Featured image: Jeff Schafer – 8.3 pound tiger trout – Granite Point Resort, Loon Lake
By Loren Grube, Publisher, Loon Lake Times
With two beautiful lakes in the town of Loon Lake, Washington, and fishing season in full swing, I thought it was a good time to write an article about fishing in Loon Lake. Most of the following information was taken directly from WDFW’s Fishing Pamphlet and also an enlightening phone conversation with Bill Baker of WDFW, responsible for managing Deer and Loon Lake. “All in all, it’s shaping up to be a good year for fishing,” said Bill.
The two lakes (Loon and Deer) are situated across highway 395 from each other about 30 miles north of Spokane and 17 miles south of Chewelah in Loon Lake, Washington (Stevens County). Loon lake is on the west of the highway, and Deer lake is on the east side. Each offers public access, convenience stores, restaurants, day use areas, resort(s) and ample fishing opportunities.
FISHING SEASON —
Deer Lake: March 1 – November 30, 2019
Loon Lake: April 27 – October 31, 2019
Why does fishing season begin earlier at Deer Lake than at Loon Lake, you may wonder. I asked Bill Baker about this, and he explained that historically both lakes followed the same opening schedule (the fourth Saturday in April), but that opening fishing day for Deer Lake was moved up so that anglers could take advantage of a dense population of Mackinaw (also known as Lake Trout) right at ice-off. You can find Mackinaw in Loon Lake as well, but it may be more of a rare catch.
FISH SPECIES —
In addition to Mackinaw, Rainbow Trout is plentiful, especially at Deer Lake, where WDFW stocks 25-30 thousand of the species each year. There is also a net pin operation on Deer Lake managed by the Santora Family all winter long, where Rainbow Trout is raised and released.
WDFW supplies Loon Lake with a smaller quantity of Rainbow Trout early in the fishing season – to give anglers something to harvest before Kokanee heats up in the summer, said Bill. Deer Lake does not offer anglers Kokanee for the catching. WDFW tried to raise the species there, but it could not be sustained. You’ll find both small-mouth and large-mouth bass in both lakes, but large-mouth bass is more plentiful at Loon Lake.
THE RULES —
If you intend to fish at Deer or Loon, you can pick up a copy of WDFW’s fishing pamphlet (with all of the rules and regulations for each lake) at local retail stores and online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/01998/wdfw01998.pdf.
Here is some information to help you get started:
Do I need a fishing license? Everyone 15 years and older needs a license to fish. Fishing licenses can be purchased at All Seasons Grocery or a nearby dealer, online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov or by calling (866) 246-9453. Keep in mind, phone and online orders take 7-10 business days for delivery. The cost for a freshwater fishing license is $29.50 (residents age 16 and older), $7.50 (senior residents), or $84.50 (non-residents). Licenses are valid for one year (April 1 to March 31).
No license is required to fish during FREE Fishing Weekend, which is June 8-9 this year.
Do I need a Discover Pass? A Discover Pass comes in handy if you park at the public access (boat launch) or any land managed by Washington state DNR or WDFW. It costs only $35 per year and can be purchased at All Seasons Grocery in Loon Lake or online at www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
What are the daily limits?
- LARGE-MOUTH BASS: 5 (Only 12″ or less may be retained, except 1 over 17″ may be retained)
- SMALL-MOUTH BASS: 10 (Only 1 over 14″ may be retained)
- KOKANEE: 10 (no minimum size)
- TROUT: 5
STATEWIDE TROUT FISHING DERBY
Loon Lake and Waitts Lake are participating lakes in the Statewide Trout Fishing Derby – open to anyone with a valid fishing license. No entrance fee or registration is required.
HOW IT WORKS
- Catch a tagged Rainbow Trout anytime between April 27-October 31, 2019 to win a prize. There are over 1000 prizes totaling $39,000.
- Winning derby trout will have a blue tag attached to its fin. Call the WDFW phone number on the tag (360-902-2464) to find out where to claim your prize.
- Bring your tag to the business location you were provided to claim your derby prize!
If you’d like to stay longer than a day, Loon Lake offers three beautiful lake resorts with rental cabins and RV parking.
- Granite Point Resort 233-2100 https://www.granitepointpark.com/
- Shore Acres Resort 233-2474 https://www.shoreacresresort.com/
- Deer Lake Resort 233-2081 https://deerlakeresort.com/
Loon Lake is a beautiful and peaceful place to go and get away from the noise of the city. It’s a great spot to vacation with the family. And it offers good fishing too. One fisherman told me, though, that fishing is not all about the fish. It’s also about being out on the water ⸺ the relaxation, the sun, the fresh air. Whatever your reason, come visit us soon!