Malmbergs Get Best Of Panther

The Malmberg boys are claiming a new personal best catch record: 63 trout caught at Panther Lake over eight hours on Saturday.

They only kept four between them, a pair of 14-inchers and two 16s.

“What a fun lake,” says the older of the two, “Uncle Wes,” this morning. “Fished from 8 to 4 and averaged eight an hour. Couldn’t believe people were keeping 8-inchers.”

Their old record of 50-something fish was set on Nahwatzel Lake, west of Shelton, last winter, Wes says.

Panther sits on the Mason-Kitsap County line and is listed at 100 acres, but Wes says only about two-thirds is fishable — well, at least for the way he and bro Brett hit it. They once again ran black-and-olive and black Woolly Buggers in size 6 off a full-sinking fly line around the lake, staying well off the shallower areas.

While Wes and I did well on Carey Specials last week at Island Lake in Mason County, he said that pattern produced nothing for them.

He says that at most there might have been a total of four boats on Panther at any one time.

“There were a lot of nice folks,” he adds.

Panther has been stocked with 4,672 8-inchers, 300 1.2-pound “jumbos” and 275 1.5-pound triploids this year.

On Sunday, Wes tried Island again, catching four, though three trout though three had sores on their sides.

Even more ominous: the PWC hatch has begun.

“Saw the first Jet Ski and speed boats of the year,” Wes muttered.

There was also a boat-ramp rumor of an angler getting busted for too many 14-plus-inch trout in his limit. New regulations in the pamphlet this year limit the number of fish 14 inches or greater to just two a day at dozens and dozens of waters in Mason, Island, Thurston, Pierce and Jefferson Counties, though the overall limit remains five trout.

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