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Warm Water Fans Flock to Evergreen Reservoir.

Warm Water Fans Flock to Evergreen Reservoir.

When I planned an extended mid-May fishing trip to several waters in North Central Washington, I was sure to include Evergreen Reservoir. The lakes that were included on my list I had either never fished, or fished so long ago I didn't know what to expect. I added Evergreen Reservoir to the number of lakes to visit. Its reputation for producing good numbers of a long list of warmwater species assured me of an interesting day, and I wasn't disappointed.

My "native guide", Eileen, and I had enjoyed an evening of trout fishing at Blue Lake, returned to our hotel in Ephrata, and since we had to be back in Leavenworth that evening, Evergreen would be right on the way. We hit the water a little after eight (nothing like crack of dawn fishing!), and found the water at Evergreen clear and calm. We found the launch at the west side of the reservoir and began exploring.

There are few a brush-lined bays and attractive shore lines right in the vicinity of the launch, but I decided to make our way east, and look for some water that I felt might hold a new species that had been added to Evergreen just a couple of years ago. The reservoir has been an angling mainstay for perch, bluegill, crappie, walleye and largemouth bass for decades, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife selected Evergreen to receive a plant of tiger muskie.

Tiger muskie was first introduced to the state when they were planted in Mayfield Lake in southwest Washington. They have been added to Newman Lake in Spokane County, Curlew Lake in Ferry County, and most recently, Evergreen Reservoir. The species grows fast, and anglers expect to take the first legal-size muskies from Evergreen (36 inches) this season.

This new species was the focus of my attention in the morning at Evergreen, and not really knowing much about them or how to catch them, I plotted a course that would take us up the northern shore of the reservoir. A basalt wall features the shoreline here, with water dropping off sharply to a depth of about 40 feet. It runs most of the length Evergreen on this side, so I ran out a perch pattern Rapala on one rod, and a Thunkerstick on the other. I set a trolling speed that kept the rod tips bouncing and glued my eyes to the fish finder.

I fished the wall up and down while we checked out the other features of Evergreen Reservoir, and didn't see much on the finder. We did reach the very far end of the reservoir and found where the water supply comes from, and at this time of year it is really rolling. Lots of roiled water pouring in to fill this irrigation holding tank.

What we did find at this eastern end of the pond were some very attractive bays, brush-lined shores, and channels. At just about the point at which the basalt wall gives way to the islands and channels we broke away from out trolling routine, that wasn't providing much excitement anyway, and nosed our way over to one of the side channels. Whoa! All of a sudden the fish finder filled with signs of fish.

There was a rocky bar falling away off the leading edge of the island and that's where the fish were hanging. I immediately hooked a small perch, but this fish was just an indicator of more to come. As we entered the channel, one of Eileen's casts went awry a bit and got stuck in one of the rushes. Since this particular shore was soft-bottomed I decided to nose the boat in and retrieve the lure. That unlucky cast turned out the be the best one of the day.

When I waded back to the boat and climbed in, I looked back over my shoulder and there was a whole herd of bluegill staring at me. What the heck. That would be fun. I tied on a crappie jig and started pulling them in. After catching and releasing a few, I noticed that there were some small, largemouth bass moving into see what all the excitement was about. Now that would be even more fun.

I started digging through my box, looking for something to get their attention. I first tied on a six-inch, salted worm, with a little neon green on the tail. I also put a small split shot a couple feet above it. The bass would rush over, stick their nose on it when it settled to the bottom, and then just turn away. As I experimented with different colors and types of plastics, more bass began to appear. Now I was determined to find the answer.

I tried a couple of leeches without success, but figured I was on the right tact the way the bass reacted. When I tied on what Eileen described as a kiwi-green, translucent, ribbed leech, though, everything changed. When I pitched this little offering out there—Bang! Boy did they jump on it . I caught three nice, little largemouth in four casts, losing one more.

This little leech did the trick till the bass tore it up so badly that it didn't fish right any more. I tried some other, similar styles of leech, but nothing doing. They wanted that particular color and style and nothing more. It's no wonder that the walls of any good sporting goods store are lined with an incredible variety of colors and styles of bass plastics. You just never know. It really burned my bacon, too, because just when this leech stopped working some really big largemouth had appeared. I mean 3- to 5-pounders! Oh, well.

We poked around the corner, into some other very good looking bays. The wind had come up by now, and although we had some "chasers" on some Rapalas, and caught some more bluegill in some mid-channel weed beds, it appeared we had gotten what this little corner of the reservoir had to offer. The fun of stalking largemouth in the shallows was over for this day.

All in all, I couldn't say I wasn't disappointed that I didn't find the tiger muskie I was looking for on this particular day. The bass and bluegill fishing certainly made for a fun outing. I should also mention that if you are a fan of fishing for carp, on a fly rod or otherwise, this would be an excellent place. There were large schools of carp in the shallow bays, and they were huge. There are carp in plenty of lakes and reservoirs over here, but I seldom see as many fish of the size of those we encountered on Evergreen.

Another aspect of planning a trip to Evergreen Reservoir is that there is lots of other lakes around it. The Quincy Wildlife area is dotted with lots of other water, and some good fishing for trout. There are lots of camping areas here, so families could make a real weekend out of a trip to the Quincy Wildlife Recreation Refuge. One the way into Evergreen Reservoir, the road takes you right past Stan Coffin, "H", Burke, and Quincy lakes, and you also pass the trails to Ancient and Dusty lakes, too.

If you would be traveling from Seattle, it's very easy to get to these lakes, and I know many anglers even make a day-trip of it. You just take I-90 through Vantage and then head east when you cross the Columbia River here. Take the turnoff at the little town of George, and if you time the trip right, get a meal at Martha's Restaurant here. Highway 281 will put you on the road to Quincy, but you will turn off before you reach the town. About five miles toward Quincy, you will notice a golf course on the left. This is White Trail Road. Take the left that puts you on it. Just about three miles, driving west on White Trail Road, you will find some curves, and look to the left for the sign that enters the Quincy Wildlife Refuge. The gravel road will lead you past the other lakes I mentioned and will take you directly to Evergreen Reservoir.

There is an very good, improved launch with a large parking area just as you reach the reservoir, and a serviceable launch some distance up the north shore.

I plan to go back to Evergreen sometime very soon and try to figure out what it takes to get the muskies. I know that two sub-legal fish were hooked the day I was last there. One on a crappie jig, and the other on a fly! I know that if I don't get a muskie I'll find plenty of other fish to play with to fill out my day. Evergreen is close enough to Leavenworth that any day with a good weather forecast is a day to hook up the Smoker Craft and head out for another day of "work" in the field. When I do discover what the tiger muskie at Evergreen Reservoir really like, I'll be sure to pass the word along.

The bass I found in Evergreen weren't huge, but they were sure a lot of fun!   Largemouth bass like this one are great sport on light tackle. This one took a watermellon leech.

There are some great back bays and channels at Evergreen Reservoir. This boat was working the edges with spinner baits.