Pretty Good Trout Opener

12:55 p.m., Saturday, April 30, 2011: Sitting lakeside. It’s River’s first real fishing trip, and while the trout aren’t biting so far, my 3 1/2-year-old son is still fairly dry and is staying close by. As I enjoy the moment and the warm sun on my back, I write down in my notes, ‘This is going better than I expected, this is … dare I say it? … going all right.’

12:57 p.m.: Reverie broken: River grabs rod, drops big glob of sand on reel.

Ahhhh, the joys of introducing kids to fishing.

Washington’s opening day of lowland lakes season was otherwise a big success, judging by the catch numbers and images in my inbox this morning.

Here’s a sampling of articles with catch stats and happy anglers; below them are regional reports from WDFW:

Everett Herald: Good weather means big crowds for trout opener

Bellingham Herald: Trout fishing season is the reason

Spokane Spokesman-Review (blog): Anglers reel in trout dinners on opening day

The Western Front (WWU): Having a reel good time: Anglers hit lakes as season opens

WDFW: Thousands of anglers enjoy good fishing during lowland lakes opener

OPENING DAY LIMITS FOR BUZZ RAMSEY, HIS NEPHEW JASON RESSER, OUTDOOR WRITER TERRY OTTO AND SON BLAKE RAMSEY. THEY FISHED AT ROWLAND LAKE. "WE CAUGHT 'EM TROLLING F-4 AND -5 FLATFISH IN SILVER AND GOLD FINISHES," REPORTS RAMSEY. A FEW ALSO BIT CAST PLASTIC WORMS. (BUZZ RAMSEY)

THE NELSON GIRLS -- BRITTANY, 16, AND BRIANNA, 11 -- REGULATED AT PINE LAKE NEAR ISSAQUAH. "IT WAS FUNNY," REPORTS FATHER, PAUL, "EVERYONE WAS USING POWER BAIT WHILE WE USED GOOD OLD END OF A NIGHTCRAWLER 3.5 FEET UNDER A TINY BOBBER. HAD AT LEAST 30 TAKE DOWNS. I ONLY SAW FIVE OTHER FISH CAUGHT DURING THE 1.5 HOURS WE WERE THERE." (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

GARRETT JONES OF CHATTAROY, WASH., WITH OPENING DAY RAINBOWS FROM DIAMOND LAKE IN PEND OREILLE COUNTY. THE LARGEST WAS 4 POUNDS, REPORTS FISHING PARTNER KEVIN JONES. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

KHOI NGYEN CAN'T WAIT TO EAT THE RAINBOW HE CAUGHT ON THE OPENER! (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

“In a nutshell, opening day was a success across the state. The weather was good, which always helps with angler’s attitudes, regardless of catch rate (which varied greatly),” reports WDFW’s Bruce Bolding, who collated the reports for fish writers this year.

“In Region 1, effort appeared to be down but catch rates were almost four fish per anglers.

“In Region 4, the effort was generally good with the regional catch per angler at about 3 fish, which is enough to make most anglers happy.

“In Region 6 (Thurston and Pierce specifically) effort was good but the catch rate varied from less than one fish per angler on Patterson to nearly a limit on Long Lake, where many anglers were catching their limit in less than an hour.  By the time the creel checker got there at 7:30, apparently most anglers were already gone.

“The worst weather conditions appeared to be along the Columbia gorge (e.g. Spearfish) with high winds but anglers were still happy to be out,” Bolding reports.

Here are roundup reports:

NORTHEAST WASHINGTON

District 1- Bill Baker

Lakes that typically perform well on the Lowland Lakes Opener did so again this year.   Anglers fishing Starvation (3.8 fish per angler), Rocky (3.6 fish per angler), and Cedar Lake (3.6 fish per angler), did well again this year.  Waitts Lake also fished very well.  Diamond Lake kind of fizzled, likely due mainly to water temperature (low 40 deg F range).  Big Meadow Lake was mostly inaccessible due to snow and ice (no-one even attempted to fish it).  Many of the higher elevation lakes throughout District 2 were similarly affected.  It was a long winter, and it’s still winter in many higher elevation areas within this District.  Lake Ellen performed poorly.  Water temperature may have been partially to blame.  This lake may be already reaching a tipping point due to re-infestation with green sunfish and largemouth bass.

