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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 25, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Statewide lowland lakes trout fishing opener on Saturday was cold, wet and windy weather

The statewide opening day of lowland lakes was greeted with cold, windy and off and on light rains, but most anglers who headed out to their favorite lakes did fair to good.

The good news is that the warmer weather today (April 25) and the outlook for tomorrow and the days ahead should leave plenty of good action on all statewide lakes.

State Fish and Wildlife staff and volunteers reported checking 4,801 anglers with 11,100 trout from 116 lakes statewide. Anglers checked statewide averaged 2.2 trout per fisherman.

The top ten statewide lakes for angler success were: Stevens County’s Cedar and Rocky lakes; Hart Lake, McMurray Lake, and Erie Lake in Skagit County, Snohomish County’s Storm Lake; Geneva and Steele Lakes in King County, Swift Reservoir in Skamania County and Bay Lake in Pierce County.

Here is a region-by-region breakdown from state Fish and Wildlife biologists on how the opener went:

Eastern Washington (Region 1) state Fish and Wildlife fish program manager John Whalen noted that windy conditions contributed to an observed decline in anglers venturing out to area lakes for the traditional April trout fishing opening day.

Steady winds out of the west southwest at 25 miles per hour, with wind gusts up to 30 mph, hampered fishing activity and created some back-ups at lake boat ramps as people worked to re-unite their boats and trailers.

Angler counts on monitored lakes in the Spokane area were down an estimated 50 percent from the turn out observed for last year’s near perfect opening day conditions.

While average fish per angler harvest numbers were down, most anglers interviewed were satisfied with their catches.

Rainbow trout in the 14 to 16 inch range were observed in angler catches on several lakes in the Spokane area, with some fish up into the low 20 inch range.

The windy fishing conditions had trees being blown down at Trout Lake (Ferry County) and Rocky Lake (Stevens).

Some of the best fishing was observed at Cedar Lake (Stevens) with a harvest average of five fish per angler (five fish is a daily limit). Deep Lake (Stevens) also fished well with 3.6 fish per angler, along with Rocky Lake (Stevens) with 4.4 fish per angler.

Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist reported that anglers fishing Grant County opening day lakes this year were greeted with chilly and very windy (15 to 30 mph) conditions that persisted until about noon. These conditions definitely impacted angler participation and success, especially boat anglers.

Most anglers waited out the weather as evidenced by the noon peak effort counts at every opening day lake except for Warden Lake (8 a.m. peak count). However, observed angler participation and success improved right around noon when the wind began to die down and air temperatures rose.

During the 8 a.m. to Noon creel survey, angler success was best at Park and Warden lakes. Anglers averaged a little better than three trout harvested per angler. The remaining lakes averaged less than two trout per angler.

Trout size at all the opening day lakes was good ranging between 11-13 inches. Park Lake had the largest yearling trout ranging from 13-15 inches followed by Blue Lake at 12-13 inches. With the weather shaping up in the afternoon, the expectation is that most anglers will catch, or come close, their limits of trout.

Art Viola, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Chelan County reported nice sunny weather, but windy weather. Unfortunately, again this year, persistent cold weather, snow, mud covered roads and ice covered lakes precluded fish stocking at Beehive and Spring Hill reservoirs.

The DNR closed the road to Lilly Lake precluding angler access; consequently anglers had access to only two opening day lakes: Wapato and Clear lakes.

Early morning effort (boat and shore angler counts) at Wapato Lake was only about 33-percent of angler effort surveyed in the past 8 years. Catch per angler was improved compared to last year. All fish were healthy and robust; yearlings were 13- 14 inches in length, evidently the 2009 fry survival and growth was good. Carry over fish were 14- 18 inches. Catch proportions were 7.1-percent carryovers to 92.9-percent yearling rainbows.

Effort at Clear Lake was up compared to past years, likely because of the lack of access to other area lakes. The largest fish seen at Clear Lake were five 16 -19 -inch rainbows. The rest of the trout caught were 12-13 inches. Anglers were excited about the larger fish, but much complaining was heard about the lack of access to other area lakes.

Bob Jateff, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist reported that generally, the fishing was good on the opener. The weather was cool and windy, but sunny.

Anglers were pleased to catch a few bigger triploid rainbows in some of the production waters, such as Pearrygin and Alta. In addition, both Conconully Lake and Reservoir produced some nice fishing for rainbow trout. The selective gear waters such as Blue in the Sinlahekin had rainbow in the 11-16 inch range. Blue Lake near Wannacut was good fishing for Lahontan Cutthroat in the 14-18 inch range. Big and Little Twin in the Winthrop area produced rainbow in the 10-16 inch class.

