By Mike Maltais
If weather and water conditions combined with hatchery plants and holdovers are reliable indicators, the lowland lake trout season opener Saturday (April 26) promises to be a good one for anglers headed for local hotspots.
It’s “the biggest fishing day of the year,” said Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and for good reason.
Millions of fish have been planted in hundreds of lakes around the state in anticipation of the annual April opener and local fisheries have not been overlooked by the stocking efforts.
Pearrygin Lake north of Winthrop received over 350 triploid trout this month and more than 65,000 rainbow and 2,000 tiger trout fry last May. To get some idea of the size of Pearrygin’s bounty, just check out the annual Fishing Derby sponsored by the Twisp Eagles Aerie 2584 on opening weekend.
Mark Seguin, who helps out with the program, said earlier this week that last year’s prize catches — from the bank no less — included a 5-1/2-pound brown trout and 3-1/2-pound rainbow. The year previous, the winners were 4-pound brown and rainbow trout.
Big Twin Lake
Lance Rider of The Outdoorsman in Winthrop says Big Twin Lake received 100 jumbo trout this month and should be another good spot for rainbow holdovers.
Linda Oules, WDFW specialist technician, reports that the winter carryovers survived well at Campbell, Cougar and Davis lakes, all catch-and-release fisheries.
Patterson Lake, at the base of Sun Mountain, received 16,000 kokanee fry last April and 400 jumbo rainbows this month.
Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.
Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2015. Licenses can be purchased online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.
Freshwater fishing licenses cost $29.50 for resident adults 16 to 69 years old. Fifteen-year-olds can buy a license for $8.05, and seniors 70 and older can buy an annual freshwater fishing license for $7.50. Children 14 years of age and younger do not need a fishing license.
Nearly 700 of the more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington have WDFW-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more. Details on water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/.
Anglers parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to display on their vehicle the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass that is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased. The passes are transferable between two vehicles. Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at discoverpass.wa.gov/.
Before heading out, anglers should check fishing regulations on WDFW’s webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.