The Adventure: Lake Trout Season 2015
April 24, 2015
It’s time to get out for trout!Break out your tackle, this is the best time of year to fish for trout! April 25 is opening day for fishing at hundreds of lowland lakes around the state. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery crews are stocking the waters for a great season with more than 16 million trout and kokanee in lakes on both sides of the Cascades.
That means your state parks lakes also are teaming with trout! According to the WDFW, hatcheries have stocked the waters with more than 2.3 million catchable trout, nearly 115,000 jumbo trout weighing up to 11 pounds apiece, more than 50,000 triploid trout averaging 1½ pounds apiece and millions of smaller trout released last year that have grown to catchable size.
First order of business — go get your fishing license AND a copy of the 2015 fishing regulations. Ok…cooler packed? Favorite flies, lures or bait ready to go? Got your Discover Pass? Let’s go fishing! Here’s just a few of our favorite ‘holes’ for you to enjoy a relaxing day — or two! — of fishing from a pier, boat or shore!
Fishing tip: WDFW has some handy tools on its website. Look up your favorite lake to see just how many and what types of fish were released and when! Or be inspired by these great fishing vacation ideas!
Pearrygin Lake State Park
Big skies and miles of great views are the icing on the cake at this great rainbow trout fishing lake in the Methow Valley. Get a bite on your line, then maybe a bite to eat at the park’s concessions or store. Stay for the day, or better yet make it a weekend! Camp or stay at one of the park’s two cozy cabins for an easy and economical fishing getaway. There’s a boat launch (fees apply) and both motor and human-powered craft are permitted on the lake. If the kids get tired of fishing, send them for a dip in one of the park’s two swimming holes (if it’s warm enough, of course).
Alta Lake State Park
Where the mountain pine forest, desert and Columbia River waters merge, magic happens…and great fishing, too! This popular, narrow lake is expected to have some amazing fishing this year. In addition to fish released last May, more than a 1,000 catchable rainbows were released here in early April. Just a heads up: Last year’s wildfires left some of the landscape around the park with few trees or ground cover and the appearance is dramatically different from last season. However, all campgrounds and day use areas are open. The park has concessions, a store, boat launch, swimming areas and plenty of good camping! There’s even WiFi in the park! While you are loading the tackle in your car, why not throw in your golf clubs as well? The Alta Lake Golf Course — an 18 hole course — is right next door to the park and open for business!
Lake Sylvia State Park
Lake Sylvia is far from the biggest state park in Washington, but don’t be fooled…this park packs tons of recreational fun into its modest 233 acres. Nestled in the woods near Montesano, this old logging camp boasts 15,000 feet of freshwater shoreline, a fishing dock (ADA accessible!) and popular bridge for fishing from (picture above). There’s also cool old logging equipment and other historic features to explore, beautiful forest trails to hike, an idyllic campground, mountain biking, swimming, bird watching and LOTS of rainbow trout! Boats are allowed, and there is a launch—for human and electric-powered craft only. Reserve a campsite and make it a mini fishing vacation!
Lake Chelan State Park
Lake Chelan is, in a word, POPULAR! And for good reason! Not only is this a beautiful lake ringed by green shores and rolling hills, it is a full-service family park with lots to see and do! Come for the fishing …and bring the boat! Here you can boat, play sports on the grassy field, rent a stand up paddle board or just sit on the shore and fish. Remember, being popular, this park and its small parking lot tend to fill up fast. But if you have a boat to launch, why not head a short distance up to Twenty Five Mile Creek State Park where you’ll find even more great fishing, boating and even a modern marina! If you plan to camp, make sure to make reservations well in advance!
New to fishing and boating? Haven’t been out on the water for a while? Here are some tips and handy links to help you get started or just remind you what you’ll need to pack along!
- With the exception of Free Fishing Days, most folks will need a fishing license and other rules and regulations are always in effect. Before you head out, stop by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website. You can get your license, download the latest Sport fishing Rules Pamphlet and stay up-to-date on the latest fishing and shell fishing conditions.
- Safety first! Even a serene sport like fishing carries some risks. Bone up here on staying safe while angling, especially when taking the kids out. Also, with the weather a little warmer this year, biting insect numbers have been especially high and there’s a greater risk of sun burn. Remembering your repellents and sunscreen will make for a better trip.
- Wear. Your. Life jacket. Remember, if you don’t, it doesn’t work. On a boat, life jackets are a given, but even if you are casting from the shore or a dock it’s a
goodSUPER idea to wear one anyway and definitely put one on children. River, lake or ocean, if it’s deep, fast and wet, with a life jacket you’re better set! Handy tip: If you find you are short life jackets, look for a life jacket loaner kiosk!
- Got a fishing boat? Awesome! But first comes the spring tune up for your craft. Next stops: Washington State Boater Education Card and up-to-date boat and trailer licenses. Also, if you are new to boating, make sure your craft is appropriate for the conditions. As always, NEVER drink and drive a boat and make sure you have ample and properly-sized life jackets for you and all your passengers!
- Don’t know a walleye from a bass but itching to try fishing? Why not let the sport’s old hands show you how it’s done — and maybe the location of a sweet fishing hole or two! Join one of Washington’s many fishing clubs and organizations. Many are set up for the purpose of conservation and teaching. Some even offer courses in fly-tying and other fishing-related skills. Here are just a few to get you started!
Where do you like to fish?
Tell us about it, and show us some pictures of that great catch here!