North Central Washington: Photo: Two young men standing on the bank of a lake and fishing.
April 23-opening waters: May is prime fishing month throughout the region with action heating up on waters that just opened April 23, along with those that opened earlier.
WDFW staff made creel checks on the April 23 opener and the average catch rates they tallied are a good indication of how fishing will continue at least through this month.
In Grant County, Deep Lake had an average catch of 4.3 trout, including a 24-inch rainbow. Warden Lake anglers averaged 3.9 trout each, with 14 inches being the largest checked. Vic Meyers Lake (or Rainbow Lake) had an average of 2.3 trout per angler, including 18-inchers. Both Blue Lake and Park Lake creels showed less than one fish caught per angler, but many fish in the 18.5-inch range helped make up for the slow fishing.
In Douglas County, Jameson Lake saw an average of 4.8 trout caught per angler, with the largest rainbow an 18-incher.
In Okanogan County, Aeneas Lake anglers averaged catches of 11.6 trout, the largest checked at 16 inches; Aeneas has a one trout harvest limit, so anglers were catching and releasing lots of trout. Big Twin Lake, another one-fish-limit fishery, also saw fast fishing on the opener with an average of 7.2 fish per angler. Conconully Lake anglers averaged 3.1 fish each and Conconully Reservoir saw a two fish average catch rate. Buck Lake in the Chewuch River drainage produced an average of 3.5 trout per angler Pearrygin Lake anglers averaged about three fish each. Blue Lake on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area had a 2.4 fish catch average. Fish, Round, and Long lake anglers averaged less than two fish each. Alta Lake had less than one trout caught per angler, but one of the prize-tagged fish derby trout was caught there
In Chelan County, Wapato Lake anglers averaged 4.6 trout, with the largest measured at 19 inches. Clear Lake produced an average of 3.5 fish per angler, including 19-inch rainbows. Beehive Reservoir averaged 2.9 trout per angler with fish up to 19 inches and one prize-tagged fish derby trout.
Other trout waters: Dozens of other trout lakes have been open since the first of April and continue to provide good fishing. These include lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in the Pillar-Widgeon Chain (Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Gadwall, Poacher, Shoveler, Lemna, Hourglass, Sago, and Widgeon lakes), and Upper and Lower Hampton lakes, and North and South Teal lakes.
Dry Falls Lake in the north end of Grant County near Coulee City also opened April 1 and provides good catch-and-release fishing as a selective gear rule fishery with an internal combustion motor prohibition and a one fish daily catch limit. Spectacle Lake, just south of Loomis in Okanogan County is providing catches of rainbows in the 10- to 14-inch range.
Warmwater species: Hutchinson and Shiner lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge in Adams County have been open since April 1 for caches of largemouth bass. The lakes are best fished from a small boat, canoe, or float tube/pontoon boat since internal combustion motors are prohibited.
Washburn Island Pond, a diked oxbow lake off the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park due east of Brewster off Highway 17, has opportunities for largemouth bass, bluegill, and the occasional channel catfish.
Potential spring chinook: WDFW Chelan district fish biologist Travis Matiland alerts anglers that the Icicle and Wenatchee rivers could have a spring chinook salmon season, depending on how the fish return progresses. "The forecast looks to be at about average or a bit under," he said, "and we're looking at a mid-May opener at the earliest." Anglers should watch for an Emergency Rule Change.