Let’s face it – winter was looooooooonnnnngggggg. I spent a couple of weekends traveling to Dworshak Reservoir and without much luck, finally settled in on the idea that I was jumping the gun way too soon. I took Joe with me to the D-Shak and thankfully, he landed his first smallmouth of the season. The water was 14-feet higher the second weekend we went, which by most standards, would mean that some serious water was moving down from the mountains.
Ok so high water, that’s one thing, but the temperature also dropped from 45-degrees to 39 degrees the second weekend. Talk about some harsh conditions. Add in the zero experience I have on Dworshak, and you can guess that I did not catch my first bass of 2017 there. Don’t get me wrong, that place will pump out some serious smallmouth in the weeks to come, but now’s not the time.
So where else can you go for ice-off bass fishing in Washington State? Moses Lake. It’s a gem full of hungry smallies, brute largemouth and it’s a great place to notch your first bass of the season. Here’s some advice if you’re fishing Moses Lake as the water starts to warm up. First, reaction baits like the Red Eye Shad puts you at a greater advantage to not just catch smallmouth, but big brown fish. Most people cast them out and reel them straight back, but I have found that you can also fish these similar to a jig, or blade bait. I used all of these variable retrieves and finally got bit on a break line in about 15-feet of water.
Now here’s why I love Moses Lake – the fish here are truly competitive. They annihilate your reaction baits like there’s no tomorrow. For some of us, there’s work on Monday and this rings true – there is no tomorrow, so it’s a great destination early in the season until our other lakes unthaw. If you’re in Eastern Washington, don’t worry about what to throw or where to go. Get on the lake, fish a couple hours in each of the three main arms and cover as much water possible. I’m confident you too will have your first bass of the season if you haven’t done so already.
If you’re like me, you can potentially waste a lot of time trying different lures. Trust me, put a few rods on your deck with these choices and just fish them. Like mentioned above, The Red Eye Shad in chili-craw is my numero uno. Second would be a spinnerbait with a large colorado blade and third would be a chatterbait. Some anglers prefer a square-billed crankbait in that really skinny water, and I agree, so if you’re looking up shallow, don’t forget to add that to your aresenal.
Good luck out there, hope you get on the board soon! The big girls are out to play!