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John Kruse - 10/5/2005
Everyone knows about Silver Lake’s deserved reputation as one of the best big bass lakes in the Pacific Northwest, but few realize what a great fall crappie fishery this 3000-acre lake east of Castle Rock has to offer.

Jim and Pat Hill own the Silver Lake Resort (Tel. 360-274-6141) on the shores of this four-mile long lake. Pat states the "Crappie are prolific" and there is "Very good fishing for them from September through early December". Crappie and other panfish are commonly caught along the southern shore of the lake east of Timber Point. They are also found in good numbers off the west side of the lake below Pete Moore Island and on the north shore from the resort east towards the WDFW boat launch off of Spirit Lake Highway.

The hot spot for the fish, however, may well be right outside the front door of the Silver Lake Resort. During a visit last September I saw resort guests and anglers who paid a nominal fee fish the docks of the resort from early evening to first light for crappie. Experienced fishermen using mini-jigs filled up a five-gallon bucket with crappie in a night’s worth of jigging. I caught several of them with just a bare 1/32-oz mini-jig but anglers who tipped their jigs with worms, nightcrawlers, or Berkley Power Bait Micros had a lot more success. In addition to the jigs, several anglers used thin bobbers or slip bobbers. This kept their bait at a preset depth and also helped them detect the subtle bites of the fish. Crappie up to a pound and a half in size have been caught out of the lake, but seven-inch long fish make up the vast majority of the catch.

Fall offers plenty of other opportunities for Silver Lake anglers. Pat Hill says October is one of the best months for largemouth bass fishing. Big bass are the norm here. Five pounders are common and there is the potential to get an honest ten-pound bass here. Hill recommends using a salted Senko with no weight. Hot colors have included pumpkinseed and watermelon. Another reliable bass catcher is a Bandit brand shallow running crankbait. A Tennessee shad or blue back and chartreuse pattern do very well.

In addition to bass and crappie, brown bullhead averaging 10 to 12 inches and perch round out the fall fishing opportunities at this shallow, fish filled lake. Nightcrawlers fished just off the bottom will land both species.

RV and tent camping is available at the Silver Lake Resort or Seaquest State Park across the highway from the lake. Lakeside hotel rooms are also available at the resort.

Orville Miller of Des Moines, WA holds up two of the many crappie he caught fishing off the dock of the Silver Lake Resort last September.