FISHING -- Despite a cold start, anglers warmed up to the idea of catching tons of trout on Saturday, the opening day of Washington's lowland trout fishing season.
Top producing lakes in Spokane County were Fishtrap (4.3 fish per angler) followed by Williams (despite wind and high water issues) and Badger lakes with 3.5 fish per angler.
The opening day crowd was down 40-50 percent, according the Chris Donley, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department district fisheries biologist. Unseasonably cold spring weather may have had something to do with it, he said.
West Medical Lake offered good news and bad news. On the bright side, anglers were doing quite well at catching hefty rainbows in the 15-20 inch range. However, they didn't seem to be catching many of the younger age class of fish. Donley said he was disappointed with the 2.2 fish per angler average, but that could change with warmer water.
Top lakes in northeastern Washington were Starvation (3.8 fish per angler), Rocky (3.6 fish), and Cedar (3.6 fish).
Waitts Lake also fished very well, according to Bill Baker, district fish biologist in Colville.
Lake Ellen performed poorly, partly because of cold water and partly because of a re-infestation with green sunfish and largemouth bass.
"Diamond Lake kind of fizzled, likely due mainly to water temperature -- low 40 degree range," Baker said.
Big Meadow Lake was mostly inaccessible due to snow and 95 percent ice coverage. "no one even attempted to fish it," Baker said.
"It was a long winter, and it’s still winter in many higher elevation areas within this district."