Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A line, a pole and some lakes to fish in

Staff Writer | March 24, 2023 1:30 AM

MOSES LAKE — It doesn’t take much to go fishing, according to Dave Graybill.

Or as the words to a very old song say, “a line and a pole.”

“One of the reasons it's very popular is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to get involved with fishing. A spinning rod, some bait, a few hooks, and you’re in business,” Graybill said. “In this area, and the Quincy lakes are a good example, you can just walk down to the shore and you don’t need a boat to have good success.”

Graybill was born and raised in Eastern Washington and has been fishing for the last 60 years. He manages a regional fishing website, fishingmagician.com, publishes a statewide fishing report five days a week, writes a regular column on fishing for the Spokane Exchange, and produces a regular broadcast on fishing distributed to a host of radio stations across the region.

So, it would be fair to say that Graybill knows a thing or three about fishing. And he likes what he finds in Grant County.

“The essence of what I do is, as often as I can, I’m out fishing, primarily in North Central Washington. Banks Lake, Moses Lake, Potholes Reservoir, Rocky Ford Creek, Lake Chelan, and so on,” he said. “I gotta be there. And then I share my experience with people.”

According to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, there are 67 ponds and lakes suitable for fishing in Grant County, the smallest of those being 0.6-acre Coot Lake in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge while the largest is Banks Lake, which covers nearly 27,000 acres — nearly twice the area of Potholes Reservoir and more than four times the size of Moses Lake.

(However, DFW lists Lake Roosevelt, formed by the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, as being in Grant County, and it is more than twice the size of Banks Lake.)

Graybill said the sheer number of lakes in Grant County, including many of the smaller ponds and sinkholes, make the place a home for anglers and a destination for those across Eastern Washington looking to cast a line and see what bites.

“It’s just tremendous,” he said. “A good number of them offer very good trout fishing that’s planted every year. There’s also walleye, bass, bluegill and crappie, and all of those are available too.”

While DFW says much of the fishing in Grant County is year-round, Graybill said the best fishing starts after March 1, when the ice melts in most years, and lasts until the end of September, though ice fishing opportunities abound in the Basin as well, once the formal fishing season is over. Graybill said he likes fishing for walleye in Moses Lake, but said if they aren’t biting, he always keeps his bass fishing gear with him just in case.

“Fishing for smallmouth bass particularly,” he said. “There are always reeds along the shoreline, and there’s a ton of docks. Those fish like to hang out below the dock. There’s just a lot of places to go to have good bass fishing.”

Graybill highlighted the trout fishing in Blue Lake and Park Lake, between Soap Lake and Coulee City, complete with docks, campgrounds and other amenities anglers need for a proper fishing holiday. He also noted the two lakes, along with Lenore Lake, are regularly stocked with cutthroat trout capable of surviving in some of the basin’s high-alkaline lakes.

“They see huge crowds and Opening Day is like a zoo,” he said of Blue and Park lakes.

This points to one of the attractions of fishing, Graybill said. It’s not just something you can do your whole life, he explained, it’s also a chance to get out, see nature and be with people.

“You don’t fish alone, you always try to fish with friends. It just adds to the experience,” he said. “Yesterday, I was talking to an insurance agent … It turns out he found my website and was a huge fan. And he talked about the fact that oftentimes, he’ll go out, and he really doesn’t care if he catches any fish.”

“It’s all about being on the water with friends and family,” Graybill said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.



Dry Falls Lake, which Dave Graybill describes as “a spectacular place to fish,” especially for fly fishermen, where the rainbow, brown and tiger trout abound.



Sunset on Potholes Reservoir, which is another great time to catch rainbow trout, according to Dave Graybill.



An example of what can be caught in Banks Lake.

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