OLYMPIA, Wash. - For many anglers, "opening day" is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets under way April 27 this year. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians typically descend on trout-stocked lakes to kick off the state’s biggest outdoor event.
To prepare for the upcoming season, hatchery crews from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have been working since last year to stock more than 17 million fish in over 600 lakes throughout the state. Anglers can find how many went where at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/ .
But anglers - and hunters, too - are also looking forward to a variety of other "opening days" this month for seasons ranging from razor clam digs on ocean beaches to turkey hunting throughout the state. Many communities throughout the state are also hosting festivals this month to mark major bird migrations including sandhill cranes, waterfowl and shorebirds.
"April really marks the start of the new year for fishing, hunting, and a wide range of outdoor activities," said Joe Stohr, WDFW deputy director. "The annual cycle is beginning again and a lot of us are glad to see it arrive."
For most people, a valid 2013-14 fishing or hunting license will be required to participate in those activities after March 31, when all 2012-13 licenses expire. The exception is young people under age 15, who may fish for free.
Licenses and permits are avaiIable online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ ), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state. A list of license vendors ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/ ) is available online and from local WDFW offices around the state.
Key dates to keep in mind in April include:
For more information about these and other outdoor activities coming up in the weeks ahead, see the region-by-region Weekender Reports on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ . These reports are updated throughout the month for changes in fishing rules and other developments throughout the state.