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Outdoors blog

Thu., March 1, 2012, 3:53 p.m.

Chilly opening day had fishing hot spots in Columbia Basin

Greg Baldwin of Spokane holds a Lahonton cutthroat trout he caught while fly fishing at Lake Lenore in Central Washington. (Rich Landers)
Greg Baldwin of Spokane holds a Lahonton cutthroat trout he caught while fly fishing at Lake Lenore in Central Washington. (Rich Landers)

FISHING -- Fishing season opened today in a select group of lakes, mostly in Central Washington. While success rates weren't good everywhere, some lakes -- notably Upper Caliche, Martha, Burke and Quincy Lakes -- were the best in recently years, said Chad Jackson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist for the Columbia Basin.

The quality waters -- Lenice, Nunnally, Lenore and Dusty Lakes saw very low effort and poor catch rates early in the day, he said. 

Although air temperatures were 28-32 degrees, skies were mostly sunny with mild winds and good to excellent harvest rates in many waters.

The cold weather appeared to be the factor in reducing angler effort 50-70 percent from recent years.

Read on for Jackson's detailed report by water.



UPPER CALICHE LAKE: Upper Caliche Lake was the best “producer” on the opener with harvest rates of 4.3 trout per angler. This rate is up significantly from 2010 (<1 trout per angler). Trout quality was good with sizes ranging from 11.5-13 inches. Fishing should continue to be good over the next couple months.

QUINCY AND BURKE LAKES: Both Quincy and Burke Lakes fished very well, and very similar, on the opener with harvest rates of 3.0 and 2.9 trout per angler, respectively. Yearling trout size was good ranging in size from 12-14 inches. Of interest to anglers, nearly 40% of trout checked in the creel at both lakes were carryovers ranging in size from 16-20 inches. Fishing on both lakes should be good to excellent over the next 2-3 months for yearling and carryover trout. Trout will continue to grow during the spring. Additionally, on March 3rda fishing derby sponsored by Quincy Valley Tourism will be held on Burke Lake where cash and prizes will be awarded for a variety of categories (e.g., largest fish, largest limit, etc.). Angers should check the QVT website for more information.

MARTHA LAKE: Martha Lake was slightly down from last year, but still produced well with a harvest rate of 2.7 trout per angler. Trout quality was good with sizes ranging from 12-14 inches. Fishing should be good the remainder of March. 


LENICE AND NUNNALLY LAKES: Fishing was very slow at Lenice Lake due to cold air temperatures (~29°F) and strong winds (15-20mph sustained) out of the west. There were white caps on the lake surface during the entire creel survey. Effort was lower than observed last year with a peak angler count during the creel survey of 14 boats/pontoons with 18 anglers at 10:00AM. Only one fish was observed caught-and-released. Water temperature was 42-43°F. Fishing will likely pick up once the wind dies down. No anglers were observed at Nunnally Lake on the opener.

DUSTY LAKE: Only four anglers were observed fishing Dusty Lake on the opener. One anglers was interviewed and caught rainbow trout from 12-14”.

LAKE LENORE: No anglers were observed fishing Lake Lenore on opening day. Currently, the lake is 100% ice free and fishable.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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