Dozens of Eastern Washington lakes managed for trout will open to fishing on April 27, and one of the standouts will be a Spokane County lake that was totally fishless a few weeks ago.
Fish Lake off the Cheney-Marshall Road was rehabilitated last fall because of an infestation of smallmouth bass, pike and who knows what else that was gnawing on the plants of Eastern brook trout and tiger trout.
With the slate clear, the lake, which has no resort, is being restocked with catchable-size rainbows and brook trout fry. “For opening day, we’re putting in a big dose of about 5,000 rainbows including some big ones,” said Randall Osborne, Washington Fish and Wildlife district biologist.
“It should be one of the best openers in years for Fish Lake,” said Chris Donley, state trout lakes manager. “And next year should be even better when the brook trout kick in.”
Fishtrap Lake, in its fourth year after a rehab, also should be very good for rainbows, Osborne said.
Anglers should expect decent opening-day fishing from the other top put-and-take trout producers including West Medical.
Williams and Badger lakes are likely to be under par because of growing competition from other species.
Lake Roosevelt could provide excellent trout fishery this year owing to a relatively low spring runoff into the Columbia River system. Two years ago, a high percentage of the net pen trout were flushed downstream.
About 750,000 rainbows are raised in Roosevelt net pens. They’re released at nearly 6 inches long in May and by June they’re 8 inchers pestering anglers. By August they’re a foot long and by fall each trout runs 14-15 inches – a whopping pink-fleshed meal for two.
“I’m optimistic this should be a really good year for the new crop of fish and carryovers,” Donley said. “We kept a lot more fish in the reservoir last year. The winter fishery was pretty darned good.”