Page 2 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 3
Season is shaping up as a winner Millions of fish planted statewide; county gets its share By Al Camp The Chronicle The 2014 fishing season in Okanogan and Ferry counties is shaping up to be a winner, with warm spring weather meaning most lakes will boast big fish for the general fishing season April 26 to Oct. 31. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife planted nearly 16.5 million trout and kokanee statewide, with 2.3 million being catchable trout and nearly 115,000 being jumbo trout that weigh up to 11 pounds a piece and more than 50,000 triploid trout averaging 1.5 pounds each. In Okanogan County, Alta Lake (571) near Pateros, Conconully Lake (357) and Pearrygin Lake (357) near Winthrop each received triploid trout weighing 1.5 pounds on average the first couple days in April. Millions of carry-over trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size will also be available in lakes throughout the state. State crews began this year’s stocking program in March and will continue through June. All opening day lakes will be stocked prior to the opener on April 26. To put this in perspective, if the catchable trout being released were laid end to end, they would stretch from Westport to Spokane. “With this many fish planted, families should enjoy a great fishing season all across the state, so come on out and fish Washington,” said Chris Donley, state Department of Fish and Wildlife inland fish program manager. The state’s current 2013-14 fishing regulation pamphlet, which is good until May 1, will remain fairly unchanged for Okanogan County in 2014-15, except for the rules for salmon. “There’s not much going to change in the pamphlet this year,” Regional Fish Program Manager Jeff Korth said. “The only changes on a regular basis are for the salmon seasons. We don’t normally know until about now what some of those might be.” Korth said if the 2014 run estimates continue as they are, he will be asking for an eight-fish limit that can include two adult hatchery
summer Chinook and four sockeye. Last year there was a six- fish limit, and only two sockeye. It was too soon to estimate if there will be a season or for how many fish this fall. “Last year we had a huge fall run,” Korth said. “If it’s huge again, the limit may be three or four Chinook and it will be an emergency fishing rule.” The department’s Fish Washington website, available from the department’s home page at wdfw.wa.gov, provides the when’s, where’s and how-to’s of fishing throughout the state. Anglers must possess a current Washington freshwater fishing license, valid through March 31, 2015. Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt. dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 866246-9453; or from about 700 license dealers across the state. For license vendor locations, visit the state Fish and Wildlife website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ licensing/vendors/. Freshwater fishing licenses cost $29.50 for resident adults 16 to 69 years old. Fifteen-year-olds can buy a license for $8.05, and seniors 70 and older can buy an annual freshwater fishing license for $7.50. Children 14 years of age and younger do not need a fishing license. Okanogan County’s favorite waters, which should produce well on the opener, include the Conconully lakes, Wannacut, Pearrygin, Alta and Fish lakes. The early thaw should help selective gear or fly fishing waters like Chopaka and Blue in the Sinlahekin and Big Twin in the Methow Valley A variety of fish also can be found on the Colville Indian Reservation, which opened its season April 12. Anglers flock from miles to fish the region for brook, brown, cutthroat, rainbow and tiger trout, as well as bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, kokanee and triploids. Anglers can dip their lines in 67 lowland lakes managed by the state in Okanogan County, which represents about 18 percent of the state’s managed lakes. The county also contains 110 alpine lakes above 4,500 feet. Ferry County sports lots of opportunities that shine generally a little later in the year in a dozen highland lakes. The Colville Indian Reservation, which got rid of its winter permit program and kept license prices the same as last year, includes a total of
Al Camp/The Chronicle
An angler shows a beauty caught on opening day 2013 at Conconully Lake. Both Conconully lakes are expected to be winning spots again this year for the opener. 26 lakes and creeks with a large variety of species. The Colville Confederated Tribes’ general fishing season is April 12 to Oct. 31. Streams close Oct. 31 unless otherwise specified under special regulations. (See separate stories for Colville Reservation and Ferry County prospects.) Anglers can expect great fishing success in just about every corner of Okanogan County this season, except for a few exceptions due to low water levels. Production waters, such as the Conconully lakes, Spectacle, Wannacut, Pearrygin and Alta all get healthy plants each year. Rivers, streams and beaver ponds, unless otherwise noted, open the first Saturday in June (June 7 this year) and remain open through Oct. 31. Some rivers will open the Saturday before Memorial Day, listed within the special
regulations section of the state pamphlet. Other rivers are open year-round. Best success comes by fishing lowland lakes early. As the weather warms, fishing improves at higherelevation lakes. The statewide free fishing weekend is June 7-8. Okanogan County’s major lakes, both highland and lowland, plus creeks and rivers are split into geographical areas:
couple miles. Blue Lake — The 16-acre lake is located in the Limebelt north of Omak and offers rainbow and cutthroat trout up to 11 inches. To reach the lake, travel west from Okanogan or Omak to Conconully Highway and head north to the sign pointing to the lake. The dirt road, which can be impassable in the spring due to
Okanogan Valley Beaver Lake — The 6-acre lake, which is open all year, received a planting of 500fingerling cutthroat in September. To reach Beaver Lake, a couple miles north of the Loup Loup Ski Bowl southwest of Okanogan, turn off state Highway 20 and go north past the ski hill to a trailhead. The lake, which is fun to fish from a float tube, is an easy hike of a
© 2014 The Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle Owned and operated by Eagle Newspapers Inc. 618 Okoma Drive, Omak, Wash. P.O. Box 553, Omak WA 98841 Roger Harnack, Editor and Publisher Al Camp, Sports Editor Teresa Myers, Advertising Manager 509-826-1110 • 800-572-3446 509-826-5819 fax • www.omakchronicle.com Cover photo by Kim Youngers, Brewster
Page 4 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Al Camp/The Chronicle
A couple bundles up for the slightly chilly 2013 opener on Conconully Lake. rain, goes four miles to the lake. Although there is no boat ramp, anglers can carry canoes or small rowboats to the lake at the south end or navigate a steep hill on the north end. Columbia River — The Columbia, open all year, provides many opportunities, except for steelhead (all trout). Steelhead are listed as an endangered species and cannot be caught or possessed except under an emergency opener. During the last few years there have been emergency openers for the taking of steelhead. For all game fish, other than salmon, steelhead and sturgeon, the season is July 16 to Aug. 31 between Wells Dam and the state Highway 173 bridge at Brewster. From the state Highway 173 bridge to Chief Joseph Dam, the trout season is June 1 to Aug. 15. Check the state pamphlet for size and daily limits. There are no size restrictions or daily limits for bass, channel catfish and walleye. Walleye fishing is predominant from January to June. Anglers should check the state fishing pamphlet for daily catch limits and walleye limits, which are different for Lake Roosevelt (above Grand Coulee Dam) than the rest of the river. Walleye fishing has become popular on the stretch of river bordering Douglas County. Walleye can be caught below Chief Joseph Dam, as well as most of Rufus Woods Lake. The river also has become a favorite for smallmouth bass, although largemouth bass also reside in the water. There are good boat launching facilities at Brewster, Pateros and Bridgeport. It is lawful to fish to the base of the Washburn Island Pond outlet structure near Brewster. Conconully Lake — The upper (Salmon Lake) is open April 26 to Oct. 31 and contains large triploids in the 1- to 2-pound range along with rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range with carryovers to 16 inches. The lake also contains kokanee and some bass, which are not yet affecting the size or catch rates for trout, but could in the long
term. The lake, located east of Conconully and 15 miles northwest of Okanogan, was planted with a total of 18,750 legal rainbow in April and October and nearly 20,000 kokanee fry last April that should legal on the opener. Conconully Lake includes a graveled state boat launch with toilets and a wheelchairaccessible dock. A fee is required to use the launch for boats on trailers. A resort lies near the launch. A state park is in town next to the Conconully Reservoir. Conconully Reservoir — Anglers can expect rainbow trout averaging 9-11 inches with a few carryovers up to 16 inches. The reservoir, which averages 450 acres when full, is located south of Conconully and is open April 26 to Oct. 31. There are several resorts and an excellent state park. The lake was planted with a total of 18,750 legal rainbow in April and October and about 16,000 kokanee fry last April that should legal on the opener. Conners Lake — Located near Forde Lake, this 35-acre lake in the Sinlahekin was planted with 350 triploid eastern brook trout in May. The lake, which is open April 26 to Oct. 31, could also contain eastern brook that propagate naturally in Sinlahekin Creek. Anglers can expect fish in the 9- to 13inch range. Travel south from Loomis five miles on Sinlahekin Road. There is a small gravel boat launch, with the lake best fished with a small boat, canoe or float tube in May and June. Access gets difficult in mid- to late summer due to growth of weeds and brush. Fish Lake — This 102-acre lake, located four miles northeast of Conconully, is one of the county’s more popular lakes, especially on opening day. There are two public access areas with launches and toilets are available. The lake boots out rainbows in the 10- to 12-inch range with carryovers to 15 inches. The lake received 250 larger rainbows, about a pound each, and 2,300 legal-size rainbows in April. The lake also received a plant in May of 30,000 fry, which are now
legal size. The season runs April 26 to Oct. 31. Anglers can reach the lake by traveling either 4.5 miles northeast from Conconully on a dirt road past the upper lake and Sugarloaf Lake or go north on U.S. Highway 97 for 5.5 miles from Riverside, then west on Pine Creek Road for about nine miles. Forde Lake — The 9-acre lake in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area normally is not planted but does contain naturally reproducing eastern brook trout in the 8- to 10-inch range. The nearby 3-acre Reflection Lake was planted with 200 triploid eastern brook in May and could hold a few carryover tiger trout. Forde, built as an impoundment pond in 1949, is open April 26 to Oct. 31. Although there is a small, public boatlaunching area next to the road, the lake is best fished early before weed growth increases. A small boat or float tube works best at the lake, located about 6 miles south of Loomis on Sinlahekin Road. Green Lakes — Green, the larger lake at 45 acres, received 10,000 rainbow fingerlings in May. They should be legal now. The lake also received 1,000 legal fish in May and another 1,250 legal fish in October. Little Green, at 9-acres, was planted with 2,000 fingerlings in May along with 200 legal-sized rainbows in May. Both lakes, located about five miles northwest of Okanogan and Omak, are open to catch-and-release, selective gear rules fishing only from April 1 through Nov. 30.
