Steve Caromile, the Inland Fish Program Manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said, “The lowland lake trout season, Washington’s single biggest fishing season, opened April 22 with decent weather and catch rates. It is still one of the best bargains in local family recreation. April 22 was also the first day of our annual trout derby, and we are already seeing catches of tagged trout!”
Caromile continued saying, “With typical springtime weather, angler catch and effort at our lakes was comparable to prior seasons, with catch averaging just about three fish per angler. The air temperatures weren’t bad, but water temperatures are still on the cool side but with better weather in the forecast, the catch will be heating up as well.”
If you are wondering how Central and Eastern Washington lakes fished on opening day here are reports from WDFW staff who visited various waters in the region:
Horsethief Lake was fishing pretty slow on the opener where individuals averaged two trout each. However, things were very different at Rowland Lake. 29 anglers were checked and although there were not many people fishing, creel checkers noted they harvested a lot of fish. Eight trout were caught per angler and on average they kept 3.24 fish. The largest trout seen? A 21-incher!
Clear Lake was frozen over and Beehive Reservoir was not accessible to vehicular traffic due to snow at this lake located near the Mission Ridge Ski Area south of Wenatchee. However, Wapato Lake near Manson was open for fishing and anglers caught and kept around 3.5 trout a piece.
The crowds were out at Jameson Lake on opening morning. Creel checkers counted 234 anglers fishing for trout at 8 a.m. Just under three trout per angler was caught here, the average fish measuring 11-inches long. The largest fish seen by WDFW staff was a 16-inch rainbow.
The crowds were also out for the opener at Blue Lake with nearly 300 individuals counted and a lot of these anglers were kids. The average catch was only 1.5 trout each but the size of the trout was a healthy 14 inches. Park Lake south of Coulee City was also crowded and the catching was about the same as Blue Lake. There was far better fishing at nearby Deep Lake in Sun Lakes State Park. Anglers there were catching five fish limits of rainbow trout averaging 13 inches.
Okanogan County is a popular destination for the lowland lakes opener and for good reason, the fishing can be very good here and the scenery is nice. Creel checkers did not make it out to any of the lakes here for the opener but calling Liars Cove Resort, Gene Bussell said fishing wise anglers did pretty good for both bass and trout. However, the lake is really low right now and according to Bussell, “It’s not easy to launch boats at the moment.” The good news is the lake is starting to fill and boat access is getting better. Check with Bussell for exactly where to launch so you don’t get stuck in the mud.
PEND OREILLE COUNTY
At Diamond Lake the crowds were low and the fishing was slow, due primarily to cold water temperatures. Of the anglers checked, on average they only harvested a rainbow a piece though most of them were 13-inches long and the largest checked was a respectable 19-inch trout.
Waitts Lake had more anglers than any other body of water in Stevens County on opening day. Creel checkers noted the fishing was best in the morning before the winds kicked up. The anglers checked averaged 2.4 trout apiece, but the fish were large with the rainbows going nearly 14 inches and the brown trout at 16 inches.
There were not many anglers seen at the other Stevens County lakes. At Starvation Lake anglers were indeed starving for trout and the fishing was slow. The same scenario played out at Rocky and Mudgett Lake. The few trout checked averaged 12 inches in length.
Last but not least, if you catch a trout with a blue tag on it don’t throw it back. That’s a WDFW trout derby fish and it’s worth a prize. Go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/contests/trout-derby for details about where these fish have been stocked and how to claim your prize if you catch one.
John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com
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