DUST OFF THAT ROD AND REEL
Looking for a trophy fish to add to your creel?
Look no further than Morgan Lake, Ladd Pond on Peach Road, Roulet Pond near Elgin and the Highway 203 Pond.
All four are being stocked with 1- to 2-pound rainbow trout this spring by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is about the 10th year area ponds have been stocked with trophy trout.
Anglers who do not land trophy fish at these ponds will likely land many consolation prizes, since many of the ponds are being stocked with between 1,000 and 3,000 legal-sized trout. About a dozen ponds and lakes in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties are being stocked this spring.
Fishing in these ponds and lakes will be good not only because they have been stocked. An unusual number of fish survived the winter because conditions were so mild, said ODFW Biologist Nadine Craft.
Craft noted that samples at Ladd Pond indicate there was good over-winter survival. Ladd Pond is among those where fish could be susceptible to a harsh winter because it is only 12 feet deep.
The fish being stocked in Union and Wallowa counties were raised by private companies and at ODFW hatcheries. Fish stocking began in late March and will continue through June.
Angling in these bodies of water will be best early in the season before their temperatures heat up and water levels fall.
In addition to trophy trout, anglers will also find steelhead in Ladd and Roulet ponds. The steelhead returned to hatcheries after migrating to the Pacific Ocean. They were not needed for brood stock so they were placed in the ponds.
The surplus steelhead are put in ponds mainly to provide more fishing opportunities for young people, said Bruce Eddy, acting manager of the ODFW's Northeast Region.
High mountain lakes in the Wallowas and the Elkhorns will be stocked this summer beginning in late July. At least 15 lakes in the Wallowas and Elkhorns will be stocked by airplane drops.
Those in the Wallowas include Aneroid, Crater, Eagle, Francis, Hawk, Hobo, Lookingglass and Prospect lakes.
Lakes in the Wallowas and Elkhorns are stocked every three years. Aerial stocking starts in late July because a number of these lakes are covered by ice until then, said ODFW Biologist Jeff Zakel.
Some streams and rivers in Northeast Oregon are now open for trout fishing.
However, most will not open until May 28.
The outlook for stream fishing this summer may not be good, though, because water levels will be down because of the mild winter. Water temperatures will heat up early in the summer, making fish less active. Trout become lethargic when the water temperature approaches 70 degrees, Craft said.
Anglers involved in catch-and-release fishing in rivers are being encouraged to fish on cool days or where the water is colder. Fish are under greater stress in warm water and less likely to survive if handled.
trout stocking schedule
Trout Farm Pond, 1,000 legal-sized trout; Cutsforth Pond, 600; Willow Creek, 1,000; Marr Pond, 500; Wallowa Wildlife Pond, 450; Roulet Pond, 500; Ladd Pond, 500; Wallowa Lake, 4,500.
Marr Pond, 450; Victor Pond, 500; Wallowa Wildlife Pond, 1,000; Kinney Lake, 2,000; Honeymoon Pond, 2,500; Teepee Pond, 2,500; Roulet Pond, 1,500; Ladd Pond 850.
Hatrock Pond, 600; Cutsforth Pond, 600; Wallowa Lake, 4,575; Kinney Lake, 2,400; Weston Pond, 900.
Wallowa Wildlife Pond, 450; Honeymoon, 450; Teepee Pond, 250.
Jublilee Lake, 2,500; Ladd Pond, 500; Roulet Pond, 500; Marr Pond, 500.
Teepee Pond, 200; Salt Creek Summit Pond, 450; Victor Pond, 500; Wallowa Wildlife Pond, 450; Honeymoon Pond, 450.
Jubilee Lake, 3,000; Kinney Lake, 450.
Grande Ronde Lake, 1,500; Wallowa Lake, 4,500.
Salt Creek Summit Pond, 450; Teepee Pond, 450; Wallowa Lake, 4,500; Grande Ronde Lake, 1,500.
Grande Ronde Lake, 1,000; Wallowa Lake, 4,500.
Anthony Lake, 2,000; Grande Ronde Lake, 2,000.
Wallowa Lake, 4,500.