LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Lake Leland fishing tips

PERHAPS THE SUCCESS level of Lake Leland is relative to how fishing is going throughout the rest of the North Olympic Peninsula.

In my role as Lake Leland hype man, I might have gone a little too far recently, making it seem that fish were begging to be caught and the lake was crowded as it is during the lowland lake opener on the last Saturday of April.

It isn’t that easy, and for better or worse, Lake Leland isn’t quite that busy.

All that being said, there are still many fish in the lake, and it is currently one of the best fishing spots on the Peninsula.

Among the fish in Lake Leland are triploid rainbow trout that were planted by the state two years ago.

With a couple of years of growing, these trout weigh in at four pounds or more.

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said the lake’s low water temperature — about 39 degrees — means the trout are fairly inactive.

“If you get more than three bites a day you are doing well, and trolling is not as productive as it will be later,” Norden said.

“Right now, the best way [to fish for trout] is to suspend bait about 5 feet above the bottom and be patient.

“The main section of the lake is uniformly about 21 feet deep and the sides drop off sharply. This is why I recommend a sliding bobber with a stopper at 15 feet.”

The fish will feed much more aggressively when Lake Leland’s water temperature reaches 46 to 47 degrees.

“When that temperature is reached, you will also see the beginnings of an insect hatch on the surface with accompanying dimples by trout,” Norden said.

“If we get some of those 50-plus-degree rainy days, the lake temp will rise pretty quickly.

“I hope that is soon.”

Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said many things can contribute to a bad fishing day, but pinpointing the exact reason can be difficult.

“If something is not working,” Menkal said, “make a change.”

Menkal added that the first things an angler should change is the depth at which they’re fishing and the color of what they are using.

Maybe even change lakes.

Menkal said a 24- to 26-inch trout was recently caught at Teal Lake in Jefferson County.

Like Lake Leland, Teal is a year-round lake.

It is located two miles south of Port Ludlow. To get there, just follow Teal Lake Road off of U.S. Highway 104.

River report

Trophy fishing, as Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles calls it, for native steelhead on the West End rivers is decent, but things are about to get messy.

Aunspach said the forecast calls for heavy rain and flooding next week.

River conditions for this weekend, however, should be great for fishing.

Menkal reports nice fishing on the Hoh, Sol Duc and Bogachiel rivers.

Also, those ridiculous seals appear to have left the Bogey.

There is some potentially good news for river fishing.

It’s only at the whisper stage, but a few spring chinook have been spotted in the West End rivers.

“It’s remarkably early,” Menkal said.

Springers usually don’t show up in the rivers until late March, April or even May.

Saltwater scoop

On the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the wind has been keeping anglers from fishing for blackmouth.

“The weather has been tough and the tides are off,” Aunspach said.

Aunspach said the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly derby ladder only had one entrant as of Thursday, a 10-pound, 8-ounce fish caught by Willy McClure.

Fly fishing class

Menkal is teaching part one of his Fly Fishing 101 class this Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with part two taking place the following Tuesday, March 19, at the same time.

Cost for the class is $25. Bring a notepad, pen or pencil and a chair.

Class attendance is limited to 12 participants.

To reserve a spot or for more formation, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.

The classes are held at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Greywolf banquet

The Greywolf Fly Fishing Club is holding its annual banquet Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Gardiner Community Center located at 980 Old Gardiner Road in Sequim.

This is a members-only, invitation-only function and not open to the general public.

So, for more information about joining the club, visit its website at www.tinyurl.com/greywolfcontact.

The club, made up of anglers with a passion for fly fishing, meets once a month on the second Wednesday of the month.

It also meets for informal weekly breakfasts on Monday mornings.

Puget Sound Anglers

The monthly meeting of the North Olympic Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers will host the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s only official North of Falcon public meeting held on the North Olympic Peninsula on Thursday, March 21.

This meeting will be your opportunity to hear and comment on what the state, tribes, and federal government are proposing for the 2013-14 salmon seasons, with primary emphasis on the local fisheries of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Areas 5 and 6), the San Juans (Marine Area 7) and North Puget Sound (Marine Area 9).

An overview of the ocean proposals and the rest of Puget Sound will also be covered.

Input from the public comments at the meeting will be considered in setting the final salmon season rules through the North of Falcon process.

Additional information on the process can be found on the state’s website at www.tinyurl.com/northfalcon.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church located at 100 South Blake Ave. in Sequim.

Hike of the week

The Olympic Outdoor Club will hike the Ranger Hole and Murhut Falls trails on Saturday.

The Ranger Hole hike is 2.1 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 200 feet with a high point of 320 feet.

Murhut Falls is a 1.6-mile round-trip hike with a 300-foot elevation gain and high point of 1,050 feet.

Both of these hikes are relatively easy.

For more information, contact Dean at [email protected]


The daily salmon limit for Marine Area 12 is two fish.

I incorrectly wrote in Thursday’s column that the daily limit is one salmon.

Send photos, stories

Have a photograph, a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique?

Send it to [email protected] or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.


Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at [email protected]

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