Jameson Lake, despite some early season algae problems, was a good producer for rainbow with carryover fish to 15 inches.

For Pierce and Thurston counties, catch on opening day was dominated by jumbo rainbow trout with some triploids and broodstock fish mixed in. In a few lakes the standard catchable size fish made a significant contribution to the catch. In most lakes their contribution was minor; they should show more strongly in the catch over the next few weeks as lakes warm.

Lakewood Hatchery specialist Jim Jenkins notes that state Fish and Wildlife rears the “jumbo’ rainbow trout at Eells Springs and Lakewood fish hatcheries in earthen ponds, and releases them at 15-to-18 inches in length.

These fat, 1-1/2 to two-pound fish provide some of the better quality fishing in Mason, Pierce and Thurston Counties.

State Fish and Wildlife area biologist Mike Scharpf in Pierce County and Larry Phillips in Thurston County reported that with a couple of exceptions, anglers had very good fishing on the opener.

Anglers in the two local Clear Lakes in Pierce and Thurston counties reported catching more than 5 fish each, taking home more than 3. The quantity and quality of this year’s fish were very good, thanks to the hatchery staff at Lakewood and Eells Springs fish hatcheries.

Most anglers were very satisfied with the number, size, and appearance of the fish. Creel checkers also noted that bullhead catfish and crappie showed in some lakes. This is a little bit earlier in the year than average. Checkers also noted that osprey and bald eagles enjoyed fishing success on some of the lakes, too.

Most lakes in the north sound had fair catch rates despite the cloudy and cold weather. Notable exceptions were Lake Geneva in King County, where all anglers checked had limits, and Steele Lake also in King County, with 3.9 fish retained per angler. Storm Lake in Snohomish County had 4.3 trout kept per angler, although effort was low. In Skagit County, Erie and Heart Lake had 4.0 and 4.7 fish kept per angler, with a good showing of triploids.

Southwest Washington anglers were met with rain, cold, wind, and the occasional snow flurry, similar to most parts of western Washington. Anglers in Rowland Lake (Klickitat) and Kidney Lake (Skamania) did a lot of catch-and-release fishing, although anglers did hang on to a large 2-3 pound brown trout in Kidney Lake and 2 broodstock (one over 12 pounds) in Rowland Lake. Swift Reservoir had a good showing of coho to keep anglers busy.

Rick Ereth, state Fish and Wildlife biologist reported that angling at Duck Lake (Grays Harbor) was slow. Bad weather and turbid water combined to keep both catch and angling effort down. However, good catches of large crappie have been reported from the north end of the lake. Failor Lake had fair angling, with the largest fish a lunker of 6 lb 7oz.

State Fish and Wildlife biologist Curt Holt called in from Pacific County, where the largest rainbow caught in Black Lake weighed in at 3.25 pounds.

Thom Johnson and Mark Downen, state Fish and Wildlife biologist called in with reports for Hood Canal District lakes.

They had many volunteers help check anglers again this season; special thanks to Bremerton Sportsmen’s Club, Freshies and Salties, Port Ludlow Fly-fishers, Kitsap Fly Anglers, PSA East Jefferson, and PSA South Sound.

The quantity and quality of this year’s fish were very good thanks to the staff at state Fish and Wildlife’s Eells Springs and Lakewood fish hatcheries.

The weather was cold, windy and rainy 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, fishing was fair to good with a good mix of catchables, jumbos, triploids, and broodstock in the catch.

The highest catch rates were recorded in east Jefferson County at Anderson Lake (3.3 fish kept/angler) where most rainbows measured a whopping 15-17″, in Kitsap County at Wye Lake (3.5 fish kept/angler), and in Mason County at Haven Lake (3.6 fish kept/angler). Bay Lake in Pierce County was good fishing with 3.7 fish kept/angler.

Anglers are encouraged to fish Anderson Lake soon as it is likely that the lake will close early this season due to recurring toxic algae concentrations which can pose a high risk to anglers.

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.

2010 Lakes Opening Day Data

Lake; Anglers Checked; Fish Kept; Fish per angler; Comments

Chelan

Clear Lake; 79; 237; 3.00; A few 18-20″ fish.

Wapato Lake; 42; 155; 3.69; Some large carryover rainbows.

Douglas

Jameson Lake; 55; 137; 2.49; Yearling rainbow 10″. Carryover rainbows 14″.

Ferry

Trout Lake; 6; 15; 2.50; Largest fish was a 10″ rainbow. Cool and windy – one tree down.

