For many anglers, “opening day” is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets under way April 26 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 16 million fish in hundreds of 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 outdoor adventures ranging from razor clam digs on ocean beaches to turkey hunting in fields throughout the state. In addition, several Washington communities are hosting festivals this month to mark the seasonal migration of 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 2014-15 fishing or hunting license will be required to participate in those activities after March 31, when all 2013-14 licenses expire. The exception is young people under age 15, who can 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:
April 1 – Several dozen lakes in the Columbia Basin open to fishing.
April 4-6 –The first Olympic Peninsula BirdFest takes place in Sequim near the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
April 5-6 – A two-day spring turkey hunt for hunters age 15 and younger is scheduled statewide.
April 14-20 – A seven-day morning razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
April 15 – The general spring turkey hunt opens for hunters of all ages and runs through May 31. See WDFW’s Washington Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ for more information.
April 16 – Lingcod fishing season opens in the Neah Bay area (Marine Area 4).
April 25-27 – The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, based in Hoquiam, celebrates shorebirds. For information, see http://www.shorebirdfestival.com/.
April 26 – Hundreds of lakes open to trout fishing across the state for the biggest “opening day” of the year.
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 for changes in fishing rules and other developments throughout the state.