Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) hatchery crews will stock 16 western Washington year-round fishing lakes with 7,400 extra large rainbow trout during the weeks of March 19 and 26.
The big trout, averaging 1-1/2-pounds each, are called "triploids" because they have three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two; that makes them sterile, so all their feeding and energy goes into growth, rather than reproduction.
"This is the second year we've been authorized and funded by the Legislature to stock these big fish to help make up for loss of recreational fishing due to recent salmon and steelhead listings," explained WDFW's resident native fish program manager Jim Uehara. "This year we'll be stocking twice as many fish as last year – 84,000 total -- in close to twice as many waters as last year -- 77 total across the state."
The fishing lakes that receive triploids were chosen to provide fishing opportunity statewide, as legislatively directed. Of the 77 waters stocked, 53 are in western Washington and 24 are in eastern Washington.
Because of the size of the program this year, triploids will be stocked throughout the spring. This month's stocking of westside year-round waters will be repeated in mid-May. Most of the triploids will be stocked next month in waters across the state that open to fishing on April 28.
Uehara noted that the fish go into variously managed waters, including those with general statewide regulations, family-only designations, selective gear restrictions, and catch-and-release rules.
Lakes scheduled to receive triploids (number in parantheses) during the week of March 19 are: King County - Angle (480), Meridian (710); Snohomish County - Blackman's (280), Silver (480); Kitsap County - Kitsap (700); Jefferson County - Gibbs (100); Thurston County - Offut (400), St. Clair (600).
Lakes schedule to receive triploids during the week of March 26 are: King County - Green (1,200); Snohomish County - Flowing (500), Martha-Warm Beach (415); Island County - Lone (435); Pierce County - Bonney (100), Harts (200), Spanaway (600); Grays Harbor County - Sylvia (200).