Electric motors can be used on both Green lakes during the selective gear rules portion of the season. From Dec. 1 through March 31, the lakes switch to a “catch-and-keep” special winter season, without selective gear rules. Fishing is expected to be good for rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range with a few carryovers to 15 inches. Big Green Lake includes a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access area with campsites and a concrete boat launch. Little Green Lake should provide good fishing for 10- to 11-inch rainbow trout as well as some carryover rainbows to 15 inches. Both lakes are nestled in a steep valley where it gets dark an hour before normal.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 5 The larger lake is somewhat disabled accessible, although access is steep. The lower lake has a dirt path. The lakes can be reached by following Salmon Creek Road northwest out of Okanogan for 4.5 miles, then a mile north on Green Lake Road. Anglers also can access the lake by taking Green Lake Road off the Conconully Highway about five miles northwest of Omak. You travel past Brown Lake to reach Big Green. Jasmine Creek — This is a juvenileonly water open year round in the south end of Omak. The creek runs from the Omak Fish Hatchery into the Okanogan River. Anglers must be 14 and younger to fish the creek, which holds a few rainbows. Leader Lake — Leader, open yearround, is located seven miles west of Okanogan off state Highway 20. The popular, 159-acre lake should provide good fishing early in the season for yearling rainbow trout up to 14 inches and larger carryovers. The lake was planted with 4,000 legalsize trout in April, 300 jumbo trout in April and 4,353 put-and-take fish in September. Trout fishing is best April through June. The lake also hosts black crappie, bass and bluegill, which are best caught May through July. Leader includes a Department of Natural Resources campground at both sides of the lake with toilets. Boats can be carried in or launched at a launching facility. Okanogan River — This river flows from Lake Osoyoos near Oroville and the
Al Camp/The Chronicle
The Okanogan River offers several species including, during special openers, steelhead. Canadian border south to the Columbia River near Brewster. It can be good for steelhead when an emergency opener occurs, which has been approximately October to early the next year for the last few seasons. Because steelhead are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, fisheries have been modified substantially for all fish species in the river. A steelhead fishery is dependent upon run size that exceeds natural-origin
escapement requirements. There is a summer Chinook season. From the mouth to the U.S. Highway 97 bridge immediately upstream from the mouth, there is a July 1 to Oct. 15 season for Chinook. From the lower bridge to the bridge from U.S. Highway 97 into Malott and continuing north to the bridge over the Okanogan River into Oroville, there is a July 1 to Sept. 15 season for Chinook. See state regulations that will be out in May for daily limits. Smallmouth bass are the best bet, with fish averaging 10-12 inches, although some can exceed three pounds. There are no size restrictions or daily limits for bass, channel catfish or walleye. There are an excellent boat launch in Brewster on the Columbia, a rough launch at the west end of the Monse bridge and launches in Okanogan and Riverside. Most shorelines are privately owned, so float trips offer the best fishing opportunity. Osoyoos Lake — Open year-round, the lake is located a mile north of Oroville and spans the U.S.-Canadian border. Of the lake’s 5,723 acres, 2,036 acres lie in the U.S. Expect rainbows (use lures/flies imitating sockeye fry), smallmouth and largemouth bass, a few rainbow, kokanee and perch. A few naturally occurring populations of rainbow trout up to 14 inches and larger reside in the lake, as do kokanee in the 10- to 12-inch range. The lake also offers good smallmouth bass fishing spring through fall. Yellow perch can be caught through the ice if winter
conditions get cold enough. A boat launch is near the outlet to the Okanogan River. There also is a park with boat launch at Boundary Point about four miles north of town off U.S. Highway 97. Palmer Lake — This 2,063-acre lake about four miles north of Loomis is gaining popularity for its 10- to 14-inch bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, and 11- to 13inch kokanee. Palmer, which is one of the state’s most diverse fishing experiences in a managed lake, is open all year, although best fished in May and June. There were 118,361 kokanee fry planted last April that should be legal size by the 2014 opener. Other fish in the lake include naturally spawning rainbow, yellow perch (6-10 inches), bass (1-3 pound range) crappie, pikeminnows and a few burbot (freshwater ling, primarily a winter fishery). Perch fishing can be excellent through the ice in the winter. Burbot anglers must comply with the statewide rule of one line with up to three hooks (unless other, more restrictive rules are in effect). There is a U.S. Bureau of Land Management access site with concrete boat launch on the south end and a Department of Natural Resources launch site with gravel launch and camping areas on the north end. There is one resort with cabins, RV spots and small boat rentals available. Rat Lake — This 63-acre lake located five miles north of Brewster off Paradise Hill Road sports a split season.
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Page 6 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Anglers show off a lunker caught in the Okanogan River south of Oroville. It is open under catch-and-release, selective gear rules fishing only April 1 through Nov. 30. Internal combustion motors are prohibited. Electric motors can be used during the selective gear rules season. There is a winter catch-and-keep fishery Dec. 1 to March 31 without selective gear rules. Statewide rules apply for daily limits and minimum size. Fingerlings planted at the lake – 1,000 brown trout and 11,000 rainbows in May – will enter the fishery on opening day. The lake also received a total of 2,500 legal-sized rainbows in April and October. Expect rainbows in the 11- to 15-inch range and brown trout of 10-12 inches with
carryovers up to 16 inches. Drive 3.5 miles north from Brewster up Swamp Creek, and then take a dirt road two miles north up Whitestone Creek. There is a state concrete boat launch, but access may be a problem in winter since the road is not plowed. Reflection Pond — The five-acre pond, sometimes also referred to as Reflection Lake, is located in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, six miles south of Loomis near Forde Lake. Open April 26 through Oct. 31, the lake received 200 fingerling triploid eastern brook last year. It received 100 tiger trout a year earlier. This is a very small, scenic lake that lends
itself well to float tubes and very small boats. Rock Lake — This open-year-round system of two lakes, which are on state land, are managed for cutthroat, although a few Eastern brook and tiger trout from previous years may still be present. Last year, the upper 5-acre lake and lower 4-acre lake each received 500-fingerling cutthroat that should enter the fishery this spring. There is a Department of Natural Resources campsite above the lakes with a short, steep trail leading down to the waters. Fishing is best from shore or from a small raft or float tube. Cutthroat in the upper lake are in the 10to 13-inch range. Fish in the lower, smaller lake are 9-13 inches. The lakes are located 11 miles northwest of Okanogan. Drive west on state Highway 20, then north on Rock Lake Road. Rufus Woods Lake — The 51-mile-long lake, which is open year round, is actually a river reservoir behind Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River just upstream from Bridgeport. Anglers enjoy fishing for triploid rainbows up to12 pounds near net pens adjacent to the Colville Indian Reservation (downstream from Nespelem River) and Columbia River Road. There is a two-trout fish limit and kokanee count as part of the trout limit on the water that forms the border between Douglas County and Colville Indian Reservation in Okanogan County. Other species include walleye (best caught near Elmer City), kokanee, yellow
perch and a few smallmouth bass. It’s illegal to fish for sturgeon. The state has an agreement with the tribe to accept tribal or state licenses if the angler is on the water. Anglers must have a state license if fishing on the Douglas County side from the shore. On the Okanogan County (reservation) side, anglers can possess either a state or a tribal license when fishing from shore at marked, designated tribal fishing areas. Otherwise, a tribal license is required to fish from the shore on the reservation. Consult the tribe’s sport fishing pamphlet for all regulations concerning boundary waters and what licenses are required. Boundary waters include Lake Rufus Woods (Chief Joseph Dam pool), Crawfish Lake,
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Alpine Veterinary Clinic Dee Camp/The Chronicle
An angler casts his line while fishing Sugarloaf Lake north of Conconully.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 7 Lake Pateros (Wells Dam pool), Washburn Island Pond, Okanogan River and Lake Roosevelt (Grand Coulee Dam pool). Steelhead are unable to reach the lake because there is no fish ladder at Chief Joseph Dam. Triploids from Rufus Woods do escape through the dam into the Wells Dam pool, where it is legal to catch them if they possess a floy tag. Otherwise, they must be released because they still possess an adipose fin. Statewide minimum size and daily limits apply. Marked, designated launching areas include Seaton’s Grove Corps of Engineers site two miles downstream from Elmer City, Bridgeport State Park near the lower end, and the Army Corps of Engineers’ site upstream of Chief Joseph Dam on the Douglas County side. Anglers can travel 22 miles south from Okanogan on U.S. Highway 97, then east for eight miles on state Highway 17 to a boat launch near the Chief Joseph Dam. Salmon Creek — Salmon Creek from the Conconully Reservoir to the Okanogan River is closed to protect spawning steelhead. Salmon Creek’s north fork and west fork, which flow into Conconully Reservoir, have a season that runs from Saturday before Memorial Day through Oct. 31. Statewide minimum size and daily limits apply, as do selective gear rules. Bait is not allowed. Schalow Pond — This 7-acre lake is located a mile southeast on a trail from Fish Lake in the Sinlahekin.
Following a rehabilitation in the fall of 2011, the lake was replanted with triploid eastern brook trout, including 250 fingerlings most recently. Trout fishing should be good for 10-inch fish. Heavy weed growth during the summer makes it difficult to fish by midsummer at the lake, where float tubes work best. There’s limited shore access. Anglers should be wary of rattlesnakes sunning themselves along the path to the lake from the east end of Fish Lake. Open year round, the pond is 4.5 miles northeast of Conconully in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area. Silver Nail Lake — The tiny 5-acre lake that is open year round to juveniles only (14 years old and younger) lies four miles north of Oroville off U.S. Highway 97. The lake, which received 200 legal-sized rainbows in May, is best fished from a small boat or float tube for trout in the 9- to 10inch range. There is a state Department of Fish and Wildlife parking area. Boats will need to be hand carried to the lake edge. Similkameen River — Located west of Oroville, this river extends into Canada and offers fair fishing for winter whitefish in a season of Dec. 1 to March 31 from Enloe Dam to the mouth. There is no minimum size for whitefish, with a daily limit of 15 whitefish only; whitefish gear rules apply. The river enters the U.S. from British Columbia six miles north of Palmer Lake and flows about 18 miles south and east to
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Fish caught in the Columbia River near Brewster can reach mammoth proportions.
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Page 8 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Al Camp/The Chronicle
A fish splashes its tail, then disappears below the surface of Conconully Lake. Oroville, dropping over Enloe Dam before entering the Okanogan River. Fishing is closed for all species from 400 feet below the dam to 400 feet upstream of the dam. Steelhead fishing seasons are open through emergency regulation only as the fish are protected under the Endangered Species Act. There is a summer Chinook season July 1 to Sept. 15 from the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Check regulations for daily limit rules since they can change each year. Anglers should check the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website for opening dates and restrictions. When steelhead are allowed to be taken, the river is open from the Okanogan River to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. A steelhead fishery is dependent upon run size, which must exceed natural-origin escapement requirements. A road from Oroville follows the river most of its length to Nighthawk. The Similkameen Trail runs from Oroville to the dam. Sinlahekin Creek — Anglers with gumption and guts — rattlesnakes like to slither among the trees and willows — will find a few rainbow trout in this northrunning stream.
