Washington’s Roses Lake Kicking Out Bows On The Eve of the Trout Opener

By Anton Jones | 04/27/2012

North Central Washington – As a guide, my bread and butter is deepwater trolling for lake trout on Lake Chelan.  For fun, however, and to entertain the grandkids and return to my roots as a bait fisherman for trout, I love to fish little Roses Lake in Manson, WA.  At 131 acres, it is a little too big to call a pond, but as lakes go, it is small, yet packed with trout.
Roses is perfect for the rowboat or inflatable. Nevertheless, do monitor the wind otherwise you could beach your boat on one of the local resident’s property and have to get permission to retrieve it.  Roses Lake has a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife maintained concrete slab ramp with a small dock to assist in launching boats.  This public lake is open year round and is subject to statewide regs.
Roses is managed as a year-round rainbow trout fishery. The lake gets a plant of 18,000 or so catchable rainbow trout in November.  The local hatchery usually tries to time the plant so that the lake will ice up soon after.  Depending on the year, ice anglers get first shot at these fish.  This last year, perch fishermen had a great time ice fishing, but after ice out the trout take center stage.  (It’s ice free now.)


Following ice out, WDFW usually adds some more fish.  This year that included a couple of hundred one-and-a-half to two-pound rainbows.  Some years, however, they also stock triploids, brood stock rainbows, brown trout and even tiger trout upon occasion. (News Flash: A new pending state record tiger trout of 18.04 lbs. was just caught out of Roses last week).

While it’s still trout season now and the bite is hot, as the water warms fishermen and Osprey thin out the trout and the spiny-rays take center stage.  Roses has a thriving population of bluegill, perch, sunfish and largemouth.  The denizen of Roses is “Walter”, the channel catfish. We caught a dandy using FireBait, ironically (photo shown below).


I like to return to my roots as a kid fishing the put-and-take lakes of Western Pennsylvania when I gear up for Roses. Five to six foot long ultra-light rods and small spinning reels loaded with 4 to 8 pound mono provide the basic set up.  I tie basic slip sinker rigs. For Roses, a 3/8oz sinker and a bead to protect the knot are slid onto the mainline.  Then tie on a swivel.  On the other end of the swivel use a two-to-three foot leader of two-to-four-pound mono. Since I prefer Pautzke’s FireBait a dough bait hook may work best.  Sometimes we fish with size 10 to 14 trebles, yet on occasion we’ll use single hooks as large as size 4.

Many baits such as worms are effective, but I opt Pautzke’s Fire Bait.  Those new flavors seem to out produce everything else. While I’ve caught these rainbows on all flavors, Mallow Balls O’ Fire and American Wildfire are my favorites.


I also like to troll.  Gang trolls with Wedding Rings baited with Pautzke’s FireCorn is my go-to rig. Getting them down with a snap weight or even a banana weight is a great way to go.  We also troll wooly buggers in natural colors with a wiggle fin in front.

While Roses might not be ideal for the hardcore angler it’s a great place to take kids fishing or for a relaxing down on the water with consistent rainbow trout action. There are still a large number of willing rainbows available even with the last big plant coming in November. Small boats, great scenery and terrific year-round multi-species fishing.  Who could ask for more?

To learn more about guiding fishing trips on Roses Lake with Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service please visit