Trout anglers have a number of early opportunities to catch rainbow trout on more than a dozen lakes in King and Pierce counties, as a direct result of last year's dry weather and the Nisqually earthquake.
The February 2001 earthquake, as well as the extended dry season, affected water flow at a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fish hatchery in Puyallup, reducing the rearing capacity for trout production. As a result, about 42,000 rainbow trout in the 8- to 10-inch range will be planted earlier than normal in 14 King and Pierce county lakes open to year ‘round fishing.
In King County, Green, Twelve, Morton, Deep, Spring and Beaver lakes are all scheduled for early stocking. In addition, Green and Beaver lakes are expected to receive plants of broodstock-sized rainbow trout in the 1- to 3-pound range. Pierce County lakes scheduled for early stocking are: Bonney, Harts, Wapato, Waughop, Whitman, Kapowsin, Spanaway and Bradley.
WDFW Fisheries Biologist Jay Hunter said the stocking is expected to run through March and into the first week of April. Recently planted rainbow trout often stay near the surface in search of food, and Hunter said anglers might have the best success trolling bait or spoons near the surface, or fishing shallow with Powerbait.
Anglers are reminded that they can fish with their 2001/2002 fishing license through March 31, but must have a new license beginning April 1 – even for the year ‘round fishing lakes. Licenses can be purchased at any one of hundreds of dealers throughout the state, including most sporting goods stores. Licenses can also be purchased through WDFW's secure web site, at: http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/.