The creek runs parallel to Sinlahekin Road from Blue Lake in the Sinlahekin Valley to Palmer Lake. From Palmer Lake to Cecile Creek bridge, there is short season from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Oct. 31 for all game fish. Statewide minimum size and daily limit apply. Selective rules are in effect. There is a whitefish season Dec. 1 to March 31, 2015, with no minimum size and daily limit of 15 whitefish only. Whitefish gear rules apply. From the Cecile Creek bridge upstream to all tributaries there is a season for all game fish from the Saturday before Memorial Day to Oct. 31. Statewide minimum size and daily limit apply. Smith Lake — This 10-acre lake in the Chiliwist south of Malott can be accessed via Olema Road for rainbows. The lake, which is on Department of Natural Resources land, is best fished from a small boat or float tube for trout in the 10- to 12-inch range. Best times to fish are May and June, along with September and October. Spectacle Lake — This 313-acre lake formed as a reservoir for area orchards is open April 1 to Sept. 30. Anglers can expect rainbow trout in the 10- to 12-inch range with holdovers up to 15
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An angler shows a nice mess of fish caught in Conconully Lake.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 9 inches at the lake nine miles northwest of Tonasket and 2.5 miles east of Loomis off the Loomis-Oroville Road. Spectacle received 12,000 legal-size rainbows in March. The lake also contains largemouth bass, bluegill in the 6- to 8-inch range (best fished May to July) and yellow perch. There three resorts with boat launching facilities plus a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access site with a concrete boat launch and toilets. Starzman Lakes — These three small lakes on Bureau of Land Management land near Brewster off North Star Road are open year round. The 5.5-acre middle lake, which is the only lake managed by the state, received 750 cutthroat fingerlings in September. The lake has received brook and rainbows plantings in the past. The 8-acre upper lake, which was not planted last year, has some rainbow (10-13 inches) and triploid Eastern brook trout. Both lakes are best fished from a float tube or from shore. The lower 4.3-acre lake contains largemouth bass and bluegill. Most anglers park and walk to the lakes, which seem to escape winterkill, rather than take on the steep, unmaintained rough road to the lakes. Small boats or canoes can be launched if you can get them to the lakes. Head north from Brewster on Old Highway 97 for 1.5 miles, turn left to follow Starzman Creek eight miles to the south end of lower Starzman Lake. Sugarloaf Lake — This 10-acre lake north of Conconully Lake, which has dwindled due to drought, has not been planted in the last year. The lake holds a few rainbow and triploid eastern brook trout, which are in the 8- to 10-inch range. There is a U.S. Forest Service campground with a gravel launch site for small boats. The campground is a favorite of fall deer hunters. (Big) Tiffany Lake — This walk-in lake holds cutthroat trout, which cannot be kept and must be released if caught, and Eastern brook, with a 10-fish bag limit (to encourage the taking of the brook trout) in the lake and its tributaries. The 20-acre lake, which is fished hard early and open year round, is about 12 miles northwest of Conconully. Little Tiffany Lake, which is about four acres and holds cutthroats (must be
released), is 0.7 mile south of Big Tiffany. Wannacut Lake — This 412-acre lake north of Whitestone Lake often lags behind warmer, lower-elevation lakes by a few weeks, but continues to be a good fishing lake for rainbow trout in the 10- to 12-inch range with a few carryovers up to 14 inches. The lake, which has an April 26 to Oct. 31 season, contains saline water (magnesium sulfate) that makes fish taste especially good. The lake, which is planted only with rainbow trout, received 2,600 legal-sized fish, 250 jumbos and 357 triploids (1-2 pounds each) in April. There were 50,000 fingerlings planted in May last year that should enter the fishery this year. Anglers can go north from Tonasket on the west side of the Okanogan River for 4.5 miles, then west for another 4.5 miles on Loomis-Oroville Road and then north four miles to the south end of the lake. Another route is 2.5 miles south of Oroville on the west side of the Okanogan River, then west three miles past Blue Lake to the north tip of Wannacut on Wannacut Lake Road. The lake is best fished from a boat due to limited shore access. A resort and public access with toilets and launch are available. Washburn Island Pond — Among the weed beds, anglers are catching largemouth bass, bluegill (some good-sized ones) and channel catfish at this 130-acre diked area off the Columbia River five miles east of Brewster off state Highway 17. The pond, located on the Colville Indian Reservation, has an April 1 to Sept. 30 season. Anglers must possess both state and Colville tribal fishing licenses if fishing from shore on reservation property. A state license is required for fishing from a boat. Statewide minimum size and daily limit rules apply. Largemouth bass run up to a couple pounds at the pond 22 miles south of Okanogan. From Okanogan, travel south on U.S. Highway 97 to the truck weigh station and travel east on state Highway 17 for about a mile to a southbound road to the pond. Use of an internal combustion engine is prohibited, although boaters can have an internal combustion engine attached to their boat. Electric motors are OK. A Douglas County Public Utility District boat launch has been upgraded, with toilets and parking available.
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A lineup of brook trout awaits the frying pan.
Washburn Lake — Expect a short hike to reach triploid Eastern brook trout and a few tiger trout in this 13-acre lake located on Palmer Mountain two miles northeast of Loomis. The lake, which is on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, is open April 26 to Oct. 31. There is a two-fish limit on triploid eastern brook trout that reach 12-13 inches. There is a BLM campground with boat access limited to craft that can be carried a short distance to the lake. Go north then west from Loomis on an unimproved road starting near the west end of Spectacle Lake. Whitestone Lake — Open all year, this 173-acre lake is considered one of the most important warm-water fisheries in the county. The lake is located about five miles
northwest of Tonasket with largemouth bass biting well from May through July. There is a largemouth bass slot limit with a daily catch limit of five fish less than 12 inches or over 17 inches. No more than one fish can be more than 17 inches. Bass seem to be thriving, with some reaching the two- to four-pound range. Channel catfish and bluegill (4-inch range) also reside in the lake. The best fishing is in the spring before bass start diving for cover. Drive north from Tonasket on the west side of the Okanogan River for 4.5 miles, then west for three miles to the lake. There is a well-developed state Department of Fish and Wildlife public access that includes handicap access along with launch and toilets. Camping is allowed.
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Page 10 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Methow Valley waters offer variety Alta Lake — This 184-acre lake west of Pateros should provide good fishing all summer for rainbows and kokanee. The lake annually boots out rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range with carryovers up to 16 inches. Kokanee are expected to enter the fishery this year. There were 20,035 kokanee planted in May, along with 300 jumbo rainbows and 357 triploids (1-2 pounds each) in April. There were 30,000 fingerling rainbows planted in April. There is a state park with camping and a concrete boat launch, a private resort that can launch larger boats and an 18-hole golf course on the road to the lake, located two miles southwest of Pateros. The lake, which is ideal for small boats and canoes, has a season that runs April 26 to Sept. 30. Alta is reached by driving 1.5 miles west of Pateros on state Highway 153, then south about a mile. Andrews Creek — Open from June 1 through Oct. 31, Andrews offers native rainbows. There is a two-fish limit. Fish must be eight inches long. Depending on the snow pack, the creek is best fished in late June. Andrews is located 19 miles north of Winthrop on Chewuch River Road. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a campground next to the creek. Aspen Lake — This shallow lake, which is open year round, is owned by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and sometimes suffers from winter kill. The semi-remote lake, 0.7 mile southwest of Moccasin Lake (a private lake), holds triploid Eastern brooks and cutthroat trout. The state planted 100 cutthroat fry in August. Anglers can park at the end of Frost Road and walk about a mile to the lake, which is best fished with tubes or from shore. Fish average 10-11 inches. Big Buck Lake — The seldomfished lake, which was planted with 700 legal-size rainbow in May, has a year-round season. The 20-acre lake is located due south of Moccasin Lake (a private lake) on state Department of Fish and Wildlife land. The easiest way to reach the lake is follow the same directions to reach Aspen Lake off the Twisp River Road. Big Buck Lake (Chewuch) – The 15-acre lake received a plant of 1,000 cutthroat fry in September. The lake is located on U.S.
Black Pine Lake offers fishing, a resident beaver population and spectacular alpine views. Forest Service land eight miles north of Winthrop within the Chewuch River drainage. There is a gravel launch site and Forest Service campground. Rainbows in the past ranged from 11-12 inches. The cutthroat fry should enter the fishery this spring. Big Hidden Lake — The lake, located in the Pasayten Wilderness, is for those looking for a little adventure. Located about 34 miles northwest of Winthrop, it annually produces decent-sized rainbows in the 10- to 14-inch class. The 71-acre lake lies at about 4,300 feet elevation and sees a lot of action from backpackers and horse packers. Travel about 20 miles from Winthrop on the Lost River Road past Mazama on the Mazama Road. A one- to two-day hike to the lake starts at the head of Lost River at the Billy Goat Corral. Black Pine Lake – This 13acre scenic lake that is open all year is located on U.S. Forest Service property six miles southwest of Twisp at 3,900 feet. Fishing holds up well all summer for cutthroat trout in the 10- to 13-inch range. The state planted 2,000 cutthroat fingerlings in September. There is a Forest Service
campsite at the lake with a dock and gravel boat launch. A snowmobile will be needed to access the lake during the winter. To reach the lake, travel northwest on Libby Creek Road, off state Highway 153 south of Carlton, to Black Pine Lake Road to the lake. Alternatively, travel west on Twisp River Road out of Twisp to Poorman Creek Road, then southwest to the lake. Cougar Lake — This catchand-release lake is open April 1 through Aug. 31, the same as for Davis and Campbell lakes. There is a catch-and-keep season of Sept. 1 to March 31 with a standard five-fish limit. The 9-acre lake is located south of Winthrop in the Methow Wildlife Area at about 3,400 feet elevation. Cougar gets little pressure because only snowmobilers have access during winter months. The lake received 500 legal-size rainbows in the spring. There is a campground nearby with a graveled boat launch for smaller watercraft. Travel 2.5 miles south of Winthrop on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road, go east about a mile on Bear Creek Road to the Davis Lake turnoff, then north 1.5 miles
and east for a mile on County Road No. 3514. Crater Lakes — Open year round, this high-mountain lake chain at 6,900 feet elevation includes one 15.8-acre lake managed for cutthroat. Located in the Sawtooth Ridge area on the north side of Whiskey Mountain, Crater Lakes offer cutthroat to walk-in anglers. Go northwest 18 miles on state Highway 153 from Pateros to the mouth of Gold Creek. A Forest Service road follows Gold Creek for eight miles. A good trail of five miles leads to the lakes. Dibble Lake — This 5-acre lake off Wandling Road near Twin Lakes Road was planted with 100 legal rainbows in May. The shallow lake, which is open year round, requires a quarter-mile walk from a parking area down a driveway to a public fishing area as agreed upon by the property owner. The lake is best fished from a float tube. If fish survive the winter, expect rainbows in the 11- to 13-inch range. Duffy Lake — The nine-acre lake, open year round, is situated at 6,500 feet elevation with cutthroat and is not ice-free until July.
