Saturday, January 25, 2020
Jan. 25, 2020

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Holiday trout plants are winter gift to local anglers

Several area lakes offer good fishing in next few weeks

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
2 Photos
A pair of anglers brave cold January weather to fish Lake Sacajawea in Longview. The lake has been producing lots of rainbow trout for anglers fishing with Berkley Powerbait along the bottom. (Terry Otto/The Columbian)
A pair of anglers brave cold January weather to fish Lake Sacajawea in Longview. The lake has been producing lots of rainbow trout for anglers fishing with Berkley Powerbait along the bottom. (Terry Otto/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

It had been two hours since I had landed my first trout from Sacajawea Lake in Longview, but I was having difficulty catching any more. That 15-inch rainbow had struck a yellow-bladed Rooster Tail spinner worked at mid-depth.

One fish is not a pattern, so I began talking to the other fishermen. Most of them were catching a few fish with Berkley Powerbait, a popular trout dough bait, fished right on the bottom.

Going back to where I had caught that first trout, I let my Rooster Tail drop all the way to the bottom and made a slow retrieve. I was rewarded with a feisty 14-inch rainbow trout that tussled hard and jumped several times before I banked him.

It took just two more casts to land my third fish, and after just four more casts I had a limit of five trout from 12 to 15 inches.

Lake Sacajawea had been planted just before Christmas with 1,000 chunky rainbows, 2,500 smaller catchable trout, and a few trophy trout from 5 to 10 pounds.

“This is the third year of the Christmas plants at Sacajawea,” said Stacie Kelsey of the WDFW Inland Fishes program. “It’s now an annual event.”

She said the holiday plantings were suggested by the public, so the department gave it a try.

“People were fishing the lake like crazy that first year so we saw this as one we should do annually,” Kelsey said.

While the fishery has been very well-received, few people were fishing it early that morning. It was a blustery, cold, showery day. Perhaps that was keeping other anglers away?

However, about 10 a.m. they began to show. They were starting to catch fish, too. According to Kelsey, that late-morning bite is a pattern that local anglers have figured out.

“Most of the fishermen are starting about mid-morning now,” she said.

Lake Sacajawea is in the center of Longview, in Lake Sacajawea Park. It is a long lake, well-suited to bank angling, and it snakes through the park between mowed grassy banks.

There are a number of fishing docks, some with shelters that offer protection from the rain.

The grassy banks also offer good places to fish from, and for anglers with children there are several playgrounds scattered through the park.

It is a very family-friendly urban trout fishery, and the lake also boasts some bass, yellow perch, crappie, and other warmwater fish.

However, during the winter, it’s a trout show.

Most anglers were fishing with Powerbait, and the best colors were yellow, lime green, and red sparkle. With a two-rod endorsement, you can fish two rods.

The lake should fish very well for at least another two or three weeks.

Washington’s winter trout stocking program is in full swing, and anglers will find plenty of trout when fishing the local lowland lakes. For most lakes the stockings will continue until late spring. Here are a few to try:

Battle Ground Lake

This lake in Battle Ground was stocked in advance of the Black Friday trout event.

Since then it has received 26 rainbows about 10 pounds, 75 more about 5 pounds, and 2,000 rainbows at 2.4 per pound.

Kelsey said the lake is a little tough for bank anglers.

“Bank access is difficult because of the trees,” said Kelsey, “so most fish are caught by people fishing off the dock or from a boat.”

“There is a spot past the swimming area, two or three places where you can bank fish because there aren’t any trees above. That’s a really good place to bank fish.”

Once again, bait is the best bet.

Klineline Pond

Located in Salmon Creek Park in Vancouver, Klineline Pond is very popular with trout anglers. Most fish are caught in the southwest corner or off the swimming beach.

“Klineline is kind of our go-to lake for winter trout,” Kelsey said.

She also said the trout will sometimes congregate along the highway bank on the east end of the lake.

“It’s kind of secret hole,” she said. “It’s super deep off the freeway there, and it gets good later in the season.”

Again, Berkley Powerbait is the preferred bait. However, Kelsey said that when anglers gather in numbers and fish the dough baits the bite can shut off after a while.

Changing your offering can restart the bite. Kelsey suggested a small bit of worm tipped with a salmon egg.

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Rowland Lake

This lake in the Gorge was planted with 300 brood rainbows from 5 to 10 pounds in December, in addition to the Black Friday stockings.

Buzz Ramsey of Yakima Bait fished the lake with friends recently, and they were rewarded with two trophy-sized rainbow trout. He reported that they hit a trolled 3.0 Maglip and an F-5 Flatfish in gold.

Icehouse Lake

This small pond on the Washington side of the Bridge of the Gods near Stevenson was planted with 500 catchable sized rainbows and 30 trophy-sized trout in December.

Horseshoe Lake

Planted with 85 trophy trout in December, anglers have also been catching real nice holdover rainbows from last year.

For more information: check the WDFW trout stockings page at: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking/trout-plants

Always check the regulations before you fish.

Columbian staff writer
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