Washington lakes stocked for big April 30 fishing season opener
This month, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
fish hatchery crews will finish stocking more than 20 million fish
in Washington waterways before the state’s single biggest fishing
season opener on April 30.
At least 300,000 anglers are expected to turn out for the big
day. Although many waterways are open year-round, the last Saturday
in April marks the traditional start of the four- to five-month
lowland lake fishing season.
“This is the biggest fishing day of the year,” said Phil
Anderson, director of WDFW. “Lakes in every county are
well-stocked, so fishing families can keep travel costs down by
enjoying good angling close to home.”
To participate, anglers will need a current Washington
freshwater fishing license, valid April 1, 2011 through March 31,
2012. Licenses can be purchased on the Internet 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
Freshwater fishing licenses cost $26 for resident adults 16 to
69 years old. Fifteen-year-olds and persons with disabilities can
buy a license for $11, and seniors 70 and older can buy an annual
fishing license for $8. Children 14 years of age and younger do not
need a fishing license.
“Since kids under 14 fish for free,” Anderson said, “this lake
opener is a great way for families to get outdoors together.”
Jim Uehara, WDFW inland fish program manager, says this is the
time when fish hatchery crews are out stocking all lakes and
waterways, but especially those several hundred that open April 30.
Among the fish stocked by WDFW crews are:
50,000 triploid (sterile) trout averaging 1-1/2 pounds apiece,
stocked in 108 lakes
84,000 two-year-old “jumbo” and surplus hatchery broodstock trout
(1-1/2 to 5 pounds each), stocked in 172 lakes
6.8 million trout, planted in 474 lakes last year as fry, now 8- to
12-inch catchable size
10.2 million kokanee fry stocked in 34 lakes
3.5 million catchable-size trout stocked this spring in 347
200,000 other fish species – including walleye, tiger muskie and
bass – stocked in 12 waters
Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the
Annual Statewide Hatchery Trout Stocking Plan on WDFW’s website at
Of Washington’s nearly 4,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, more
than 600 have WDFW-managed water-access sites. These sites include
boat launches, docks and shorelines, including areas accessible for
people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate
hundreds more such facilities.
Water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at
http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/. These sites include
approximately 275 access areas on lakes open for fishing from April
30 through September or October.
“With our biggest fishing crowds out on this opener, it’s
especially important for everyone to be patient and safe at these
boat launches and docks,” Uehara said. “Everyone in boats, and all
children on shore, should use personal flotation devices.”
Visitors parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to
display a WDFW vehicle use permit on their car or truck. Every
person who buys an annual fishing license receives a free vehicle
use permit. The permits are transferable between two vehicles.
Additional permits are available to recreational license buyers for
$6 each and to other users of the areas for $12.
Tips on fishing areas, listed by county and water, can be found
in “Washington 2011 Fishing Prospects: Where To Catch Fish In the
Evergreen State,” available on WDFW’s website at
Copies of WDFW’s annual “Fishing In Washington” sport fishing
rules pamphlet are also available from license dealers, WDFW
offices and on the WDFW website
(http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/) under Regulations &
Seasons. Current rules are in effect through April 30, 2011; rules
for May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012 will be posted and available
in printed form by May 1.
New fishing rules that go into effect on May 1 will be
highlighted on the “What’s new for 2011” page of WDFW’s 2011-2012
sport fishing seasons and rules pamphlet.