Take Forest Service Road No. 4420 (old No. 338) for 10 miles west of Twisp up Oval Creek to the Oval Creek Trail. Hike 4.5 miles south, then cross country eastward for a mile. Eightmile Creek — This creek, which contains a fair number of Eastern brook trout, is eight miles north of Winthrop and open the first Saturday in June (June 1 this year) to Oct. 31. There is a five-fish limit and no minimum size for brookies, which are best caught in August and September. Take the Chewuch River Road north for eight miles to the mouth of the creek. Gold Creek — The creek, located about four miles south of Carlton off Highway 173, is closed from its mouth to the confluence with North Fork Gold Creek. The creek is open from the north fork upstream, and sports rainbows and a few cutthroat. There is a two-fish limit with an eight-inch minimum. The season runs from the first Saturday in June (June 1) to Oct. 31. Foggy Dew Campground is at the junction of the north fork of the creek and Foggy Dew Creek. Lost River — The river, which drains into the Methow River about five miles northwest of Mazama, is closed from its mouth to Monument Creek. From Monument Creek to the outlet of Cougar Lake, there is a catch-and-keep season June 1 to Oct. 31. There is a two-fish daily limit and a 14-inch minimum size. Anglers must use selective gear, including barbless hooks. Bait is not allowed. A well-marked trail starts just past the bridge. Louis Lake — This 27-acre lake, which receives a lot of pressure, contains mostly cutthroat, although a few rainbows roam the water. To reach the 5,300-foot elevation lake, travel 22 miles west of Twisp along the Twisp River to South Creek Campground, then hike two miles up South Creek to Louis Creek Trail and another three miles to the lake. Louis Lake is open year round, although ice usually is not off until June. Methow River — The river provides good opportunities during selected seasons. There is a catch-and-release season for resident rainbow and cutthroat trout under selective gear rules Saturday before Memorial Day through Sept. 30 from Gold
2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 11 Creek to Foghorn Dam, a mile upstream from Winthrop. A whitefish season runs on the stretch Dec. 1 to March 31, with no minimum size and a daily catch limit of 15 whitefish. Whitefish gear rules apply. There is a catch-and-release season with selective gear rules from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Sept. 15 from County Road 1535 (lower Burma Road) bridge to Gold Creek. There is a catch-and-release season with selective gear rules from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Aug. 15 from Foghorn Dam to the Weeman Bridge (eight miles upstream of Winthrop). A whitefish season runs Dec. 1 to March 31, 2015. There is a whitefish season Dec. 1 to March 31, 2015, from the Weeman Bridge to the falls above Brush Creek. Selective gear rules apply, with no internal combustion motors allowed on all tributaries not listed by the state under specific regulations for Okanogan County. A trout season runs the Saturday before Memorial Day to Oct. 31. There is an eightinch minimum size and maximum 20-in size, with a two fish daily limit. All steelhead must be released. Statewide minimum size and daily limit apply to all other game fish. The last few years an emergency rule allowed for a steelhead fishery. The steelhead seasons depend on run forecasts exceeding natural production and hatchery brood stock requirements. Dolly Varden/bull trout fishing is prohibited to help improve numbers of the native char. The river is closed on the stretch from Lower Burma Road bridge downstream to the mouth. Camping is available, but steep river banks are not very accessible to wheelchair users. The river starts high on the east Cascade crest at the head of the Methow Valley and runs to the Columbia River. There are several access areas along state Highway 153, which intersects with state Highway 20 south of Twisp, and parallels the river to its mouth. Five Forest Service campgrounds with toilets border the upper reaches of the Methow River above Mazama. Patterson Lake — This 143-acre lake, which is open year round, is a mixed-species fishery 3.5 miles west of Winthrop. The state planted 118,361 kokanee fry and
The Methow River contains whitefish, trout and, under emergency openers, steelhead. Seasons for the latter depend on fish numbers. 16,000 rainbow fingerlings in April. Anglers can expect trout in the 10- to 11inch range. Yellow perch in the 6- to 8-inch range have been reported. The lake also contains largemouth and smallmouth bass. Follow Patterson Lake Road from Twin Lakes. There is a state access site, which includes public toilets, with a gravel boat launch plus a resort with cabins and small boat rentals. Pearrygin Lake — The popular lake north of Winthrop should produce good fishing for rainbows 10-13 inches and carryovers in the 14- to 15-inch range. The state planted 357 triploid trout (1-2 pounds each) in April along with 66,074 rainbow fry and 2,000 tiger trout fry in May. The 192-acre lake, which has a season of April 26 to Sept. 30, features a resort, a state park with hook-ups and a state boat launch. Toilets, campsites and a fishing pier are handicap-accessible. Pearrygin is located 1.5 miles northeast of Winthrop. A road from the center of town leads to the lake. Tungsten Lake — This small lake, which contains cutthroat trout, is located
about 55 miles north of Winthrop. Anglers, starting at the trailhead at the end of the Chewuch River Road, will hike several days to the lake, located near Aspen Mountain. Alpine lakes are open year round unless listed in special rules. Anglers have best success in mid-summer after the ice is off. Twisp River — A large tributary of the Methow River, the river remains closed for all fishing from War Creek to the south fork of the Twisp River near the Lake ChelanSawtooth Wilderness boundary. There is a catch-and-release season for rainbows and cutthroat from the Saturday before Memorial Day to Aug. 15 from the mouth to War Creek. Selective gear restrictions are in effect, including barbless hooks and no bait. Twisp River Road follows the river from Twisp for 25 miles upstream, with numerous campsites available. Anglers should check the state pamphlet for tributaries that are closed. Varden Lake — This small, high lake at 6,191 feet contains cutthroat trout. A 5.2 -mile trail with an elevation gain of 3,700 feet is located in the Silver Star Mountain area west of Mazama. From Winthrop take state Highway 20
west to Forest Road 5310-200 and park in the gravel pit. The unsigned trail to the lake is about 200 feet on the right of the Cedar Creek Trail. The unmaintained trail climbs steeply uphill then follows the ridge top to tiny Mudhole Lake (no fish). From there to Varden Lake there is no trail, just a scramble route to the top of the ridge (great view of Silver Star Mountain) and a steep descent to the lake. Varden, which is off the beaten path and away from crowds, is best fished July through October. War Creek — The creek is open June 1 to Oct. 31. Like all creeks in the Methow Valley watershed, War Creek contains small rainbow (6-9 inches). It is illegal to retain bull trout (Dolly Varden). They must not be removed from the water prior to release. This creek is only for those hardy enough to fight through the brush to get to the fish. The creek joins the Twisp River at the U.S. Forest Service’s War Creek Campground about 15 miles west of Twisp. A road follows the creek for two miles and a trail runs parallel to the creek for another 10 miles to its headwaters at War Creek Pass.
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Page 12 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Highlands waters offer diversity Beaver Lakes — These small lakes, open year round and located northeast of Tonasket, contain cutthroat, rainbow, Eastern brook and tiger trout. Big Beaver received state fry plants of 1,000 tiger trout and 6,000 rainbow in May, along with 2,000 cutthroat in August. There were 2,000 legal rainbow planted in October. Little Beaver received 500 cutthroat fry in August and 594 triploid eastern brook fingerlings in May. The lake also received 650 legal rainbows in May and again in October. The lakes produces well early in the season. Fishing, especially with a fly, picks up again in September and October. The lakes should be ice-free for the opener, although they lie at about 2,700 feet elevation. The 5.7-acre Little Beaver Lake, located 1,100 feet east of Big Beaver Lake, was rehabilitated in 2012 to remove illegally planted yellow perch. Go east on state Highway 20 from Tonasket for about 18 miles, then north 12 miles past Bonaparte Lake. From Oroville, drive east on the county road through Chesaw and take Forest Road No. 9480 to reach Beaver Lakes and Beth Lake. Signs along the way also will direct travelers to Lost and Bonaparte lakes. The main Beaver Lake features U.S. Forest Service campground and a gravel boat launch. Another campground is at the smaller lake. The lake provides ice fishing during the winter. Anglers can expect fish in the 10-13 inch range at the lakes. Beth Lake — This 13-acre lake is located a half-mile northwest of Big Beaver Lake and is open all year. Beth received 1,000 cutthroat fingerlings in August and 3,000 rainbow fry in May. The state planted 1,000 legal rainbow in October. The annual planting is needed because of winter kill, although some years there are a few carryovers. Take County Road No. 9480 from Little Beaver to Beth Lake. There are a boat launch and Forest Service campground. Bonaparte Creek — The creek, which flows from Bonaparte Lake to the Okanogan River through Tonasket, is closed from the mouth to the falls, about a mile upstream, to protect steelhead spawning and rearing. The closure is a cooperative effort with the Colville Confederated Tribes. Above the falls, the creek carries the typical stream season of the Saturday before Memorial Day to Oct. 31. Bonaparte Lake — This 159-acre lake is considered the most diverse state-managed lake in the county with kokanee, rainbow, eastern brook and tiger trout. Fingerling plants last May included 4,000 tiger trout, 29,926 triploid eastern brook and 14,465 kokanee. There were 500 legal rainbow planted in May.
Anglers can expect kokanee in the 10- to 13-inch range, brookies in the 10- to 12-inch range and tiger trout up to 15 inches. The lake also holds smallmouth bass, rainbows and a rare Mackinaw (lake trout). The state encourages anglers to retain smallmouth bass in an effort to reduce their population in the lake and to balance the trout species. The lake is open all year with a fivetrout limit, with only one trout being allowed over 20 inches. Bonaparte, which is a popular winter and summer fishing lake, is located about 20 miles east of Tonasket and north off state Highway 20. Matt Marsh There is a resort with cabins, Youngsters show their catch at Bonaparte Lake, the Matt Marsh camping and boat county’s most diverse state-managed water. launch plus a A youngj fisherman clutches his catch during a Fishing national forest campground with a boat Tonasket. Day event at Bonaparte Lake in 2013. The state planted 2,000 ramp and fishing pier. The scenic lake also can be reached from fingerling rainbow last May at Oroville via a scenic route through Chesaw. the reservoir that can be reached quarter mile away is Round Lake. Access is off Havillah and Swanson Mill roads. Follow signs to Bonaparte or Lost Lake. available to both lakes, which lie on private The reservoir suffers from irrigation property. Crawfish — Crawfish, which is open April 26 to Oct. 31, is partially on state land draw-down and sometimes winter kills. Low water conditions make it necessary Expect rainbows in the 10- to 12-inch for anglers to carry boats or slide them down and partially on Colville tribal land (southern range, along with a few Eastern brook trout. half) about 12 miles east of Riverside. a bank into the lake. The reservoir is best fished from a small The state, which manages the water, in Lost Lake — This quiet lake north of May 2013 planted 5,000 rainbow fingerlings boat or float tube. Bonaparte Lake was planted 9,400 triploid Long Lake — This 17-acre lake is eastern brook last May. and 5,000 triploid Eastern brook. A state license is required when fishing suffering from low water levels like its Lost is open all year and produces from a boat. A tribal permit is required when neighbors, Ell and Round lakes. brookies of 10-13 inches. The future might be good since the state fishing from shore on tribal land. Internal combustion motors are Anglers can expect rainbows in the 10- to planted 3,000 rainbow fingerlings and 500 prohibited. The state minimum size and 12-inch range and brookies in the 10-inch legal-sized rainbows last May, along with 50 daily limit applies. It’s unlawful to use lead jumbo rainbows in April. range. weights or lead jigs measuring one-and-aBut a boat ramp may be difficult to use half inches or less along the longest axis. There is a U.S. Forest Service due to the low water levels. Expect to carry a campground with a boat launch at the lake. The lead restriction is due to nesting Internal combustion motors are boat a short distance to the lake. loons at the lake. Expect to catch yearling rainbows 10-11 prohibited. The 47-acre lake is best fished in the The 80-acre lake, at 4,475 feet elevation, inches. spring and fall. Warm, summer waters cause Long is east of Tonasket in the Aeneas brookies to become night feeders at the lake, can be reached by traveling northeast 18 miles up Tunk Valley out of Riverside or by Valley within a chain of lakes producing located at an elevation of 3,817 feet. going north from state Highway 155 on the yearling rainbows to 11 inches with a few There is a Forest Service campground Lyman Lake-Moses Mountain Road to carryovers to 15 inches during a season of with graveled boat launch available at the April 26 to Sept. 30. Crawfish Lake Road. north end. Take state Highway 20 east from Fancher Dam Reservoir — This 20Take Highway 20 east out of Tonasket for acre reservoir that’s open year round offers Tonasket to Aeneas Valley Road, then east 15 miles to Bonaparte Lake Road, then north rainbow trout about 11 miles northeast of seven miles to the lakeshore. Less than one- 13 miles to the lake.
