By Michael Carman
Early last year, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife floated a proposal to purchase a parcel of land that would restore recreational fishing access to Wentworth Lake near Forks.
The idea of a land donation began when Rayonier, which owns much of the neighboring forest land near the site, locked its gates to the public and imposed a $30 access fee.
Rayonier’s decision was made to stem a tide of illegal dumping and various untoward activities taking place on the timber firm’s land holdings.
A reader recently inquired about the lake’s status for the coming summer, so I followed up with Julie Sandberg, Fish and Wildlife’s Real Estate Services manager.
“When the original owner of the property near Wentworth Lake first offered a portion to WDFW as a donation, he was actively logging the property and we couldn’t gain access for a thorough assessment,” Sandberg said. “The property was then sold and the new owner called to inquire about Fish and Wildlife’s interest. We made a site visit and determined the access would prove costly to provide both road access across other private landowners’ [property] and to construct a boat ramp for the public.”
That’s a letdown for West End anglers, particularly those who would like to fish a lake a little more off the beaten path than Lake Pleasant or with less restrictive rules like Beaver Lake where selective gear rules limit anglers to unscented artificial lures or single-point barbless hooks.
Trout plants intended for Wentworth Lake have instead gone to the rearing ponds at the Bogachiel Fish Hatchery, so look for continued limits at what has become a popular, if not at all difficult, fishing hole. That type of experience sounds tailor-made for young children, a perfect opportunity to get the youngsters hooked on fishing, if you will.