District 2 – Chris Donley

Overall, angler participation at traditional opening day lakes in the Spokane areas was down by approximately 40-50 percent from what is typically seen on a normal year.  Extended cold spring weather, and water temperatures in the 47 to 48 degree range seemed contribute to reduced angler catch rates.  This appeared to be the case more so with fishers using trolling gear, versus shoreline anglers still fishing with bait.  Two of the higher yielding lakes in the District were Fish Lake (4.3 fish per angler) and Williams Lake (3.5 fish per angler).

GRANT COUNTY

Overall, Park and Blue Lakes had great opening days with Blue Lake having better harvest and catch rates.  Park Lake started slow, but signs of better fishing were observed when creelers left the lake.  Fishing started slow in the morning (before 10AM) due to high winds.  Several anglers remained in camp during this time.  However, after the wind died down anglers began to catch fish and more anglers started fishing the lake.  Trout size was excellent with yearlings avering 12.5-13 inches in length.  Trout up to 18 inches in length were observed in the creel too.  A few brown trout were caught and ranged 20-22 inches in length.  Fishing in the afternoon should be excellent for anglers at Blue and Park Lakes.

Angler demographics at Blue Lake were as follows: 1.) 48.2% from King and Grant Counties and 2.) 3.6% from Chelan Co.

Angler Demographics for Park Lake are as follows:  1.) Adams and Mason Counties (1.0%), 2.) Benton Co (2.0%), 3.) Chelan Co (7.7%), 4.) Grant Co. (32.7%), 5.) King Co. (25.0%), 6.) Kittitas Co (2.6%), 7.) Pierce Co (12.2%), 8.) Snohomish Co (5.6%), 9.) Thurston Co (8.7%), and 10.) Bosnia (1.5%).

Fishing (at Deep Lake) started slow in the morning (before 10AM) due to high winds.  However, after the wind died down anglers began to catch fish and more anglers started fishing the lake.  The poor trout harvested per angler was the result of anglers leaving before 10AM due to high winds.  The catch rate is probably a better metric for this lake.  Trout size was smaller than other lakes 8-10 inches.  That is due to catchable being used to drive the fishery and not fingerlines.

Angler demographics are as follows:  1.) King Co (45.8%), Grant Co (21.0%), Snohomish, Pierce, and Asotin Counties all at 8.3%, and Kittitas and Ferry Counties all at 4.2%.

Fishing (at Perch Lake) started slow in the morning (before 10AM) due to high winds.  However, after the wind died down anglers began to catch fish and more anglers started fishing the lake.  Angler harvest and catch rates were very good on the opener.  Trout size at Perch Lake was excellent with yearlings ranging from 12.5-14 inches.  Triploids showed up in the creel and were 14-16 inches in length.

Fishing at Warden Lake was excellent on opening day.  Angler harvest and catch rates were phenominal with near limits recorded during the creel.  Wind was not a problem during the morning as with the Sun Lakes.  Fish size was also phenominal with yearlings averaging 13-14 inches in length.  Trout up to 17 inches were recorded during the creel.

HOOD CANAL

Thom Johnson and Mark Downen called in with reports for Hood Canal District lakes.  We had many volunteers help check anglers again this season; special thanks to Bremerton Sportsmen’s Club, Freshies and Salties, Port Ludlow Flyfishers, Kitsap Fly Anglers, and PSA South Sound. The quantity and quality of this year’s fish were very good thanks to the staff at WDFW’s Eells Springs Hatchery; catchables averaged about 2.8 fish per pound.

The weather was chilly with sun breaks in Kitsap and Mason counties and a bit nicer further north in east Jefferson County – – this cut fishing short on some lakes as the anglers headed for cover. Overall anglers were happy and fishing was fair to good with a good mix of catchables, triploids, and broodstock in the catch. A new program which stocked fingerling rainbows last fall also made contributions to the catch on some lakes.

The highest catch rates (fish kept/angler) were recorded in east Jefferson County at Sandy Shore Lake (3.3 fish kept/angler), in Kitsap County at Panther Lake (3.6 fish kept/angler), Mission Lake (3.5 fish kept/angler) and Wye Lake (3.4 fish kept/angler), and in Mason County at Aldrich Lake (4.6 fish kept/angler), Maggie Lake (4.4 fish kept/angler),and Haven Lake (3.6 fish kept/angler).