2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 13 Lost Creek — This is one of several creeks in the Highlands offering natural spawning Eastern brook in the 6- to 8-inch range with a few 10-inchers. Other Highland creeks include Toroda, Bonaparte and Myers. Lost Creek is open June 1 to Oct. 31. The creek, which may hold a few rainbows, is mostly surrounded by private land. Anglers should get permission from landowners before fishing. Lost Creek is located about 24 miles southeast of Tonasket on Aeneas Valley Road. The creek is a tributary of the San Poil River’s west fork. A road one mile west of Aeneas leads south up the creek for about 10 miles. There is a Forest Service campground about two miles up the creek. Lyman Lake — This 3.5-acre lake, which is located near the Aeneas Valley, was planted with 500 cutthroat fingerlings in September. The lake, which can suffer from algae blooms, is located off Aeneas Valley Road on U.S. Forest Service property. There is a campsite and shore access for small boats or float tubes at the lake, elevation 2,880 feet. Molson Lake — The 20-acre lake, which is open year round, can suffer from winter kill but also can produce rainbows in the 1012-inch range. Molson, which is located near Sidley Lake, was planted with 1,500 legal-size rainbows in May and October. Sidley is a popular winter fishery. An annual winter fishing derby is held at Sidley and Molson in February. Take the Tonasket Creek Road for eight miles east of Oroville, then north five miles through Molson to the lake. Myers Creek — Although access is limited because most of the creek travels through private land, local anglers enjoy fishing for rainbow and brooks up to 10 inches. The creek, best fished in the fall on the lower end, is open June 1 to Oct. 31. Take Havillah Road, then Nealey Road from Tonasket northeast for about 20 miles. The creek runs adjacent to the road for several miles. Round Lake — This lake of less than 20 acres is located next to Long Lake in Aeneas Valley. The lake, which is open from the fourth Saturday in April to Sept. 30, has been popular on opening day for rainbows in the 11- to 12-inch range. The lake received 50 jumbo and 750 legal rainbows in April, along with 3,000 rainbow fingerlings in May. Low water in recent years makes launching a boat nearly impossible. Boats can be carried a short distance to the lake. Round is reached by taking state Highway 20 east from Tonasket to Aeneas Valley Road, then east seven miles to the lakeshore. Both Round and Long, located a quartermile away, are suffering from low water levels. Sidley Lake — The 109-acre lake located near Molson at 3,675 feet is open year round for rainbow trout. The state planted 2,500 legal rainbow in may and another 4,000 in October. There is a daily limit of two trout. For
Roger Harnack/The Chronicle
Anglers hunker down for a cool wait for fish on Sidley Lake during the annual Northwest Ice Fishing Tournament. other game fish, follow the state minimum size and daily limits. Rainbows are in the 11- to 13-inch range. The lake includes an aerator operated jointly by a local property owner, the Oroville Sportsmen’s Club and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Sidley is a popular winter fishery. An annual winter fishing derby is at Sidley and Molson in February.
There is a state access site with a gravel boat launch. Sidley, which has good shore access from a road that parallels the lake, is located one mile south of the U.S.-Canadian border and 0.7 mile from Molson. From Oroville, take the Chesaw Road up Tonasket Creek for eight miles then north five miles on Molson Road through Molson and past Molson Lake.
Summit Lake — This 11-acre lake, located 5.5 miles southeast of Oroville near Mount Hull, received 1,000 cutthroat fingerlings in September. The lake, located at 4,320 feet, provides good fishing through the summer. There are several campsites at the lake, best fished with a float tube or pontoon boat. Fish, which can include eastern brook, average 10-13 inches.
Page 14 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
For selective waters, Okanogan County is tops By Al Camp The Chronicle Okanogan County possesses some of the state’s best selective gear waters, headed by Chopaka, Blue, Big Twin and Aeneas lakes. Chopaka and Aeneas are the county’s only fly fishing-only lakes. Chopaka, which heats up later in the season due to its altitude, boots out rainbows up to 18 inches. Aeneas fishes well early and late, with many rainbow and brown trout that seem to get bigger each year. Low water levels continue to plague Ell Lake, where for the second year there has not been a planting scheduled. Okanogan County’s selective or fly fishing-only lakes include: Aeneas Lake — This popular 61-acre lake about three miles southwest of Tonasket is a fly fishing-only lake open the fourth Saturday in April until Oct. 31. Aeneas received 500 brown trout fingerlings in May and 1,069 put-and-letgrow rainbows in September. Anglers can expect to hook rainbow in the 14- to 16-inch range and browns in the 12- to 15-inch range. There is no minimum size and a daily limit of one fish. Motors, including electric ones, are prohibited. Anglers must use barbless hooks. The water level at the lake remains relatively stable. Car-top boats can be launched on a gravel access and toilets are available at a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access. The lake is best fished with pontoon boat, small rowboat or float tube. There is very limited shore access. Rattlesnakes can be found along the shoreline, especially the north shoreline. A plateau on the south end overlooking the lake is available for camping and offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding hills. Best fishing months are May and June, along with September and October. From Tonasket, travel south a half-mile on county Highway 7 on the west side of the Okanogan River, then travel west 3.5 miles. Big Twin — The popular, selective gear, 77-acre lake south of Winthrop benefits from a winter aerator program. Rainbows can be landed in the 12- to 18inch range at the lake, which has a one-fish limit. Big Twin received 4,000 rainbow fry in June and 100 jumbo trout in April. The lake, where the season runs April 26 to Oct. 31, is best fished in May and June, along with September and October. During the hot summer months, anglers can used weighted lines to reach the fish. Gas-operated motors are prohibited, but electric motors are allowed. Selective gear rules apply. A state Department of Fish and Wildlife access area includes a gravel boat launch for smaller boats and a toilet. There is a resort (a good place to check on fishing conditions) with camping and a boat launch.
Blue Lake in the Sinlahekin is planted with brown and rainbow trout. Internal combustion motors are prohibited.
Dee Camp/The Chronicle
Big Twin is two miles south of Winthrop off state Highway 20. There are marked turnoffs near Winthrop and Twin Lakes Road near Liberty Bell High School. Black Lake — This higher-elevation (4,000 feet), 66-acre lake is fished for rainbow trout. The lake, which is open year round, can be reached on a 5.5-mile trail in the Pasayten Wilderness that starts on Lake Creek, off the Chewuch River Road about 20 miles north of Winthrop. It is not a fly fishing-only lake or a trophyfishing lake, but rather a lake falling under the selective fishery rules where bait is illegal because of threatened bull trout. Bull trout (Dolly Varden) must be released if caught incidentally and cannot be removed from the water. Black usually is the first lake in the wilderness to become ice free, thus it receives more pressure than many other lakes in the Pasayten. The lake has not been planted with rainbow trout for many years. Two nearby lakes — Halfmoon (16 acres) and Kidney (13 acres) — contain cutthroat. Blue Lake (in the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area) — The 186-acre lake that falls under selective gear rules and is about eight miles north of Conconully continues to be one of the best in the county for sizeable rainbows and browns. Blue was planted with 1,000 brown trout fry in May and 7,000 rainbow fingerlings in June. Internal combustion motors are prohibited, although you can use electric motors. There’s a one-fish daily limit for trout. It’s unlawful to use lead weights or lead jigs measuring one and one-half inches or less along the longest axis. To get a fly down use a weighted fly line. Anglers fishing deep with flies should do well for two age classes of rainbows –
yearlings in the 10- to 12-inch range and carryovers up to 15 inches. Browns reach up to 18 inches. Blue is open April 26 to Oct. 31. The lake is four miles north of Fish Lake in the
Sinlahekin Wildlife Area. There is a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access site with camping, toilets and gravel boat launch at the handicap-accessible lake that lies at an elevation of 1,686 feet.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 15 To reach the lake, go north about 10 miles from Omak on U.S. Highway 97 then west on Pine Creek Road for about nine miles. Continue past Fish Lake and go another four miles north to the lake on Sinlahekin Road. Blue Lake (near Wannacut Lake) — Fishing for Lahontan cutthroats in the 12- to 18-inch range (up to three pounds) can be expected at this 111-acre lake a mile north of Wannacut Lake and three miles southwest of Oroville. Selective gear rules apply at Blue, where Lahontan cutthroat thrive in alkaline water. The state planted 2,044 Lahontan cutthroat in September. There is a one-fish daily limit at Blue, which has an April 26 to Oct. 31 season. Internal combustion motors are prohibited, but electric motors are allowed. A state Department of Fish and Wildlife access site with a campsite and graveled launch is available. Buzzard Lake — The 16-acre lake, five miles southwest of Okanogan on Buzzard Lake Road off state Highway 20, is a selective gear and one-fish limit lake with an April 26 to Oct. 31 season. The lake received 500 legal-size rainbows and 50 jumbos in May. There is a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access site with an unimproved boat launch and camping area. The lake can suffer winter kill, although if fish make it to the next year you can expect carryovers up to 18 inches. Campbell Lake – This 11-acre lake sports a split season three miles east of Winthrop in the Methow Wildlife Area. The lake is open for catch-and-release using selective gear rules April 1 to Aug. 31. Internal combustion motors are prohibited. All game fish using state minimum size and daily limits can be caught Sept. 1 to March 31. The small lake, which sometimes winterkills, is best fished with a small boat or float tube. The lake received 500 legal rainbow in May and 1,000 trout fingerlings in June. To reach the lake, take Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road from either Winthrop or Twisp before going east on Bear Creek Road before continuing on Lester Road before taking a short road to the lake. Chopaka Lake — The popular 149-acre lake, which provides some of the best camping scenery in the county, is located at the 2,900-foot mark on Chopaka Mountain
about six miles north of Loomis. The fly fishing-only lake has a one-fish limit and motors of all kind are prohibited. The season runs April 26 to Oct. 31. Chopaka received 500 legal rainbows in October and 5,000 rainbow fry in June. Rainbows, which munch on mayflies and are in the 12- to 18-inch range, are best fished the first and last couple months of the season and again in the fall. The first part of the road to the lake is steep and can be extremely rough in April. The road often is impassable to large trailers and recreational vehicles. A state Department of Natural Resources campground at the lake offers 15 sites, and includes picnic tables, fire pits, a fishing pier and toilets. There also is a Bureau of Land Management campground. There are two, small graveled boat launches. Davis Lake — This popular Methow Valley lake near Winthrop is open to catchand-release, selective gear rules April 1 through Aug. 31. Combustion engines are not allowed on the lake, electric motors only during this season. A catch-and-keep season is Sept. 1 through March 31 without selective gear rules. The popular, 30-acre acre lake is fished intensely opening day. It’s a favorite for many Labor Day weekend anglers. The lake received 3,000 rainbow fry in June and 1,500 catchable rainbows between April and May. Expect to catch rainbows in the 10- to 14inch range. There is a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access site with a graveled boat launch. Travel 2.5 miles south of Winthrop on the Twisp-Winthrop Eastside Road, go east about a mile on Bear Creek Road before heading south a mile to the lake. Ell Lake — The small lake east of Tonasket has not been planted for several years due to aeration problems and lowwater levels. Selective gear rules apply. Internal combustion motors are prohibited. There is a one-fish limit. Drought conditions continue to reduce the size of the former 21-acre lake, which suffers from summer kill. Ell, which has not been planted since
Roger Harnack/The Chronicle
A woman works a fly rod on the Methow River, which is open to various types of fishing. 2011, has a season of April 26 to Oct. 31. There is a one-fish daily limit. Selective fishery regulations apply. Gas-operated motors are prohibited. There is a state Department of Fish and Wildlife access area, but boats or tubes must be carried to the shoreline. There is camping areas and toilet available. Take state Highway 20 east from Tonasket for about 12 miles, and then go south on Aeneas Valley Road for about five miles.
