Sprague Boots Out Limits

“It was a good way to start trout season,” says Leroy Ledeboer about he and a friend’s trip out to rainbow-stuffed Sprague Lake yesterday.

The Moses Lake-based Northwest Sportsman writer and Glen Steffler both limited on gorgeous pink-meated trout, one of which went 21 1/2 inches and fought as hard as a “salmon.”

BIG FISH OF THE TRIP, A 21.5-INCHER FOR NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN PEN LEROY LEDEBOER. (GLENN STEFFLER)

The duo were dragging three lines — Ledeboer’s taken advantage of Washington’s new two-rod license — two of which were spinners and worms, the other a Needlefish.

Red and silver seemed to be the color of the day: That was the color of the Needlefish, which accounted for three trout, as well as the pattern on the spinner blade.

They also used a two-toned yellow and green blade in front of worms, a color that’s done well at the lake other times.

Ledeboer says they ran the spoon straight off the back of his boat at about two and a half colors of leaded line while they ran the spinners off downriggers set from 8 to 20 feet.

After launching at the gravel launch on the eastern end of the lake off the Max Harder Road around 9 a.m., Ledeboer had a fish on within 20 minutes. But it wasn’t for another hour before the next three bit, “bing, bing, bing.”

That said, Ledeboer says the action was not red-hot, but they didn’t have to venture more than a mile from the launch either.

“I’d bet that if we’d gone to midlake or further, we’d have done the same … I just think there’s a lot of fish in that lake. To try and narrow it down and say, ‘You gotta do this,’ you’re kidding yourself. But if you aren’t catching fish, experment. And stick with it,” Ledeboer advises.

It took them till around 2 p.m. to finally limit.

After October 2007’s rehab, Sprague was stocked with huge numbers of trout fingerlings and catchables (200,000 and 160,000, respectively).

Ledeboer and Steffler’s catch ranged from 13 inches up to Ledeboer’s gorgeous 21 1/2-incher. Some fought well, but others were more lethargic.

And he feels there are larger rainbows to be caught at Sprague; 3,200 triploids were planted in 2008, 2,165 last year.

“They should have grown to tremendous sizes by now,” he says.

With steady weather forecast for the next half week or so, Ledeboer feels that fishing should continue to be good.

He says there were maybe a half-dozen other craft out on the lake yesterday including a couple of fly fishermen on pontoon boats.

And as uncrowded as the lake was, the rainbows’ tummies were full up.

“Those fish were crammed with chironomids,” he says. “Maybe that’s why it wasn’t a red-hot bite.”

A NICE PAIR OF SPRAGUE RAINBOWS FOR GLENN STEFFLER. (LEROY LEDEBOER)

Ledeboer says that Sprague Lake Resort, at the eastern end of the lake, is closed for the time being.

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