Get Out For Trout!

My fishing plans for tomorrow will take River and I all of 4.3 miles, but it will be interesting to know how far afield other Washington anglers get on the trout opener.

Some of our best as well as most traditional lakes are out there in the boonies — no offense, burgs of Mineral, Northport and Maple Falls — and 1985 it ain’t.

OPENING DAY 2008, SILVER LAKE, WHATCOM COUNTY, WASH. (AARON HOSTETLER/WHATCOM COUNTY PARKS)

The newspaper headline is that we’ll stay closer to home, what with rising gas prices, but I stumbled onto a couple interesting nugs yesterday.

First, there was a report in a Michigan paper about how campground reservations for state parks there are up 17 percent compared to the same period a year before.

Even as the article also said that camping is highly dependent upon weather and gas prices, it was a bit of good news because I’ve been festering about fuel prices that are edging beyond $4 to perhaps $5 as we work on a summer getaways feature for the June issue of Northwest Sportsman.

Nothing like filling up the tank of the next edition with stuff folks can’t use.

I became a little more at ease, though, after a call and a couple emails to Washington State Parks. Numbers from the agency reveal that while we plan on camping a wee bit less than last year, we still aim to¬†pitch more tents roast more s’mores around the fire grate than we did before the recession hit.

According to analyst Tom Oliva, the annual number of state park site reservations for the 12-month period ending April 24 are as follows:

2011: 169,453
2010: 171,437
2009: 159,955
2008: 154,988
2007: 148,555

We’ll see how many folks back out of those reservations — I was surprised last summer at Moran and Deception Pass State Parks to see empty campsites on otherwise glorious weekends, including the Fourth — but it gives me hope that we’re still a mobile bunch of fish chasers.

Right now, one of my new writers, a Spokane man, is down battling the wind at Drano for springers, and I’ve got a boat ride reservation there in a couple Saturdays.

Fortunately, we don’t have to travel as far to find trout. WDFW has been stocking the holy sheep shingles out of waters around the state over the past couple months, and whether you hit one of the hundreds of true opener lakes or one that’s been fishing for awhile, you’re almost bound to catch fish.

If you’re still wondering where to go, some of Washington’s outdoor reporters have the scoop on what to expect from your local waters and some tips for catching your limit:

NORTH SOUND: Wayne Kruse, freelancer for the Everett Herald, on 10 top lakes;

NORTHEAST WASHINGTON & SPOKANE: Alan Liere, reporter for the Spokane Spokesman-Review on great bets;

OKANOGAN: Al Camp of the Omak Chronicle on dozens of great fisheries in the 2011 Fishrapper;

WHATCOM COUNTY: Doug Huddle of the Bellingham Herald on the 48,000 half-pounders slumbering in a quartet of waters;

SOUTH KING COUNTY: Greg Allmain of the Federal Way Mirror on stocker lakes in his area;

STRAITS/WEST END LAKES: Matt Schubert of the Peninsula Daily News on local lakes;

CLARK/COWLITZ COUNTY: Allen Thomas of The Columbian on the 60K rainbows and improvements awaiting at Swift Reservoir;

SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON: Tom Paulu of the Longview Daily News touches on Swift as well as other local lakes, including some year-rounders well-stocked by WDFW;

MASON, KITSAP AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES: Seabury Blair Jr. at the Kitsap Sun has good ideas;

TIPS: Mark Yuasa of the Seattle Times on fishing tips and keeping things simple with the kids, Rob Endsley of The Outdoor Line with the go-to tactics, and Jeff Mayor of the Tacoma News Tribune on five ways to make the opener more fun.

As for River and I, I’m scrounging around this office for bait.

My yard is literally crawling with nightcrawlers — some really fat mothers too — but River really, really likes them, and I’m not quite sure I want to skewer one of his little buddies.

I know for fact it wouldn’t be a good scene down at the ol’ fishin’ hole.

So I guess we’ll do the dough bait thing. There’s gotta be a jar of that stuff around here somewhere …

Good luck on the opener, everyone.

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