Author Topic: Lenice Lake Outing  (Read 148 times)


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Lenice Lake Outing
« Opened on July 21, 2017, 04:47:20 PM (Edited November 11, 2017, 11:20:42 AM) »
Lenice Lake Outing
Coordinator: Allen Rhoades
Date TBD

Lenice Lake is located about six miles east of Beverly.  This lake is very productive, grows large trout, and is very popular with fly fishers.  Lenice Lake on average has been one of the better quality waters in District 5 (Grant and Adams Counties).  During certain times of the year Lenice Lake can have very high angler effort.  Several fly fishing clubs from across the State hold annual outings at Lenice Lake.   General information will be provided at upcoming General Meetings, The Wahoo, and by an informal survey. Just let Allen know if you are interested..

 refer to
Floods from prehistoric Lake Missoula carved out this landscape, but Lenice, Merry, and Nunnally lakes are less than 50 years old. They owe their existence to O’Sullivan Dam, built in 1949 as part of the Columbia Basin Project. The dam was intended to capture irrigation runoff and regulate Crab Creek’s flow. The geography of the site incidentally produced seep lakes, which are now some of the best state-managed stillwaters.

For fishing purposes, Lenice’s 100 surface acres are best accessed from chief walk-in entry points (a ½-mile hike) near the parking area at the lake’s south end. A locked gate crosses the dirt road leading to the shore, and there are paths branching to the left and right.

The main access area provides good nearshore fishing in water from 5 to 8 feet deep, as well as drop-off areas that descend quickly to about 20 feet. The lake’s cliffs plunge into cattails; perfect for prospecting with Woolly Buggers, leeches, scuds, and damselfly nymphs. Where there’s less vegetation and a mud bottom, savy anglers fish Chironomid patterns, unless something else is hatching.

The middle part of the lake is the deepest area, at 25 to 30 feet. Here anglers catch fish by trolling Woolly Buggers, Zonkers, or Carey Specials with fast, full-sinking lines such as a RIO Deep 6 (6-7 inches per second). In late July and August, when weeds fill much of the lake, this area provides some of the only open water and is a prime location for Callibaetis and damselfly hatches.

The east end of the lake is an inlet area, shallower than 5 feet in most spots, but with a steep drop-off. This is often an excellent area to walk the banks and sight-fish.

Much of Lenice’s north side is dotted with small, rocky islands, bays, and channels. Depths average about 10 feet.

How to get there:

Notes from Loren's recognizance :
Getting there:  Take exit 137 off US90 and turn right for WA-26 East.  Turn Right onto WA-243.  Turn Left onto Lower Crab Creek Rd. SW.  Turn left onto Milwaukee Rd.  This portion of the road is unpaved but smooth.  Do not turn into the first "Public Fishing" sign you will see on the right.  This is for Nunnally Lake.  Go further up the road.  The Lenice Lake parking lot is also on the left.
Getting on the lake:  The lake is accessible from a wide and easily followed path.  I would guess the walk in is about 1/4 of a mile and look me 5-6 minutes.  The single most significant aspect of getting from the parking lot to the lake is that you must carry everything in.  The path is gated and you will need to step over a low railing (about 24" tall) to walk to the launch area.
 The pontoons I saw used a wheeled device of some sort to get from the parking lot to the water.  I carried my frameless pontoon and made a return trip for my gear.  There were a couple of prams on the water and I imagine they too were wheeled in.  It looked to me that most people fished from U-boats or tubes.
On the water:  The lake is listed as being 92 acres, so more or less Pass Lake sized, but it seemed smaller to me.  There is zero shade available and brimmed hats and sunscreen should be used.  It was 76 degrees on Friday and even after applying sunscreen I still managed to get "pink" after 5 hours on the water.  I noted a few anglers were wearing full face and neck covers plus brimmed hats.
The launch is really just a sandy area and it appeared everyone just left their carry-in gear on the beach.
 While I was gearing up I had the opportunity to talk at length with a fisherman named Bill.  Bill was a great source of information who has fished Lenice since the 50's.  He told me he fished Lenice 40 days last season.  Bill told me Browns, Tigers and Trips have not been planted in years and he only catches rainbows now (that was all I caught).
When I arrived at waters edge I noted a few pontoons pulled up off of the water but saw no owners.  Bill told me most multi-day anglers just leave their pontoons at the lake and carry out their fishing gear.  He said he had not heard of any thefts of boats or parking lot car break-ins in years.
Where to Stay:  There are only 2 Motels close to Lenice Lake. Both are small and older. Ellensburg is about 40 miles from the Lake. Lots of RVs stayed in the unimproved Lenice Lake parking lot.
 At exit 136 there is the Riverstone Motel in Vantage (the restaurant was closed). The Riverstone has motel rooms for $75 (3 people) plus tax and 3 bedroom cottages for $99. You can also use their campground.  RV rate is $22 and a tent space is $11.  Call (509) 856-2800 for more information or reservations.
There is also a small motel on Highway 243 about 10 miles past Lower Crab Lake Creek Rd.  Go through the turning circle in Mattawa and continue on into Desert Aire, WA. The Desert Aire Motel is on your right and  cannot be missed.  Room rates $77 ( single) to $95 ( 3 people) plus tax.  Call (509) 932-4300 for more information or reservations.
Food:  This will be a challenge. At the Riverstone in Vantage there is a restaurant but it was closed.  The person from the motel thought is would be opening "next month" but had no details.  There is a stand-alone hamburger stand that opens at 11 am and closes "around 7 pm" .  This and the gas station mini mart were all that I saw.  There is also a mini-mart at the Desert Aire Motel attached to the gas station where you sign in and pick up your motel key.  There might be other places to eat in Mattawa but I did no have the chance to do a drive by.
We might want to plan on bringing coolers with enough food and beverages. 
I want to make sure you know that both places are basic older motels and not much for creature comforts.