Author suggests five lakes to try fishing in 2012

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Terry Rudnick

Author and angler Terry Rudnick of Olympia knows about fishing in Washington.

Not just Puget Sound, the Columbia River, the coast or Eastern Washington. All of them.

Rudnick, 64, knew a lot about Washington’s plethora of lakes, reservoirs and streams before he began a 27-year career split between the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and state Parks and Recreation Commission.

That knowledge is updated in the seventh edition of “Moon Outdoors Washington Fishing,” 520 pages that covers virtually every piece of water in the state.

With the peak of the fishing year just ahead, The Columbian asked Rudnick to recommend five angling spots outside of Southwest Washington for local sportsmen to try.

Here are his selections:

Palmer Lake, Okanogan County — The 2,000-acre lake long has been a smallmouth bass hotspot, but a big infusion of kokanee has made Palmer a go-to water for the tasty landlocked sockeye salmon.

Standard kokanee gear, like used at Merwin or Yale reservoirs, works here. Catches ramp up in mid-June and continue into September.

Medical, West Medical lakes, Spokane County — Both lakes grow fat trout.

“They look like little pigs,” Rudnick said.

West Medical Lake is the blue-collar version, where bait is allowed and still-fishing works better than trolling. Rainbows of 4 to 7 pounds are possible. Medical Lake has quality-fishing regulations (artificial lures or flies with single, barbless hooks) along with a two-fish limit and a 14-inch minimum.

Clear Lake, Yakima County — On the east side of White Pass south of U.S. Highway 12, Clear Lake is a beautiful spot in the pine-covered hills of the Wenatchee National Forest.

The 250-acre lake gets stocked with 20,000 catchable-size trout, 25,000 fry (tiny) and more than 10,000 triploid (large, sterile) rainbow trout.

“They just fill it up with trout,” Rudnick said. “It’s stocked like an urban lake yet it’s up in the high country where you can camp with a tent.”

There are two U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and a good boat ramp.

The lake get quite popular once school is out, so late May-early June is a good time.

Lake Chelan, Roses Lake, Chelan County — Lake Chelan is huge. It has lake trout (mackinaw). This is a place to take the salmon boat and downriggers because you might be trolling 275 to 315 feet deep for the mackinaws.

“Bring plenty of cable for the downriggers,” Rudnick said.

Most of the mackinaw are 2 to 3 pounds, but there is a good chance at a 5- to 6-pound fish. The lake also is stocked with rainbow trout.

Roses Lake is about 20 minutes away from Chelan. It has brook trout, tiger trout, rainbows, browns, channel catfish, bass, bluegill and crappie. Roses offer a more traditional lake-fishing opportunity than the specialty trolling in Chelan.

Baker Lake, Whatcom County —The lake is a reservoir on the Baker River, a tributary of the Skagit River.

A sockeye fishery has developed beginning in July in Baker Lake. Sockeye are the sea-run version of kokanee.

Troll very slowly with a size 0 dodger (chrome or half-and-half) with a 2/0 or 3/0 red bare hook about a foot behind the dodger. For weight, use a 3- to 4-ounce mooching sinker.

“Guys who love kokanee really go crazy with a sockeye that’s three times as big,” Rudnick said.

If not found in book stores, Rudnick’s “Washington Fishing” can be ordered online from The book retails for $22.99.

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