A federal regulation will prevent the state from restocking five Columbia Basin lakes with catchable-size trout this spring.
Sago, Hourglass, Widgeon, and Upper and Lower Hampton lakes in Grant County were treated with rotenone last October. Fish managers with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife used the naturally occurring pesticide to rid kill pumpkinseed sunfish and restore the popular trout fisheries, said Chad Jackson, district fish biologist.
The department typically restocks treated lakes with catchable-size rainbow trout measuring 11-13 inches long.
The five lakes, however, are located in the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge south of Moses Lake and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agency has a policy that prohibits stocking refuge waters with catchable-size sport fish, Jackson said.
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Instead, state hatchery crews will stock all five lakes this spring with rainbow trout fingerlings measuring 2-4 inches long. They are expected to grow to harvestable size by next year’s season opener.
“We know this one year interruption of trout fishing in these popular waters is an inconvenience to anglers,” Jackson said in a department news release. “But these waters will be fishable next year and vastly improved from the past several years.”
Waters in the area currently open for fishing include Martha, Upper Caliche, Quincy, Burke and the Quincy walk-in lakes, as well as Blythe, Canal, Chukar, Corral, Heart, Windmill and North Windmill lakes.
Starting April 1, a number of other lakes will open in the region, including Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Gadwall, Poacher, Shoveler and Lemna. North and South Teal lakes also open April 1.