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May 01, 2000
Contact: Madonna Luers, 509/456-4073
Bob Gibbons, 360/902-2329

Cool weather keeps some anglers home but catch rates high on Washington's lake fishing season opener

Chilly morning temperatures kept crowds slightly down on Washington's lake fishing season opener April 29, but catch rates of fat trout were high.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) checks showed daily catch limits of five trout were easily made at many lakes by anglers who ventured out in 30 to 40 degree temperatures before the day warmed into the 60-degree range.

The trout, mostly rainbows, averaged 11 inches, thanks to the past winter's mild conditions that made for excellent growth of hatchery fry stocked last year. Many of the extra "trophy trout" stocked in select lakes throughout the state were also in the catch.

WDFW Inland Fish Manager Bob Gibbons noted that overall fishing participation was slightly down or about the same as last year, probably mostly due to the cool weather.

"The Vancouver area trout fishery was down because it competed with the spring chinook salmon fishery in the Columbia River," Gibbons said. "On the other hand, participation was up on Park, Blue and Dry Falls Lakes in Grant County, perhaps because so many westsiders head for the usual sunny weather there."

Gibbons noted that catch rates in some areas, like Okanogan County, were phenomenal. Other anticipated "hot spots" may have seen slightly reduced crowds, he said, but that only means the fishing should remain good longer through the season. Most lakes that opened last weekend remain open through September or October.

Although WDFW officers wrote a number of citations for fishing without a license or over-the-catch-limit, WDFW enforcement chief Bruce Bjork noted that overall compliance with fishing rules was good. Almost all opening weekend anglers using WDFW fishing access sites also had the required Access Stewardship Decal on their vehicles.

The top 20 lakes, based on average catch per angler, were:

  • Clallam County's Wentworth Lake, 5 trout per angler (tpa)
  • Grant County's Deep Lake, 5 tpa; and Perch Lake, 4.9 tpa
  • Lincoln County's Fishtrap Lake, 4.3 tpa
  • Okanogan County's Aeneas Lake, 5 tpa; Pearygin Lake, 4.97; Round Lake, 4.9 tpa; Leader Lake, 4.8 tpa; and Long Lake, 7 tpa (catch-and-release)
  • Skagit County's Erie Lake, 4.7 tpa; and Heart Lake, 4.6 tpa
  • Snohomish County's Howard Lake, 4.6 tpa
  • Spokane County's Amber Lake, 6.87 tpa (catch-and-release)
  • Stevens County's Cedar Lake, 4.9 tpa; Deep Lake, 4.8 tpa; and Starvation Lake, 4.5 tpa
  • Thurston County's Pattison Lake, 5 tpa; and Long Lake, 4.7 tpa
  • Whatcom County's Toad Lake, 4.6 tpa
  • Yakima County's Mud Lake, 10 tpa (catch-and-release)

Catch rates, fish size, and other information noted by WDFW staff on the opener follow:

BentonColumbia Park Pond0.9Trophy (triploid) trout 42% of catch
ChelanBeehive Res1.1710"RD and EB
Clear1.710"RB and EB
Lilly0.7911"RB and EB
Wapato1.8112"Carry overs 14 1/2", 8.4% triploid
ClallamWentworth5.0Good fishing
ClarkBattleground3.3Limits for people who wanted them
Klineline2.42% trophy (triploid) trout
CowlitzHorseshoe1.620% trophy (triploid) trout
Kress1.8Year-round season
DouglasJameson4.312"Carry overs 15.5", 24% of catch
FerryEllen3.810"Carry over to 16"
Trout3.8RB 10"
FranklinRailroad PdTrophy (triploid) trout 3.7/angler
GrantBlue4.012"Carry over RB 14.3", BT 12" to 14"
Deep5.010.4"Carry over RB 15.9", BT 13" to 18"
Dry Falls3.914"Carry over RB to 20", BT 12" to 20"
Park4.312.5"Carry over RB 15", BT 13" to 18"
Perch4.911.5"Carry overs 13.8"
Grays HarborAberdeen2.5
Elma Pds.3.8Steelhead 26"
Sylvia0.69"Year-round season
JeffersonAnderson4.1211.5"Carry overs 13.8"
Ludlow1.32Largest 17.5"
Sandy Shore2.2
Tarboo3.4Largest 15"
KitsapBuck3.5Largest 16.5"
Kitsap0.7Lots of trophy (triploid) trout
KittitasN. Fio Rito0.8Trophy (triploid) trout 15% of catch
Mattoon1.810.5"Trophy (triploid) trout 29% of catch
Rowland3.5Trophy (triploid) trout popular
Fort Borst Pk. Pd.2.0
Mineral3.19Lots of carry overs and triploids
LincolnFishtrap4.311.4"RB to 21"
MasonBenson2.8Lots of Trophy (triploid) trout
Haven3.210"Carry overs 18"
Prices1.311.1"EB 11", RB to 22"
Stump1.611"RB to 18.5"
Wooten4.0Good fishing
OkanoganAlta11"Carry overs 17", RB to 22"
Conconully2.910.5"Carry overs 13.5", RB to 20"
Conconully Res.2.310.5"Carry overs 13.5", RB to 20"
Leader4.812.7"Carry overs 16" and 7% of catch
Pearygin4.9711"Carry overs 13.8" and 6.5% of catch
Big Twin2.8Catch and release
Wannacut3.710.5Carry overs 13.7"
Fish3.910.25"Carry overs 13.9" and 9% of catch
Aeneas5.019"Fly fishing only. Most released.
Long7.012"Carry overs 17.5", 4.5 % of catch
Blue (Sinlahekin)1.517"Catch and release, 1 fish limit
Ell18"Most anglers catch and release
Round4.910.7"Carry overs 13.25", 18% of catch
PacificBlack1.6Best fishing from boats
Pend OreilleDiamond2.59"
SacheenRB average 9", up to 14", EB to 14"
Clear2.4Year-round season
Rapjohn4.02Lots of trophy (triploid) trout
Silver1.31Lots of RB 17" to 20"
Tanwax3.3Large RB were 11"
SkamaniaKidney2.457% trophy (triploid) trout
Martha (AM)1.75
SpokaneAmber6.8713"Selective gear rules (catch and release)
Badger3.49"25% CT, fish to 15.3"
ChapmanKokanee 9", RB 11"
Clear2.614"Largest, 24" RB
Fish1.813"EB lake
Liberty0.913"RB ranged 9.6" to 16"
Newmano.5RB 8.5" to 16.5"
West Medical1.7RB 9.6" to 24"
Williams2.25RB 8.6" to 28"
StevensCedar4.912"RB 10" to 17"
Deer0.7RB 9" to 13", Lake trout 20" to 31"
Kokanee to 17", EB 12" to 14"
Little Pend OrielleLots of 10" CT
LoonKokanee 9", 12" Lake trout 12-13 lbs.
Starvation4.511.5"Carry overs to 14"
Waitts2.010"Brood RB to 25"
ThurstonClear4.2Trophy (triploid) trout to 4 lbs.
Deep3.710"Carry overs 16"
Hicks2.112"25% Trophy (triploid) to 20"
Long4.7Lots of 14-18" RB
Munn1.110"17.5" RB also
McIntosh4.012"Lots of Trophy (triploid) trout
Pattison5.019 - 22" RB
Summit3.811"RB TO 18.5"
Ward3.410"Carry overs average 14"
Walla WallaBennington1.4RB 8" to 16"
YakimaMud10.0Selective gear rules
Myron2.3Selective gear rules