A palatable quest for panfish

Bluegill are a colorful and tasty panfish.
Bluegill are a colorful and tasty panfish.

Panfish – perch, bluegills and crappie – are among the tastiest morsels naturally reproducing in the region’s lakes.

The Spokane region’s perch lakes include panfishing lakes include Eloika, Bonnie, Downs, Liberty, Newman and Bear Lake, which is off Highway 2 and open only to youth and disabled anglers.

“Perch are plentiful at Liberty and Silver Lakes, not much in the way of size, though, with a 7-8 inch average size,” said Marc Divens, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife warmwater fisheries biologist. “Perch are typically larger at Downs Lake,” he said, noting that the fishery tends to be most productive in the late summer and early fall.

Bluegill opportunities are strong in Liberty, Silver, and Clear Lakes, he said.

Top crappie lakes include Downs, Eloika, Newman, and Long (Lake Spokane), he said, noting that regulations vary among these waters.

Sprague Lake’s reintroduced bluegill and crappie fisheries have not matured as expected, he said, calling them “still pretty weak.”

Idaho Panhandle lakes have excellent year-round panfishing.

Bluegills are prolific at Rose, Kelso, Robinson, Rush and Avondale lakes, while good size perch to 10 inches catch angler attention at Cocolalla.

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