake: This 12-acre lake located in Sun Lakes State Park receives a fair amount of fishing pressure and produces Rainbow Trout to 17-18 inches. The lake has excellent shore access and is a good choice for anglers looking to get away from crowds.
Perch Lake: Another lake in Sun Lakes State Park, Perch Lake has limited shore fishing but is ideal for someone with a small boat or float tube. I visited Perch Lake numerous times in 2019 and never encountered an angler. I did, however, see a lot of trout rising in the evenings and believe this lake should fish well. Perch Lake receives 9,200 fingerling Rainbow Trout each year; however, in 2020 we reduced this significantly due to low angler effort. Low harvest on these fish will increase food competition and limit growth for remaining fish. A lack of large fish in this population will further limit the popularity of this fishery.
Deep Lake: Deep Lake is a good choice for anglers looking for great scenery and good fishing. While not known for an abundance of large fish, Deep Lake produces Rainbow Trout in the 11–13-inch range, and a few carry-over fish close to 16 inches. Anglers wishing to troll, or simply fish a little deeper, can also catch Kokanee. Each year, WDFW hatchery staff stock Deep Lake with 13,500 spring fingerling Kokanee. In addition, Deep Lake also receives 15,000, 11–13-inch Rainbow Trout from Trout Lodge Fish Hatchery.
Warden Lake: Warden Lake is a popular trout lake, but in recent years it has been producing excellent catches of Yellow Perch and bass. Warden Lake receives 65,000 spring fingerling Rainbow Trout, 7,000 spring fingerling Tiger Trout and 15,000 6–9-inch Rainbow Trout each year. In early spring 2020, Warden Lake was stocked with 3,300 12–13-inch Rainbow Trout from Trout Lodge in late March. To provide more opportunity, WDFW hatchery staff stocked an additional 2,200 Rainbow Trout into Warden in late-April. Anglers should expect excellent trout fishing once lakes reopen.
Potholes Seep Lakes: Several lakes south of Potholes Reservoir can produce good catches of Rainbow Trout as well as Bass, Bluegill, Black Crappie and Yellow Perch.
Corral Lake: This lake is located near the southwestern end of O’Sullivan Dam just across the road from the MarDon Resort. Corral is a good choice for anglers that don’t mind a mixed bag of good size Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass or Black Crappie. Bring your boat to explore this lake fully—shore access is limited.
Pillar-Widgeon Chain: These walk-in lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge are consistent producers of quality Rainbow Trout. This chain of lakes receives spring fingerling Rainbow Trout and are a popular destination for anglers looking for a quiet day on the water.
Hampton Lakes: The Hampton Lakes have fished well over recent years. Lower Hampton Lake receives more angler effort and while catch rates are somewhat lower than on Upper Hampton, the fish caught there are larger. Since the 2014 rotenone treatment of the Hampton Lakes, Pumpkinseed Sunfish have recovered to a point where they are negatively affecting growth of fingerling rainbow trout.
Teal Lakes: The Teal Lakes, located along the Seep Lakes Road on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, are a popular fishery for anglers looking to catch good sized trout. Both lakes, while managed for trout, have carp, bass and sunfish as well. Consequently, fingerling growth and survival have suffered. South Teal Lake receives little fishing pressure, likely due to abundant aquatic weed growth and limited access to most of the shoreline. Most of North Teal’s shoreline is accessible and anglers commonly catch very nice 13–15-inch rainbow trout all around the lake. Catch rates, on average, are lower here than on other more productive waters such as Blue and Park Lake; however, anglers can find they often have the lake to themselves, especially during the week.
Hutchinson and Shiner Lakes: Located on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Adams County, are connected lakes with quality Largemouth Bass, Bluegill and Crappie. They are both best fished from a small boat, canoe, or float tube/pontoon boat. Anglers willing to put in a bit of extra work can row or paddle to the east end of Shiner Lake to target more naïve bass.
Katey & Janet Lakes: These two trout lakes can provide solitude and good catches of Rainbow Trout. Katey Lake was treated with rotenone in fall 2019 to remove Carp. In early April, WDFW hatchery staff stocked 200 11–13-inch Rainbow Trout into this six-acre lake. Janet Lake is a short hike west from Katey and can provide anglers with some larger Rainbow Trout. Most of the shoreline is accessible to anglers on both lakes.
East and West Sage Lakes: Similar to Katey, these two lakes were treated with rotenone in fall 2019 in order to remove Carp. The Sage Lakes produce large Rainbow Trout, although for the remainder of 2020 anglers will have to rely on slightly smaller hatchery fish that were stocked in early April. WDFW hatchery staff stocked each lake with 500 11–13-inch Rainbow Trout which should reach 14–15 inches by spring 2021.
Windmill, North Windmill, North-North Windmill, June, Virgin, Lois: Anglers need several days to explore these lakes located south of Warden Lake. This chain of lakes, managed for Rainbow Trout fishing and popular with fly angers, can produce some large fish.