Grant

Blue Lake ; 61; 112; 1.84; Plus 4 released, total CPUE= 1.9. Yearling rainbows averaged 12.5 – 13 inches. Tiger and brown trout in the catch.

Deep Lake; 71; 61; 0.86; Plus 14 released, total CPUE=1.1. Shoreline anglers near the boat ramp fared well. Boat anglers were severely hampered by high winds.

Park Lake; 19; 55; 2.89; Plus 10 released, total CPUE= 3.4. Yearling rainbows averaged 12.5 – 13 inches. Tiger and brown trout in the catch.

Perch Lake; 46; 43; 0.93; Plus 14 released, total CPUE= 1.2. Rainbow trout ranged from 11-15 inches.

Vic Meyers; 15; 18; 1.20; Brown and brook trout reported in catch.

Warden Lake; 31; 105; 3.39; Plus 6 released, total CPUE=3.6. Yearling rainbows averaged 12 inches.

Grays Harbor

Aberdeen Lake; 80; 162; 2.03; Plus 102 released, total CPUE=3.3. largest fish 19″.

Duck Lake; 11; 4; 0.36; Plus 1 released, total CPUE=.45. Bad weather, water was turbid. N end of the lake has been good for crappie.

Failor Lake; 58; 105; 1.81; Plus 101 released, total CPUE= 3.6. Largest fish 6 lb 7 oz, 24 3/8 inches.

Sylvia Lake; 24; 87; 3.63; Plus 7 released, total CPUE=3.9. Largest fish 16″.

Vance Creek Pond #1; 60; 63; 1.05; Derby winning fish were 4.55 and 5.35 lbs.

Vance Creek Pond #2; 35; 56; 1.60; Largest fish 19″.

Island

Deer Lake; 12; 31; 2.58; Plus 3 released, total CPUE= 2.8. Low turnout, cold.

Jefferson

Anderson; 74; 246; 3.32; Hot fishing, mostly 15-17″ rainbows; largest 20″ carryover.

Horseshoe Lake; 3; 2; 0.67;

Ludlow Lake; 15; 29; 1.93; Plus 20 released, total CPUE=3.3. Some hi-grading for jumbos; largest 17″.

Sandy Shore Lake; 54; 146; 2.70; Good mix of catchables and jumbos; largest 23″ broodstock.

Silent Lake; 16; 28; 1.75; Plus 47 released, total CPUE=4.7. Some hi-grading for jumbos to 14″.

Tarboo Lake; 25; 33; 1.32; Plus 15 released, total CPUE=1.9. Largest 20″ broodstock.

King

Cottage Lake; 32; 52; 1.63; Plus 20 released, total CPUE= 2.25. Short trips due to weather.

Geneva Lake; 15; 75; 5.00; Plus15 fish released, total CPUE=6. Everyone caught limits, satisfied with size and condition of fish.

Langlois Lake; 39; 122; 3.13; Plus 88 released, total CPUE=5.4. Cold and rainy, anglers were satisfied with numbers and size of fish.

Margaret Lake; 48; 141; 2.94; Plus 206 released, total CPUE= 7.2. Cold and windy.

North Lake; 22; 21; 0.95; Plus 14 released, total CPUE= 1.6.

Pine Lake ; 45; 105; 2.33; Plus 117 released, total CPUE=4.9.

Rattlesnake Lake; 51; 88; 1.73; Plus 331 released, total CPUE=

Steel Lake; 38; 148; 3.89; Plus 93 released, total CPUE=6.3.

Walker Lake; 24; 33; 1.38; Plus 53 released, total CPUE=3.6. Weather was cold.

Wilderness Lake; 43; 118; 2.74; Plus 32 released, total CPUE= 3.5. Kids got some big fish, largest 23″. Rainy and cold.

Kitsap

Buck Lake; 15; 34; 2.27; Plus 18 released, total CPUE 3.5.

Horseshoe Lake; 19; 40; 2.11; Largest 20″ broodstock.

Mission Lake; 28; 55; 1.96; Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 18″ carryover.

Panther Lake; 46; 92; 2.00; Lots of triploids and jumbos.

Wildcat Lake; 41; 68; 1.66; Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 23″ (6 lb) broodstock.

Wye Lake ; 31; 107; 3.45; Plus 73 released, total CPUE=5.8. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 23″ broodstock.

Bainbridge Island Pond Juvenile derby – great event – report pending

Poggie derby Juvenile derby – great event – report pending

Klickitat

Horsethief Lake; 16; 45; 2.81; Windy, rainy, cold.

Rowland Lake; 45; 116; 2.58; Plus 197 released, total CPUE=6.9. People were happy to catch and release. Most fish were 15″ and over diploids. Two broodstock caught, one over 12 lbs.

