Sacheen Lake is where to go if you want to catch three kinds of trout a reasonable drive north from Spokane.
The vaguely wishbone-shaped lake is a good place to land tiger trout, a sterile hybrid that can grow to impressive sizes.
The approximately 300-acre lake also is stocked annually with rainbow and Eastern brook trout in addition to the tigers.
Sacheen Lake also supports self-sustaining populations of other popular sport fish in Washington, including largemouth bass, yellow perch and brown bullhead catfish.
The lake is open for fishing year-round.
Like most lakes in Eastern Washington, it typically freezes over in winter; it is open for ice fishing when the ice is stable enough.
Trout Fishing at Sacheen Lake
In some respects, Sacheen Lake tends to be overshadowed by its nearby neighbor, Diamond Lake. Diamond Lake is larger, is heavily stocked with trout, is situated right along a federal highway.
However, Sacheen Lake boasts something that Diamond Lake does not, and that’s tiger trout.
Tiger trout are hatchery-produced crossbreeds between a male brown trout and a female brook trout.
The result is a sterile hybrid trout with characteristic stripes that give it its name (although they can also more closely resemble the striated spots of a leopard or cheetah than a tiger).
It’s not just their stripes that give them their deserved common name. Tiger trout are more aggressive than most trout and feed mainly on smaller fish.
It’s not uncommon to see tiger trout up to 20 inches in length. They make a good catch for any angler.
Similar to fishing for brown trout, try using spoons, crankbaits, and other baits that mimic “forage fish” to catch tiger trout. Larger flies and imitation nymphs can also work well if you are fly fishing.
Tiger trout do much of their hunting and feeding in lower-light conditions, around dawn and dusk. Prospects are best in spring and summer.
A recent check showed that about 10,000 younger tiger trout are scheduled to be stocked at Sacheen Lake in the fall, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s stocking schedule.
These small fish will grow to catchable and trophy sizes over the following few seasons.
State game authorities also generally stock about 20,000 rainbow trout in the lake in a year, including including 5,000 “put, grow and take” rainbows in April that will quickly grow to keeper sizes.
The rest will go in as fry and fingerlings in October and grow into catchable sizes.
Brook trout will be planted as small fish in the fall as well, again about 15,000 in number, according to the state’s stocking schedule.
Rainbow and brook trout are both very popular because they are relatively easy to catch and make for fine eating. Both can be caught year-round, although they are most actively feeding in the temperate spring and fall seasons.
Hook-and-bobber setups and fly fishing are both among the most popular and effective ways to fish for trout.
Note that on Sacheen Lake, brook trout count toward Washington’s trout daily bag limit of five.
We’ll give you the full low-down of easy methods to catch trout in this how-to article.
Sacheen Lake Bass and Panfish
Although best known for trout, Sacheen Lake also supports warmwater fish, which provide better opportunities in the summer as trout become less active and move into deeper water.
Largemouth bass prospects really accelerate in May and June as the water warms.
The height of summer can be good for bass fishing, but know that bass are predators that do much of their hunting in the lower light of early morning or late evening.
They can still be caught during the day, but try fishing in deeper water or in the shade of structures as they dislike harsh sunlights.
Bass are opportunistic eaters that will greedily gulp down nearly any living thing that fits into their large mouths.
Be careful if you’re planning to release your catch, as their gluttony extends to frequently swallowing still-fished baited hooks, which can cause fatal injuries.
Moving lures more often result in lip-hooked bass that can be easily released, which is what many anglers do with slower-growing big bass, which generally aren’t as good to eat as other species.
Yellow Perch Fishing
Speaking of good eating, schools of yellow perch can also be found in Sacheen Lake.
Fishing opportunities are year-round, with yellow perch being especially popular in ice fishing season.
Fish just off the bottom for yellow perch. Use small bait, like pieces of earthworm, to entice these little golden fish.
Once perch start biting, stay put until the school moves on.
If you’re patient, you can fill up your ice chest before they leave the area. There is no bag limit on perch, so feel free to catch as many as you will eat.
You might hook a few green sunfish while you’re at it.
Where is Sacheen Lake?
Sacheen Lake is in Pend Oreille County in the northeastern corner of Washington.
From Spokane, take U.S. Highway 2 north to Pend Oreille County Park, then take a left onto Fertile Valley Road and follow it to the lake; or turn left onto state Highway 211, which passes by just to the east of the lake.
It’s about an hour’s drive from Spokane to the lake either way.
Public access is on the east side of the lake, where the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains a concrete boat launch.
There is also shoreline access around the boat launch area, as well as restrooms, and an area signed for “Public Fishing.”
Two-pole fishing is allowed on Sacheen Lake with the state endorsement.