July 30, 1998
Contact: Mike Judge,(360) 902-2407
High mountain lakes offer cool escape from heat
OLYMPIA -- If the heat and the concrete are closing in on you try hitting one of
many trails leading to high mountain lakes. Visiting a cool stream or lake shaded by
old- growth trees is one of Washington's most refreshing outdoor experiences,
especially in late summer.
Washington has more than 3,000 lakes at elevations above 2,500 feet. High-
lake trout fishing is one of Washington's premier recreational pastimes. A small
percentage of our high lakes have self-sustaining trout populations, while others are
stocked periodically. Others purposely are left barren.
Some lakes are stocked every two or three years while others are stocked once
in a decade. These rotating stocking schedules cause the trout in each lake to vary in
size and number from year to year. Finding the season's hot fishing spots is part of the
"Part of the mystique of the high-lake fishing experience is exploring an unknown
area for a quality backcountry experience," said Craig Burley, a Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist experienced in high-lake
Said Jim Johnston, another WDFW biologist with more than 20 years experience
in high lakes fisheries management: "Get your maps out. Many lakes in the Cascades
and Olympics have opportunities for good fishing."
A where-to, how-to information pamphlet, "Trout Fishing in Washington's High
Lakes," is available at all department offices.
Be sure to check WDFW's "Fishing in Washington" pamphlet for rules and
There are many other fishing and wildlife opportunities available now. Some of
- Sturgeon -- Fishing is hot from Cathlamet down to the estuary (the last 15 miles
of the river) with many fishers limiting out (one fish) daily. More than 10,000 sturgeon
were caught in June, and July was almost as good. Fishers have been successful using
anchovies and sand shrimp for bait, according to WDFW fish biologist John Devore.
More than 400 boats can be seen fishing around the estuary on a good weekend
day. Anglers may harvest a 42- to 60-inch sturgeon in this area.
- Huckleberry picking -- Wildlife watching is the bonus of berry picking, since
many wildlife species also love huckleberries and other berries that are ripe now. The
species most commonly seen in huckleberry patches are forest grouse and black
bears. Be alert and cautious about sharing a berry patch with a bear because it can be
dangerous, especially if you surprise it. Make noise to let bears know you're around
and they'll usually try to avoid you. If you should suddenly confront a bear, stay calm,
avoid direct eye contact (which bears read as a threat), identify yourself as a human by
waving your hands above your head and talking, and back away slowly, leaving the
bear an escape route. Yield the huckleberry patch to the bear-- unlike the bear, you
don't HAVE to eat huckleberries to stay alive.
- WDFW staff county fairs -- People interested in finding out more about
hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities will have a chance to talk to WDFW
personnel at two upcoming southwest Washington county fairs. Personnel will be
available to answer questions and provide informational material at the Cowlitz County
Fair in Longview until Aug. 1, and the Clark County Fair in Ridgefield Aug. 7 to 16.
- Bear and cougar hunting -- Cougar and bear hunting season opens Aug.1
across most of the state. Check the 1998 big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules
pamphlet for closed GMUs or areas with different opening dates. Transport tag prices
have been reduced from $18 to $15 for bears and from $24 to $5 for cougars.
Populations of both species are on the rise. Cougar hunters may increase their
chances of success by focusing on areas occupied by deer and elk, the cougar's
natural prey, and by using predator calls. Bear hunters may have luck during early
morning and early evening hours in low- and mid-elevation areas where blackberries
are ripe. Later in August areas with ripe huckleberries should draw bears. Hunters
should be prepared to keep their game meat chilled since it spoils quickly in warm
summer weather. Hunters are reminded that legal shooting hours for big game are
from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
- Salmon -- The ocean sport salmon fishing season opens Aug. 3. Coastal
fishing is open Sundays through Thursdays with a limit of one chinook per day and no
more than four salmon per calendar week. Check the "Fishing In Washington"
pamphlet for other rules. Go early to avoid closures due to guidelines and quotas. San
Juan Islands areas and central Puget Sound opened July 1 for salmon fishing. Point
Defiance has been the hot spot for the past week.
- Crabs -- Dungeness crab season is open and opportunity looks good through
Labor Day and beyond if weather holds. Good fishing should be available at Saddlebag
Island, Port Townsend Bay, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and the lower Columbia River.
- Bald Eagles and Ospreys -- Families of eagles and ospreys can be seen
along most major rivers as fledglings try out their new wings.
- Shrimp fishing -- Discovery Bay remains open to sport shrimp fishing until
further notice. The Washington regulation pamphlet incorrectly states the Discovery
Bay Shrimp district closed July 16. Recreational fishers may take coonstripe, humpback
and pink shrimp every day during the season provided the combined harvest does not
exceed 10 pounds. Spot shrimp may be retained only on Saturdays and no more than
50 spot shrimp, 1 2/16 inches carapace length and larger, may be taken as part of the
daily 10-pound limit.
- Clams -- Effective immediately, and until further notice, the following Jefferson
County beaches are open to the taking of clams: Port Townsend Ship Canal, Shine
Tidelands State Park and South Indian Island County State Park.
- Wildflowers/Butterflies -- You can find butterflies just about anywhere there
are flowers, sunshine and open spaces. The high country offers spring and summer
flowers from July through late August as snow fields recede and melt. Many areas
around the state offer both wildflowers and butterflies. Try Hurricane Ridge in the
Olympic National Park; the Sunrise and Paradise areas in Mount Rainier National Park;
Hart's Pass Road in Wenatchee's Tumwater Canyon and WDFW's Oak Creek Wildlife
Area near Yakima.
- Bottom fish -- There is good fishing for rockfish, lingcod and other marine
species in the Westport, LaPush and Neah Bay areas. The season is open year around
in the above areas with the exception of Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) which closes for
lingcod Nov. 30.
People fishing and hunting in Washington must purchase licenses. Licenses are
sold at WDFW offices as well as many sporting good stores.
- Tide pools -- When the tide goes out, the area where land and ocean meet
reveals a wondrous sample of marine life that is easily accessible to land dwellers.
Rocky shores provide the best opportunities for viewing a variety of plant life, shellfish,
mussels and snails. Low tides provide golden opportunities for finding the greatest
variety of intertidal life.