Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Tri-State Steelheaders group rescues jumbo-trout stocking in SE Washington

SPOKANE – Thanks to a local fishing organization, anglers can
again look forward to catching “jumbo” trout in at least 20 lakes
and ponds in southeast Washington – many of which open for fishing
March 1.

The Tri-State Steelheaders (TSS), a sport-fishing and
habitat-enhancement group based in Walla Walla, agreed to help fund
the cost of rearing the oversized fish after funding for the
popular program was eliminated by state budget reductions.

In recent years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
(WDFW) has raised about 4,000 jumbo rainbows – each measuring 14
inches or larger and weighing about one-and-a-half pounds – at its
Tucannon and Lyons Ferry fish hatcheries.

By comparison, the standard “catchable-size” rainbow trout
reared at the hatcheries generally run eight to 12 inch inches

But jumbo trout require about 14 months of rearing and more fish
food to reach the larger size, said Jon Lovrak, a WDFW hatchery
complex manager.

“When we had to cut the program, the Tri-State Steelheaders
stepped up to provide $4,400 to cover the extra fish food necessary
to grow them to that popular bigger size,” Lovrak said. “Without
their help, we would not have been able to raise jumbos this

This year’s jumbo trout stocking, which will begin this month
along with the stocking of catchable-size fish, is the result of
funds provided by TSS in 2010. Trout designated for 2012 stocking
are currently being reared at the Tucannon Hatchery, and are
supported by another $4,400 TSS donation.

Lakes and ponds scheduled to receive jumbos this year include
Dalton Lake in Franklin County; Quarry Pond and Bennington Lake in
Walla Walla County; Blue and Watson lakes in Columbia County; and
West Evans and Golf Course ponds in Asotin County.

TSS is a state-designated Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group
that also sponsors an annual kids fishing day at Bennington Lake in
Walla Walla County during Free Fishing Weekend in June.

“We understand the benefits of continuing the jumbo trout
program for sport fishing enthusiasts,” said Mike Bireley, TSS
executive director. “We work in a variety of ways with the
department to provide enjoyable fishing opportunities for visitors
and residents alike in southeast Washington.”

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