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BALLINGER

Lake Overview By: Justin C.

Jan 7, 2002

Lake Ballinger is a 104 acre lake that lies just north of the Snohomish/King county border. All internal combustion engines are prohibited. The lake is just small enough so that you can get around well in a row boat, or an electric powered boat. There is a DFW maintained public access on the east side of the lake. It has a good fishing dock, and a boat launch perfect for the small craft that frequent the lake. The main species in the lake is the Rainbow trout. However, Largemouth Bass, Perch, Bullhead Catfish, and Crappie are also available.

The WDFW stocks this lake with 6,000 fish every May. These fish, along with a few carry-overs, will remain near the fishing dock, in 18-20 feet of water for the duration of the summer. Most of these fish are caught still-fishing, but you can catch them trolling rapalas in the #5 to #7 size range. Other anglers have had luck with flatfish, but I have been yet to try the method. For colors, try using a bright pattern, like firetiger. The trout seem to prefer these bright colors better.

Trout get most of the attention in this lake, but you can also have a good time fishing for the bass. In the summer they will hang close to the lily pads in the northern part of the lake. Up there you will also find submerged logs and other good bass habitat. Some people (including myself) have had the opportunity of catching a 4-6 pound Largemouth in this lake. These fish are few and far between though, so you will probably catch more 1 and 2 pounders. Feel free to explore the west side of this lake, there are many docks, sunken trees, and lily pads that should be able to hold bass.

History

Lake Ballinger used to host various water skiing events. This eventually took a toll on the small lake. It is said that silt was stirred up in the bottom of the lake, and that this silt ruined the spawning grounds of the trout and salmon. The silt killed off the salmon run, but the trout still remain. Today, only electric, and human powered boats are allowed on the lake.

To control the silt, a piping system was installed that would use the lake’s natural flow, from the inlet to the outlet, to control the silt. Along with the silt problem, the pipes helped with the pollution that was also threatening the lake. If you would like to know more about it, there is an explanatory paper that can be read on the public fishing dock.

Last year all of this started paying off. For the first time in my life, I was able to see the bottom of the lake, in places that had been to murky before. The silt can still be seen on the bottom, but it no longer lingers in the water. In time, the lake, with the help of the pipes, will filter this silt out.

Kokanee

If you talk to some of the anglers that frequent the dock, they will tell you that you can also catch kokanee. I have seen one of these silver fish, and they get to a good size. The WDFW has no record of stocking these fish, but they somehow got in the lake. You have to wonder if these fish have some connection to the salmon that used to run through this lake. Or, perhaps its just one big fish story. You’ll have to find out for yourself.

Catch and Release

Please keep in mind that Ballinger is a small lake and is not able to handle severe fishing pressure. Please catch, photograph, and release your fish. If you do keep you fish, try to keep only the ones that you can eat, and no more. Right now, Ballinger is an unstable fishery. Please help to preserve it and make it stronger for years to come.