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Coffeepot can satisfy all anglers

Coffeepot Lake west of Harrington has a well-deserved reputation for producing big rainbow trout for anglers casting lures and flies.

The scablands lake has several different twists for a “selective fishery.” The 3,000-acre lake is stocked with only 5,000 rainbows. (For comparison, the put-and-take fishery at West Medical Lake is managed for about 800 fish per acre). But Coffeepot has some natural trout spawning.

Biologists are concerned about the trend of lower water levels in this fine trout fishery.

Meantime, the lake also is targeted by panfish anglers.

Coffeepot has crappie as well as has perch –“too many perch,” said Chris Donley, state fisheries biologist.

That’s why it’s among the few selective fisheries in the state that allow an exception to the strict catch limits, he said.

While rules restrict fishing methods and limit the number of trout and crappie that can be kept at Coffeepot, there’s no limit on perch.

The trick is to catch them while adhering to the ban on bait and barbed hooks.

Small jigs work well some days.

“A fly fisherman can catch all the perch he wants to clean or fillet with a bright red Bionic Worm fly-fished under a small bobber (strike indicator to fly fisherman) at Coffeepot,” said Jerry McBride, a veteran lake angler and member of the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club.

The Bionic Worm pattern basically is a red wrap on a hook with a poof of pink marabou at one end and a bead head.

It’s available in any area fly shop.

“It takes a bit of practice to keep them on the barbless hook, but once you master this you can catch a perch on just about every cast,” he said.


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