Spearfish Lake; 2; 2; 1.00; Too cold, rainy, and windy to fish.

Lewis

Carlisle Lake; 61; 45; 0.74 Many small coho caught and released.

Fort Borst Park Pond; 66; 99; 1.50; Plus 58 fish released, total CPUE=2.7. Cold and rainy.

Mineral Lake;154 258; 1.68; Plus 133 released, total CPUE=2.53. Rain/snow.

Mason

Aldrich Lake; 14; 46; 3.29; Plus 22 released, total CPUE=4.8. Some high-grading for jumbos to 14″.

Benson Lake; 54; 130; 2.41; Plus 83 released, total CPUE=3.94. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 19″

Clara (Don) Lake; 15; 24; 1.60; Plus 23 released, total CPUE=3.13. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 20″ carryover.

Devereaux Lake; 24; 16; 0.67; Low catch rate likely due to early stocking and predation by cormorants; largest 22″ broodstock.

Haven Lake; 25; 90; 3.60; Largest 18″ triploid.

Howell Lake; 21; 20; 0.95; Plus 42 released, total CPUE=2.95. – many catch-and-release anglers.

Panhandle Lake; 0; 0; NA; 4-H Camp closed and limited angler access.

Phillips Lake; 36; 44; 1.22; Plus 30 released, total CPUE=2.05. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 16″.

Robbins Lake; 20; 20; 1.00; Largest 14″ jumbo.

Stump Lake; 38; 97; 2.55; Plus 56 fish released, total CPUE=4.0. Light pressure, anglers were satisfied.

Tiger Lake; 66; 107; 1.62; Plus 45 released, total CPUE=2.3. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 16″ triploid.

Wildberry Lake; 10; 1; 0.10; Lakeside owners happy with fish stocked.

Wood Lake; 8; 8; 1.00; Plus 12 released, total CPUE=2.5. Some high-grading for jumbos to 14″.

Wooten Lake; 56; 138; 2.46; Plus 67 released, total CPUE=3.66. Some high-grading for jumbos; largest 17″ cutthroat and 18″ rainbow.

Okanogan

Alta Lake; 127; 332; 2.61; Yearling rainbow 9″. Carryover rainbow 13″.

Conconully Lake; 121; 251; 2.07; Yearling rainbow 10-11″. Carryover rainbow 14″. Largest fish 24″.

Conconully Res.; 65; 130; 2.00; Yearling rainbow 11″. Carryover rainbow 14″. Largest fish 20″.

Fish Lake; 93; 272; 2.92; Yearling rainbow 10-11″.

Pearrygin Lake; 33; 146; 4.42; Yearling rainbow 10″. Carryover rainbow 14″. Triploid rainbow 15-17 inches.

Pacific

Black Lake; 28; 11; 0.39; Plus 3 released, total CPUE= .5. Largest fish 3.25 lbs, 19 3/8

Pend Oreille

Big Meadow Lake; 8; 22; 2.75; Largest fish was a 14″ rainbow. Cold and snowing, windy.

Yokum Lake; 11; 28; 2.55; One 12.5″ cutthroat. Cool and windy.

Pierce

Bay Lake; 107; 401; 3.75; 253 catchables, 100 jumbos, 48 carryovers; largest 16″.

Clear Lake; 91; 290; 3.19; Plus 205 released, total CPUE=5.4. Kokanee up to 13″, many fish greater than 12, a few greater than 16″.

Ohop Lake; 11; 17; 1.55; Plus 16 released, total CPUE=3.0. Lots of anglers, bite a little slow, cold and windy.

Rapjohn Lake; 68; 219; 3.22; Plus 30 released, total CPUE=3.7.Happy anglers, most fish greater than 12″, many greater than 16″. A few crappie.

Silver Lake; 69; 166; 2.41; Plus 47 released, total CPUE=3.1. Anglers happy to see resort open, brown bullhead catch higher than normal this time of year.

Spanaway Lake; 9; 13; 1.44; Cold, wet and windy. Not much effort.

Tanwax Lake; 60; 126; 2.10; Plus 57 released, total CPUE=3.1. Lots of anglers, fishing a little slow. Anglers familiar with the lake caught limits – lots of fish still in lake!

Skagit

Erie Lake
; 46; 186; 4.04; Plus 57 released, total CPUE=5.3. Happy anglers enjoyed triploid trout.

Heart Lake; 31; 146; 4.71; Plus 49 releases, total CPUE=6.3. Best fishing in a long time, anglers liked triploid trout.

