Free fishing reels in anglers

Battle Ground Lake stocked with 3,000 trout ahead of event

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor




Size: 280 acres; the lake was formed by a volcano.

Activities: Swimming, fishing, and hiking on 10 miles of trail. You can ride horseback on separate trails, as well.

How popular? Ranks about 46th of the state’s approximately 150 parks.

Campsites: 50.

Parking: Enough for 200 cars.

Price per night: Standard campsites are $22; hook-ups are $29 and cabins are $71.30.

Reservations: 888-CAMPOUT.

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The lure of free fishing hooked Ryan O’Haver of east Vancouver as he cast his line from the dock into tranquil Battle Ground Lake on Sunday afternoon.

“This is my first time in 15 years,” he said about 4 p.m. He was confident he’d hook one anytime.

It was his first time at Battle Ground Lake State Park, and he gave this assessment: “It’s gorgeous.”

Close by on the dock, Nedo Tanjo of Vancouver was happy with a 10-inch trout. He was fishing with his father, Inas Tanjo, who brought in another one just moments later.

“It’s a nice, quiet area. Good people. And lots of fish,” Nedo Tanjo said.

He was correct about the fish. The state planted 3,000 trout in the lake Wednesday. The limit is five or two that are 21 inches or longer, said Park Ranger Reuben Stuart.

Perched on a log nearby, Aaron Brown of Vancouver was trying his luck with his 3-year-old son, Carter.

“We got skunked,” Brown said. “He doesn’t last too long, an hour or two.

“We came out here on Memorial Day weekend. Got skunked then, too.”

Brown, who has a fishing license, said he was not aware that this was free fishing weekend in the state. But he did notice the numerous fishermen on the banks and in boats.

“Man, people like it here,” Brown said. “It’s a busy spot.”

Camping and more

The state park with its 50 camping spots is popular, too, ranger Stuart said.

Although the park is close to Battle Ground, Stuart offered, “As soon as you get here, you feel you’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

He said the park has a buck and deer family, and a pair of nesting bald eagles.

“Weekends are pretty much booked out through August or the first weekend of September,” Stuart said.

Yet, he encouraged first-timers to give the park a try.

For a few, the allure of the park was not fishing but bathing.

“I’m a daredevil. I love swimming,” said Issabella Sylvester, 11, of Camas as she waded in waist deep. She pronounced it cold.

“Freezing,” said her companion, Alicyeah Bolds, 9, of Hazel Dell.

And then, with abandon, Nathan Sylvester, 15, ran pell-mell into the lake, dousing himself.

“They’re very brave,” said Adrienne Sylvester, mom to Issabella and Nathan and Alicyeah’s aunt.

There will be warmer days, and the year-round park is expected to be busy all summer.