Grimes Lake — The private lake that is leased by the state is open to the public in northern Douglas County. Selective gear rules apply. Internal combustion motors are prohibited while electric motors are allowed. The popular lake is open June 1 through Aug. 31 with a one-fish limit. The state Fish and Wildlife Department manages the 124-acre lake for Lahontan cutthroat up to 20 inches. The state planted 8,059 cutthroat fry in October. Lures work well the first couple weeks of the season at the lake, followed by fly fishing later. The lake is located north of Jameson Lake and about five miles southeast of Mansfield. Access is via a rough dirt road off of Wittig Road south from Mansfield. Parking is limited for the opener. Little Twin Lake — The 24-acre lake south of Winthrop has a season of April 26 through Oct. 31 for rainbows. The selective gear lake with a one-fish limit has a tendency to winterkill, although fish making it through the winter can reach up to 16 inches. The state planted 350 legal-sized rainbows in April. There is a state Fish and Wildlife Department access area, with toilet and a small, steep graveled boat launch. The lake is best fished with tubes or small boats carried to the lake. Little Twin lies two miles south of Winthrop with marked turnoffs from state Highway 20.
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Page 16 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
Warm spring bodes well for fishing By Al Camp The Chronicle A warm and pleasant spring in Ferry County should lead to a great general fishing season that opens April 26 and runs to Oct. 31. “I don’t know what things are like over there, but it’s actually been a pretty nice spring so far,” District Fish Biologist Bill Baker said. “I suspect almost all the lakes or all of them will be ice-free and available for the opener. This year we should be in good shape. “I think it should overall be a very good fishing year. I am looking forward to the opener getting here.” There will be a ton of fish available in Curlew Lake, where Baker continues to monitor a yellow perch infestation. “There’s still the same concerns about Curlew,” he said. “We will be doing a survey in Curlew this year. There’s nothing new to add in terms of results.” Illegally planted perch were discovered in 2012 during spring and fall samplings, Baker said. Ferry County waters include rainbow trout, Eastern brook, whitefish, largemouth bass and tiger muskies, which are only in Curlew. Anglers are reminded there are lead weight restrictions to protect nesting loons
Bob Whittaker/Special to The Chronicle
The Ferry County Rail Trail trestle crosses Curlew Lake, which is one of the county’s top fishing lakes.
2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 17 on Swan, Ferry and Pierre lakes. Lead cannot be used in flies at Long Lake, a fly fishingonly lake. Several high-elevation lakes lie within the Colville National Forest. Major lakes within the county are: Curlew Lake — The 870-acre lake that’s open year-round continues to boot out rainbows along with largemouth bass and tiger muskies about four miles northeast of Republic along state Highway 21 North. Early season fishing is best for rainbows, many of which have been net-pen-raised. “The rainbow fishing is the primary draw, and it should be good this year,” Baker said. “I expect it to be on par with what we’ve seen the last five years or so.” Trout roam the lake in the 14- to 16-inch range, with 14-inchers common in April. “I expect it to be good trout fishing, the same as last year,” Baker said. Part of the success at the largest lake by far in the county lies with the Curlew Lake Association, which raises about 60,000 rainbows in net pens before releasing them in October. The net pen trout, coupled with the state’s planting of fry in the fall, mean the lake receives 180,000 to 200,000 trout each year. “The Curlew Lake Association has done a spectacular job,” Baker said. “It’s one reason the trout fishing has been so good the last few years.” The net pen trout enter the fishery by spring at around 10.5 to 11 inches. The state’s fry plants take an additional year to be viable. “It’s a big lake and it’s a really good rainbow trout fishery,” Baker said. “Things have been working well.” As for the infestation of perch, Baker said a rehab would be a tremendous cost and very difficult logistically due to a year-round outflow. “It would not be a realistic rehab to pull off,” he said. “At this point, we don’t need to. We will watch the perch population and watch how things progress.” Muskies must be released unless they are 50 inches or longer. There is a one-fish per day limit. Baker said it was difficult to estimate how many muskies might be in the catchable range, but he estimated a lot were in the 40plus-inch range. “There is a decent population of fish over 40 inches,” he said of one of the few lakes in the state with the fish. “If I was looking for large tiger muskies, that is the water I would go fish. We plant them every year with a relatively low-density stocking.” The plants have been just about every year since 1998, when muskie were introduced to control northern pikeminnows in the lake. “Muskies are boon to the fishery,” Baker said. “They do eat some trout, but the tradeoff is really good.” Muskie fishing picks up when the water gets warmer, from June to September. Baker predicts someone will break the state muskie record at the lake. The current record is 32.25 pounds. “If I was looking to catch a really big tiger muskie, like a state record, Curlew would be the first lake I would fish,” he said. Many anglers targeting muskies in Curlew are catch-and-release anglers not
State Fisheries Biologist Randy Osborn holds an anesthetized Curlew Lake tiger muskie. interested in harvesting the fish or seeking a state record. Largemouth bass fishing heats up later in the summer. Curlew Lake State Park offers camping, picnicking and boat access. The lake has three resorts. Davis Lake — This 10-acre, highelevation lake receives a few cutthroat fry in the spring that enter the fishery by the following year. “I am a little concerned about Davis and Long lakes,” said Baker, who said the lakes may be still iced over for the opener. “I did not put as many cutthroat stock in them in 2012 as we typically do. Both plants were short of what I wanted to do and that may affect the fishery. “The way these cutthroat fisheries work, this is the year when I expect the 2012 fish to recruit to the fishery. The fish are very small size when planted and not big enough to catch.” Although fishing may be good this year, Baker said he’ll sample the lake later this spring to check on size and health. “The fish never really get large in that lake, maxing out at 12 to 13 inches,” Baker said. “Typically, they are 9 to 10 inches.” The lake is located five miles northwest of Boyds at an elevation of 4,550 feet in the Colville National Forest. The season runs from April 26 through Oct. 31 (best fished later in the summer after the snow melts) for cutthroat trout that reach 9-10 inches. Lake Ellen — Trout fishing should be good on the opener and for the first few weeks. “We put catchable fish in there,” Baker
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Page 18 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. said. “There still are issues with largemouth bass and green sunfish. But they should not affect the opener.” Baker said he’ll continue to monitor the lake, where trout often do not compete well for food with a high-density of warmwater fish. The lake received a plant of 11-inch rainbows prior to the opener. Holdovers can reach up to 14 inches, but don’t expect a lot of them due to the competition from the bass and sunfish. This 78-acre Colville National Forest lake is located 14 miles north of Inchelium at 2,300 feet. Ellen’s season runs from April 26 through Oct. 31 for rainbow trout. There is a developed Forest Service campground. Empire Lakes — Anglers can expect brook trout of eight inches on the opener, with the fish getting larger as the season progresses at these three small Colville National Forest lakes totaling six acres. They are located 11 miles north of Republic at an elevation of 3,600 feet. The lakes, which are fairly remote and don’t get a lot of pressure, are planted with brook trout prior to the opener. “It’s a float tube-type of a lake,” Baker said, noting there’s poor access. “But they are well worth the time to go up and fish.” The season runs from April 26 through Oct. 31 for Eastern brook trout. Ferry Lake — Fishing should be good for 11-inch rainbows on the opener at this 19acre lake due to a planting of catchable fish. The lake, which also receives fly plantings, can winter kill. “You might show up one year and all you will catch are catchables, “ Baker said. “But when the lake does not winter kill, you get some pretty nice carryovers of 14 inches or so.” There is a lead restriction, with no lead allowed in jigs and weights of less than 1.5 inches prohibited to protect nesting loons. To reach the lake, which is open yearround, go south for nine miles from Republic and west on state Highway 21 before heading up Forest Service Road No. 53/Scatter Creek. The lake, located at 3,329 feet, includes a Forest Service campground. Fish Lake — This tiny, four-acre lake will receive a plant of 450 catchable rainbows in the 11- to 12-inch range. “The lake should be good on the opener or shortly thereafter,” Baker said. The lake, which is open April 26 through Oct. 31, is at 3,300 feet and located about a mile south of Ferry Lake on a county road. Kettle River — There are rainbow and brown trout along with whitefish in the river, which has limited access. “I’ve been hearing since the ice went off around Toroda Creek bridge they are catching a lot of whitefish,” Baker said. “There’s certainly a lot of whitefish in the river. “If you can locate them, the whitefish can be good,” Baker said. The Kettle is closed to fishing for all species except whitefish from Nov. 1 through May 31 above the Lake Roosevelt boundary (Barstow bridge). The river, which is accessible at the Midway bridge, offers “pretty decent” fishing for rainbow and brown trout once the season opens for them, Baker said.
