North Central Washington: April fishing opener: A reminder that many lakes that formerly opened on April 1 are now either open year-round, opened March 1, or open the fourth Saturday in April, which is April 27 this year.
In Adams County, lakes that open April 27 include Bobcat Creek Ponds, Coyote Creek Ponds, Deadman Lake, Halfmoon Lake, Hays Creek Ponds, Hutchinson Lake, McManaman Lake, and Shiner Lake.
In Grant County, the list includes Cattail Lake, Coot Lake, Gadwall Lake, both upper and lower Hampton lakes, Hen Lake, Hourglass Lake, Lemna Lake, Morgan Lake, Pillar Lake, Poacher Lake, Sago Lake, Shoveler Lake, Snipe Lake, north and south Teal Lake, and Widgeon Lake.
North Teal Lake is expected to be good for decent-sized rainbow trout. Both boat and shore fishing is available at North Teal, with a gravel launch suitable for small boats. Both of the Hampton lakes should also offer good opportunity for 12-inch and over rainbows.
Dry Falls Lake on the north end of Grant County near Coulee City, is expected to have some of the best fishing on the April opener. The lake is under selective gear rules with no combustion motors allowed. And with a one-fish daily catch limit there's a lot of catch-and-release fishing available. Rainbows in the 14- to 16-inch range are common at Dry Falls, but there are also some nice brown and tiger trout.
Two Okanogan County lakes also open April 27: Spectacle Lake just south of Loomis, and Washburn Island Pond, a diked lake off the Columbia River near Fort Okanogan State Park due east of Brewster off Highway 17.
Ryan Fortier, WDFW Okanogan district fish biologist, says Spectacle boasts some large rainbows.
"Anglers can usually expect to catch rainbows in the 10- to 14-inch range," he said, "while Washburn has largemouth bass, bluegill, and the occasional channel catfish."
Fortier says iced-up Okanogan lakes are melting later this year, so anglers will need to be patient. He recommends Pearrygin Lake near Winthrop; Conconully Lake and Reservoir within the town of Conconully; Alta Lake just west of Pateros; and Wannacut Lake, near Oroville.
"You can expect to catch rainbows in the 10- to 13-inch range, along with carryover fish to 15 or 16 inches, at most of these lakes. The Conconully waters and Alta Lake also have 10 to 13-inch kokanee. "
In Chelan County, the top prospect is Wapato Lake, about two miles north of Manson. It is known as a consistent producer of fat, feisty rainbow trout.
In Douglas County, Travis Maitland, WDFW district fish biologist says Jameson Lake has good-sized "carry over" rainbow trout from last year available.
Year-round waters: Maitland says although Lake Chelan has been producing limits of kokanee, anglers seem to be having to work a little harder this spring, with the size of these fish averaging a little smaller, around the 11- to 12-inch range.
"The fishery typically continues to improve with both the bite as well as the fish size as the spring wears on," he said.
There's no minimum size limit on Lake Chelan kokanee and the daily catch limit is 10 fish (not included in the five-trout daily limit).
Maitland also says the Antilon Lakes, open year-round northwest of Chelan, will produce some nice brown trout this month as the ice comes off. Lower Antilon typically fishes better than Upper Antilon, with 14- to 18-inch brown trout common.
Rufus Woods Lake, the Columbia River reservoir off Chief Joseph Dam, is generally good for rainbow trout and walleye in the spring and walleye fishing picks up as the weather warms.
Walleye fishing is also expected to pick up this month at Moses Lake in the Columbia Basin. In spring, the lake gets increased flows from Crab Creek when the local irrigation district turns on the water to the East and West Low canals. The higher flows coincide with the walleye spawning migration into Crab Creek in early April.
Three inch, dark-colored curly tail grub attached to a jig that can weigh up to half an ounce have been successful in catching Crab Creek walleye in the past. Anglers will want their jig to be in contact with the bottom of the creek in order for the fish to see it.
Potholes Reservoir's also has great walleye fishing in April, along with bank fishing for trout along the east shore.
Stan Coffin Lake, in the Quincy Wildlife Area, often has excellent fishing for largemouth bass in spring. Anglers should have good success fishing just offshore in 8 to 10 feet of water.