FISHING -- Anglers got a chilly start to the lowland lakes fishing season today, but in the end, it was thousands of fish that were hooked, landed and iced.
Five-fish daily limits were common among anglers who dressed warmly enough to endure temperatures that were in the low 40s to start the day and remained cool with blustery winds.
"Our campground is full of gentlemen anglers this year," said Mike Barber at Fishtrap Lake Resort. He was looking out at docks that were uncharacteristically empty at 7:30 a.m. But by 8, people were streaming away from campers and campfires with their fishing rods to start the harvest.
Washington Fish and Wildlife Department creel checks found the top lakes producing hookups today in the Spokane area were Fish, Williams. Fishtrap and West Medical lakes.
Incidentally, Fish Lake off the Cheney-Spokane Road tends to attract more fly fishers who do more catch-and-release fishing than at most other put-and-take hatchery-stocked trout lakes. Some anglers reported catching and releasing a lot of fish, mostly nice rainbows averaging 12-14 inches. The brook trout were in the 10-inch range, not nearly as large as the Fish Lake brookies that pleased anglers last year.
In Northeastern Washington, the top lakes were Diamond, Rocky, Waitts, Deep and Ellen.
But the number of fish bagged or released doesn't tell the entire story. For example, Mudgett Lake in Stevens county gave up 2.3 fish per angler but the average size was 14 inches -- very nice fish.
By the way: The largest fish caught at Clear Lake, a 21-inch rainbow, was reeled in by a 4-year-old girl.