Anglers are encouraged to fish Anderson Lake soon as it is possible that recreation and fishing on the lake will close early again this season due to recurring toxic algae concentrations which can pose a high risk to anglers; signage at the lake and news releases will keep the public informed. A diversity of lake fishing opportunities abound in Hood Canal District and anglers can readily find a great way to pass the time fishing with family and friends.

More catchables, jumbos, and triploids will be stocked in May in several District lakes and anglers can look forward to good fishing thru the spring and early summer.  And, several lakes managed with year-round seasons will also be stocked with jumbo rainbows in the fall to provide fishery opportunities during the fall, winter, and early spring.

The stocking plan for Jefferson, Kitsap, and Mason counties is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/region6/ and anglers can follow the weekly catchable trout plant reports which are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/ .

KING COUNTY

Cottage Lake: 4.1 fish/angler. High count at 7AM with 18 boats with 38 anglers + 47 shore anglers. Light pressure compared to last year but people happy with catch rates compared to last years. 2 Cuthroat. 26 adults + 15 kids interviewed = 41 anglers.  Lots of family groups.

Geneva: 3.56 fish/angler. High count at 11AM, 15 boats, 29 boat anglers, 19 shore anglers. Lots of kids, particularly on docks. Some folks felt last year was better, but in general favored 2.5 fish/lb standard size.

North: 1.9 fish/angler. High count at 8AM with 25 boats, 51 boat anglers, 15 shore anglers. People happy remarked fish were bigger.  Unsuccessful anglers will try different lakes. 8 kids among anglers checked and were happy.

Langlois: 2.89 fish/angler. High count at 10AM, 24 boats, 50 boat anglers, 0 shore anglers. 1 20“ holdover.  Lots of kids.

SKAGIT COUNTY

Erie: 3.4 fish/angler. High count at 8AM 74 boats, 159 boat anglers 14 shore anglers. People happy, want more triploids.

Heart: 3.41 fish/angler. High count at 7AM, 116 boats, 224 boat anglers, 45 shore anglers.  Good turnout, weather cool sun and rain. People seemed satisfied.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Ki: 3.14 fish/angler. High count 10AM 59 boats, 131 boat anglers, 54 bank anglers at 9AM.  Lots of happy kids and adult anglers.

Riley: 5 fish/angler. High count 41 boats, 92 boat anglers, 25 shore anglers at 8AM.  Comments, fish smaller than normal but 3 holdovers at 17” and boat launch in need of repair.

Storm: 3 fish/angler. High count at 8AM, 29 boats, 70 boat anglers, 13 shore anglers.  Saw an osprey harvest one fish.  People seemed to have a good time.

WHATCOM COUNTY

Padden: 3.1 fish/angler. High count at 8AM, 94 boats, 197 b oat anglers, 360 shore anglers.  Shoulder to shoulder in many places.  People were satisfied.  Lot of kids on shore, eating donuts.  Some high grading.  2 osprey on lake, 35 diving ducks amidst boats, 1 mother mallard hen with 4 ducklings.

Toad: 4.27 fish/angler. High count at 7AM, 26 boats, 59 boat anglers, 42 shore anglers. 2 Kokanee. Lots of limits. Average 2 hours/limit.

