Fishing hole

  • WAYNE KRUSE / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, October 28, 2000 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Potholes Reservoir may be the best place in the state


Herald Writer

The state bird is the goldfinch, the state flower is the rhododendron and, if we had a state fishing hole, it would almost certainly be Potholes Reservoir. The big Grant County impoundment has become, over the years, all things to all anglers. Five-pound rainbow? Try Potholes. Thirty smallmouth bass in an evening? Try Potholes. Foot-long crappie, a bucketful of perch, 7-pound walleye, 20-pound carp on a bow and arrow, 5-pound largemouth? Try Potholes.

The lake behind O’Sullivan Dam is truly a family place, as the photos on this page attest, and its single resort, MarDon, is run for families by longtime owners, the Meseberg family.

It was one of the first fishing experiences Judyrae and I provided for our two sons, and it continues to be an excellent fishery for kids, seniors, and family groups of all persuasions. Don’t have a boat? No problem. MarDon will rent you one or, for a small fee, let you fish all day off the resort fishing pier.

There’s plenty of free public fishing space on the lake — along the face of the dam, off the shore at the state park just north of the resort, across the lake at "Medicare Beach," and others. Folks at the MarDon tackle shop are glad to offer advice on what species are currently biting, where, and on what. They have free maps showing the huge amount of area below the reservoir, full of "seep lakes" and public land.

Summer is, of course, the most popular time on the lake, but action doesn’t stop there. Fall fishing is some of the best of the year, a "duck taxi" service kicks in for waterfowl hunters (with or without guide) and, some winters, ice fishing can be a gas for yellow perch.

Leave your name and mailing address with the resort and they will send you a notice when (and if) the ice is safe enough for fishing.

Laid back fishing off the resort pier has been particularly good for large trout the past couple of years, at least partially due to a net-pen rearing project co-run by the resort and the state Fish and Wildlife Department. Eight pens were filled with a total of about 160,000 small rainbow on Oct. 16, four to six inches in length, which will be fed over the winter and released as catchables in late April or early May. The resort celebrates with "Net Pen Release Day," open to all, free of charge, and limits for all hands is the usual order of the occasion.

For an update on the free-fishing day, keep checking the resort’s Web site,, or call 509-346-2651.

Besides the local anglers pictured here, other area residents scoring on the reservoir this summer and fall included Jeff Lang of Everett, with 10 bass to 3 pounds on tube lures; Don Willers of Lynnwood, rainbow to 3-plus pounds on nightcrawlers at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway; Scott Williams of Brier, with walleye, bass and trout from the sand dunes area; and Amanda York and Amber Hughes, both of Snohomish, with rainbow to 3 pounds on worms at the state park.

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