In a burst of early spring excitement, over two dozen lakes in Eastern Washington are set to welcome eager anglers on March 1 for the trout fishing season, as announced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers. 

WDFW's Enthusiasm for Early Spring Fishing 

Steve Caromile, WDFW statewide inland fish program manager, expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming season, saying, “Early spring is a great time to get out fishing at some of our east side lakes. With a warmer-than-normal winter, and the promise of an early spring, the March 1 opener is a fantastic chance to break free from routine, gather with friends and family, and spend quality time fishing.” 

Caution Advised on Icy Lakes: WDFW's Safety Recommendations 

While some lakes east of the Cascade Crest might still be iced over depending on late winter weather, the WDFW suggests caution and recommends staying off the ice unless its safety is confirmed, as ice conditions are not monitored by the department. 

Hotspots for March 1 Opener: Martha and Upper Caliche Lakes 

Popular choices for the March 1 opener include Martha and Upper Caliche lakes near George in Grant County, offering excellent prospects for 10- to 14-inch rainbow trout. The north section of Martha Lake is usually ice-free, providing ample shoreline space and concentrating most of the trout. 

Anticipated Hotspots: Quincy and Burke Lakes in Grant County 

Quincy and Burke lakes in Grant County are also anticipated hotspots, with recent surveys revealing a good number of 12- to 13-inch rainbow trout and larger carryover fish. The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce Trout Derby is scheduled for March 22-23 at Quincy and Burke lakes. 

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Grant County's March 1 Openers: More Than Just Martha and Upper Caliche 

Other Grant County waters part of the March 1 openers include Dry Falls, Lenice, Lenore, Cascade, North Potholes Reserve, and Nunnally lakes. 

Columbia County's Fishing Delights: Rainbow, Deer, and Watson Lakes 

In Columbia County, Rainbow, Deer, and Watson lakes, offering bank fishing only off the Tucannon River, are set to open. Spring and Blue lakes, open year-round, will be stocked this spring. 

Trout Fishing Opportunities in Whitman and Walla Walla Counties 

Pampa Pond in Whitman County opens March 1 for rainbow trout fishing, while Fish Hook Pond in Walla Walla County, open year-round, provides bank fishing opportunities in the early spring. 

Tranquil Fishing Experience: Quincy Lakes Unit of Columbia Basin Wildlife Area 

For those seeking a tranquil fishing experience, the walk-in lakes within the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area, including Dusty, Cliff, Crystal, and Cup, offer solitude along with the chance to catch trout ranging from 12 to 20 inches. 

Greater Spokane's March 1 Openers: Liberty, Amber, Downs, and Medical Lakes 

The greater Spokane region boasts several March 1 openers, including Liberty, Amber, Downs, and Medical lakes. Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County also opens on March 1 with selective gear rules in effect. In the northeastern section of Washington, Deer Lake in Stevens County opens on March 1, expected to be largely ice-free due to the relatively warm winter. 

Angler Guidelines and Licensing: WDFW's Recommendations 

Anglers are advised to check the WDFW website for trout fishing information, fishing regulations, and updates on emergency rules affecting fisheries. A valid fishing license is a must, which can be conveniently purchased online or from hundreds of license dealers across the state. Additionally, anglers parking at WDFW vehicle water-access areas are required to display the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass, while those visiting Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resources lands need a Discover Pass. 

WDFW's Commitment: Preserving Washington's Wildlife and Ecosystems 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife remains committed to preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, providing sustainable opportunities for both recreational and commercial fish and wildlife activities. Let the trout season begin, and may the best catch win! 

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