Trout fishing on lowland lakes will open April 23, and is sure to attract thousands of anglers across the state. As they head for their favorite lake, these anglers will be hauling tackle boxes packed with artificial baits such as Fire Bait or Power Eggs, and lures such as Mepps spinners, Wedding Rings and Dick Nite spoons. Others will be hauling boxes or Styrofoam tubs of nightcrawlers.
They’ll carry this arsenal of bait and lures — as well as coolers, lawn chairs, fishing rods and nets — in hopes of landing a limit of the 4 million rainbow trout stocked this year in lakes statewide.
“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, and hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out for the big day,” Larry Phillips, inland fish program manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement.
388,080 The number of catchable-size rainbow trout stocked in Pierce and Thurston County lakes this year.
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To make the six-month season a success for fishermen, the department’s fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 15 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide. That includes 3.8 million catchable trout, measuring 10-12 inches each, plus almost 370,000 larger trout averaging about 1 pound each. In addition, millions of small trout were stocked last year and have since grown to catchable size.
In the South Sound, the state agency planted Pierce County lakes with 143,520 catchable-size rainbows, while another 244,560 rainbows were stocked in Thurston County lakes.
Among the lakes receiving the most fish were Kapowsin (31,000 catchable-size trout), American (27,000) and Spanaway (18,000) in Pierce County, and Black (39,020), Summit (38,275) and Pattison (33,319) in Thurston County.
Stocking details, by county and lake, are available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
Know before you go
Hotspots: While there are plenty of waters to choose from, these were some of the best options on opening day last year: Clear, Rapjohn and Bay lakes in Pierce County, and McIntosh and Ward lakes in Thurston County. For last year’s opener, anglers at Clear Lake caught an average of 11.6 trout per person. Spencer and Island lakes in Mason County also are good options.
Prize fish: Among the millions of fish planted this year, more than 700 trout have been tagged. Anglers who catch one of the tagged fish, anytime between April 23 and Sept. 6, can claim part of $20,000 in total prizes provided by more than 130 businesses located across the state. If you catch a tagged trout, the orange tag is near the dorsal fin, call 360-902-2464 for details on collecting your prize.
Fishing licenses: Anglers are reminded they must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license that is valid through March 31, 2017. Licenses can be purchased online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by calling 866-246-9453 or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For a list of license vendor locations, go to wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.