This is the first in a series of columns about the fishing prospects in Columbia Basin lakes.
A big change in the fishing regulations is there will no longer be any lakes in the Columbia Basin opening on April 1. They either are open all year long, open on March 1 or open on the fourth Saturday in April. Opening day this year is April 27.
The various fish biologists across the state write the prospects for the various lakes and streams in their area. The prospects tell angles what they can expect in the waters they want to fish. We will provide these expectations over the next few weeks.
Fish and Wildlife District 5 Fish Biologist Michael Schmuck, District 5 Fish Biologist has provided the following information, with a few notes added by me.
Park and Blue Lakes: These lakes are two of Grant County’s top trout waters and both have returned to their former glory.
On opening day, 2018, catch rates on Park Lake were 4.8 fish per angler and this year anglers can expect close to the same results.
Blue Lake saw averages of 3.3 trout per angler, which is still impressive. The bulk of the catch in 2019 will be trout planted as fingerlings in 2018 and these fish will be 11 to 13 inches. Age-2 trout, planted in 2017 and referred to as carry-overs, will be in the 14- to 16-inch range.
Brown trout and tiger trout are also stocked in both lakes; however, none were checked by creel clerks on opening day last year.
Deep Lake is a popular choice for shore and boat anglers looking for a less crowded fishing experience. Deep Lake produces rainbow trout in the 11- to 13-inch range. Anglers wishing to troll or simply fish a little deeper, can also catch kokanee.
The 2018 opener yielded trout catch rates of 3.8 fish per angler. We expect this consistent producer to provide similar catch rates in 2019.
In addition to 13,500 spring fingerling kokanee, Deep Lake also received 10,000 catchable rainbow trout in October 2018. This lake is scheduled to receive 5,000 additional catchable rainbow trout in May 2019.
After years of good fishing and catch rates above 3.3 fish per angler, catch rates dropped to 1.6 rainbow trout per angler in 2018.
Warden Lake is suffering from an abundance of bass and sunfish, which directly compete with adult trout for food and prey upon fingerling rainbow trout.
Next week: More fishing prospects.