FISHING -- Trout were present while any sign of ice was absent during Saturday's winter fishing season at several northeastern Washington trout lakes.
Here's Saturday's field report from the Colville area by Bill Baker, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist:
Hatch Lake - No ice...all open water. Rainbows averaged 14.5 inches and ranged from 13-16 inches. Catch rates were decent with most anglers limiting within 2 hours. However, most fishing occurred from shore...not the easiest way to fish Hatch Lake due to its shallow, weedy nature. Few anglers took advantage of the open water to launch a small boat, but those that did were rewarded with quick limits. Given the weather forecast, I suspect that there will be open water for a while longer.
Williams Lake - No ice...all open water. Rainbows averaged 15 inches and ranged from 12.5-17 inches. Catch rates were very good with most anglers limiting within an hour. Similar to Hatch Lake, most anglers were fishing from shore. Shoreline fishing space at Williams Lake is somewhat limited due to the rushes and cattails growing around the edge of the lake. Therefore, as long as open water persists, I recommend fishing from a boat if possible. Trolling, drifting with the wind, or anchoring up and plunking bait should all be very effective.