Trout fishing in Washington lakes shifts into another gear on Saturday when several hundred lowland lakes – stocked with millions of fish – open for a six-month season.
While lakes such as Amber, Coffeepot and Liberty already have opened for 2016, the April 23 openers include some of the region’s most popular fishing waters.
An opening-day wave of anglers is headed to fisheries such as Clear, Fish, West Medical and Williams lakes in Spokane County and Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County and numerous other lakes in northeastern Washington.
Some of the state’s streams don’t open for fishing until June.
“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, and hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out for the big day,” said Larry Phillips, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife inland fish program manager.
State fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 15 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide. Those fish include 3.8 million catchable trout, nearly 370,000 larger trout averaging about one pound apiece, and millions of smaller trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size.
Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan on the agency’s website.
Anglers parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to display on their vehicle the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass that is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased.
Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a state Discover Pass.
Before heading out, anglers should check rules for the specific water they’ll be fishing. Regulations pamphlets are available where fishing licenses are sold or on WDFW’s webpage.
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