WDFW Weekender Report

Discover recreational opportunities in Eastern, North Central, South Central, North Puget Sound, Southwest, and Coastal Washington.

Trout derby and spring turkey seasons underway this April

For many anglers, opening day is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets underway April 24 this year. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians typically descend on trout-stocked lakes to kick off the state's biggest outdoor event. This year, we’re asking people to continue applying good social distancing practices by avoiding crowds that might increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Hatchery crews from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have been working since last year – while also following social distancing protocols - to stock millions of fish in lakes throughout the state. You can find out how many went where via WDFW’s stocking reports.

In addition, anglers – and hunters, too – are also looking forward to a variety of other “opening days” for outdoor adventures this month, including:

  • Trout derby: The annual statewide trout derby gets underway on April 24, when anglers can win hundreds of prizes by catching tagged trout stocked in lakes throughout Washington.
  • Halibut: Halibut season gets underway on April 22 in Marine Areas 6-10 and May 6 on the coast and Marine Area 5. 
  • Spring turkey hunt: Participate in spring turkey season from April 15 to May 31 statewide.

Wildlife start to become abundant in spring as babies are born and hibernating bears begin to wake up. Follow these tips to coexist with wildlife this spring:

  • Leave wild babies wild: April is a busy month for the birth of baby animals. A reminder that if you run into fawns, baby birds, or other young animals, please leave them be, even if they appear to be orphaned or abandoned. Most animals have a parent foraging or hunting nearby.
  • Habitat at home: Habitat at Home, formerly known as the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program, can help you to connect with nature this spring. Discover fun and effective ways to support wildlife, regardless of your expertise, how much space you have, or where you live.

Plan ahead

Join WDFW at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 8 for a live virtual fishing event, Hand-raised trout to home-cooked meal. . We will be broadcasting live from Lakewood Hatchery and American Lake to highlight what goes into raising rainbow trout for planting in Washington lakes. We’ll be joined by friends from Puget Sound Anglers, who will share tips and strategies to catch rainbow trout. WDFW staff will show you how to navigate the agency’s website and the Fish Washington mobile app to find current fishing information. The event will conclude with a demonstration of how to clean and cook freshly caught trout.

For most people, a valid 2021-22 fishing or hunting license will be required to participate in those activities after March 31, when all 2020-21 licenses expire. The exception is those under age 15, who can fish for free. Licenses and permits are available online, by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state.

For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities available this month, visit the EasternNorth CentralSouth CentralNorth Puget SoundSouthwest, and Coastal region pages. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.