The 2017 Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic on Potholes Reservoir was a tremendous success for both the anglers and the Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee (CWFAC) teams that participated in the event, as 56 out of 57 weighed fish on Day 1. The big fish of the tournament went to Todd Priddy and Jeb Race who weighed in an 8.48-pound walleye. Jordan and Jeff Reeder took first place overall with a two day weight total of 49.86 pounds for 12 walleye — earning a nice payout of $4,230. The 57-team field in the Classic caught 487 walleye with an average weight of 2.40-pounds per fish. This is very encouraging and an indication that the efforts put forth by the CWFAC and its supporters and volunteers are having a positive impact on the walleye and the walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir.
To encourage participation in walleye tournaments, tournament angler Dave Mahaney donated $150.00 toward a prize to a first-time tournament fisherman in honor of his father. The winner, Dan Hazzelrigg, in turn donated it back to the cause. CWFAC then matched the money and created an additional 11th place payout of $300.00. In all — the tournament paid out $17,500 to participants in prize money — and raised $5,500 for the CWFAC’s habitat project on the Potholes Reservoir.
Most tournament anglers were trolling slow Death Hooks with a half of a night crawler either by itself, with a bead, or with a 1.1 Smile Blade in the front. Most fish were caught up Crab Creek and back in the dunes in the 8 to 15-foot range. The walleye have completed spawning for the most part.
The water temperatures on the Reservoir are reaching the mid 60’s in the dunes and the upper 50’s on the main lake. This is starting to bring a few crappie and bluegill to the dock. They are just starting to show. Dock fishermen are using worm and mini-jigs for the panfish. As a reminder – you must be a registered guest staying at MarDon Resort to fish off the dock. Day-use dock passes are no longer being issued.
Many Largemouth and some of the Smallmouth bass are bedding right now. Fishing has been good for both. We had a report that a gentleman caught and released two 7-pound Largemouth bass in the dunes. He enticed one with a spinnerbait, and the other with a wacky rigged Senko. The man also landed several more fish in the 2 to 4-pound range.
Long lake is producing good catches of walleye, smallmouth bass and a few big bluegills. Soda Lake is kicking out several limits of walleye — mostly keeper size — good eaters! Hutchinson is producing nice catches of Largemouth bass to 5-pounds on spinnerbaits, and crappie to 13 inches on mini-jigs and decent bluegills.
Perch and trout fishing have been fair. Warden fishing well for both trout and perch from the bank or in a boat. Perch anglers are using worms on the bottom and boat fishermen are trolling small spinners with a little bit of split shot for trout. Not many reports yet from the Reservoir on the trout and perch.
Don’t forget the 2017 Northwest Bass — Nixon’s Marine Potholes Reservoir Tournament is happening May 20-21. Visit northwestbass.com to sign up, or come join us at the weigh-in. Part of the entry fee and proceeds from the raffle go to support CWFC’s Potholes Habitat Restoration Project.