March Trout Fishing
John Kruse, February 26, 2021
March 1st is opening day for trout anglers at the Tucannon Lakes near Pomeroy in Southeast Washington and at the Quincy Lakes in the Columbia Basin. Here’s how things are shaping up:
According to Jason Towery, the owner of the Last Resort RV near Pomeroy, the Tucannon lakes are ice free. Blue, Spring, Rainbow and Deer lakes will all be stocked by Friday the 26th with catchable sized trout and some jumbo-sized fish too. Towery expects the fishing to be very good at all of these lakes in early March. Towery had no information about when or if Watson or Big-4 Lake would be stocked. Big-4 Lake suffered damage from floods and a bridge to Watson Lake was blown out last year by these same floods. While there will be some holdover fish in Big-4 Lake, Watson Lake was drained last year and not stocked.
In addition to trout fishing in the Tucannon Lakes, Towery suggests fishing the Tucannon River in March for steelhead too. If you are looking for a place to stay, the Last Resort RV opened on the 26th and there were still a few openings for the first two weeks of March. Find out more at www.thelastresortrv.com
There will be no Quincy Lake Trout Derby this year but there will be a Youth Fishing Day at Burke Lake on Saturday, March 6th. According to Cari Mathews, Executive Director of the Quincy Valley Chamber, “Starting at 7 AM Chamber staff and volunteers will be handing out gift bags to kids 15 and under at Burke Lake who are going fishing”. There will also be some fishing poles given away that day during this drive-thru event. In addition to this there will also be a youth photo contest. The photo contest, featuring photos of kids with their opening weekend fish, will take place on the Quincy Valley Chamber Facebook page. Whichever pictures gets the most “likes” wins prizes to include a PlayStation 4, a remote-control drone, and more. Check out the Quincy Valley Chamber Facebook Page for more details.
As for how the fishing may be, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Mike Schmuck says Quincy and Burke Lakes will both be good bets and should put out quality trout this spring. As of Feb 22nd, Burke was 40 percent ice free and Quincy had some open water too. With warmer weather and wind most of the ice should be gone by the opener and boats should be able to launch at both lakes. The little hike-in lakes south of Burke Lake should offer additional opportunities for rainbows and there are a few big ones there too.
Another body of water that opens up on March 1st is Lake Lenore between Soap Lake and Coulee City. Known for its large Lahontan cutthroat trout, Schmuck says the lake should have fishable open water for the opener. Schmuck says there are plenty of Lahontan cutthroat trout in Lake Lenore but angler catch rates have gone down in recent years. Part of this is because water clarity has become worse and many anglers are using the same techniques and offerings they’ve tried in the past when the water was clear. Despite the lower catch rates, Schmuck says the lake is still stocked with 70,000 fingerlings every fall and they plenty of big cutthroat trout in the spawning area every spring. In other words, there are some big trout waiting to be caught at this selective regulation lake if you can figure out how to entice them to strike.
John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com
1. The author with a nice early season rainbow trout – Photo by Dave Kilhefner