Bragging-size trout and walleyes will be the big attraction this year in the Columbia Basin and in Okanogan County.
Most trout lakes in the Basin were opened to fishing March 1. Because of cold weather, fishing was poor at nearly all of the lakes.
Only a few lakes in Grant, Adams, Franklin and Douglas counties will open April 26. Numerous lakes will open in Okanogan County.
Blue and Park lakes southwest of Coulee City were treated with rotenone last fall and are being planted with catchable-sized rainbows for the opening. Biologists are predicting fair fishing for 10- to 11-inch trout.
The most popular lake in Grant County will be Dry Falls, a selective fishery lake on the Sun Lakes State Park. Biologists say fishing will be good for 12-inch-plus rainbows and a few big brown trout. About 10 percent of the catch will be browns.
Lenore Lake, a few miles southwest of Dry Falls, already is open to catch-and-release fishing. The catch-and-keep season opens June 1. It holds many Lahontan cutthroat in the 16- to 26-inch range.
For the first time in several years, the Fish and Wildlife Department is predicting poor fishing for Jameson Lake in Douglas County. Biologists suspect a high percentage of the rainbows failed to survive the harsh winter.
Potholes Reservoir has produced outstanding fishing for perch, bluegills and crappies. However, populations of those species declined drastically the last few years. Now the best fishing is for walleyes, many in the trophy class. Net pen rainbows will provide trout fishing this spring.
Moses Lake, biologists say, is among the best walleye fisheries in the state, especially in April and May. Nearby Soda Lake also is a good bet. Moses also has good populations of trout and 2- to 3-pound lake whitefish. The crappie and bluegill are too small for good fishing.
Banks Lake is another top walleye producer. The long reservoir holds kokanee, rainbows, lake whitefish and smallmouth bass.