McMurray Lake; 74; 281; 3.80; Plus 35 released, total CPUE=4.3. Anglers liked size, catch rate and condition of fish.

Sixteen Lake; 35; 71; 2.03; Plus 22 released, total CPUE=2.7. 4 holdovers (16″).

Skamania

Kidney Lake; 36; 47; 1.31; Plus 99 released, total CPUE=4. Anglers happy to catch and release fish. One large brown trout 2+ lbs caught.

Northwestern Reservoir; 9; 28; 3.11; Plus 114 released

Swift Reservoir; 46; 175; 3.80; Plus 23 released, total CPUE=4.3. 109 of the catch were coho, plus 66 rainbow.

Snohomish

Armstrong Lake; 26; 66; 2.54; Plus 48 released, total CPUE=4.4. Light rain.

Bosworth Lake; 27; 68; 2.52; Plus 83 released, total CPUE=5.6. Cold.

Howard Lake; 65; 182; 2.80; Plus 64 released, total CPUE=3.8.

Ki Lake; 51; 95; 1.86; Plus 59 released, total CPUE=3.0. Cold and breezy.

Martha Lake (AM); 30; 70; 2.33; Plus 55 released, total CPUE= 4.2. Good mix of adults and kids.

Riley Lake; 32; 95; 2.97; Plus 52 released, total CPUE=4.6. Anglers satisfied with fish size.

Serene Lake; 17; 25; 1.47; Plus 15 released, total CPUE=2.4. Some limits, some 100% released.

Stickney Lake; 1; 2; 2.00; Plus 2 released, total CPUE=4. Cold and windy.

Storm Lake; 10; 43; 4.30; Plus 14 released, total CPUE=5.7. Lower effort, trout healthy.

Wagner Lake; 1; 1; 1.00; Windy and cold.

Spokane

Badger Lake; 64; 109; 1.70; Largest rainbow caught was 23″.

Clear Lake; 38; 22; 0.58;

Fish Lake; 104; 105; 1.01; Several 22-27″ tiger trout caught.

Fishtrap Lake; 35; 77; 2.20;

West Medical Lake; 81; 180; 2.22;

Williams Lake; 90; 211; 2.34;

Stevens

Cedar Lake; 10; 50; 5.00; Largest fish was a 13′ rainbow. Cool and windy.

Deep Lake; 7; 25; 3.57; 11″ rainbow and 11″ cutthroat checked. Cool and windy.

Mudgett Lake; 8; 20; 2.50; Largest fish was a 19″ rainbow. Cool and windy.

Rocky Lake; 19; 84; 4.42; Largest fish was a 14″ rainbow. Very windy – some trees down.

Starvation Lake; 13; 43; 3.31; Largest fish was a 13″ rainbow. Cool and windy.

Waitts Lake; 27; 64; 2.37; Largest fish was a 20″ brown trout. Cool and windy.

Thurston

Clear Lake; 64; 237; 3.70; Plus 83 released, total CPUE=5.0. Best fishing in last few years. Catch was mostly 12-14″ diploid fish with a few legal plants at 9-11″.

Deep Lake; 64; 131; 2.05; Plus 29 released, total CPUE= 2.5. Fishing good for most anglers but effort was lower due to weather.

Hicks Lake; 38; 32; 0.84; Plus 5 released, total CPUE= 1. Fishing relatively poor. Most fish caught were 12-14″ jumbo diploids, few legal plants observed.

Long Lake; 37; 111; 3.00; Plus 19 released, total CPUE= 3.5. Great fishing relative to recent years. Rainbows up to 18″.

McIntosh Lake; 70; 124; 1.77; Plus 127 released, total CPUE= 3.6. Good fishing with many rainbows up to 14″.

Pattison Lake; 60; 106; 1.77; Plus 66 released, total CPUE= 2.9. Many large fish in creel. Several brood stock up to 20″ observed. About 40% of the catch was legal plants.

Summit Lake; 65; 174; 2.68; Plus 48 released, total CPUE= 3.4. Many carryover fish observed in the creel (14-17″) Effort down due to weather.

Whatcom

Cain Lake; 28; 75; 2.68; Plus 32 released, total CPUE=3.8. Catch rates a little low, but anglers happy with size and condition of fish.

Padden Lake; 46; 156; 3.39; Plus 15 released, total CPUE=3.7. 46 of the 156 fish kept were triploids. Lots of families despite crowded boat ramp and harsh weather.

Silver Lake; 192; 316; 1.65; Plus 113 released, total CPUE=2.2.

Toad Lake; 43; 110; 2.56; Plus 101 released, total CPUE=4.9. Lots of triploids caught

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