Saturday marks the opening of the lowland lake trout fishing season. Some anglers will usher in the new fishing season at an overnight fishing derby. Others will haul the entire family to a favorite water and spend the day fishing.
Whether an experienced fishermen, or a young child just getting started, the lowland lake season offers a chance to catch one of millions of fish planted in hundreds of lakes on both sides of the Cascades.
This year, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to plant nearly 16.5 million trout and kokanee. That is down from the 17.1 million fished stocked in 2013.
In Region 6 — that includes Pierce, Thurston, King, Mason, Jefferson and Snohomish counties — the state plans calls for stocking 634,131 catchable-size trout, 65,381 jumbo trout and 6,148 triploid trout.
The state’s fish stocking plan includes placing 2.3 million catchable trout, nearly 115,000 jumbo trout weighing up to 11 pounds apiece and more than 50,000 triploid trout averaging 11/2 pounds each in 562 lakes and ponds across the state.
Like last year, the average size of catchable trout will be larger than in previous years. In the past, catchable fish were an average of 8 inches long. Last year and this year, the fish will average closer to 11 inches.
State fishery managers said, if the catchable trout being released were laid end to end, they would stretch from Westport to Spokane.
“Opening weekend should provide terrific opportunities for catching fish,” said Chris Donley, the department’s inland fish program manager. “Whether fishing from shore or boat, using spinning rods and bait, or casting fly lines, plentiful fish provide excellent reasons to get out there and enjoy Washington’s lakes.”
Department crews began stocking fish in March and will continue through June.
Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide.
GET A LICENSE
Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license, valid through March 31, 2015. You can buy licenses online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, by telephone at 866-246-9453 or from about 700 dealers across the state. For the locations of license vendors, visit wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.
Among the many options, freshwater fishing licenses cost $29.50 for resident adults 16-69 years old. Fifteen-year-olds can buy a license for $8.05, and seniors 70 and older can buy an annual freshwater fishing license for $7.50. Children 14 years of age and younger do not need a fishing license.
WHERE TO GO
Of the more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in the state, almost 700 have department-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more. Details on water access sites can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access.
The department’s website also has a page devoted to providing information on the when, where and how to of fishing in Washington, for all levels of anglers. It includes explanations on tying knots and fishing methods, as well as video of fishing for yellow perch in Western Washington and fly fishing for tiger muskie in the state. You can find the page at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington.