Wednesday, May 22, 2024

THE WASHINGTON OUTDOORS REPORT October 06 – October 12, 2023




East Wenatchee resident Joan Hardesty and her husband launched their boat and spent the day catching bluegill at Potholes Reservoir on September 29th.  I came across the two at the Potholes State Park fishing cleaning station and saw they had a very good day, having caught a good number of sizeable bluegill.  One of the bluegills stood out, though, far and away the biggest one I had ever seen in my entire life!

I asked the two if they had weighed the fish, and they said they had not because they did not have a scale.  I asked them not to fillet the fish until I could get my scale and weigh it and told them I also wanted to check what the state record is for bluegill.

The brute of a bluegill weighed 2.27 pounds on my handheld scale.  Checking the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website, I learned the current state record had stood for nearly 40 years, a 2.33-pound bluegill hauled out of Tampico Park Pond in Yakima County by Ron Hinote back in June of 1984.

With the weight being so close to the record, I recommended she go to a certified scale and get it weighed.  Joan did so (at the Moses Lake Safeway store) and unfortunately, it didn’t quite break the record, officially weighing 2.275 pounds.  While it didn’t beat the state record, it was still the bluegill of a lifetime for Joan!


WDFW issued a press release reminding anglers that their annual trout derby continues through October 31st.  Eight hundred trout with blue tags were released into 100 lakes around the state this spring, and businesses donated $40,00 in prizes that are being given to those who catch the fish and report them to WDFW.  Currently, 55 to 60 percent of these fish have been harvested, leaving quite a few still available in a month that sees trout on the bite, putting on weight before winter.

Here is the current status of lakes in Central and Eastern Washington that were stocked with derby fish:

CHELAN COUNTY – Beehive Reservoir still has nine tagged fish swimming around, and Wapato Lake near Manson has four tagged trout that have not been reported as caught.  Each of these fish will net lucky anglers a $25 to $50 gift card.

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Jameson Lake still has five prizes waiting to be claimed, each one worth a $50 gift card.

FERRY COUNTY – Curlew Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the state and there are still two fish that have not been turned in.  Tagged fish here have been worth a gift card and in one case, a jersey from the Spokane Indians baseball team.

GRANT COUNTY – Corral Lake has a whopping 14 fish still out there that have not been turned in.  Prizes in this lake range from bait boxes to gift cards and even a one-night stay in a cabin at MarDon Resort.  Two other lakes in Sun Lakes State Park south of Coulee City also have derby trout.  They include Deep Lake, with sixteen trout available, and Vic Meyers Lake, with six tagged trout still unaccounted for.

KLICKITAT COUNTY – In Rowland Lake, two trout, each worth a $50 gift card, are still apparently swimming around there, while in Spearfish Lake, three tagged fish have not been reported as caught.

PEND OREILLE COUNTY – Diamond Lake has had three fish claimed, each worth a $25 gift card or Spokane Indians apparel, with two still unaccounted for.

STEVENS COUNTY – Cedar Lake is fished out as far as tagged fish go, and Starvation Lake only has one tagged fish that hasn’t been turned in, but Loon Lake still has four prizes waiting to be claimed that could be worth up to $100 in merchandise.  Finally, Waitts Lake has two tagged fish remaining, with previously tagged fish worth anywhere from a $50 gas card to a pizza and soda combo at a local eatery.

If you want to find out more about participating in WDFW’s annual trout derby, go to but hurry, the derby ends October 31st!

John Kruse – and



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