April 12, 2009 in Outdoors

Northeast Washington lakes always worth the wait

By The Spokesman-Review

No need for deep thinking

Hatchery trout tend to remain in the top 3-5 feet of water for up to a week after being stocked in lakes. Shallow-trolling small lures or baits during this period can be very productive.

For the second consecutive year, ice was clogging most of the trout fishing lakes in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties in early April, postponing delivery of precious cargo by hatchery trucks.

“We got the fish into Jump-Off Joe Lake, but the then we pretty much had to hold off,” said Bill Baker, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s new fisheries biologist based in Colville.

Nevertheless, the waters in northeastern Washington always come around to please anglers. Indeed, some waters, such as Starvation Lake southeast of Colville, usually rank among the highest in the state for opening weekend catch rates.

Some of the most popular northeast lakes include:

Curlew Lake, which has net-pen produced trout plus bass and huge tiger muskies that are attracting statewide attention.

Deer Lake, with largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, perch and lake trout. A net-pen produces kokanee and rainbows

Loon Lake, best known for its summer kokanee fishery, also has bass, mackinaw and other species. Tiger trout have replaced rainbows in the state’s stocking schedule.

Waitts Lake has brown trout and net-pen-raised rainbows, plus bass, perch and sunfish. The public launch was improved last year.

Browns Lake northeast of Newport is a quiet fly-fishing-only lake popular with cutthroat anglers, although it’s been adulterated with rainbows in recent years.

Lake Roosevelt’s trout, walleye and smallmouth fisheries are outstanding, and the Pend Oreille River’s burgeoning northern pike are the region’s hottest new fishery.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email