Know before you go: fishing regulations

Eastern Washington has hundreds of fishing lakes with various mixes of fish species to suit the taste of any freshwater angler.

The waters also have different fishing seasons and many have rules that vary from the norm. Carry a current state fishing regulations pamphlet and refer to it, especially when exploring new waters.

Trout priority lakes, such as Fish, Fishtrap, West Medical and Williams, are treated every 10-15 years to kill competing species, such as sunfish, so generous plants of trout fry will thrive.

Season: Generally open the fourth Saturday and April.

Selective fisheries, such as Amber and Coffeepot, have gear restrictions and reduced limits aimed at maintaining fisheries of trophy size fish. Usually these are trout fisheries, but there are exceptions, such as Stan Coffin in Grant County, Eastern Washington’s only catch-and-release bass lake.

Season: Generally open March 1st.

Mix-species lakes, which include Clear, Sprague, Silver, Waitts, Potholes Reservoir and the vast majority of the region’s waters, have something for everybody, including annual plants of several thousand catchable-size trout large enough to escape the jaws of bass, panfish and other spiny-ray fish that provide angling diversity.

Season: Generally open year-around, although Clear is an exception, opening the fourth Saturday of April, and Waitts has the unusual season of the fourth Saturday in April through February.

Spiny-ray-only lakes, such as Eloika, Newman Lake near Spokane and Shiner-Hutchinson lakes in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, are dedicated to species such as bass, crappie, bluegills and perch.

Season: Generally year-around, although Shiner-Hutchinson lakes are among the various Columbia Basin fisheries that open April 1st.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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