Mid-Columbia lakes stocked with trout

Special to the Tri-City HeraldApril 2, 2014 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be planting more than 100,000 trout in the next few months into the ponds and lakes around the Mid-Columbia.

They are put there for you to fish, and they are very catchable.

There also are a few hundred “jumbos” — trout that weigh a pound or more — stocked into almost every lake by the state.

A few lakes also have triploid trout released into them.

Triploids are voracious feeders and can grow to 4 or 5 pounds before being caught.

Tucannon Lakes

About 30 miles past Dayton and up Tucannon Road, seven lakes make up the most popular fishing destination for Tri-City trout fishermen.

The lakes, which are spread across 22 acres, are Big Four, Blue, Curl, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson.

There will be many people and families fishing the Tucannon lakes throughout the season.

With 70,000 going to these seven lakes, it’s no wonder so many people make them their destination for a weekend getaway.

There are ample public camping locations along Tucannon Road near the lakes, but day trips are also doable.

And the local mom and pop store, The Last Resort is a KOA campground and offers RV sites, campsites and cabins.

The store is just a few miles from the Tucannon lakes and will be serving fisherman on a daily basis from April through July.

For up-to-date reports, last-minute advice or supplies they are your best option.

The Last Resort also be a great source for finding out exactly when trout were most recently released into each lake.

Call the store at 509-843-1556.

Here is the trout release schedule from the Department of Fish and Wildlife through June:

-- Big Four Lake -- 2,300

-- Blue Lake -- 16,700

-- Curl Lake -- 11,550

-- Deer Lake -- 2,700

-- Rainbow Lake -- 13,325

-- Spring Lake -- 9,325

-- Watson Lake -- 14,825

Local ponds

If you’re looking for some action a little closer to home, here are a few of other options:

-- The Hood Park ponds are small ponds in Burbank just east of the Highway 12 bridge in the Hood Park campground, run by the Army Corps of Engineers. There will be 3,300 trout stocked into these ponds this season.

-- Quarry Pond is 9.6 acres on the river side of Highway 12 between Burbank and Wallula. There will be 21,400 trout stocked there through May.

-- Columbia Park’s Family Fishing Pond in Kennewick is only for kids 14 and younger. It’s also open to anglers with a disabled license. Almost half of the 10,350 trout stocked there will be of the “jumbo” variety. Dayton, Walla Walla and College Place also have similar kids-only fishing ponds.

-- A local lake open to boating is Dalton Lake about 11 miles east of Pasco off the Pasco-Kahlotus Highway, off Highway 12. About 17,000 trout will be stocked there throughout the 2014 season.

Trout fishing 101

Now that you know where to go, here are some tips on fishing for trout.

There are some proven techniques as well as some alternatives for a change of pace. When you are fishing with the family or a group of people, you have the opportunity to use multiple rods with different types of bait.

Diversifying methods within your group enables you to quickly find out what is working best.

Powerbait

A staple of the trout angler is powerbait — a floating, stinky, trout-tempting concoction. Powerbait is available in countless colors, making it a favorite among fishing families because it gives kids the opportunity to make that ever important decision of “Which color should we use?” A few splitshots attached 18 to 24 inches above the bait allows the bait to float up and entice the passing trout with smell and color. I have found that while the powerbait bite may at times be slow, it is a proven technique for catching larger jumbo trout.

Salmon eggs

Many of us grew up targeting trout using that little jar of single salmon eggs. And some things never change. Single salmon eggs can be used on a small hook or you can string two, three or four of them on a hook depending on your mood, or more importantly, the mood of the fish. Salmon eggs are best used from 1 to 3 feet under a bobber. You can add a splitshot or two halfway between your bobber and bait for more weight when casting. By putting your bait under a bobber your chances of getting hung up on the bottom are reduced and it allows for even the most subtle of bites to be detected.

Spinners and Flies

There are options for the impatient, those of us unable to sit and wait for a fish to bite. Casting small spinners such as Roostertails, Mepps or Panther Martins can be productive. To add temptation, many people will attach a small piece of worm to the hook.

Flies are not just for fly-fisherman. A water-bobber is a bobber that you fill with water so it sinks and allows you to cast a fly much farther than a normal fly-fisherman. Putting almost any kind of wet fly, nymph or woolly bugger 2 to 4 feet behind a water bobber, casting it out and slowly retrieving it can be deadly and will certainly be a change of pace from sitting and waiting.

-- Matthew Nesbit is a fisheries biologist in Pasco.

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