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John Kruse - 8/12/2005
If you are looking for summer fun on the water, you may want to visit Potholes Reservoir south of Moses Lake. Over seven miles long and covering 28,000 acres, Potholes Reservoir has a little something for everyone this summer. Whether you are into camping, canoeing, boating, jet skiing or fishing, this is a great place to be. For starters, the weather is usually cooperative when it comes to water sports. Located in the middle of a desert, this region gets very little rainfall during the summer. There is also plenty of room to wander. If you want room to run that waverunner or jet ski, you’ve got plenty, as do the water skiers and recreational boaters who ply these waters.
Anglers are very fond of this place. During the summer you can fish for largemouth bass, walleye, trout, crappie, smallmouth bass, perch and bluegill. Better still, you don’t even need a boat to take part in this fishing. You can drive to the northern tip of the reservoir where Moses Lake spills into Crab Creek and Potholes. Plenty of people fish both of the spillways here year round. On the south end of the reservoir, you can pay a small price and fish from an 800-foot floating dock at Mardon Resort near O'Sullivan Dam. You can also hike into several of the small potholes at the north end of the reservoir. They become landlocked as the reservoir level drops through the summer but many of them hold largemouth bass, panfish or carp.

However, the best way to fish Potholes is from a boat. The best places to fish change as the year does; though anglers often find success in the Crab Creek Channel, the Sand Dunes, along the O’Sullivan Dam or in the Lind Coulee during the summer months.

There are several great camping options here. The first is found at Mardon Resort. The Meseberg family has owned this place since 1972 and have turned it into a great place for a vacation. You can park your RV, pitch your tent or even stay in a rustic motel room here. The resort is popular, and during the summer you’re apt to find lots of people staying here. Guests can rent a boat, fish from the dock, swim at the beach, swing at the playground, shop at the store, eat at the café, or grab a drink in the lounge here. Boat rentals, airboat tours and guided fishing is also available.

If you can do without all of that, Potholes State Park is only a mile away across the road from a gas station and convenience store. Covering 640 acres, this park is located where Frenchman’s Wasteway enters the Reservoir. There are 121 campsites, including a group camp and 60 hookup utility sites for RVs. There is a huge grassy picnic area among the trees and a playground for the kids. The State Park, like Mardon Resort, also has a good boat launch. There is a $5 user fee to launch your boat or visit the State Park.

Finally, you can get away from it all and camp out in the sand dunes in the northern part of the reservoir. Simply boat to a nice sandy dune, pitch your tent, and have a remote getaway on your own private island. You’ll enjoy the wildlife, the stars, and the feeling of being away from it all come nightfall.

For more information about playing at Potholes Reservoir, check out Mardon Resort’s web site at or call them at 1-800-416-2736. You can also make a reservation to camp at Potholes State Park by calling 888-CAMPOUT. If you want to visit for the day, expect to pay a $5 user fee. A boat launch fee may also apply.

Russell Johnston with a largemouth bass caught and released in the sand dunes area of Potholes Reservoir.