OLYMPIA—Some 13 million hungry trout–ranging from pan-sized to real heavyweights--await anglers on Saturday's (April 24) lowland lake fishing opener.
"The fish should be there and I can't think of a better way for a family to spend some quality time together," said Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"Teaching a child to fish also is a way to pass on a healthy, lifetime avocation that will put him or her in tune with nature and teach respect for the environment and good sportsmanship," Koenings added.
He said WDFW planted millions of trout as small fry last year so the wary fish would be approximately nine inches in length now. In addition, 2.5 million trout ready for the frying pan were planted in 350 lakes this spring.
"Many lakes also contain broodstock trout, usually weighing several pounds, that also were released from state hatcheries," Koenings said.
He emphasized there are lakes that offer opportunities for fishers of various levels of sophistication and with various gear preferences. Some offer quiet places for the introspective fly fisher to work his or her skills without the disruption of an outboard motor. Others offer great opportunities to those who prefer the worm, salmon egg, marshmallow and bobber. There are quiet lowland lakes, big, deep reservoirs as well as small ponds.
"Washington is very fortunate because of the different species of fish and types of waters it offers. What other state offers as much? There is something for every trout fisher," Koenings said.
The director also noted that purchasing fishing licenses is simpler and less expensive this year. For anglers, there are three license options: freshwater, saltwater and shellfish/seaweed.
The freshwater license allows the angler for any species that exists in freshwater, including trout, salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and bass. That license costs a resident adult $20. Children under age 15 fish for free.
Persons purchasing fishing licenses also receive free Access Stewardship Decals. The decals must be displayed when parking at a WDFW access site at lakes, streams and wildlife viewing areas.
WDFW biologists report the following lakes offer good opening day fishing opportunities.
- Adams: Sprague Lake
- Asotin: Headgate Pond (juveniles and seniors only; near Asotin Creek)
- Benton: Columbia Park Lagoon (juveniles and families only; in Kennewick)
- Chelan: Fish Lake (16 miles north of Leavenworth)
- Clallam: Sutherland Lake (10 miles southwest of Port Angeles)
- Clark: Battle Ground Lake (but crowded), Klineline Pond (just north of Hazel Dell)
- Columbia: Tucannon River-area lakes, Beaver and Watson
- Cowlitz: Kress Lake (3 miles north of Kalama)
- Douglas: Jameson Lake (8 miles south of Mansfield)
- Ferry: Ellen Lake (14 miles north of Inchelium)
- Franklin: Dalton Lake (5 miles northeast of Ice Harbor Dam)
- Grant: Blue Lake and Park Lake (north of city of Soap Lake)
- Grays Harbor: Aberdeen Lake (but crowded), Sylvia Lake (north of Montesano)
- Island: Lone Lake (on Whidbey Island)
- Jefferson: Anderson Lake (1.5 miles west of Chimacum)
- King: North Lake (3 miles west of Auburn), Pine Lake (4 miles north of Issaquah)
- Kitsap: Kitsap Lake (just outside Bremerton)
- Kittitas: Fio Rito lakes (4 miles southeast of Ellensburg)
- Klickitat: Northwestern Reservoir (on White Salmon River)
- Lewis: Mineral Lake (12 miles north of Morton)
- Lincoln: Fishtrap lake (6.5 miles east of Sprague)
- Mason: Spencer Lake (7 miles northeast of Shelton)
- Okanogan: Pearrygin Lake (in Methow Wildlife Area)
- Pacific: Loomis (2.5 miles south of Ocean Park)
- Pend Oreille: Davis Lake (5 miles south of Usk), Sacheen Lake (11 miles southwest of Newport)
- Pierce: American Lake (near Fort Lewis)
- San Juan: Cascade Lake (on Orcas Island)
- Skagit: Erie Lake (4 miles south of Anacortes), McMurray Lake (9 miles northwest of Arlington
- Skamania: Tunnel Lake (along Highway 14 between Drano Lake and Underwood)
- Snohomish: Ki Lake (8 miles northwest of Marysville)
- Spokane: Badger Lake (12 miles south of Cheney), West Medical Lake (near city of Medical Lake)
- Stevens: Waitts Lake (4 miles west of Valley on U.S. Highway 395)
- Thurston: McIntosh Lake (3.5 miles north of Tenino), St. Clair Lake (5 miles southwest of Lacey)
- Walla Walla: Bennington Lake (near city of Walla Walla)
- Whatcom: Padden Lake (in Bellingham)
- Whitman: Rock Lake (1 mile north of Ewan)
- Yakima: I-82 ponds, especially #4 and #6 for trout; Rotary Lake (in Yakima along Greenway Trail)