Sturgeon fishing is closed at all times. Children age 15 and younger can fish with bait from the Curlew bridge downstream to the Canadian border (a great stretch for browns). Check the latest regulations pamphlet for gear restrictions on whitefish. Selective gear rules are in effect during the June 1 through Oct. 31 season. Long Lake – This 14-acre Colville National Forest lake, which contains cutthroat up to 17 inches in the fall, is located 11 miles southwest of Republic in the Scatter Creek drainage. Long, like Davis Lake, received a smallerthan-normal planting of cutthroat in 2012. This is the first year those fish are expected to enter the fishery, Baker said. “There was a shortage of cutthroat eggs in 2012,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how much it will affect the fishery, but expect fewer fish recruited to the fishery from that class. Anglers may have to work a little harder there, but the ones they catch should be of good quality.” Anglers are reminded that flies cannot contain lead to protect nesting loons. “If someone were to be using lead in a fly, and they hooked a fish and it broke it off, the fish would be swimming around with a chunk of lead in its mouth,” Baker said. “A loon then eats the fish and the lead is toxic to the loon.” This fly fishing-only lake at 3,250 feet is open from April 26 through Oct. 31. The best time to fish is in the fall after the cutthroat have fattened. No motors of any type are allowed on the lake, which includes a Forest Service campground and boat launch. Lake Roosevelt — See entries with Okanogan County and reservation waters. Renner Lake — This 9.6-acre Colville National Forest lake should continue to be “pretty decent” for brook and brown trout, Baker said. Renner, which is open April 26 through Oct. 31, is two miles west of Barstow and six miles south from Orient at 2,525 feet. Internal combustion engines are prohibited on the lake by county ordinance. Anglers can walk about a half-mile to the lake, which sports a small Forest Service campground and a primitive boat launch. Swan Lake — The 52-acre lake will continue to receive rainbow trout fry plants in the spring. “I suspect people will catch a lot of rainbow trout, but not a lot will be very large,” Baker said. There is a lead restriction, with no lead allowed in jigs and weights of less than 1.5 inches prohibited to protect nesting loons. Swan is located about 10 miles southwest of Republic in the Colville National Forest’s Scatter Creek drainage just a few miles east of the Okanogan County line. The lake, open from April 26 through Oct. 31, is at 3,641 feet elevation. An improved Forest Service campground is on the east shore. Trout Lake – This eight-acre lake does well in late spring for rainbow trout in the 10- to 11-inch range. Internal combustion engines are prohibited by county ordinance on the lake eight miles west of Kettle Falls. The Colville National Forest lake is at 3,200 feet elevation in the southeast end of
Al Camp/The Chronicle
Fall colors are reflected in the San Poil River, which eventually flows into the Columbia. State and tribal rules apply, depending on the river stretch. Check both entities’ rules to be sure about licensing and whether the area is open to fishing. Hoodoo Canyon. Trout season is open April 26 through Oct. 31. There is a primitive boat launch at a Forest Service campground. Ward Lakes — These two small Colville National Forest lakes of seven total acres are located about 9.5 miles north of Republic at 3,625 elevation in the Bacon Creek drainage. “These lakes should be very similar to last year,” Baker said.
The lakes, which are open from April 26 through Oct. 31 and sometimes suffer winter kill, include Eastern brook trout. Brookies are planted prior to the opener. Anglers can expect fish in the 8- to 10-inch range and carryovers up to 12 inches. “These lakes should be pretty good for brook trout,” Baker said. “It’s similar to what you see at the Empire lakes.” Internal combustion engines are prohibited by county ordinance.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 19
Changes greet reservation anglers By Al Camp The Chronicle A trio of major changes will greet anglers this year heading to Colville Indian Reservation waters, where the regular fishing season runs April 12 to Oct. 31. Changes include closing fishing in the Sanpoil River, eliminating winter fishing permits and opening or extending winter seasons at several lakes. There also was clarification of rules on Omak Lake and adding limits for burbot (found in Lake Rufus Woods) and non-native crayfish. “The big change is the Sanpoil is not open any more,” Tribal Resident Fish Manager Bret Nine said. “It is closed to non-member fishing.” The closure is from Silver Creek bridge to the north boundary of the reservation. “The bay (with Lake Roosevelt) is still open,” Nine said. “The free flowing section of the Sanpoil, the actual river, that’s closed.” “We eliminated the winter fishing permit this year,” Nine said getting rid of past passes required to fish winter fisheries during designated special seasons. “Now that is part of the seasonal permit.” The good news – there is not price increase for season permits. “There was a lot of confusion on whether you needed to have one or not have one,” said Nine. “People were not purchasing them. I think there was a lot more illegal activity gong on. “Certain people like to fish in the winter and not during the regular season. This makes it easier.” The tribe opened Buffalo, McGinnis and Duley lakes to winter fishing. Other winter fishing lakes include Summit and Twin lakes. The season was extended to Dec. 1, 2014, to March 15, 2015. Buffalo, Borgeau, LaFleur and Twins lakes will receive four-pound triploids this spring that were raised at the tribe’s Bridgeport hatchery. “We want to get people exciting about potentially catching a big fish,” Nine said. Burbot is listed as a game fish, with a daily catch limit of five fish with no
Boats head out on the Columbia River at dawn during the Lowrance King Salmon Derby. The Columbia borders the Colville Indian Reservation.
minimum size and possession limit of two daily catch limits. The limits are consistent with state limits. The reservation provides a diverse fishery in its many lakes and streams open to nontribal members. Besides special winter fishing seasons, Nicholas and LaFleur lakes have special seasons of May 8 through Oct. 31. Triploid rainbow and Eastern brook trout, plus Lahontan cutthroat, were planted
in a number of lakes and streams prior to the April opener, Nine said. Many tribal lakes and rivers produce quality numbers of wild or naturally reproducing fish for angler harvest. Buffalo, which receives plants of triploid rainbow trout, is the third most popular tribal lake behind Rufus Woods and Twin Lakes. Self-sustaining kokanee are available on the reservation, with fish in the four- to five-
pound range roaming Buffalo Lake. The tribe also stocks triploid rainbow trout, and there are bass, in Buffalo, which is the third most popular tribal lake behind Rufus Woods and Twin Lakes. For triploid rainbow, anglers should consider trips to Twin Lakes, Rufus Woods, Borgeau, LaFleur and Nicholas lakes. The waters are stocked from the tribe’s Resident Fish Hatchery near Bridgeport and from net pens located on Rufus Woods. Also
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Page 20 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. released are larger numbers of smaller net pen fish supported by the tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Department. Omak Lake produces and is planted with large numbers of Lahontan cutthroat trout. Approximately 100,000 fish are stocked yearly. Special restrictions apply at specific locations and times on Omak Lake, so anglers need to pay attention to the regulations. Eastern brook trout are stocked in Twin, McGinnis, Summit and Simpson lakes. Anglers are encouraged to check nonmember tribal fishing regulations at http://www.colvilletribes.com/fish_and_ wildlifeold.php#regulations. Fishing permit fees for 26 lakes and creeks continue to cost $10 for one day, $20 for three days, $30 for seven days and $40 for a season. Licenses can be purchased at Big Wally’s, Coulee City;Buffalo Lake Resort, Fish and Wildlife Office, Jackson’s Service Station and Nespelem Trading Post, Nespelem; Coulee Playland Resort, Electric City; Fish and Wildlife Office, Big R and Walmart, Omak; Fish and Wildlife at the tribal hatchery, Bridgeport; Inchelium Store, Log Cabin Resort, Rainbow Beach Resort and Fish and Wildlife Office, Inchelium; Keller Community Store, Keller; Lee Frank’s Mercantile, Tonasket; Republic Sports Shop, Republic, and Walmart, Colville. Most tribal regulations are concurrent with state regulations on most boundary waters. Recent changes include Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam having a 16walleye limit with no size restrictions and 10bass limit with no size restrictions. Tribal licenses are required on the shores of Rufus Woods, except at the designated fishing site next to Pacific Aquaculture facility off Columbia River Road. The site is marked and is the only site where either a state fishing license or tribal license is accepted. If you are in a boat fishing Rufus Woods, either license is accepted, tribal officials said. All non-members who are fishing from the reservation shoreline on Crawfish Lake, Lake Pateros (Wells Dam pool), Washburn Island Pond, Lake Rufus Woods (except at the designated fishing area), Okanogan River and Lake Roosevelt (above Grand Coulee Dam) must have in their possession a valid Colville Indian Reservation fishing permit. Non-members fishing by boat in boundary waters adjacent to the reservation or from the shore of Lake Rufus Woods at a designated fishing area must possess either a valid tribal permit or a state license. Reservation waters open to non-members include: Apex — A small lake located four miles south of Inchelium, it drains into Borgeau Lake and remains listed in the tribal fishing pamphlet, but contains little water and mostly bullheads and mosquitoes. General limits apply. Big Goose Lake — Closed. Borgeau Lake — The 22-acre lake, located 4.5 miles south of Inchelium, offers catchable rainbows with nice carryovers. The lake was on a schedule to receive some four-plus pound triploids this spring. A picnic table and outhouse are at the
Dee Camp/The Chronicle
Rebecca Lake, near Nespelem, offers largemouth bass and a few trout. It is best fished from a boat, although motors are prohibited. lake, which has an upgraded boat ramp. General limits apply. Buffalo Lake — This popular lake, which contains large, self-propagating kokanee, big triploids and largemouth bass, could get even more popular with four-plus pound triploids being planted this spring. The lake was on a schedule to receive some four-plus pound triploids this spring. Buffalo’s seasons are April 12 to Oct. 31 and Dec. 1 to March 15, 2015. There is a free fishing weekend Feb. 7-8, 2015. The bass size limit was changed to no more than two over 17 inches may be kept. The popular lake also contains large, selfpropagating kokanee and largemouth bass, which average two pounds and reach up to five pounds. “The kokanee fishery at Buffalo is still really good,” Nine said. “There’s lots in there.” Non-members may fish for crayfish July 1 through Sept. 15. There are boat accesses at a public ramp and at Reynold’s Resort, which also has RV hookups on the northwest end of the lake. Columbia River – For the most part the river is open year round both above and below Grand Coulee Dam. The exception is the portion from Grand Coulee Dam downstream to state Highway 155, which is closed to all fishing. Fishing for white sturgeon is prohibited on the river, above and below Grand Coulee Dam. Above the dam in Lake Roosevelt
(excluding the inundated and freeflowing reaches of the Sanpoil River), anglers can reel in walleye (16, no size restriction), smallmouth bass (10, no size restriction), trout (5 and not more than 2 over 20 inches; bull trout can not be retained), kokanee (6, no more than 2 unclipped may be retained) and Chinook (5, no minimum length). The lake is stocked with triploid rainbows from 28 net pen rearing projects including Keller Marina, Hunters, Kettle Falls, Hall Creek and Seven Bays. The Colville and Spokane tribes, along with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, manage the water backed up behind Grand Coulee Dam. Lake Roosevelt runs from Grand Coulee Dam, which lies at the
junction of state highways 155 and 174, and extends east and then north past Kettle Falls. Below the dam anglers will find walleye (general limits), smallmouth bass (general limits), trout (2 fish, no length limit), kokanee (2 with no length limit) and Chinook (5, no minimum length). Regulations are complex, so anglers should consult their fishing pamphlets or the tribe’s online fishing pamphlet (http://www.colvilletribes.com/fish_and_ wildlifeold.php#regulations). Cook Lake — This tiny lake, which suffers from alkaline and low water conditions, is on Cameron Lake Road about a half-mile west of Little Goose Lake and east of Okanogan.
