Fishing

Fishing

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. Two refuge lakes, Bayley and McDowell, are managed for quality fishing. Bayley Lake (17 acres) is a fly-fishing only lake and is catch and release only. This lake receives heavy fishing pressure on opening weekend and is stocked with rainbow trout. McDowell Lake (33 acres) is another fly-fishing only lake that is catch and release. 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.  Potter's Pond, with stocked rainbow trout, nearby campsites, and an 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 2019 to control invasive Eurasian milfoil. Bayley and McDowell Lakes and Potter's Pond received plantings of fingerling 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, catchable 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 has selective gear rules with state minimum size and daily limits.

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 brochure for more information.

Fishing Regulations