Trout fishing in Washington reaches full speed April 28 when hundreds of lowland lakes – stocked with millions of fish – open for a six-month season.
To prepare for the opener, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 12 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide.
“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, when hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out to fish,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW’s inland fish program manager.
This is also the first lowland lakes opener in which those anglers can use the new Fish Washington mobile app to help find a fishing hole near them.
“The Fish Washington app is a planning tool that should be on every Washington angler’s smart phone,” said Thiesfeld. “It is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake in the state.”
To obtain the new Fish Washington mobile phone app, anglers just need to visit WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), the Google Play store or Apple’s App store.
To participate in the opener, Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license valid through March 31, 2019. Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.
April 28 also marks the start of WDFW’s annual lowland lakes fishing derby, which runs through Oct. 31.
Anglers who catch one of 1,000 green-tagged trout can claim prizes provided by license dealers and other sponsors located across the state. The total value of prizes is more than $38,000. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/Home/FishingDerby.
Fish stocked by WDFW include some 2.1 million catchable trout, nearly 125,000 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 WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/
Of more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington, nearly 700 have WDFW-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more. Details on water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/.
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—or a Discover Pass. Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at https://discoverpass.wa.gov/
Before heading out, anglers should check fishing regulations on WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ or consult the Fish Washington app.
WDFW employees and their immediate families are not eligible to claim fishing derby prizes.