Best Opening Day Lakes East of the Cascades

Best Opening Day Lakes East of the Cascades

By John Kruse

Wondering where to go for the Lowland Lakes Trout Opener? There wasn’t an opening day last year thanks to the six-week spring fishing closure imposed by Washington State at the start of the Covid pandemic. However, we can get some pretty good ideas of where to go by looking at the top lakes from the 2019 lowland lakes opener. All of the lakes mentioned are east of the Cascade Crest and the catch data was tallied by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife creel checkers. It’s also worth noting that most of the anglers fishing lakes in Eastern Washington during the 2019 opener had to contend with high winds and in some cases, spring snow!

WILLIAMS LAKE – Located between Cheney and Sprague, this lake has two resorts and is a popular opening day destination. In 2019 anglers caught eight fish apiece and 2.3 of these trout were kept on average. They were mainly 10-inch rainbows and cutthroat which explains the high release rate. The biggest fish checked was a 19-inch rainbow trout.

STARVATION LAKE – This Northeast Washington lake gave up an average of 2.7 trout on the opener in 2019 but wind and snow put a damper on success as the day progressed. One of the fish caught was a huge 21-inch rainbow.

WAITTS LAKE – There were not a whole lot of people fishing this body of water on the opener but the ones that were there averaged 2.5 trout apiece. One unique thing about this lake is the fact you can catch brown trout here and the biggest one checked on the April 2019 opener was a nice 20-inch fish.

PARK LAKE – Part of the Sun Lakes located between Coulee City and Soap Lake, this lake generally receives a lot of attention during the opener and most anglers have good success here. In 2019 anglers were averaging three trout and the largest rainbow wasn’t that large, measuring out at 14.3 inches. High winds made for tough fishing.

WAPATO LAKE – This lake, not far from Manson in Chelan County, is another tried and true favorite on opening day. In 2019 anglers averaged 4.5 fish each, many of them rainbows in the 13-inch range.

JAMESON LAKE – This sagebrush lined lake in Douglas County is another favored opening day destination. High winds kept anglers off the water for much of the April 2019 opener but despite that those venturing out with a rod and reel averaged 3.4 trout apiece and the fish were nice sized, averaging 13 inches.

ROWLAND LAKE – This Kittitas County lake off of Highway 14 produced well during the 2019 opener and anglers caught close to a limit each (4.8 fish average). One “large broodstock” trout was also caught but no weight or measurements were provided.

SPEARFISH LAKE – Only eight anglers were found fishing this sleeper of a lake by Dallesport during the opener but they weren’t doing half-bad, averaging 3.1 trout apiece.

As for catching them? When it comes to opening day, all sorts of tactics work. You can fish Berkley PowerBait or marshmallows and worms off the bottom if it’s not too weedy. If it is weedy you can cast spinners, spoons or flies from shore. If you are trolling from a boat it’s hard to beat a Mack’s Wedding Ring Spinner tipped with a worm behind a small dodger or pop gear. One other boat tactic that works well? Trolling a small frog colored Worden’s Flatfish. It works!

John Kruse – and


April 02 to April 09, 2021

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