June 20, 2002
By John Kruse
In this new millennium, Potholes Reservoir has risen like a phoenix to again become an outstanding year round fishery. This is in large part due to the Meseberg’s who own Mardon Resort at the south end of the lake, as well as the dedicated efforts of WDFW personnel and local, conservation minded fishermen.
Located roughly between and west of both Othello and Moses Lake in Eastern Washington, Potholes Reservoir is between 23,000 to almost 30,000 acres in size, depending upon the time of year. Crab Creek flows from the north end of the reservoir to Moses Lake. The north end of the reservoir is characterized by hundreds of potholes and sand dunes which can be flooded or bone dry, depending upon the season. The south end of the reservoir ends at O’Sullivan Dam. Beyond the dam are Crab Creek and the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. On the southeast end of the reservoir is Lind Coulee, which has several fishing and boat launching sites. Frenchman’s and Winchester Wasteway flow into the west side of the reservoir. The mouths of these waterways often provide excellent fishing.
In recent years, the rainbow trout fishery has become outstanding, with these fish, many weighing several pounds each, being taken year round by both bank and boat and dock anglers. Walleye fishing is also popular here. Tournaments are held here for these fish, which can often be found in the spring at the mouth of the wasteways. Largemouth bass grow to great sizes in the northern dunes, while smallmouth bass can be found near the rocks and dam on the south end of the reservoir. In addition, there is good fishing for other warm water species such as perch, bluegill and crappie, some of which reach monstrous sizes.
Primitive camping and launches are found in the north end for both shore bound and boat travelers. At the south end of the reservoir, Potholes State Park provides great camping, fishing and launch facilities. There are also good state boat launch facilities on the southwest and southeast side of the reservoir. Last but not least, don’t forget Mardon Resort. Camping, RV Sites and simple motel rooms are available. They have a very good tackle shop and a restaurant and bar are also on site. Finally, there is a large floating dock at the resort available free to guests and for a small fee to other visitors. For additional information on Mardon Resort, check out their website at www.mardonresort.com.
The south end of the Potholes Reservoir and its amenities can be simply reached by traveling to Moses Lake on Interstate 90. Once there, take Highway 17 south to State Route 262. Take a right and travel west to the south side of the Reservoir.