Monday, April 22, 2024
The Washington Outdoors Report

Looking Ahead To March Fishing

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It’s hard to think of fishing for most of looking at iced-in boat ramps and/or iced-over lakes, but the ice will likely thaw by the beginning of March, and you’ll have some great opportunities for fishing when it does.  Looking for some early-season trout and walleye ideas?  Here’s a few for you:

LATE WINTER WALLEYE:  

The Columbia River is the place for walleye in February and March as the big females get ready to spawn.  In fact, this is the time of year to land a true trophy walleye.  Traditionally, the bigger females have been targeted near the Tri-Cities, but quality walleye can be found in The Dalles and John Day pools as well the Upper Columbia near Hydro Park in East Wenatchee, and in Rufus Woods Reservoir as well as the upper end of Lake Roosevelt.   

When it comes to catching late winter walleye, try trolling a small spinner worm harness like a Mack’s Lure Slow Death Rig at a very slow speed (around 1 to 1.2 MPH).  Once you find a school of fish, you can jig for them.  In addition to jigging for walleye with soft plastics on jig heads, you can also use metal blade baits or vertical jigs like a Mack’s Sonic Baitfish.  



QUINCY LAKES TROUT FISHING:

The Quincy Lakes trout opener on Mar. 1 is either a boom or a bust depending on the amount of ice remaining on this chain of lakes between Quincy and George, which lie in a sizeable state wildlife area.  The most popular lakes to fish are Quincy and Burke Lakes, which are both well-stocked with rainbow trout.  There are also several small walk-in lakes southwest of these bodies of water that are stocked with smaller numbers of trout but receive less pressure.

The opener often finds crowds of both day anglers and overnight campers congregated close to the shore of the main two trout lakes, many of them in a festive mood, especially when early spring weather and sunshine is present.  That isn’t always the case, though, The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted an annual trout fishing derby with prizes for kids and adults in the first half of March, is hedging its bets this year (as to whether the lakes will be ice-free) and will wait until Mar. 22 and 23 to hold their event at Burke and Quincy Lakes.




TUCANNON LAKES TROUT:

The Tucannon Lakes, nestled in the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area and the Blue Mountains of Southeastern Washington, offer another March destination.  Speaking with Kim Andersen at The Last RV Resort (the closest resort to these lakes), I learned two small lakes (Blue and Spring) are actually open all year and have historically received plants of 24,000 and 15,000 trout, respectively.  

Four additional lakes open on Mar. 1 (Deer, Watson, Rainbow, and Big Four), though Anderson says since the area flooded a few years ago, Big Four Lake doesn’t really exist as such and should not be considered as a viable option.  Asked which lakes fish best in early March, Anderson said Spring, Deer, Rainbow, and Watson Lakes all fish well when ice-free. 

The Last RV Resort near Pomeroy has cabins, RV, and tent sites available, along with a coffee bar.  Anderson says they still have openings available for the popular Mar. 1 opening day of trout fishing.  www.thelastresortrv.com 

SPORTSMAN’S SHOW REMINDERS:

The state’s biggest sportsman show is taking place Jan. 31 through Feb. 4 at the State Fair Center in Puyallup.  This year's focus will be not only on the hundreds of exhibitors present but also on seminars given by experts, the most impressive ones offered by Randy Newberg, a very well-known DIY, public lands elk hunter from Montana.  Additional experts will be giving seminars about hunting, fishing, and survival, and I will also be giving a seminar about some lesser-known places to go fishing in the Pacific Northwest in 2024.  That seminar takes place on Saturday, February 3, in the Blue Adventure Theatre from 11 a.m. to noon.  

Having said that, there will be plenty of attractions to draw your attention, including the Wall of Kings big game trophy display, the Head and Horns Competition, where you can see how your trophy measures up, the Mack’s Lure Walleye Tank, the Fistful of Cheaters promotion/giveaway by Toyota, a free kid’s trout pond and the premiere screening of a new film by Addicted Fishing, “Steelhead Alley.”  Find out more about the show, including information about show hours and discount coupons, at www.thesportshows.com 



John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com 

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