Bayley Lake from Cliff Ridge Photo Credit: USFWS
Please note new opening dates. Fishing is permitted in Potter's Pond, Bayley Lake, and McDowell Lake from the last Saturday in April until October 31; in the Little Pend Oreille River from the Saturday before Memorial Day through October 31; and in the Rookery Road beaver ponds and all other streams from the first Saturday in June through October 31. The gate into Potter's Pond and Bayley Lake will open April 26, 2013.
In 2006, the Refuge, in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), attempted to control two invasive species in McDowell Lake and adjacent wetlands. A combination of drawing down the lake and using selective chemicals targeted removal of Eurasian milfoil and tench. The goal is to restore the lake as foraging habitat for birds, mammals and fish and enhance the quality of recreational fishing. Initial monitoring during 2007 indicated these projects were successful. Continued monitoring will detect any reoccurrence of these pests.
Anglers of any age can spend many enjoyable hours on the waters of the Refuge. Three Refuge lakes are open for fishing, as well as the Little Pend Oreille River, its tributaries, and scattered beaver ponds. The Refuge has two lakes managed for quality fishing, Bayley Lake and McDowell Lake. Bayley Lake is a fly-fishing only lake with a harvest limit of one fish over 14" from opening day until July 4, after which it is catch and release only. This lake receives heavy fishing pressure on opening weekend and is stocked with native redband rainbow trout. McDowell Lake is another fly-fishing only lake but is catch and release for the entire season. Two walk in access points are provided; one is a short steep trek and the other is 0.4 miles along a flat, gated road. Regulation change - any person that is a disabilities license holder may use an electric motor on Bayley and McDowell Lakes.
Volunteer angler survey stations exist at both lakes and are maintained in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Your cooperation in completing an angler survey helps the Refuge and WDFW manage these fisheries. Potter's Pond, with stocked redband rainbow trout, nearby campsites, and a wheelchair accessible fishing dock is great for the whole family. This pond receives heavy fishing pressure in the early season. Fishing pressure remains relatively constant through June, and then tapers off as the weather and water warm. Although it is only 15 acres, Potter's Pond overwinters fish and can yield large robust fish throughout the season. Electric motors are allowed. The inlet and outlet to the pond are closed to fishing.
McDowell Lake received extensive management during the 2006 to control invasive Eurasian milfoil. Bayley and McDowell Lakes and Potter's Pond received plantings of fingerling redband rainbow trout prior to the opening of fishing season. These spring planted trout will be of catchable size by fall and provide angling opportunity next spring. Both areas contain adult, catcheable size trout from prior year plantings.
The Little Pend Oreille River, Bear Creek, and beaver ponds receive relatively light fishing pressure. The Little Pend Oreille River from the Refuge boundary, about one mile downstream from the Refuge office and upstream to Crystal Falls is catch and release with selective gear rules. Exception-up to 5 eastern brook trout, of any size, may be kept.
All Federal and State of Washington fishing regulations, seasons, limits, and license requirements apply. See the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fishing in Washington and our Fishing brochure for more information.