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Fishing highlights – March 2024
Monthly recreation opportunities by region

More than two dozen lakes across Eastern Washington open March 1 for trout fishing

Tight lines this early spring!

More than two dozen Eastern Washington lakes open March 1 for trout fishing, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers announced today.

“Early spring is a great time to get out fishing at some of our east side lakes,” said Steve Caromile, WDFW statewide inland fish program manager. “It has been a warmer than normal winter and looks like we may have an early spring. The March 1 opener is a great chance to get out of the house with friends and family and spend some time fishing.”

Depending upon the severity of late winter weather, some lakes east of the Cascade Crest may still be iced over although warmer weather conditions should provide some trout fishing opportunities. Ice conditions aren’t monitored by WDFW so before heading out the door it’s wise to stay off the ice if you don’t know it is safe.

Martha and Upper Caliche lakes near George in Grant County are popular March 1 choices and expect good fishing for 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout. The north section of Martha Lake is usually ice free with plenty of shoreline space and where most of the trout will be concentrated.

Kids trout fishing  (Matt Marx)

Beautiful, rainy day and an angler’s first catch (Irene Foo)

Recent surveys found a good number of 12- to 13-inch fingerling rainbow trout plus a fair number of larger carryover fish at Quincy and Burke lakes in Grant County. The water temperatures in each lake were around 38 degrees. The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is March 22-23 at Quincy and Burke lakes.

Other Grant County waters part of the March 1 openers are Dry FallsLeniceLenore, Cascade, North Potholes Reserve, and Nunnally lakes.

Lakes offering bank fishing only off the Tucannon River in Columbia County are RainbowDeer, and WatsonSpring and Blue lakes are open year-round and will be stocked this spring.

Pampa Pond in Whitman County opens March 1 for rainbow trout fishing. Fish Hook Pond in Walla Walla County is open year-round. Both are open for bank fishing only and the ponds warm early providing early spring opportunities.

Within the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area there are many walk-in lakes including DustyCliffCrystal, and Cup. These lakes can provide not only good fishing for trout in the 12- to 14-inch range with some up to 20 inches, but also solitude.

The greater Spokane region has several March 1 openers including LibertyAmberDowns, and Medical lakes. Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County also opens March 1 with selective gear rules in effect. In the northeastern section of Washington, Deer Lake in Stevens County opens on March 1. A relatively warm winter should have some parts of the lake ice free.

Trout fishing information can be found on the WDFW’s website. Before heading out, check WDFW’s fishing regulations webpage for permanent regulations and emergency rules webpage for rule updates affecting fisheries. Weekly trout reports can be found on the WDFW fish stocking webpage.

Washington anglers must have a valid fishing license. Licenses can be purchased online or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. Anglers parking at WDFW vehicle water-access areas are required to display the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass – provided when you purchase eligible annual fishing licenses – or a Discover Pass. Anglers visiting Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resources lands need a Discover Pass. Information on parking passes can be found at WDFW’s website.

Trout fishing on Deer Lake (Olivia Harnack)

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