A B C D E F G
1 County Lake No. Anglers ckd Fish kept Species Fish/Angler Comments
2
Chelan Clear Lake
Wapato Lake 39 92 2.36 Windy and cool.  Triploids are 17″
7
Clark Battleground Lake
Klineline Lake
10 
11  Cowlitz Horseshoe Lake
12  Kress Lake
13 
14  Douglas Jameson Lake 53 100 1.89 Yearling RB are 10″ and the triploids are 17″
15
16  Ferry Ellen Lake 29 31 1.07 Poor growth on 2010 fry plants (7-8″).  Reports from anglers that green sunfish and largemouth bass were numerous again by last summer.
17
18  Grant Blue Lake
19  Deep Lake
20  Park Lake
21  Perch Lake
22  Warden Lake Rb & Tiger trout
23 
24  Grays Harbor Aberdeen Lake 88 187 2.13 Sunny – better fishing than last year – 6# derby fish caught
25 Failor Lake 60 127 2.12 Lots of happy anglers
26 Stump 35 37 1.06 Happy Anglers
27 Sylvia Lake 27 37 RB 1.37 Happy Anglers
28 Vance Creek Pond #1 33 27 RB 0.82 7# derby fish caught
29 Vance Creek Pond #2 35 53 RB 1.51 better fishing than last year
30
31  Island Deer Lake 6 10 1.67 2010 = 206 fish/angler
32 Goss Lake no report N/A
33 
34  Jefferson Anderson 64 103 1.61 Fewer fish thank last year, but a beautiful day
35 Gibbs Lake
36  Horseshoe Lake 22 7 0.32
37  Leland Lake
38  Ludlow Lake 32 3 0.09
39  Sandy Shore Lake 89 298 3.35 Eagles picking up released fish – bonus action!
40 Silent Lake
41  Tarboo Lake 38 83 2.18 Happy anglers; lots of limits; RB broodstock to 20″
42
43  King Cottage Lake 41 168 4.10 1.6 in 2010
44 Geneva Lake 9 32 3.56 5.0 in 2010
45 Langlois Lake 37 107 2.89 3.1 in 2010
46 Margaret Lake 39 103 2.64 2.9 in 2010
47 North Lake 33 62 1.88 1.0 in 2010
48 Pine Lake 82 213 2.60 2.3 in 2010
49 Rattlesnake Lake
50  Steel Lake 27 88 3.26 3.9 in 2010
51 Walker Lake 19 74 3.89 1.4 in 2010
52 Wilderness Lake 26 60 2.31 2.7 in 2010
53
54  Kitsap Buck Lake 20 43 2.15
55  Horseshoe Lake 39 111 2.85
56  Island Lake
57  Kitsap Lake
58  Mission Lake 43 152 3.53 RB broodstock to 16″
59 Panther Lake 31 111 3.58 Good day, larger fish than last year
60 Wildcat Lake 78 210 2.69 most anglers satisfied – decent weather – RB up to 22″
61 Wye Lake 37 127 3.43 Cold weather – RB broodfish up to 19″
62
63  Klickitat Horsethief Lake 35 48 1.37 Cold, very windy – not much effort and not many fish
64 Rowland Lake 79 162 2.05 Very windy, but anglers were happy and the fish looked good
65 Spearfish Lake 9 12 1.33 Very windy but sunny and the parking lot was full
66
67  Lewis Carlisle Lake 63 102 1.62 Nice weather.  A few broodfish and triploids caught. Anglers happy
68 Fort Borst Park Pond 71 86 1.21 Sunny and breezy but a nice day with happy anglers
69 Mineral Lake 54 98 1.81 water 50 degrees – fewer effort than previsous years but 150 boats on the first count.  Many anglers started right after midnight. Low catch rate but nice, big fish.  Largest = 26″
70 Plummer Lake 21 76 3.62 Anglers got limits but had to work for them.
71
72  Lincoln Fishtrap Lake
73 
74  Mason Aldrich Lake 5 23 4.60
75  Benson Lake 49 112 2.29
76  Cady Lake
77  Clara (Don) Lake 13 36 2.77
78  Devereaux Lake 45 109 2.42 Mixed weather – good fishing – RB brood up to 19″
79 Haven Lake 26 93 3.58 cold – no wind
80 Howell Lake
81  Jiggs 4 5 1.25 spot check
82 Limerick 0 0 Derby – report pending
83 Lost Lake
84  Maggie Lake 19 83 4.37 60 kids ages 1-15 fished derby
85 Nahwatzel Lake CT & RB
86  Phillips Lake 53 166 3.13 Happy anglers – RB to 18″
87 Robbins Lake 15 45 3.00
88  Stump Lake Rb
89  Tee Lake
90  Tiger Lake 82 269 3.28 Generally happy anglers – most limited
