Rain doesn’t damper spirit of anglers on opening day who found fairly good success Leave a reply

Apr 30, 2018 by Mark Yuasa

A Pine Lake angler holds up a nice 16.5 inch carryover trout he caught on opening day. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Whitney.

While the weather was a bit wet for the statewide lowland lakes trout opener on Saturday that didn’t deter many from getting out to try their luck at catching fish.

“We ran into some rain, but that is a typical opening day scenario in the Pacific Northwest and we had a very solid plant of trout in lakes,” said Justin Spinelli, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, who conducted creel surveys at Toad Lake located five miles northeast of Bellingham.

The rain showers were off-and-on throughout Saturday afternoon in Puget Sound region although the winds were calm and the water on lakes was like glass. Those who fished Sunday found a much different scenario with just a few spotty rain showers and occasional views of sunny skies.

As Jennifer Whitney, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, gazed across Pine Lake (an 88-acre lake nestled on the Issaquah Plateau) her assessment was that anglers were hooking up and some had their five-fish limits by mid-morning.

“I saw many happy fishermen, and I interviewed two groups of anglers who both had their limits by 7:45 a.m.,” Whitney said. “Most of the fish were between 10.5 to 12 inches, and an angler on the pier had one that was 16.5 inches and got another 16-inch carryover too.”

Danny Garrett, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist also echoed good reports from the two lakes he surveyed on opening day.

“Fishing was decent all morning at Steel Lake, similar to past years, the best success was had by boat anglers trolling flies and spinners, as well as dock and shore anglers using slip-sinkers and long leaders (4 to 5 foot),” Garrett said. “The largest fish I measured was a planter from this year, 12.25 inches.”

Anne Hidaka of Seattle holds up a nice stringer of trout she caught on opening day at Blue Lake in Eastern Washington.

Garrett said fishing was good all morning at North Lake although due to the limited shore access, boat anglers took home most of the fish pulling flies and spinners near the surface. The largest fish measured was a carryover fish at 16 inches.

In general, it appears success rates were fairly decent overall, and popular lakes on west- and east-sides were crowded with anglers tossing just about everything from Power Bait, worms, salmon eggs, marshmallows, flies, spoons, gang-flashers and spinners.

Top Puget Sound region lakes where anglers averaged good catches were Geneva, Langlois, North, Pine and Wilderness in King County; McMurray in Skagit County; Echo, Ki, Stickney and Storm in Snohomish County; and Cain, Silver and Toad in Whatcom County.

Anglers who missed out or overslept on the opening day shouldn’t think they missed out and it’s highly unlikely that the opening day crowds put any kind of huge dent on the 16 million-plus trout planted in more than 500 statewide lakes and ponds. The cooler water temperatures should keep fish active in lakes well into late spring and early summer.

Amari Tines holds a rainbow trout she caught at North Lake on opening day. Photo by WDFW Danny Garrett.


King County: Cottage, 57 anglers with 159 trout kept for 3.29 fish kept per rod average includes fish released (five trout kept is a daily limit); Geneva, 14 with 60 for 4.64; Langlois, 43 with 176 for 9.83 includes 247 fish released; Margaret, 28 with 81 for 4.75; North, 13 with 34 for 5.23 includes 34 fish released; Pine, 63 with 182 for 6.71 includes 241 fish released; Steel, 13 with 42 for 3.23; Walker, 9 with 40 for 6.0 includes 14 fish released; and Wilderness, 46 with 117 for 4.75.

Island County: Deer and Goss were not surveyed on the opener.

Skagit County: Erie, 29 with 64 for 2.37; Heart, 57 with 83 for 3.38; McMurray, 50 with 38 for 1.7; and Sixteen, 25 with 87 for 3.48.

Benjamin Lampa holds a pair of trout he caught at Steele Lake in King County on opening day. Photo by WDFW Danny Garrett,

Snohomish County: Armstrong wasn’t surveyed; Bosworth, 21 with 70 for 4.61; Echo (Maltby), 12 with 37 for 5.58 includes 30 fish released; Crabapple wasn’t surveyed; Howard, 37 with 82 for 3.64; Ki, 35 with 110 for 8.22 includes 178 fish released; Martha (Alderwood Manor), 31 with 56 for 3.38; Riley wasn’t surveyed; Serene, 13 with 27 for 3.23; Stickney, 18 with 51 for 6.38 includes 64 fish released; Storm, 41 with 111 for 8.51 includes 238 fish released; and Wagner, 12 with 31 for 5.08 includes 30 fish released.

Whatcom County: Cain, 37 with 139 for 6.97 includes 119 fish released; Padden, 37 with 84 for 2.86; Silver, 194 with 449 for 5.52 includes 622 fish released; and Toad, 49 with 172 for 6.61 includes 152 fish released.

For a complete list of how anglers fared in statewide lakes, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/lowland/.

WDFW Fishing Derby begins April 22

The statewide trout derby is now underway, and WDFW raved about the success in 2017 with more than 50 percent tags turned in statewide.

“The common theme, which seemed more pronounced than last year, was the number of tagged Derby fish that were caught, all across the state,” said Bruce Bolding, a WDFW Fish Program Manager. “This was really great news. There were tagged fish caught in each District throughout the state (with the exception of Region 3, where we have no creel data because there are no Opening Day lakes. There are however, tagged fish in Region 3).”

More money has been diverted into this five-month event for 2018 with about $38,000 in donated prizes and more than 1,000 tags of which one-third of the tags (300 total) will placed in 22 Region 4 lakes.

Prizes will range from gift cards to fishing gear like rods and reels, plus there is also on tag lurking in a lake that offers getaway to the Roche Harbor Resort in the San Juan Islands.



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