They know the table will be set.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries staff has been working since last year to stock more than 16 million trout and kokanee sizes in 562 lakes throughout the state.
The fish range from a few humongous brood stock and a lot of catchable-size fish to be harvested immediately, to tons of small fry that will grow naturally in the lake and be ready to treat anglers this fall or next year.
Some of the state’s best trout fishing lakes are close to Spokane, including Clear, Fish, Fishtrap, West Medical and Williams.
Many trout lakes in the northeast corner of the state also are good bets on opening day. They include Cedar, Rocky, Starvation and Waitts lakes in Stevens County; Ellen Lake in Ferry County, and Diamond and Marshall lakes in Pend Oreille County.
Having covered the event for 35 years, I’m constantly reminded of the family traditions built around opening day. It’s not uncommon to see three generations of family members in boats or at docks or campgrounds at the region’s lakeside resorts.
Most of the faithful have a favorite lake and a preferred fishing spot they return to every April.
The fish catching is a small but critical part of a weekend celebration worthy of holiday status.
“Our family’s been coming here for 51 years,” said Cory Horntvedt, 22, as he fished from the Fishtrap Lake docks on opening day 2013. His uncle of the same name nodded his head.
Conversation drifted from how deep they should be fishing to their military deployments.
“That’s the only time I didn’t come here for opening day: when I was in Afghanistan,” said Ty Bates, Horntvedt’s stepbrother.
“We buried Grandpa’s ashes next to the lake over there in the trees,” Horntvedt said.
Most recent column
The curtain has opened on the last act in the Columbia River system’s “Year of the Salmon.” The performance began with good returns of spring chinook followed by this summer’s post-dams record returns of sockeye and a great showing of coho. Now the big stars …
Recent blog posts
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated today after a judge invalidated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 statewide Endangered Species Act delisting of ...
FISHING -- Coho are the latest of the Pacific salmon species prompting records on the Columbia River this year. From August 1 through September 21, there have been an estimated ...