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Ron Enyeart
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Lured by reports of fish in Sprague lake I went to see it for myself. Big water big fish right? Couldn't locate a fish all morning. shoals - negative, drop offs - negative, open water - negative. All the while bombers like I had never seen were coming off size 8's! No surface action. fished leeches and chiro's with equal success ( none). Where did I go wrong?
Eventualy that large lake wore my confidence down and I retreated to a "stocker lake" to boost my confidence - off to Fishtrap lake at 11:00am. Maybe I could pick up a few carryovers. Marked fish, but with same results - nothing. 2:00pm with confidence waning, I took off for Amber Lake. At the boat launch one fly fisherman was getting out to go home. "Any luck" I ask. "not for me". Uhg, I thought, today may just be one of those days; I should have stuck it out at Sprgaue. Went out thinking well if I don't find any fish at least I got a couple IPA's to entertain myself. After several adjustments in techniques and depth found what I was looking for. 23 feet of water 21 foot leader and 15 fish b/4 the day ended. Still trying to learn its the journey not the destination, but glad I was saved by Amber.
 

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Sprague is a pretty shallow lake and it's not planted with catchables. Totally speculation, but it could have had some fish die off last summer. Reports on other sites for this spring have been dismal as well.
 

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^ You mean to tell me that a cold water specie was unable to survive in warm water fishery? No whey! They ruined that lake when they killed it off years ago. That thing was an amazing warm water fishery! Huge bass/walleye/crappie/ carp. It may have been a cold water fishery at one point in time but that time is over. This is the second time wfg has tried to kill and restock. Hopefully it comes back as a warm water fishery, it came back from the last kill off, only faster, and the powers that be leave it alone.
 

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Still fly fishing in the PCW
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^ You mean to tell me that a cold water specie was unable to survive in warm water fishery? No whey! They ruined that lake when they killed it off years ago. That thing was an amazing warm water fishery! Huge bass/walleye/crappie/ carp. It may have been a cold water fishery at one point in time but that time is over. This is the second time wfg has tried to kill and restock. Hopefully it comes back as a warm water fishery, it came back from the last kill off, only faster, and the powers that be leave it alone.
When WDFW killed it, it was to make it a better warm water fishery, not to make a trout fishery. Sprague is a warm water lake as far as WDFW is concerned and is managed as such. But creel surveys, netting surveys and angler feedback indicated the average catch rates and sizes of warm water fish were consistently down over many years. It is very expensive to kill a lake and they had to have tons of data on the poor size and poor density of the bass, walleye, crappie, etc. before they got permission to kill it. Each time they kill it, they predict it will be 20 years before the fishing gets so bad they need to do it again. During that time, what starts out as a good bass fishery naturally evolves into mostly a good walleye and black crappie fishery. Then even those fisheries decline, I think in large part, due to carp. Years ago, there was a commercial carp fishery on the lake as it is great carp habitat.

As for planting trout, well, it's because walleye, bass, and other warm water fish grow more slowly than trout. Therefore, after rehabbing it, a few years would have to go by before people thought the warm water fish were worth catching. Therefore, since trout grow very quickly in the nutrient-rich lake, trout were planted only to provide something for people to catch until the warm water fish were well established. WDFW never intended to make it a trout fishery.
 

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Yeah, I heard that same bullshit story from the biologist who checked us a couple times at the ramp. Small catch rates, blah blah blah. He shut up when we pulled out walleye over 8lbs. That place was fishing awesome right up until the kill off. The same bio also stated that they wanted to bring back the trout population and in order to do that they needed to eliminate the walleye as well as the bass.
 

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I 've had luck located the deep areas of the lake 12 ft plus and slow trolling with micro leech or anchored with a chronie. Its tough fishing by end of may as it heats up quickly. There are some big trout in there.

Shame the state ruined that lake. Used to be great for bass and crappies
 

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Still fly fishing in the PCW
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And there lies one of WDFW's conundrums. They can manage for trophy fish or high catch rates, but usually not both. I heard the same discussion about Chopaka (and other lakes) before rehab. Some people have the few, but far between large fish dialed in and are very happy while the other 90% piss and moan about how it sucks and how WDFW should do something. And as a volunteer, I have sat through meetings where they discuss all this and even discuss if they should just let X lake be a trophy fishery and if that is sustaintainable long-term and is that what the majority of users want, etc. Heck, at one of the Sprague Lake rehab meetings, I suggested leaving it a trophy fishery. I even suggested they start promoting Sprague to fly anglers as a trophy carp fishery as those buggers were huge and plentiful and it would have only gotten better if they didn't rehab it. But in the end, the masses who want easy fishing for decent numbers of average fish won out, as usual. And it's not just gear anglers: every so often people starting complaining to WDFW about Dry Falls catch rates too and how the catch rates suck. I sat through a meeting or two about Dry Falls and what to do about the poor catch rates not too long after I landed a legitimate 24" rainbow. I was very happy with the fewer but larger fish at the time but most people weren't.
 

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Agreed! I sat through one meeting about sprague, couldn't handle a second. Not only where we putting big fish in the boat but also in good numbers. The carp fishery was amazing. Many anglers I knew were putting quality fish in their boats. Was it an easy fishery, no, that is where wdfw fell to the masses.
 
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