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Curlew Lake Chock Full Of Rainbow, Largemouth

Curlew Lake Chock Full Of Rainbow, Largemouth

I took my own advice about heading for northern Okanogan County to get away from the crowds on Memorial Weekend. I also took the opportunity to fish a lake that I had driven by on numerous occasions. Both decisions paid off, and provided for a great weekend of angling on Curlew Lake.

Curlew Lake is eight miles north of Republic on Highway 21. It is about three miles long, fairly narrow, with lots of islands and bays to explore on the 870-acre lake. Every acre is loaded with rainbow trout, along with a mix of brook trout, largemouth bass and even tiger muskie.

My wife Eileen and I didn’t run into any brook trout or tiger muskie, but we did business with plenty of rainbow, and spent a couple of hours on our last morning there catching a passel of small, largemouth bass.

The favored method to filling a creel with rainbow on Curlew is trolling large sets of blades, trailed with a Wedding Ring Spinner, spinner fly or just a plain worm. Some of the gang trolls I saw being pulled by anglers here were the largest I had ever seen. Some of them must have had a dozen blades on ‘em. In spite of some very poor weather conditions over Memorial Weekend, trollers had pretty consistent action with these rigs.

Eileen and I had good success trolling some of my favorite Rapalas and Hot Shots. We ran up and down the lake, just to see the sights, but gravitated to the island that is across and just south of the State Park on the east shore. The water dropped sharply to about 25 feet with about 20 yards from the shore, and we found our fish cruising at about the 12-foot level.

There is a lot of shoreline to troll here at Curlew, but keep a watch out when approaching points and the edges of islands. The bottom can come up fast you can find your self in three feet of weedy water pretty quick!

Curlew receives frequent and substantial plants of rainbow, and that is what dominated our catch. The rainbow were fat and feisty 12- to 13-inchers, and although there are always tales of larger fish taken from Curlew, this all that we caught and saw caught on the weekend here. For family fun, this lake is hard to beat in the spring and fall. Lots of action, that’s for sure.

We saw a few anglers targeting the largemouth in the bays and coves at Curlew, but trout anglers were clearly dominant. We ran into the bay just below where we were catching our rainbow and found it loaded with largemouth.

We didn’t catch anything very large in the couple hours we spent putting around here, but we saw a couple of nice fish. We just threw floating Rapalas, Rooster Tails and some other spinners and these small largemouth attacked them with vigor.

The lake is served by one of the most immaculately tended State Parks I have ever seen. The lawns were manicured, and I don’t think I saw a scrap of litter anywhere. Better yet, as suspected, it was about half full—on Memorial Weekend! There is also an excellent double launch with a dock here.

There are also four private resorts serving the lake. All have full facilities and launches and I am sure they are pretty busy in the summer. Here’s the list: Tiffany’s Resort (509) 775-3152; Pine Point Resort (509) 775-3643; Black’s Beach Resort (509) 775-3989; Fisherman’s Cove (509) 75-3641.

If you’re looking for a place where you and your family or fishing buddies won’t be bothered by huge crowds, and can expect some pretty darn good fishing for rainbow and bass, Curlew Lake should be on your list.