OLYMPIA – Great trout fishing for anglers throughout Washington gets under way April 26, when several hundred lowland lakes open for a four-to five-month-long season.
Traditionally the annual opening day of the state’s lowland-lake trout fishing season draws more than 300,000 anglers of all ages – the largest turnout of any fishing season opener in Washington.
“With travel costs up this year, lowland lake fishing is a great recreational opportunity for people looking to stay close to home,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Jeff Koenings. “Anglers of all ages should find good fishing at any of the hundreds of lakes stocked with trout, and the kids will have several other opportunities at the Youth Outdoor Adventure Expo and the Fishing Kids events.”
The youth expo is scheduled for May 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick. A schedule for Fishing Kids events, which will take place at numerous locations throughout the spring and summer, can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/youth/fishing_kids.htm .
WDFW will stock more than 24 million trout in lakes and streams throughout the state for this year’s fishery, including those planted in waters that opened earlier this spring or are open year-round. Most trout will be stocked before the lowland lakes season gets under way the last Saturday of April.
The lake stocking includes:
- 6,563,000 “catchable-size” trout ranging from 7 to 11 inches that were planted last year as fry into 536 lakes, including 303 lowland lakes opening April 26;
- 14,548,000 kokanee fry, expected to show in this year's catch, stocked in 31 lakes;
- 3,469,700 “catchable-size” (8- to 10-inch) trout stocked this spring in 374 lowland lakes opening April 26;
- 42,196 triploid (sterile) trout – each averaging 1-1/2 pounds – being stocked this spring in 95 lakes;
- 33,900 two-year-old “jumbo” and surplus hatchery broodstock trout being stocked this spring in 113 lakes.
Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the 2008 Hatchery Trout Stocking Plan on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plants/index.htm.
Of Washington’s nearly 4,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, more than 600 have WDFW-managed access sites, which can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildarea.htm. Among those sites are 275 access points on lowland lakes that will be open for fishing from April 26 through September or October. These sites include boat launches, docks and shorelines, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more such facilities.
“I urge everyone to be patient and safe at these boat launches and docks,” Koenings said. “Everyone in boats, and all children on shore, should use personal flotation devices. Let’s all be careful out there on this big opener and throughout the season.”
Visitors parking at WDFW fishing access sites are required to display a WDFW Vehicle Use Permit on their vehicle. Every person who buys an annual fishing license receives a free Vehicle Use Permit. The permits are transferable between two vehicles. Additional permits are available to recreational license buyers for $5 each and to other users of the areas for $10.
A Washington freshwater fishing license, valid April 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009, costs $21.90 for resident adults (16-69 years of age). Fifteen-year-olds can buy a license for $7.67 and seniors (70 years and older) can buy one for $5.48. Children 14 years and younger do not need a fishing license. All licenses can be purchased on the Internet (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by telephone (1-866-246-9453), or at hundreds of license dealers across the state (listed on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lic/vendors/vendors.htm).
Tips on fishing areas, listed by county and water, can be found in "Washington Fishing Prospects: Where To Catch Fish In the Evergreen State," available after April 9 on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/prospects/index.htm.
Copies of WDFW's annual Fishing In Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet are also available from license dealers, WDFW offices and on the WDFW website at /fishing/regulations. The current rules are in effect through April 30, 2008; the rules for May 1, 2008 through April 30, 2009 will be posted and available in printed form in early May.
Anglers should note that some new fishing rules go into effect on May 1 and will be highlighted on the “What’s new for 2008” page of the 2008-2009 pamphlet.