Millions of trout have been stocked in hundreds of lowland lakes statewide as the state prepares for the April 22 opening of the lowland lake fishing season.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will be stocking or has stocked more than 16.3 million trout and kokanee into 546 water bodies across the state for the 2017 season. The plants include catchable-size fish, including 2.35 million trout. These fish measure about 11 inches long.
The state also is stocking lakes with 130,370 jumbo trout, measuring an average of 14 inches long and weighing more than 1 pound. The state will be planting 17,500 triploid trout that weigh 1.5 pounds each.
More than 12.3 million fry, fingerlings and put-grow-and-take fish were stocked measuring 2 to 8 inches long. Kokanee fry were stocked in 2016 for the 2018-2019 fisheries, while trout fry, fingerling and put-grow-and-take were stocked in spring and fall 2016 for this year's catch.
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The stocking plan for Pierce County calls for 141,019 catchable-size rainbows to be put in 17 lakes. Spanaway Lake will get the most trout, to be planted with 37,250 fish.
In Thurston County, plans call for 241,079 catchable-size trout to be placed in 13 lakes. Black Lake tops the list, with plants to total 39,020 rainbows.
For information on the annual stocking plan, see wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide.
16.3 million The number of trout and kokanee planted in 546 water bodies across the state for the 2017 fishing season.
“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, when hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out to fish,” Steve Thiesfeld, inland fish program manager, said in a prepared statement.
With success rates typically higher on opening weekend, Thiesfeld said it is a good time to take children fishing.
“When I was a kid, I had a difficult time sleeping the night before opening day,” he said. “It’s so exciting to get out there and fish, and opening weekend is just an excellent time to introduce fishing to kids and beginners.”
Licenses: Anglers must have a valid freshwater or combination fishing license. They can be purchased at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, at 866-246-9453, or at a license dealers. License vendor locations can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.
Where to go: New anglers or people looking for new fishing spots can go to the “Fish Washington” at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington. The map-based web page includes fishing information by county, lake and fish species throughout the state.
Know the rules: Before heading out, fishermen should check fishing regulations at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Statewide trout derby
Starting Saturday and running through the end of October, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s is holding a statewide trout derby. If a licensed angler catches one of the tagged fish, that person will be eligible for one of more than 900 prizes. Businesses across the Pacific Northwest have donated prizes worth more than $25,000 in prizes
The derby is free to anyone with a valid state fishing license.
The state has tagged more than 900 fish and stocked them in more than 100 lakes. Tagged trout where planted in these South Sound lakes:
Pierce County: American, Clear, Bradley, Ohop, Silver and Tanwax.
Thurston County: Summit, Clear, Deep, Long's Pond, Offut, Pattison, Summit and Ward.
Kitsap County: Wildcat, Kitsap, Horseshoe, Panther and Mission.
Mason County: Spencer, Island, Lost, Haven, Wooten, Trails End and Tiger.
For more information, including complete rules, go towdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby.