Swofford Pond is one of Washington state’s secret bass ponds.
Located southeast of Mossyrock, this 240-acre pond is home to a year-round fishing season for rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass, perch, bluegill, crappie, brown bullheads, channel catfish and — believe it or not — sturgeon.
April is the beginning of the spawning season. Bass locate themselves along the shoreline where the muddy bottom creates good nests.
There is a trail that goes along the edge of Swofford by the boat launch, but you will need waders to make your way across the swamps. There is a great approach to some hard-to-get-to spots. Slow retrieval will be the key to fishing the colder water.
During the summer months and early fall, Swofford is covered with small lily pads all along the shoreline. Although these weed beds prevent the use of a lot of fishing techniques, a gentle approach with soft plastics or jigs can produce some monster largemouth.
Swofford has produced many bass in the 5-pound plus range. If you catch one, get a picture and release it. It may be tough, but it will help the future bass population.
The pond is heavily populated with smaller bass. Where there are 10 little ones there’s always a mama bass swimming somewhere in the vicinity. Using larger gear and some sight fishing will help your odds with the larger ones.
Throwing top water baits, such as Rapalas or buzzbaits works best to pull the aggression out of a hungry bass. These best work during late-spring, summer and fall when the water is warmer.
For flipping soft plastics, try a worm or tube bait with slow, minute jerks.
The south shore and the east end of the pond will be your best bet for finding that trophy bass.
Trout fishing is also very popular here.
The easiest and most productive method for angling trout in Swofford is the old bobber and worm trick, with 3 to 4 feet of leader attached, or connecting a slip shot weight and a swivel to a 24- to 36-inch leader and a size 8 hook and balling up some Powerbait (rainbow or orange Powerbait works the best). Cast out 20 to 30 feet.
Boat anglers have the option of picking and choosing locations, but the middle of Swofford, where it widens, is the best spot because this is the deepest part of the lake.
Trollers should use small spoons, spinners, flat fish, wedding rings, or pop gear backed with a plump worm. Although most anglers catch the 8- to 10-inch planters, there is always a good chance of landing a trout over 14 inches. There are also some hefty carryover brown trout scattered throughout the lake.
Swofford is known for its massive amounts of weeds and algae, so trollers should be aware of the depth they are at. Too close to the boatlaunch side and you’ll find yourself dragging in weeds. The same goes if you are too close to the east end. There is a massive pool where there are no weeds in the middle, you’ll just have to find “the loop” and stick to it.
In the past, Swofford was stocked with bluegill, perch and crappie.
The crappie populations slimmed down years ago, but are starting to make a comeback.
These little buggers make for a grand old time. If you’re willing to work for it, you’ll easily catch enough for a fish fry.
One of the simpler fish to catch, try using a bobber-worm combo with a size 6 hook submerged 2-3 feet down. Or if you are more of an action fisherman try a beetlespin or small plastic jig.
Sunfish are all over; there is no specific spot to catch them. There are also some monster perch that dwell at the bottom upwards of 14 plus inches, if you’re up for the wait. Brown bullheads are also very abundant.
There is an old creek bed that runs along the north side of the lake. This will be the most prominent for catfish.
Fishing with night crawlers, chicken liver, or stink bait at night from May to October will produce an impressive amount of fish.
Swofford is also home to some monstrous channel cats, some topping the 20-pound range. These local legends are hit and miss. Clam necks or chicken livers hooked to a size 2/0 to 4 hook fished 2 to 4 feet off the bottom will attract a good sized channel. Worms will attract all kinds of fish so it is also not a bad choice.
These fish don’t get big by being dumb. Keep a good eye on your line and a good amount of slack out so they don’t feel the tension in your line.
Taping a small glow stick to a paper clip and gently resting it on your pole is a good way to tell if you have had something messing with your bait.
It is also a good idea to keep a good eye on your pole. Quite a few people have had everything yanked into the water from a giant fish.
Believe it or not, there are sturgeon in Swofford, although only a handful of people have caught one.
They are mainly caught by pure luck while fishing for catfish in the fall and winter months, but if you’re up for the chance to catch another local legend try clam necks.
Numerous fishing accesses are located along Green Mountain Road. The boatlaunch is located at the east end of the pond. There are two campgrounds within a 5 mile radius, Riffe Lake Campground and Mossyrock Park.
If patience is a virtue you possess, Swofford will prove its significance for a bass producing body of water.