By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
If it’s Memorial Day weekend in the Pacific Northwest, it’s probably raining. For just that reason, the more recreationally-minded of us on the west side of the mountains think of this traditional kickoff to the camping season as a great time to head east.
But with gas prices still rattling on the four dollar mark, Moses Lakes, Potholes, Banks Lake and other lakes east of the mountains may be off this year’s list of destinations to choose from.
Luckily we live in a county with some of the best fishing in a given area for all sorts of species, and you don’t have to leave town on Memorial Day weekend to find good trout fishing. Some of the best “put-and-take” trout fishing is in your own backyard.
Plummer Lake, Hayes Lake and Fort Borst Park Pond, located between exit 81 and 82 in Centralia, are just three of many local lakes that produce fish of all kinds and sizes.
Plummer Lake, the southernmost of the two lakes on the east side of Interstate-5, has been planted with 6,000 rainbow trout as of opening day. These trout are in the 8- to 10-inch range and can be caught during all times of the day.
How do you find them? There are myriad places to fish and just as many way to fish them.
There are schools of trout that hang out just off the shoreline by the boat launch. Beyond the boat launch, on the left, there is a trail that leads back into a few more good spots to fish.
This area is good spot to take the kids fishing, but only if they have enough skill to avoid getting their hooks caught on the bushes and trees as they cast. If they have the skills, they won’t need the patience. Dangle a worm about a foot below a small bobber and they shouldn’t have to wait long for a bite.
There’s another public fishing area located on Tilley Avenue. This area is the deeper portion of the lake.
Rainbow trout, perch and sunfish can all be caught using a bobber and worm, but if you are after only one certain species there are different options.
Powerbait 3 feet under a slip sinker tossed out will catch trout.
A worm thrown out with the same presentation will catch a lot of different species, but perch like to dwell on the bottom in search for food.
Plummer Lake isn’t known for producing bass, but both largemouth and smallmouth bass dwell there.
The territorially minded large-mouth can be caught on almost anything you throw at them, but a jerk bait (such as a Rapala), jig or soft plastic work best.
The largemouth are densely located along the Interstate 5 side of the lake, on top of and under fallen trees and sunken logs.
Smallmouth, on the other hand, are a little less territorial and a little more investigative.
The same gear can be used for both species of bass, but the technique must be more precise for the smallmouth.
The smallmouth bass mainly reside on the eastern portion of the lake. There are sunken bushes and rocks lining the shore.
Plummer is an early morning, late afternoon bass fishery. They come up to feed during these times.
Don’t forget about sunfish. They are all over the lake and can be caught by the bucketful with just a worm and bobber.
Trollers have the best luck with pop gear with a wedding ring trailing behind with a worm. A wedding ring by itself also works wonders. Use about one-eighth ounce or one-half ounce weight to keep your gear down. Spinners also work.
There are also carp in the lake, known to hang out by the inlet.
Hayes Lake, the northern most of the two east of I-5, is mainly a warmwater lake, populated with largemouth bass and sunfish.
There is a public fishing area just behind the Shell Station next to Goodwill off Harrison Avenue.
Hayes is a decent lake to shore fish, but with little room there isn’t always a spot to squeeze into. Boaters will have the most luck.
The southern edge of the lake is dense with weeds. The weeds are patchy and hold a lot of fish but unless you fish barbless, you’ll spend most of your time shaking the weeds off your hook.
The eastern, western and northern portions of the lake have a lot of sunken logs, fallen trees, and overhanging brush that bass hold tight to.
The lake isn’t very deep so shore fishing isn’t the only way to go. Jigging a worm or jig, or tossing a spinnerbait will attract your fill.
The sunfish population is pretty strong in this lake and will make for a great outing for family fun. Anchor down in one of the northern corners or pretty much anywhere in the lake and throw a worm under a bobber to nail fish all day long.
The largemouth in the lake run an average 8 to 12 inches and run thick throughout the lake.
Take home a limit of bass. Remember the limit is 5 with a limit of 1 being over 17 inches. Bass between 12 and 17 inches must be released.
There are some hefty lunkers in this lake, but growth has been stunted due to the immense amount of fish population.
Fish can only grow so large per cubic foot of water and this lake is plum full.
Fort Borst Pond
Fort Borst Pond is juvenile only fishing.
Located on the western side of I-5 in Centralia, by Thorbecks Fitness Center, this lake has some large trout.
Planted with 7,000 planters and about 400 that are a pound and above trout, this pond makes for a great day out with the kids.
Any type of trout gear can be used, but bobber and a worm or Powerbait will be your best bet.
There is a lot of room on the shoreline for young casters also, so space is not an issue here.
There are also carp in this pond as well and they can be a lot of fun; they are very large and can put up a fight.
No matter which lake you choose to fish or camp by this coming weekend you will be sure to have fun and save both gas and cash by staying local.
Trout are biting, bass are spawning, and the sunfish are popping, so grab a line and pole and head down to your local fishing hole.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Over the Rainbow Trout
Fresh trout fillets,
deboned, skin on
Old Bay Seasoning
Clarified butter (recipe follows)
Method: Rinse the fillets in water, then add to a suitably sized bowl and cover in milk to soak for 30 minutes. After the soak, lightly dredge the fillets in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook on each side for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
Remove the fillets to a plate, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with clarified butter (recipe follows) and a generous drizzle of fresh lemon juice.
Clarified Butter: To make clarified butter gently melt unsalted butter over low heat until the butter breaks down and three layers form. The top layer is a white foam or froth (the whey proteins) and should be skimmed off with a spoon. On the bottom layer are the milk solids. The intensity of the flavor of the clarified butter depends on how long you cook the butter. If you continue to cook the butter once it has melted and separated, the milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan will start to brown. Once the milk solids turn a golden brown color the clarified butter will take on a rich fragrant nutty flavor. However, be very careful not to overheat the butter or it will become bitter tasting.