BassWestUSA - September/October, 2009, Page 64

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Western WAshIngTOn Washington Lakes

is mostly known for Puget Sound and salmon fishing. With the ever decreasing salmon runs and increasing fishing regulations, bass fishing is becoming popu- lar in the Evergreen State. At Outdoor Emporium in Seattle, one of the most commonly asked questions currently is, “Where and how can I catch bass in Washington?” When people used to come to this state, bass fishing was usually last on their minds. Most people had never really heard of the bass fishing in Washington. Over the past couple of years, with the FLW Series coming to the Columbia River, folks abroad are beginning to see what a fabulous fishery it is and want to know more about the state and it’s other bass fishing waters. Washington is a mix of snowy mountains, rainforests, arid des- erts, lush river valleys, and even swamps. These are the conditions in which its natural lakes, man-made reservoirs, and rivers lay. Washington has two primary regions, Western and Eastern Washington. Each is almost the polar opposite of the other and is divided by the expansive Cascade Mountains. Western Washington consists of green trees, fertile river valleys, and most of all, natural lakes. Eastern Washington is mostly a dry, plateau land, which is sliced in half by the mighty Columbia River. This article will focus on the west. Western Washington has many small natural lakes dotting the map, from the Columbia River to the Canadian border. There are so many of these small waters that I dare not list them here. Almost every single small lake in Washington is stocked with pro- tein-rich rainbow trout. Try your luck on any little pond, you will have a decent chance of hooking into that trophy Northern Largemouth, which would run around 6-10 pounds. By the way, to remind you, the state record is only 11 lbs. 9 ozs. Western Washington also offers some larger lakes with great fishing opportunities, such as: Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, Silver Lake, and Riffe Lake. Lake Washington is probably the most prominent lake of the western region lakes. It’s the largest natural lake; 15 miles long and is located adjacent to the greater Seattle area. It has a surface acre- age of 22,138 and an average depth of 108 feet. The lake is filled with shallow bays, deepwater reefs, weed lines, and points. Fish- ing here you might find yourself looking up into the houses of the rich and famous, such as Billionaire Bill Gates and basketball great

Bill Russell. The lake offers excellent smallmouth fish- ing and some good large- mouth fishing. Smallmouth generally can be found on the deeper weed lines from 15-30 feet. Here they will be munching on the abundant perch in the lake. Also work rocky flats with scattered weeds, as the smallmouths use these areas to prey on the large Sculpin popula- tion. If you can find rock and a weed line, you typi- cally have yourself a good area. Largemouth aren’t present in large numbers in this lake, yet they can be found in some of the lakes bays. Usually the large- mouth will hold in water no deeper than about 20 feet, on weed lines and drop offs near docks and piers. Some favorite techniques for Lake Washington include drag- ging a Yamamoto DT Hula Grub, and throwing a Luhr- Jensen Hot Lips along the weed lines. The average winning weight for a tournament on Wash- ington is around 15-20 pounds, depending on the time of year, and you have a very real chance of landing that 6 lb. trophy smallmouth. The Sammamish River or what is also referred to as the “Sam- mamish Slough” connects Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington. Lake Sammamish is a natural lake, covers 4,897 surface acres, and is in the heart of the east side of the Seattle area. Lake Sammamish also has a good smallmouth population and some largemouth. While it doesn’t have Lake Washington’s large bays it is filled with rocky points, wooded flats, and docks. You can usually find Smallmouth on the numerous points. Throwing salmon smolt colored jerkbaits,

When you think of Washington, do you think of rain? More rain? How about some more rain? Well, while Washington might be one of our nation’s wetter states, its also one of the most beautiful and diverse. though sometimes it’s hard to see this beauty, as fog, rain, or clouds usually cover it. But that’s part of what makes it all the better for anglers.

by Nick Barr

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September/October 2009