Sprague Lake Offers Steelhead Mecca
By Jai Colvin
It’s time to hit the waters for Washington State’s beloved Steelhead and this year there is one place anglers should certainly have on their list of places to go…Sprague Lake in Eastern Washington.
Last year there was an overwhelming bounty of steelhead stocked in Sprague Lake and that is translating to some incredible fishing opportunities this year in terms of steelhead on this lush, tucked
away lake. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife the steelhead here are “Doing really well and are certainly contributing to the fishery.”
Sprague Lake is a year-round fishery for trout, largemouth bass and channel catfish but this year it will offer sport fishermen even more in terms of a massive infusion of fish. This influx of fish was the result of a lawsuit filed by wild steelhead advocates that prevented department managers from releasing young ocean-going rainbows last spring in Puget Sound streams. It was determined that, rather than waste the fish, approximately 369,000 small steelhead were stocked in Sprague. This means an incredible season is ahead for those anglers who head to the lake.
2015 is being anticipated to be a great steelhead year anyway with another 340,000 steelhead originally bred and raised at hatcheries to be released in Puget Sound streams. According to Fish and Wildlife 47 Western Washington trout lakes were stocked this month.
The steelhead is reportedly healthy and running about 15-16 inches which should make for some fantastic fishing throughout Washington State this season. Sprague is the only Eastern Washington Lake to get this influx of surplus steelhead. Steelhead caught so far this season has been reported to have reached 18 inches and weigh approximately 2.2 pounds; word through the fishing community is spreading quickly.
A 1/8 oz. jig made of a red bead body and a black yarn tail works well when hitting the water for steelhead. Most sport fishermen will tip this with a small piece of raw prawn meat. A 1/16 oz. marabou or rabbit fur jig works well too. There are many color combinations that will catch steelhead at various times. There are no hard and fast rules when fishing jigs. Tossing small tarnished brass or black spinners into pockets and riffles have worked well for some.
Sprague Lake also offers trout, bluegill, largemouth bass and channel catfish for those who wish to fish this local favorite. Locals have reported catching channel cat in this lake as big as 20 lbs. Sprague is located 36 miles west of Spokane, WA along I-90 and only 2 miles out of the town of Sprague. The lake is open year around and there are a number of camping sights and RV facilities in the area.