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2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. — Page 21 Lahontans, which can survive alkaline water, were planted several years ago. Access to the lake is limited because of private property. General limits apply. Crawfish Lake — Crawfish lies partly on tribal land and partly on state land. Its season matches the state’s general fishing season from the last Saturday in April to Oct. 31. (See listing with Highlands waters.) The tribe’s regulations match state regulations, including not allowing internal combustion engines. The state manages the lake for rainbow and Eastern brook trout. Duley Lake — This small lake east of Okanogan and eight miles south of Little Goose Lake on upper Cameron Lake Road has some Lahontan cutthroat surviving in its shallow depths. A winter fishing season was added to the lake. The seasons are April 12 to Oct. 31 and Dec. 1 to March 15, 2015. General limits apply. Elbow Lake — This 51-acre lake, which is no longer listed, is north of Inchelium between Onion Ridge and Dollar Mountain in the Inchelium drainage. Gold Creek – is closed to nontribal members from Gold Lake to the confluence with the west fork of the Sanpoil. LaFleur Lake — This seldomfished, 25-acre lake nine miles north of Inchelium sports a few small largemouth bass and rainbows (1,000 planted after spring thaw) and a few larger triploid trout (100 or so plants each year). The lake, open May 8 through Oct. 31, was to receive some fourplus pound triploids this spring. Bass are in the 2- to 3-pound range in the lake, best fished with smaller boats due to difficult launching conditions. A car-top boat works best due to difficult launching conditions. General limits apply. Lake Roosevelt — See entry
Dee Camp/The Chronicle
Lake Roosevelt offers a variety of fish to anglers fishing from both the state and Colville Indian Reservation sides, as well as from boats. The lake was formed when Grand Coulee Dam backed up the Columbia River. for Columbia River for above Grand Coulee Dam. The only changes are 16 walleye limit with no size restrictions and 10 bass limit with no size restrictions. Lake Rufus Woods — Burbot (ling cod) was added to the game fish listed this year, with limits consistent with state regulations – five fish with no minimum size and possession being two daily catch limits. “Some people fish them quite a little big,” Nine said. The lake stretches 51 miles downstream from Grand Coulee Dam to Chief Joseph Dam in Bridgeport. The lake contains triploid trout, which are planted by the tribe that can reach more than 20 pounds. A few triploids escape through Chief Joseph Dam and enter the Columbia River behind Wells Dam.
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There is one marked boat launch near the “upper” fish pen next to Pacific Aquaculture facility on Columbia River Road. The signed site is where either a state fishing license or tribal permit is accepted if fishing from shore at the launch. Other areas, if fished from shore on the reservation side, such as at Bridgeport State Park, require a reservation license. Either license works if fishing from a boat. Some smallmouth bass and walleye also live in the 7,800-acre reservoir. General limits apply for walleye and smallmouth bass. See Columbia River below Grand Coulee Dam for other fish limits. There are approved boat launch sites near Chief Joseph Dam and Seaton’s Grove. There’s
unimproved access off Columbia River Road near the Timm Ranch and Coyote Creek. Little Goose Lake — This small lake east of Okanogan suffers from low water and may summer kill. “We used to stock it, but water levels are way down,” Nine said. “We may stock a few fish, but we are uncertain what we will stock in there right now based on the lake levels.” The lake received in the past a spring plant of redband trout and a few triploids. If the lake does not get an algae bloom, there could be some nice carryovers. Little Goose, which has a boat access, is located nine miles east of Okanogan on Cameron Lake Road. General limits apply. Lost Creek — Redband trout, which are planted three times in
the summer, and small brook trout, which are not stocked, live together in the creek located in the north central part of the reservation and starting near the headwaters of Crawfish Lake northeast of Riverside. Tribal members and those camping along its shores make up most of the anglers. The creek flows east, staying mostly in the reservation, and feeds into the west fork of the Sanpoil River north of the reservation’s boundary. Some of the creek flows through private land, so anglers need to get permission before fishing. The creek, which falls under general limits, can be reached via state Highway 155 through Lyman Lake. McGinnis Lake — A regular tribal fishing license gets you both a regular season (April 12 to Oct. 31) and a winter season (Dec. 1 to March 15, 2015) at this 115-acre lake located a mile south of Buffalo Lake and 9.5 miles southeast of Nespelem. “McGinnis has a really good brook fishery,” said Nine, who stocks the lake with half-pound brook trout. The best time to fish this brook trout-only lake, the only one like it on the reservation, is when it is cool — before July or in October. A gill net study showed the lake contained some good-size brookies. Flies, such as a royal coachman, work well in the lake that includes carryovers up to 20 inches and several pounds. Larger boats can be launched at the lake. Nicholas Lake —This 2-acre lake, where access is poor and winterkill is always an option, is open to non-members May 8 through Oct. 31. “We’re not stocking the lake any more,” Nine said of the lake 11.6 miles north of Inchelium. “There are a few carryover rainbow trout.” In the past, a few redband trout were tossed into the tiny hole of a
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Page 22 — 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash. lake north of Inchelium. The lake, which features a shallow bench before entering a deeper part of the lake, is best fished with a float tube or canoe to get over vegetation. Don’t be surprised to see cattle wading the shallow area to stay cool. Okanogan River — There is a tribal emergency regulation, which is not in the tribe’s pamphlet but will be on the tribe’s website, that all bass, walleye and channel catfish will have unlimited catch limits. “Catch all you want,” Nine said. A large portion of the river, which is open all year, forms the western edge of the reservation. Tribal and state regulations close the river to the taking of trout, salmon and steelhead. (See listing with state waters.) The area from the mouth of the river to the bridge at Malott is open year-round for all game fish except trout, salmon and steelhead. The area upstream of the Malott bridge is open from the first Saturday in June (June 7 this year) through Aug. 31 for all game fish except trout, steelhead and salmon. A special steelhead, trout or salmon season may be opened by emergency authorization several agencies, including the Colville Fish and Wildlife and state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Omak Creek — This off-limit creek located east of Omak is closed to non-member fishing due to a summer steelhead program. Omak Lake — This 3,000-acre lake seven miles southeast of Omak offers great fishing for Lahontan cutthroat. There are several rules for the open yearround lake, including a daily catch limit of three cutthroat with only one being more than 18 inches. Special restrictions March 1 to May 31 call for catch-and-release only, the north embayment being closed to non-member boating and fishing, and all islands are closed to non-member access (for nesting birds). Fishing is permitted only from dawn to dark using only artificial lures and flies. Bait fishing is not allowed. The shoreline at the south end of the lake from Baines Beach south is closed to nonmembers all year. The south end of the lake is open for boating and fishing only to non-members who access the lake’s south end by boat from the north end at Mission (end of road past Paschal Sherman Indian School off state Highway 155) or Nicholson (Bear Can) Beach off Columbia River Road, and Cowpie Beach toward the
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Omak Lake offers plenty of room for fishing, mainly for Lahontan cutthroat. Parts of the lake are closed to non-members. south end. Anglers are required to furnish creel census information, which is important to the tribe’s management efforts. Fish traps to collect eggs for the tribal hatchery have found fish more than three feet long. A state record 18-pound fish was caught in 1993. Rebecca Lake — This largemouth bass lake, with a season of April 12 through Oct. 31, is located about eight miles north of Nespelem and 1.5 miles southwest of Buffalo Lake. The lake, where bass average 4-6 pounds, has little management by the tribe and is best fished with a small boat.
Floating weeds can block an unimproved boat launch. Internal combustion engines are prohibited at the lake. A few legal-size trout have been planted in the lake. Sanpoil River — The river itself from Silver Creek bridge to the north reservation boundary, including the West Fork and Sanpoil River, is closed to fishing. All tributaries to the Sanpoil river are closed. The inundated reach of the river, which can be seen in a tribal fish regulation map, is open April 1 through Jan. 30. Anglers can fish for smallmouth bass (no daily catch, possession or length limits), walleye (no daily catch, possession or length
limits), rainbow trout (daily limit of five fish, no more than two over 20 inches) and kokanee (daily catch limit of two fish). Fishing for white sturgeon is prohibited. Walleye and bass are affecting the fishery by scarfing up trout fry trying to escape to Lake Roosevelt. That leaves few to return when they are bigger and catchable. Anglers need to check demarcation lines and follow regulations carefully. Stranger Creek — This tiny creek is closed to all fishing downstream from the Inchelium-Gifford Road. The creek, which sometimes is planted, has a half-dozen access points. Anglers should get permission before fishing on private property bordering the creek that
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contains naturally spawning brook trout. Summit Lake — This small lake six miles east of Disautel and 11.5 miles northwest of Nespelem around 3,500 feet elevation is open yearround. Low water levels in the past have kept the lake from being planted. Access can be a problem due to one route being steep and another being muddy. There is a free fishing weekend Feb. 7-8, 2015. General limits apply. Twin Lakes — These popular lakes, which will receive some of the fourplus-pound triploids this spring, is open April 12 to Oct. 31 and Dec. 1 through March 15, 2015. There is free fishing Ernie Buchanan Feb. 7-8, 2015. The lakes compete with Rebecca Lake bass: Small to large. Lake Rufus Woods as the have a combustion engine, but the use of the most popular waters on the reservation. Twin Lakes continue to get better and engine is prohibited. (You don’t have to take the motor off your boat to fish the lake.) better due to an oxygenation program. The season runs April 1 to Sept. 30 at The north lake was the first to get the system, and anglers can find largemouth Washburn, located four miles east of bass in the 10- to 16-inch range plus redband Brewster off state Highway 17. Anglers must possess state and Colville rainbow trout and some Eastern brook. There is a 15-bass daily catch limit at the tribal fishing licenses if fishing from shore. A lakes, with only bass less than 12 inches or state license is required for fishing from a more than 17 inches allowed to be kept. No boat. A boat launch area includes toilets and more than two bass more than 17 inches can parking. be kept. General limits apply. The daily trout limit is five fish, no more Wells Reservoir — Often called Lake than one of which is more than 20 inches. It is lawful to fish to the base of Stranger Pateros, the pool is managed by the state and is formed on the Columbia River behind Creek outlet structure. Twin Lakes covers about 2,000 acres and Wells Dam and extends to Chief Joseph Dam is located eight miles west of Inchelium. in Bridgeport. The reservoir is open all year There are two resorts and a public access at except for a few exceptions. Closures include the taking of salmon and North Rocky Point. Washburn Island Pond — The tribe steelhead by non-members unless opened by lets the state handle this 13-acre pond that emergency authorization of Tribal Fish and lies partly on the reservation and partly on Wildlife and state Fish and Wildlife. The portion of Wells Reservoir from the state land. The pond includes largemouth and Okanogan County shore between the base of smallmouth bass up to a couple pounds and Chief Joseph Dam and state Highway 17 bridge is closed to all fishing. sizeable catfish. The portion of Wells Reservoir A recent state rule change allows boat to
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Chief Joseph Hatchery employees in Bridgeport work on ponding salmon fry at the facility, which opened last May. Tribal officials said the $50 million hatchery will produce 2.9 million Chinook annually by 2015 for tribal ceremonies and members’ subsistence needs, and increased recreational fishing opportunities for all. downstream of Chief Joseph Dam from the boundary marker to the Corps of Engineers safety zone marker is closed to fishing from a floating device. Fishing for white sturgeon is prohibited. Non-member may retain only adiposeclipped or floy-tagged trout. All trout with intact adipose fins must be released. Bass and walleye also live in the reservoir. Wilmont Creek — This tiny creek is closed to all non-members downstream of Silver Creek Road to protect spawning rainbows. General limits apply upstream of Silver
Creek Road. The creek, 20 miles south of Inchelium, receives a few plants (above the falls) of native redband rainbows (planted after spring runoff sometime in May) and contains a few naturally spawning brook trout. The creek, which gets little pressure from area anglers, is best fished after runoff from snow. The bigger fish, which start at 13 inches, can be found in backed-up water behind beaver dams. The lower two-thirds of the creek borders private land, so anglers should seek landowner permission before fishing.
Page 24 â€” 2014 Fishrapper, The Chronicle, Omak, Wash.
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Your 2014 guide to fishing in Okanogan and Ferry Counties.