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Fishing season kicks off at Rock Lake

Lake full of brown and rainbow trout ready to catch

EWAN - Anglers can prepare to explore Eastern Washington's largest inland lake, which is now fully stocked.

Rock Lake is located just one mile north of Ewan and is open to year-round fishing.

Rock Lake has been similarly stocked as in previous years. However, Washington State Fish and Wildlife reports that fishing fanatics should be looking for large brown trout this year.

Anglers can catch a variety of fish, including black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, brown trout, common carp, grass pickerel, kokanee, largemouth bass, largescale sucker, pumpkinseed sunfish, rainbow trout, signal crayfish, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch.

"Fishing has been fairly productive thus far," said Washington State Fish and Wildlife District 2 Fish Biologist Randy Osborne. "People have been catching pretty nice rainbows and a little less but nice brown trout. It's a really large lake with lots of elbow room and fish. It's out of the way a bit, so people can go out there and do really well with fishing and enjoy the day."

Rock Lake has been fully stocked with rainbow and brown trout fry, or "Put, Grow, and Take" size- smaller fish that would be catchable by the start of the fishing season.

According to Washington State Fish and Wildlife, 257,000 spring and fall hatchery rainbow trout were released into Rock Lake this past year. "Around now, they should probably be between 13-14 inches at this point," said Osborne.

Rock Lake also received around 41,000 of the "put, grow, and take" sized fish which Osborne says should measure approximately 10-12 inches at this time.

Last October, Washington State Fish, and Wildlife received 83,000 brown trout fry and a little over 14,000 of the "Put, Grow, and Take" sized brown trout.

"Some of those brown trout that carry over can grow to fairly large sizes; we are talking between 10-15 pounds," added Osborne. "There are some really nice browns in there. But overall, they are harder to catch than the rainbows."

Although no fishing derbys or contests are featured at Rock Lake, local competitive anglers are still off and on-shore fishing.

"Some angulars are tight-lipped on what they are using, but some of the common gear types people use at Rock Lake are kind of jointed Rapala lures; They use those in a rainbow pattern or perch pattern. They will also just troll a wedding ring spinner topped with a nightcrawler on the end," said Osborne.

Osborne also reported that Rock Lake's health is great.

"I know that our aquatic invasive species program has worked diligently to keep those invasive species out," he said.

Not to mention, fish released from the hatchery is reported healthy with no known parasites or viruses.

However, Osborne urges boaters and explorers of the lake to be weary of it as a handful of basalt pinnacles stick up just below the water's surface.

"Conditions can get treacherous for small watercraft. Also, take it easy. One second you could be in 120ft of water, and these things can come out of nowhere. Be careful while boating out there," he said.

He suggests anyone unfamiliar with the lake should pay attention to the weather reports before traveling out because the wind can make the area very dangerous. He also urges that people follow up and double-check the rules and regulations before heading out to fish.

"They should be aware of what the regulations are before fishing in any water. You can pick up the pamphlets at any place that sells licenses. Those pamphlets are free and can be found online," Osborne added.

The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department also has released an app that can easily be downloaded to any smartphone or device.

"It tells you the regulations on whatever lake you are looking at," he said.

Author Bio

Olivia Harnack, Editorial Reporter

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Olivia Harnack is a Journalist at the Whitman County Gazette. Olivia is enrolled at University of Idaho and is majoring in digital film studies. She serves in the United States Army National Guard and is proud to serve Whitman County.

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