The evergreen state currently has 7 Musky lakes, with the lakes spread fairly evenly from the west side of the state to the east. The lakes are planted annually with one Musky per every 2 acres. The WDFW (Washington department of fish and wildlife) has no plans to add any more lakes at this time, so the current 7 may be it for the foreseeable future.
In this article I give a short description of each lake with a rating from my own personal experience. Being a west sider, a few of the east side lakes I've only fished a couple of times. Detailed information can also be found by Googling the individual lake or checking out internet sites such as Washingtonlakes.com or lakelubbers.com. Lets get started:
Evergreen Reservoir: At 247 acres, Evergreen is the smallest of the Musky lakes and may be the toughest lake to hook a Tiger. Evergreen was first stocked with Tigers in 1997 and also contains Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Carp, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Bluegill and Rainbow Trout. Evergreen is located in the Quincy wildlife refuge and is popular among Bass and Walleye anglers. There are three boat launches around the lake and camping is available along the lakes shoreline. Look for fish in abundant weedbeds as well as rocky points.
Silver Lake: Located in Spokane County, Silver lake is 486 acres. The lake was first stocked with Tigers in 2002 and has become a well known and popular Musky fishery for east side anglers. Silver also contains Yellow Perch, Crappie, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. There are a couple of nice campgrounds nearby and the state boat launch is well maintained. Also a excellent Bass lake, Silver consistently produces nice Tigers. Silver lake had excellent weedbeds the fish use as ambush points, as well as docks, wood and rocks.
Newman Lake: Also located in Spokane county, Newman is the biggest of the east side lakes at 1200 acres. Newman is considered a good Musky fishery and has produced some fish in the 50+ inch range. The lake also contains Bullhead Catfish, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Carp, Crappie, Yellow Perch and Rainbow Trout. The lake is popular among Bass anglers for it's population of decent sized Largemouth and annually hosts a number of Bass tournaments. There is a well maintained state boat launch and a number of campgrounds nearby. Newman was first stocked with Tigers in 1992. Look to find fish in weedbeds, docks and cruising lily pad areas.Curlew Lake:
Lake Tapps: Tapps is an Urban fishery, located in north Pierce county near the town of Bonney Lake. The lake is popular among recreational boaters as well as anglers. Tapps is 2296 acres, with most of the shoreline covered with houses. Tapps contains numerous species of fish including Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Carp, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Kokanee, Rock Bass and the often rumored Sturgeon. The lake is considered a good Tiger fishery, with decent fish available April thru October. There are 2 public boat launches, both which charge a fee to launch. Tapps was first planed with Tigers in 2000. Tigers in Tapps use the numerous docks, weedbeds and stumps as their ambush points.
Mayfield Reservoir: The first Musky fishery in the state, Mayfield got it's first Tigers in 1988. A popular destination for Musky hunters, the lake produces both quantity and quality Muskies for anglers. At 2200 acres, Mayfield is the headwaters for the Cowlitz river. Located in Lewis county near the town of Mossyrock, Mayfield is a short hop for a lot of the west side anglers. There are 2 parks available for camping as well as the Lake Mayfield resort, all having well maintained boat launches. Mayfield also contains yellow Perch, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Brown Bullhead Catfish and Rainbow Trout but it's the Muskies that are the draw on this lake. Mayfield has a number of quality weedbeds the Tigers use as their hunting grounds.
Merwin Reservoir: My favorite Musky destination, Merwin is the biggest of the state's Musky lakes at 4090 acres. Located in Cowlitz county near the town of Woodland, Merwin is the headwaters of the Lewis river. A popular destination for Kokanee anglers who often fill the boat launch parking lots in the spring and early summer. First planted in 1995, the lake has a good population of Tigers spread throughout the system with a good sprinkling of big fish. The Cresap Bay campground provides facilities on the east end of the lake and Speeyla Bay also has a well maintained boat launch. Camping is also available nearby in Woodland or the town of Cougar.The lake has numerous stumps and downed trees which are the main ambush points for Merwin's Muskies.
Next up: Bucktails, the lowdown on the most popular and productive Musky lure!