Two fly-fishing-only lakes north of Chewelah on the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge are off their game this year but the future is promising.
McDowell Lake (33 acres) received a major makeover last summer. State and federal agencies cooperated to drawdown the lake. They applied chemicals to poison the Eurasian milfoil infestation and rotenone to kill out the infestation of tench, a species not popular with American fishermen.
“The dam boards were just put back in place in early April and the lake is slowly filling,” said Curt Vail, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. “I emphasize ‘slowly,’ ” he added.
“It’s a very rich lake and we expect the food chain will rebound fairly quickly, but we’re still hurting for water.
“We’ll plant catchable-size triploid rainbows and some larger rainbows to provide some fishing this season plus some redband rainbow fry that should provide good fishing next year.”
Bayley Lake (15 acres) was high on the list of hot spots for quality trout in the 1980s.
But the lake has suffered from low water for many years. It’s stocked with a low number of rainbows and has some wild Eastern brook.
Vail said he wouldn’t get in to check the lake until next week.