91 Trails End Lake
92  Twins Lake
93  Wildberry Lake 0 0 Landowners fishing private docks, no interviews
94 Wood Lake 10 14 1.40
95  Wooten Lake 58 143 2.47 Happy anglers – some high-grading
96
97  Okanogan Alta Lake 131 266 2.03 Yearling RB are 10″ and the triploids are 17″
98 Big Twin Lake
99  Blue Lake (Sinlahekin)
100  Conconully Lake
101  Conconully Res.
102  Fish Lake 45 156 3.47 Yearling RB are 10-12″
103 Leader Lake
104  Pearrygin Lake 43 76 1.77 Yearling RB are 9-11″ and triploids are 17″
105 Wannacut 12 46 3.83 Yearling RB are 9-11″
106
107  Pacific Black Lake 42 0 2 RB,      1 Triploid 0.00 Where are the fish?
108
109  Pend Oreille Diamond Lake 25 20 0.80 Water temp about 43 – Cold
110 Big Meadow Lake 0 0 0.00 95% iced over
111
112  Pierce Bay Lake no report
113  Carney 16 37 2.31
114  Clear Lake 99 194 Kokanee & rainbow 1.96
115  Crescent 30 71 2.37
116  Ohop Lake 48 72 Rainbows & some bullheads 1.50
117  Rapjohn Lake 88 140 1.59
118  Silver Lake 55 94 RB – Brn 1.71
119  Spanaway Lake no report
120  Jackson 6 4 0.67
121  Tanwax Lake 62 151 2.44
122 
123 
124  San Juan Cascade Lake
125  Egg 1 0
126  Hummel 0 0
127 
128  Skagit Erie Lake 58 198 3.41 4.0 in 2010
129 Heart Lake 22 75 3.41 4.7 in 2010
130 McMurray Lake 44 70 1.59 3.8 in 2010
131 Sixteen Lake 50 55 1.10 2.0 in 2010
132
133  Skamania Kidney Lake 9 23 2.56 Overcast, cold, crowded – triploids and catchables
134 Little Ash Lake
135  Northwestern Reservoir 38 21 0.55 cold, windy with some sun. Fish looked good.
136 Swift Reservoir 42 149 3.55 Cold, windy but angers were happy with the catch
137
138  Snohomish Armstrong Lake 56 20 0.36
139  Bosworth Lake 24 72 3.00
140  Crabapple 3 5 1.67
141  Howard Lake 38 82 2.16
142  Ki Lake 57 179 3.14
143  Martha Lake (AM) 42 107 2.55
144  Riley Lake 11 51 4.64
145  Serene Lake 19 3 0.16
146  Stickney Lake 14 2 0.14
147  Storm Lake 32 96 3.00
148  Wagner Lake no report
149 
150  Spokane Badger Lake 40 100 2.50 Great cutthroat fishing in places
151 Clear Lake 28 42 1.50 fair to good fishing
152 Fish Lake 40 88 2.20 Fair fishing
153 Fish Trap 38 164 4.32 Excellent fishing
154 West Medical Lake 80 176 2.20 good fishing – disappointing start thought it would be better
155 Williams Lake 56 196 3.50 windy weather, high water caused
156
157  Stevens Cedar Lake 21 76 3.62 Good fishing.  Sunny and nice.
158 Deep Lake 3 7 2.33 OK
159 Starvation 46 174 3.78 Fishing was good!  Avg. # of fish kept/angler increases to 4.35 if you take out one group of catch and release anglers.
160 Rocky Lake 11 40 3.64 Good fishing – sunny and nice
161 Waitts Lake 44 123 2.80 Good fishing – good weather
162
163  Thurston Clear Lake 62 197 3.18 Lots of limits and most anglers had at least one big fish in their creel
164 Deep Lake 36 150 4.17 anglers happy with the average size
165 Hicks Lake 42 143 3.40 report of a 5 lb trout
166 Long Lake 38 138 3.63 High effort very early with many anglers getting their limits quickly and were gone by 7:30 in the morning
167 McIntosh Lake 77 236 3.06 36 fish > 16”, including several >20”
168 Munn Lake
169  Pattison Lake 48 40 0.83 even though the catch rate was low, there was high % of fish over 14”
170 Summit Lake 64 214 3.34 Very high effort – several wild cutthroat caught
171 Ward Lake 62 99 1.60 Several large fish (> 16”)
172
173  Whatcom Cain Lake 32 88 2.75
174  Padden Lake 40 124 3.10
175  Silver Lake 161 462 2.87
176  Toad Lake 52 222 4.27
177 
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