Aug 2, 2002
By John Kruse
WANNACUT LAKE – OKANOGAN LAKE
Blue skies and deep waters in the rugged Okanogan country. That’s the setting for this excellent rainbow trout fishery in North Central Washington.
The lake is 411 acres, surrounded by hills of sagebrush and pine. There’s a smattering of summer cabins and year round homes on the lake, as well as a good WDFW access area and boat launch at the south end. There is a resort on the lake, and other accommodations are found in Oroville, Tonasket or at Osoyoos Lake State Park near the Canadian border.
Fly fishermen, hardware trollers and bait anglers who still fish all do well here for rainbows that average 11 to 13 inches. Carryovers of two pounds are common and every year monsters from four to six pounds are caught in the lake. Fishing continues strong from spring through the fall due to the cool and up to 195 feet deep waters of the lake.
Fly fishermen often try the relatively shallow north or south ends of the lake, especially in the evening. Bank fishermen concentrate their efforts at the deep water drop offs they can access from shore. Most people use small boats to fish this lake. There is an 8 MPH speed limit that keeps the noise down (not to mention the jet skis and water skiers off the water).
Boat anglers often still fish using a slip sinker and three to five feet of leader to keep their bait above the weeds on the bottom. In the summer, fish are often found at depths of 40 feet or more. Powerbait is the most popular offering, though marshmallows with worms or salmon eggs are also likely to be effective. Please remember that even if you let them go with bait, all landed fish count as part of your daily limit. This is due to the high mortality rates associated with catch and release bait fishing.
Boat fishermen can also do well at times trolling pop gear or lures such as frog colored flatfish, small wobbling spoons, or spinners weighted down by a ½ ounce to 1 ounce weight with two to four feet of leader. Tipping the offering with part of a night crawler probably wouldn’t hurt either.
Wannacut Lake is open for fishing from the last Saturday in April to October 31st. The lake can be reached by traveling north on US 97 to Tonasket. In Tonasket, cross the Okanogan River and turn right (north). This road will take you past Whitestone Lake (a narrow lake that will be on the south side of the road) towards Loomis. Shortly after passing Whitestone Lake, take a right on Wannacut Lake Road. Follow this road about five miles to Wannacut Lake. The total distance from Wannacut Lake to